the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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This Week In Misc. Goodness

After working eleven days straight, the weekend--a weekend, any weekend--is almost in sight. Hip-hip-fucking-huzzah!!

In brief: Valentine's Day. We. Owned. It. Oh, baby, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh! After a year's worth of fear, worry, and despair, it turned out that two or three weeks of frantic last-minute preparation paid off, and we sailed through our biggest day of the year, while all major competition--including Hallmark, who had paid presumably incomparable bills to IBM to pimp out their website--were crushed and left in little flaming piles by the side of the road. By mid-morning, when we started to see that we were going to hold up just fine, the shouts arose among the geeky rabble, testing the patience of the Fates--BRING! IT! ON! For the rest of the week, we of Technology were hailed as kings among men, celebrated with passing cheers and mass-emailed barbaric YAWPS from our senior management. For once, it is a very good week to be me.

Thus, I have been able to really enjoy this week's belated Valentine's dinner at Parallax, which is truly a culinary delight. Polite company might term it "Asian food in French style meets French food in Asian style." Trendy company might simply refer to it as "fusion." After a parade of wines, sushi, appetizers, salads, and entrees, I cannot describe it as anything other than this: FUCKING AMAZING. I apologize if the strong language burns your eyes or makes the Baby Jesus cry, but, honestly, this is the kind of place that can't be expressed without HBO-level warning labels.

Some would call the sushi menu limited, but it is simply focused, and what is offered is without flaw; I haven't tasted its equal since our trips to Vancouver or San Francisco. The spicy tuna was especially marvelous. Also consumed were massive appetizer plates of calamari (yum!) and smoked salmon (double-yum!); a salad of seared scallops, bacon, baby greens, and tomatoes, with a light cream sauce; Alaskan black cod with a miso glace; and, one of the evening's specials, a crispy half-duck in a Szechuan glaze, served with a bed of perfect sushi rice.

On the alcohol front, we sampled a tasty non-vintage bubbly (to celebrate), an Austrian Gruner Veltliner (round and delicious, like the best parts of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc), a German Gewüztraminer, a French Chenin Blanc, a lovely and very well-balanced New Zealand Pinot Noir, and--star of the show--cold, unfiltered sake!! Ever since our first encounter with this marvelous creature at a Berkeley sushi joint last summer, finding cold, unfiltered sake has been like a Grail quest for us. Most places have never heard of such a thing, and those that have are afraid to serve it because it is so unlike what most people consider sake to be. Thankfully, Parallax serves a bottle of the stuff that is damn near perfect, and a real blessing to behold in conjunction with the well-executed menu.

The service was very good throughout our meal; our waiter (a Champagne transplant) very quickly figured out our relaxed, try a bit of everything approach to dinner, and we never felt rushed--even after we closed out the main dining area, he was still puckishly tempting us with dessert.

So, to sum up... If you enjoy food, if you enjoy wine, if you enjoy the two together, Parallax should go immediately to the top of your to-do list.

Tomorrow, after an endless stream of pseudo-Thursdays, it is finally Friday, and the celebration continues with early-birthday treats: a trip to Chicago for One Man Lord of the Rings and the tasting menu at Topolobampo.

It's good to be the [info]exilejedi.... :-)

PS: Valentine says hello from her perch on my lap. Meow!

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