Bon anniversaire Pierre!

Last weekend, we celebrated Pierre’s 31’st birthday. Here’s his birthday lunch:

a classic BLT



What can I say – you can’t go wrong with good bread, good slab bacon, crisp lettuce and heirloom tomatoes. I used my homemade mayonnaise (made w/fresh eggs from my friend Flo’s chickens) and a lovely dijon mustard. I bought several bottles of this moutarde from our last trip to France. They come in these beautiful glass jars that can be used as drinking glasses once the mustard is finished. How clever is that?

That’s why I’m slightly obsessive — (is that an oxymoron??) about these particular jars. Plus, they’re not sold here in the States. So, I find myself hoarding them like WWII rations. I once caught someone going to the fridge and just helping themselves to it without asking me. They turned around and saw my eyes were glaring at them and I was grinding my teeth. Then I flat out just snarled “What are you doing?”

Anyhoo, I like to cook my bacon in a preheated cast iron skillet. I like the bacon to have very crispy edges but still have some tenderness to it. I put the sandwich together and served with a chilled glass of lemonade.

For the birthday dinner, we went to Palio’s in downtown Ann Arbor. We tried to get a table upstairs on the balcony but it was jam packed due to the UM student move-in. We ended up with a nice booth next to the window. The windows were decorated with shelves of wine bottles – charming. We ordered some chianti and started with this caprese salad:


The tomatoes were rather lackluster and the balsalmic vinaigrette was far too acidic. I think they forgot to season the tomato and lettuce, which is unfortunate because the fresh mozzarella just tasted bland next to the bland tomato. There’s usually fresh basil in this salad but sadly, not this time. I much prefer my own tomato stack:

Tomates au fromage de chèvre à la vinaigrette de ciboulette


This baby is made using yellow and red heirloom tomatoes, sandwiched between fresh goat cheese. I drizzled some chive vinaigrette (1 part red wine vinegar + 3 parts olive oil + dijon mustard + finely minced fresh chives) on the tomato stack. I finished the tomatoes with freshly ground black pepper and fleur de sel.

Thanks to to my friend Mrs. Ellen G – for the awesome chive plants. I love them!

Now, back to the birthday dinner. Pierre ordered the linguine with alfredo sauce and I ordered the pan-fried white fish with pistaccio and pinenut crust. They were both pretty satisfying dishes. I should note that like most Italian restaurants that I’ve eaten at here in the Midwest, this is American-Italian food, not authentic Italian by any stretch of the imagination. The food at Palio’s was typical – overcooked pasta completely drenched in sauce. Not that it’s such a bad thing. It is tasteful to me. But it can’t compare to dishes I’ve eaten in Italy or even in NYC and California. These were our dishes:


Now, for dessert, we ordered a panna cotta with coffee crème anglaise and what else — tiramisù. Here’s Pierre with his birthday dessert. Make a wish!


And finally, a birthday portrait of Pierre – Bon Anniversaire!



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