Monday, April 26, 2010

The week of family, friends and food

So, last week was kinda crazy. Tuesday, my Sister-in-law, L, came for a visit with her 3 kids (G, H & C). They were on spring break and hadn't been here in a while. It's always a joy to hang out with those guys. L and I became such fast friends when M and I got together that she was my Matron of Honor at our wedding. And of course, the kids love playing with their cousins. The timing worked out pretty amazingly - her kids are all about three years apart, with my kids perfectly sandwiched in about halfway between each, so they really play well together (most of the time). While they were here, we went to the Franklin Institute, which was fun, but exhausting. Seems like we usually eat out a lot when they come, but this time I mostly cooked. The soup I made for dinner on Tuesday wasn't such a hit, but I redeemed myself with a much-appreciated beef and noodle stir-fry on Wednesday and homemade pizza on Thursday. Friday morning, we gave hugs all around as L and the cousins headed out for the next stop on their week of visits and N and I headed to her school, where I was asked to fill in for one of the teacher's assistants for the day.

When we got home, I cleaned as much as I could before Friday night, because we were welcoming friends from Binghamton (our best man, P, and his family - wife C and kids A & H, plus their two whippets - Zinger and Comet) and from Syracuse (S & J - our SCUBA diving buddies). Saturday all the grown ups met up with another couple (C & K - college friends) for dinner at Amada. For the past few years, we've gotten together for a splurgy meal in Philadelphia each spring - usually in April, and called it Philly Phood Phest. Past excursions have taken us to Roy's, Le Bec Fin, LaCroix, Morimoto, and others. M and I had a dinner at Amada last year that we really enjoyed, so we thought it would make a good Phest choice. Basically, it's an upscale Tapas joint. Tapas is the perfect cuisine for people like me who like to try lots of different foods, because it's small plates, meant for sharing. Think of it as an entire meal of appetizers. And Amada does it really, really well. The table got the chef's tasting menu - three courses of chef-chosen specialties, with several plates in each course. I didn't take a bite of anything I didn't like, but the standouts (for me) were the Ensalada de Jamon, the artichoke and wild mushroom flatbread, Parmesan Artichokes, lamb chops and the Leche Frita. My biggest complaint is that the place is very loud. Also, the first time we visited, (when it was just me and my husband) we felt that our 2-top was squeezed in too close to other tables (it was difficult to get up to use the restroom without bumping the people seated near us). But this time, our group of 8 got us a large table with lots of room around it...much better!

But I think the best part was just hangin' with family and friends for the week. We love these folks, and wish they all lived closer so we could see them more often. Ah well, still don't have enough money for that family compound where they can all just live with us. Someday...

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