So much for being on the program.

My Birthday Week festivities continue!  How are YOU celebrating?

Today, I received a little something from Sis (and by “I”, I mean “we” since the contents of the package were for both Akemi and me, and by “a little” I mean a lot).  Mexican chocolate, chocolate-covered licorice, multi-flavored chocolate bars (including peanut butter and banana, and BBQ potato chips), chocolate truffles…Do you sense a theme?  Akemi, meanwhile, went absolutely crazy over the three adorable aprons she received (which she intends to model on her blog tomorrow). Coincidentally, she was up last night, internet-perusing adorable aprons.  No kidding!

She was up late because she couldn’t sleep after the incredible meal we had at Campagnolo earlier that night…

I texted owner Tom Doughty last week and told him I wanted to swing by for a special birthday dinner.  Not only did he make the arrangements, but he even showed up on the night with a handsome new haircut!

Our first course was a lentil and chorizo soup.  It was intensely flavorful, the lentils pureed to a silky smoothness and studded with tiny bites of smokey chorizo.

Alas, forgot to snap a picture of the second course but you’ll have to trust me when I say it looked gorgeous.  And tasted wonderful.  Savoy cabbage, beet roots, courtons and two year cured ham.  Yes, cured for two year and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful.

Bruschetta of andouille sausage, fontina cheese, and walla walla onions.

Our third course, the bruschetta, was an incredibly rich mix of sweet, smokey, salty, and sharp.

Foie Gras with coronation grapes.

Speaking of “rich”, our decadent fourth course almost did me in.  One incredibly lucious pan-seared duck liver.

Veal-stuffed agnolotti with thyme butter and Parmigiano Reggiano.

I was a little worried that the Parmigiano Reggiano would overwhelm here but it married wonderfully, sliced paper thin, with the delicate flavor of the agnolotti.  And that thyme butter simply put it over the top.

Seabass en papillote.

The flavors of our sixth course were clean and altogether fantastic.  One of the best fish preparations I’ve had in recent memory.  Akemi bemoaned the fact that she didn’t have chopsticks on hand to thoroughly pick the very last bits of tasty meat from the bones.

Accompanying the seabass was a nice little kale and sundried sungold tomato salad.

And then, we were presented with our seventh course.  I was expected pork and was surprised by…

Horse filet with glazed onions and chanterelle mushrooms.

I was admittedly leery.  My first (and only) foray into horseflesh was…well, memorable for all the wrong reasons (February 7, 2012: Tokyo Day #11! The gang back home! Okonomiyaki! And my weirdest meal yet! Well, actually not so much a meal as a bite.).  Happily, this preparation fared much better.  Perfectly cooked, surprisingly tender and, to be perfectly honest, very tasty.

Dining with us on this night: Hillary and fellow birthday boy Rob.
Akemi so full she can’t eat another bite.  Unless it’s dessert of course.
Dessert #1: Mascarpone Cheesecake

Most wouldn’t consider it light but I certainly did, especially in comparison to our second dessert.  And I don’t mean that in a bad way.  It was, without a doubt, the best piece of cheesecake I’ve had in ages.

Dessert #2: Chocolate pudding with French toast and vanilla cherries.

As much as I enjoyed the cheesecake, chocolate pudding is more my speed.  And this particular pudding packed a helluva chocolate punch!

Chef Ted and the birthday boy.

A HUGE thanks to Tom, Chef Ted (who designed the menu), and the rest of the gang at Campagnolo for yet another fabulous culinary extravaganza!

And, just in case those nine courses weren’t enough, Rob and Hillary gifted me a little something from their recent trip to Vegas:

A Vosges dark chocolate assortment. 

Damn, that takes me back to the chocolate parties I used to host in the Stargate days.



31 thoughts on “October 17, 2012: Birthday festivities and feast!

  1. *droooooooooooooooools*

    If nothing else, I’d kill for that Bruschetta…and the chocolate, always the chocolate.



  2. I celebrated your birthday by eating a knock-off brand of nutella spread on a waffle cone.

  3. Looks like you all had a great time. Chocolate looks awesome, maybe I’d try the horse if it was covered in chocolate. 🙂

    Another pet food recall, Kasel Associated Industries Recalls Boots & Barkley Roasted American Pig Ears And Boots & Barkley American Variety Pack Dog Treats:

    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, the first official trailer for the Syfy original series Defiance:

    Maybe this is the beginning of a Sci-Fi series resurgence at Syfy and they’ll bring back StarGate in some form. Yes, it is wishful thinking, but I can hope, can’t I? 🙂

  4. I may have to quit reading your blog. I swear I am putting on pounds just looking at the picture. And at a time when I am using a personal trainer to help with the whole healthy living and weight loss thing. But a well deserved meal for you, and I hope the week continues to find you and Akemi showered with delights. And by the time you finish up the celebrations, we can look forward to the chronicles of your latest adventures to Tokyo. Thanks for sharing,as always.

  5. All that food looks amazing! No wonder you guys wound up stuffed. Not sure if I could go for the horse. I have had camel before, and was amazed at how tender and flavourful it is.

    As I mentioned before, a couple of weeks ago I was down in the Grand Canyon for a vacation/four day backpacking trip as well as a trip around to the North Rim as well. I love photography and promised to share some pictures, so here they are!

    Here’s Twin Falls in Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver, before I headed to Vegas and on to the Canyon:

    Sunset at the Canyon!

    Another sunset shot:

    Sunrise watchers:

    Morning at the Canyon:

    O”Neill Butte (that’s with two “L’s”…) near the South Kaibab Trail where I hiked into the Canyon:

    This one I took down in the Canyon just with my iPhone but using the HDR mode on the “Top Camera” app, which I highly recommend! It’s a nice sunset shot:

    Point Imperial along the North Rim of the Canyon. After my backpacking trip, I drove around to spend another night.

