Oh, holidays are so fun. I had an excellent time with my family and Barbara May’s family. We all got together for Christmas Eve to eat tons of hors d’oeuvres, decorate the tree, sing carols, and talk. I made my bean dip and some little croque monsieurs. Dad cut up vegetables and made potstickers. Mom made marinated artichoke hearts, devilled eggs, pigs in blankets, mulled cider and dip for vegetables/potato chips. Barbara May ‘s parents brought over some very tasty eggnog. Barbara May brought her wonderful fruitcake, hurray!

If you’re ever in the market for panetonne, Maina is really good. It won the Chronicle’s taste-test. I was going to buy their second place winner, the Trader Joe’s brand, but they were sold out, so I went down the street to Draeger’s and found the Maina. We had it alongside our bagels with lox for Christmas breakfast.

Last Thursday, I went to Sundance the Steakhouse with Jer. That was a most enjoyable meal. We had a lovely table by the window where we could watch people running from the pelting rain. Jer got the prime rib, I got the New York Strip, and we split an order of crabcakes to start. The food was uniformly excellent. I had read some reviews that said they overcooked their steaks, but ours were damn perfect. When I first bit into my steak, it was tasty, but as I chewed, it got better. I love stuff like that.

Yesterday, I headed into Sonoma to meet up with Erin and Ys, two of my friends from college. Such fun! The weather had cleared up, and we spent a very enjoyable afternoon walking around, shopping, talking, and eating. We went to The Girl and the Fig for a late lunch. I got their soup of the day, which was a pureed garnet yam soup with cream and blue cheese and walnuts. That was a bit of a mistake on my part, since I had just had the apple-rutabaga soup the day before, and the two soups were a bit similar in taste except the apple-rutabaga soup was far superior. The garnet yam soup tasted like the time I made the apple-rutabaga soup and forgot to put in the cream, maple syrup, cayenne, and apple (aka all the stuff that makes it over-the-top yummy, very dumb of me). Also, it needed salt. For my main course, I got cassoulet. I’d never had it before, but I recalled Eddie saying something about it. It was very, very good. The flageolet beans were a little undercooked, but the meats were so tasty. Duck, lamb, bacon, sausage… yum! So big, though- I couldn’t finish it. For dessert we all split a creme brulee that was flavored with lavender and honey. Now, usually I just like my creme brulee basic with no adulterations. This, however, was really good. The sugar top could have been crispier (Ys tried to crack it and her spoon just kind of sunk in), and there were some bizarre temperature changes in the custard underneath (I’m guessing it had just been flamed and was not cooled again afterwards), but I would totally order it again.

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