June 26th, 2009

hot chocolate

Pleasant things to eat

I have tried two new-to-me restaurants this week, both of which went well. Bibo on Diffley here in Eagan is an Italian place in the location of a previous Italian place. The previous place was not very interesting, fairly expensive for what you were getting, and featured staff who would cast disdainful looks upon people who showed up without reservations--even if the restaurant was fairly empty and stayed empty all evening. This apparently convinced people that it was gauche to drop in on them without warning, so no one did, and they're gone. Bibo is much better: more interesting, cheaper, less snooty. They have things like a very fine chicken parmesan, but also a lovely pork tenderloin with an interesting pear moutarde sauce and some of the best polenta I've had. (The best polenta I've had, actually, if you rule out the polenta at Bistro E. Europe, which 1. no longer exists and 2. was in San Francisco anyway so was not serving me polenta on a regular basis.) markgritter and I went with my parents, and all of us were pleased with our entrees and sides. The only thing I would say by way of detraction from Bibo is that their desserts were boring, boring, boring. Well-executed. But boring. I don't see any reason I would have dessert there again: it's so close to my house and my parents' house, both of which tend to be stocked with tasty dessert items, many of which are more interesting than the ones at Bibo. Also of interest to locals: they only do dinner, no lunch.

timprov and I took seabream to try La Chaya Bistro up on 46th and Nicollet for lunch, which cloudscudding had scouted just after I spotted it. It looked to me like their lunch menu was almost completely different from their dinner menu, but not in a bad way. We had tasty queso frito (which came in four blocks, not at all what I was expecting), and I had a cool creamy avocado-crab soup and a beet-green bean salad (with spinach and avocado) that magically made beets mellow. Texturally I could have wished for something like pine nuts in the salad. But still, mellowest beets ever. Very good stuff. And timprov approved of his fish tacos, which I'm not sure he's done since we left California. I will definitely want to drag a variety of people back there for dinner--possibly quickly, since the place was pretty empty for lunch. (Perhaps this is because they've just started serving lunch and people don't know it yet. We can hope so. Still, this may be a "get the good food while it's there" experience.) Timprov had pluot sorbet and mango crisp, both of which were lovely (though I wouldn't have combined them--and in fact that was T's choice, not the restaurant's), and my chocolate creme brulee was extremely pleasant and garnished with unexpected blueberries, which I thought were just right.

Also, Barb at Pumphouse was making a vanilla ice cream swirled with a mango-passion fruit sorbet, which struck me as the grown-up version of a Creamsicle/Dreamsicle. Don't know how long that flavor will last. Get it while it's cold.

I have been pretty low-energy and fuzzy-headed after the convention. Feeling very scattered, like I have to gather six or seven mental things to do the simplest of tasks. Mostly I am just trying to roll with this, although there's a story that's not getting any fresher. Among other things, we've verified once again that the longer workouts are needed for me to be able to eat and sleep reasonably: I went two days with no workouts at all (Saturday and Sunday) and could not sleep for more than three and a half hours of Sunday night, despite being really exhausted. Formerly regular-length (45 minute) workouts are not really cutting it, so I'm continuing with the hour and a half ones in hopes that food and sleep will continue to be possible, since, y'know, people need those. We also did a recent experiment with unassisted walking with my friend V's help and discovered that we are Not Really There Yet. (Which was not a surprise, but the level of sick it made me the day after was greater than I expected.) I had been hoping to try driving in a parking lot in June, but this is not to be; perhaps July. Or not. We'll see how it goes. Of course I want to be done with the stupid vertigo all nownownow. But progress, even slow progress, is better than nothing.