    Sunset from the NORTH rim side:

    Nice view looking Southwest:

    Finally, just a picture of a waterfall after I got home that I took last weekend at Fundy National Park here in NB.

  6. What a wonderful dinner and thanks for the lovely pictures, wow, good friends, good food, enjoy your week!!!

  7. I saw that your buddy Carl is coming back to be a show runner on the Hallmark Channel. Congrats to him! And you must be happy to have one of your buddies back in town!

  8. you should do another chocolate party for old times sake. invite any ex-stargate people who are in town or might be in town at the time.

  9. Lovely photos, gforce, especially the long-exposure waterfalls!

    Joe — awesome dinner, but horse as well as foie gras? I don’t think you’ll be getting a Christmas card from PETA. 🙂

  10. @quade1 – I would believe it’s possible that an animal with digestive issues might find relief with breastmilk, so I’m not knocking that part of it. I’m just not sure it would be possible for a pug to have a successful latch.

  11. Happy birthday. All the food looks great… but honestly, unless starving to death and no option, I’d come as close to eating a horse as I would Filet De Pug.
    That aversion aside, you might want to make sure where your horse meat comes from:

  12. @quade Really sick. First, no reason for it– they make superb milk replacement designed FOR dogs which human breast milk is not the same. Second, if she weren’t borderline bestiality bound (or already there, or mentally unhinged in other ways), she could breast pump for the dog. In truth, I hope the local child welfare sees that and goes check on her kids. Nutter. Sick nutter. Utterly insane attention wh#$%%ng nutter who is too stupid to consider that even if she THINKS it’s okay, her kids will one day have that photo shoved in their faces and hear about it. Ick.

  13. Its just wrong to be eating horse. Really wrong. What next, dog and cat? Guess its just the horse lover in me. And you liked it? Shame.

  14. Happy Belated Birthday, Joe!!! 🙂

    (I finally had a Computer/Internet free day yesterday.) Glad you had a lovely birthday dinner; lovin’ those glazed onions!

    I agree with @for the love of Beckett: Autumn is also my favourite time of the year! I love the beautiful russet and golden colours and the way it feels to step outside into the crisp morning air, still wearing a light jacket whilst looking forward to the nights drawing in so I can light my yankee candles and pray for snow … at least a few inches to build a baby snowman!

  15. I see your theme was chocolate. Yum! It all looks wonderful! I might have to consider that for my birthday in December. And as to how I’m celebrating your birthday. Well, I just sent hubby off for a few days to go geocaching with his buddy. You might wonder why I’m so enthusiastic. In return for him getting to go on this trip, I get to go to Dragon Con next year. Yay!!

    Hope your birthday week continues to go well!!!!!

  16. Joe, what a dinner! No way in hell I’m ever eating horse meat, that would be akin to munching on Riley, at least to me. I’ve had too many horses that I’ve loved. Happily, no cows, pigs or chickens! Glad you enjoyed, though! 🙂

    @quade 1: EWWWWW. Let the pup’s mother feed the pup, I say. If that wasn’t working, try frickin’ dog food!

  17. Wow, your sis is amazing, the dinner amazing.. and well, amazing!

    I am back on food tracking, watching portions and trying to keep a balance of nutrients. 1600 calories a day max, as set by my nutritionist. Oh, I still eat chocolate, but in very small portions. Sigh. Heavy sigh. First world problems….

  18. Joe, your Campagnolo family spoiled you. Akemi, you look beautiful! And good to see Rob (and Hilary) lately, too. A dual-birthday dinner. 🙂

    gforce — Your photos are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing! Have you thought about copy-protecting and watermarking your pics? You’d still be able to click/enlarge them. (What my bro does.)

    Susan Bowden — Here’s a fall photo for you (one of my bro’s). This time of year is like a living landscape. The colors change daily, and the dynamics of light change with the weather.

    Three cheers! It’s Carl coming back to town. 😀 The Hallmark channel has loyal viewers. Here’s to a long run, Carl! I’m still hoping you get to work with John Lassiter on a Pixar script some day, though. 🙂

  19. Mmmm…paardfilet – very nice..will be visiting my husband’s family home in Belgium very soon and will stock up on the horsemeat supplies it’s “Wild” season so hoping to get some nice venison too…;)..both very low in fat and cholesterol and much healthier than many meats I have to say..:)

    Glad you enjoyed your birthday meal…I have to find a good place in London to take an American friend to eat tomorrow…it’s going to be a long night whilst I make up my mind where to go…;)

  20. @For the love of Beckett – I have considered it – I’m thinking about doing photography as a side “business/hobby” sometime so I’ll definitely be thinking better protection then. Glad you (and Michelle) enjoyed them!

  21. A belated Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a good one. Looks like a great dinner. Although the horse dish looks delish, I don’t think I could eat it.

  22. I’m getting closer to getting confident enough to call shenanigans on the feasibility of a pug nursing from a human. My 100% human son couldn’t figure it out again after only being weaned for a week (no, not diminished milk supply, his littler sister was nursing).

    Suckling is just that specific of a motion, not likely to be figured out – you’re literally born with it as an instinctual reflex. I just can’t see how the physiology of that’s supposed to work for mismatched species with different anatomy.

    And that she pumped for her kids but put the dog to the breast? That sounds like the article was designed to bait commenters into saying, “why not pump for the dog, too?”

  23. Wow! A meal for a king; well, at least for a day. Who was the lucky one to get the fish cheeks?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.