Category Archives: Rimarama recommends

Let Them Eat Small Plates Festooned with Craft Beads and Flowers

The P-Dawg and I spent much of our anniversary week in Vegas eating. There are so many restaurants operated by world-renowned chefs there, that we only had the chance to sample a few. But among them was Joël Robuchon, one of the few Michelin three star rated restaurants in the U.S. It was a tad out of our comfort zone, but we had to try it.

A complementary limo picked us up for the five minute ride from Bellagio (our hotel) to Robuchon. We had just enough time to stuff our pockets with bottles of spring water and Tweet pictures of ourselves en route before arriving at the restaurant through a super secret gated entrance, where a woman in a floor length black gown greeted us like we were Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

She escorted us through a gorgeous courtyard and series of hallways into the restaurant, which was decorated in completely over the top sumptuous art deco. I am talking about shades of purple, gold, and blue, pictures in gilded mirrors, and enough velvet to upholster the Eiffel Tower. Our corner table provided an excellent view of the dining room, so I immediately took an inventory of our fellow gourmands to make sure I wasn’t under dressed. The handful of other couples there looked a lot like the P-Dawg and me, but there were two Russian mobsters wearing jeans and Prada t-shirts, which I thought was totalement inappropriate.

Le Yard de Court

The French maitre d’ looked exactly like the soulless commando character on Lost and our server, also French, looked like the short haired chick from the Matrix. Neither of them had a sense of humor, so in case you are planning a trip to Robuchon in the near future and want to crack bad jokes referencing Jacques Cousteau or Pepe le Pew in rusty French, be forewarned.

P-Dawg ordered the “tasting menu,” which consisted of thirteen courses of the chef’s choice.  I couldn’t bring myself to do this so I ordered from the prix fixe menu and I still got eight courses. (Each course is about the size of a small fist.)

If thirteen courses is not enough, there was also this bread cart they kept wheeling up to the table with probably one thousand varieties of bread on it. There was no end to the bread cart, not to mention the pillar o’hand churned butter which they also brought by on a regular basis.

La Carte de Bread

La Carte de Chocolate

I knew Emily Post would roll over in her grave (is she dead?) if I did it, but I took a secret iPhone photo of the bread cart anyway, for you. Later I noticed that other people were shamelessly photographing, Facebooking, and Tweeting their food, so I took out my real camera and started balls out documenting our meal. Klassy. Ten minutes after that, I finished my first glass of wine and forgot I had a camera. (Sorry.)

The food was to die for.  I have never in my life tasted flavors and textures so perfectly combined, although at times I could have done without the Michael’s Crafts inspired art deco presentation.  One of P-Dawg’s entrees was festooned with what appeared to be Mardi Gras beads and another had a quail egg in it, which he was not supposed to eat. I was going to bring it home in my purse, but I forgot.

Also of note is the fact that whenever I got up to use the ladies’ room (we were there for four hours), one of the waitstaff would

The Food is on Your Left

materialize like a ninja to pull the table away from my purple velvet upholstered bench. Almost as if they knew I was going to have to go before I did. After a while it got so that I’d try to sneak out as fast as I could just to thwart them, but I never did.

After the entrees, we were presented with a cheese cart very similar to the bread cart except without the ever-present stalks of wheat. Then we had dessert and after that they brought us an anniversary cake. Just when I was convinced there was no way I could eat another bite, out came the chocolate cart, from which we could select anything we wanted with no limit but our own willingness to look piggish. I picked four.

They sent us tottering home with a gift bag containing a vellum copy of the P-Dawg’s menu de degustation with his name printed on the top, a bound menu book, and a loaf of blueberry lemon pound bread. The lady in the black dress came back to escort us to a lounge off the courtyard where we waited like dilettantes for our limo to return.

I’m guessing I gained about ten pounds at Robuchon, but the plus side is that after eating there and at Thomas Keller’s Vegas restaurant, the P-Dawg has become a very inspired cook.  I bought him Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook for his recent birthday and he’s been concocting ad hoc delicacies all week.  In fact, I’m going to have to excuse myself now because my meal of pork roast with fruit and rum compote, roasted radishes and brussels sprouts, and peach cobbler a la mode awaits.

And I’m going to eat it with a glass of cheesecake, if you know what I mean.

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Joie de Vivre

I wanted to be a gymnast, and I was pretty sure I could do it. I had the right build, a little bit of talent, and a lot of enthusiasm.  As a kid, I lived in a leotard and traveled via cartwheel. I could drop into a banana split anywhere, anytime, and if I wasn’t executing a round-off/back-handspring combo across your front lawn, I was trying to recruit you for the neighborhood Olympics. After a year of lessons at a local gym, I was invited to join a team and compete seriously.

But I didn’t. Even if my parents hadn’t put the kabash on the idea of a gymnastics career (they felt it was more important for me to get an education and for them to put food on the table), the fact was that I had started training too late in life to think of competing seriously. I was devastated with thoughts of what could have been, but eventually hung up my leotard and set my sights on becoming either the first female network news anchor or Michael J. Fox’s wife.  And it was all for the best, because as my friend V later pointed out to me, “If you had kept training, you would have never developed boobs.”

