From left, Jennifer Doran, me, Barbara Takenaga, Fred Stonehouse, Bud, Claire Sherman, Jim Robischon
In late October, we spent a week in New York exhibiting at the Print Fair. We made time to see several exhibitions including Bob Kushner at DC Moore and Hung Liu at Nancy Hoffman, and catch up with colleagues and friends.
One night I made Bud, Roseanne and me dinner at home (Cynthia and Bob’s great loft) ─ a butternut squash risotto, and one night we invited our printmaking pal Pam Paulson to join us for an omelet supper. Otherwise, we ate at favorite, easy restaurants such as Cafeteria and Westville. I used my hand surgery to be excused from making any dinner parties. Next year.
After packing up the booth on Sunday evening we woke early on Monday to catch a flight to London to visit our dear friends Bernard and Jeannie Cohen and family.
Bernard at Canyon de Chelly 1993, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches; Evening in the Desert 1993, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches
London was damp, cool and bustling. We stayed with Bernard and Jeannie in Camberwell and learned to navigate our way into the center of London. We visited our old neighborhood, Kew, and the Royal Botanic Gardens and had lunch at the Maids of Honor, hardly changed in 50 years.
Visiting Kew was top of my to-do list and eating at an Ottolenghi restaurant was second. I use Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks regularly and wanted to experience his version of the food. Bernard, Jeannie, Bud and I made a lunch reservation at Nopi, just off Regent Street.
Wow. From the warm welcome and stylish, simple dining room to the amazing food, we had a smashing lunch. As Bernard said, it’s rare to have a restaurant meal where everything is delicious and memorable. We ate polenta chips (fries), cauliflower and green bean fritters, sea bream with an agrodolce and lemon yogurt garnish, squid with baby artichokes, a blackcurrant sorbet ─ like deeply flavored velvet, and a nut brittle─ a thin cracker topped with caramel, chocolate and salty nuts. Amazing.
Liberty of London was also on my to visit list. Bud waited in an easy chair while I perused the stacks of fabric bolts, wondering how I could choose. I finally picked two, one for me, one for Roseanne, realizing almost any piece would be a good one. Now it was past lunch time and we were near Warwick Street and Nopi. Perhaps we could score a table.
Again the gracious staff took our coats and lead us to wait at the standing bar. Fortified with a small bowl of complimentary spiced nuts we watched as others finished their meals, until a table was ready. Our waiter, remembering us said, Weren’t you here yesterday? and we were off to another lovely lunch.
We ate green beans with freekeh and miso, roasted eggplant with a tamarind flavored yogurt (fabulous), the sea bream because it had been so delicious we couldn’t resist a repeat. We finished with roasted pineapple accompanied by coconut ice cream and macadamia nut crumbles. All the dishes simple and perfect ─ my kind of cooking.
After a long flight home we had time to re-combobulate and do laundry before departing for Savannah and our niece Hilary’s retirement from the Coast Guard ceremony.
The Splinter 2007, oil on canvas, 22 x 22 inches
Hilary flew over the hangar where her family and friends waited, dipping her helicopter in a salute while we all cheered. Thrilling. The ceremony was moving and funny, with her compatriots speaking of her exceptional qualities and stellar service. She gave a wonderful speech, relating how she first became a Marine, then a helicopter pilot. All through the ceremony were moments when I teared up, touched by the camaraderie and love being expressed.
We stayed with Bud’s hospitable cousins in the center of Savannah. Arnold treated us to dinner at The Grey, Chef Mashama Bailey’s restaurant in a repurposed Greyhound station building. Another memorable meal, beginning with popcorn! And fabulous popcorn ─ dressed with clarified butter and nutritional yeast. We ate delicious, rich, cornbread. I ordered a turnip bisque, curious to taste this unusual restaurant offering. Creamy, vegetal and topped with gremolata. I followed this with middlins (broken Carolina rice bits), with shrimp, a kind of southern risotto.
We’re home now, ready to settle back into our life of printing, for Bud, and painting and writing, for me. I am inspired to try some new flavors in my winter cooking. Stay tuned.