I can’t say I’m very athletic anymore – the mere thought of attempting the splits requires an epidural and the last time I tried to do a handstand, I had to put my head between my legs.  But I still try to bust a move every now and then, to show off for my kids or get the old familiar rush.

And it is a rush.  There’s something about gymnastics that is so powerful and thrilling – it’s like ballet with balls.  I turned 37 while on vacation last week and to mark the occasion, I did a string of cartwheels on the beach. They were not perfect, but at least I pointed that one toe and didn’t pull anything.

In fact, I’m going to make it a birthday tradition for as long as I can.

Special Note to Béla Károlyi: CALL ME.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway fifty years ago (November 16th, 1959), but I discovered it again for the first time last week.

My three-year old son was busy playing trucks when I popped in the DVD, but as soon as Julie Andrews came bounding over the horizon and opened her mouth to sing, his little head swiveled around like a periscope.

What is that exquisite sound?

Who is that beautiful lady . . . and why isn’t she my mother?

He planted himself directly in front of the TV and gazed on with rapt attention for a good half hour.

I was riveted by the fairytale plotline, the boundless optimism, the yodeling . . . and Captain Von Hawt, whose smokin’ good looks had somehow evaded me for these past thirty-six years.

So in honor of the Sound of Music’s fiftieth anniversary, here are A Few of My Favorite Things:

  1. Coffee (touch of cream, no sugar)
  2. Sushi
  3. The Daily Show
  4. Lithuanian folk songs
  5. My attached garage
  6. The iTunes Store
  7. Leonard Cohen lyrics
  8. Built-in bras
  9. The Star-Spangled Banner (straight up, no soul)
  10. Cosmic signs
  11. Musical harmony
  12. Reading in bed
  13. White linens
  14. Lost
  15. Chamomile tea
  16. Aveda Inner Light dual foundation
  17. The combination of buttered movie popcorn with Skittles
  18. Hot showers
  19. Good lip balm
  20. Lavender lotion from L’Occitaine
  21. Striped tights
  22. Black boots
  23. Cinnabon
  24. Cabernet Sauvignon
  25. Guinness beer
  26. Christmas Eve
  27. Tylenol PM
  28. Jello pretzel “salad”
  29. Order and symmetry
  30. Airplane Coke
  31. The sun on my back
  32. Abba
  33. Geico caveman commercials
  34. The smell of pipe tobacco
  35. Foot rubs
  37. and The Sound of Music, of course.
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Just Call Me Hawkeye

I neglected to mention that during my blog sabbatical this summer, I ended up having LASIK surgery, after all. It’s been almost three months now and I’ve officially changed the name on my drivers’ license to, “Eagle Eyes Rama.”

The surgery itself is nothing to be afraid of, as long as you’re not one of those people who starts bustin’ out the ninja moves if someone comes near your eyes. For one thing, they give you a val1um right before the procedure begins and what this does is cause you to chuckle while the surgeon marks up your eyeballs with a magic marker.

I found that I was actually quite relaxed – giddy, even – while the operation was taking place. I only freaked out once when the technician kept telling me to focus on the green light, but I couldn’t see it because the surgeon was still adjusting things. I started to become a little frantic, like, “I CAN’T SEE THE GREEN LIGHT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?” and then the technician got in trouble with the surgeon for stressing me out.

You experience a lot of strange sensations (you might also smell something burning) during the surgery, but it doesn’t actually hurt. The procedure I had involves cutting a flap in the cornea and re-shaping the surface underneath. The worst part was that, after they cut my “flaps,” I had to lie down and rest in the next room over for a few minutes before the second part of the procedure began. While I was “resting,” my numbing drops began to wear off and I started to experience some “discomfort,” as they like to say in the biz. At first I thought I could master the discomfort, but when I realized I could not, I stumbled, batlike, into the hallway in search of relief and had to be escorted back into my holding cell.

The rest of it was pretty uneventful and I actually don’t even remember all the details anymore. When it was all over, I could already tell that my vision had improved, albeit through a brilliant haze. I had to wear a horrendous pair of wraparound safety goggles for the next twenty-four hours and then every night for a week, which thrilled J-dog and V-meister to no end.

As I’d feared, my eyes were very dry for the first month or so after the surgery and not a day went by when I didn’t say to the P-Dawg, “P-Dawg, I knew this would happen. Now I’ll have to wear goggles and live in a climate controlled humidity chamber for the rest of my life.” And each time, the P-Dawg pretended as though no one had spoken.

So even though my eyes are still drier than they were before the surgery, there are very few days when I am uncomfortable because of them and it’s still better than the worst bad contacts day. All told, I’m very glad I went through with it. The only drawback is that I have a lot more crows feet than I’d realized and I found out my shower is pretty gross. But on the flip side, I could easily, with valium, pilot a stealth bomber or build myself a nest out of shiny objects.

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