eat. I drove down to Long Beach yesterday to have lunch with my friend Carolyn, whom I met in tenth grade English class. One of my first memories of us together is of her cracking jokes about those “lusty”—was it Sirens?—in Homer’s Odyssey, and thereafter referring to me for the duration of the semester by that moniker, or rather, as “Lusty von Krast,” to be more exact. (In retrospect, I find it a bit odd that we read a translated Greek work in an English class. Whatever...)
We later got to know each other even better in orchestra and band, where I played clarinet, and she the string bass. (She was the far superior musician, and is now a professor of composition at Cal. State Long Beach.)
Carolyn suggested that I drive down to her place from Santa Monica, so that I could meet her Goldendoodle, Percy—who, she said, would surely lick her condolences to me over Rosie—and offered to make us lunch. An offer I would never refuse.
Turns out Carolyn is quite the cook. We had sirloin tip, slow-roasted in homemade salsa, served with little polenta cakes topped with yet another homemade salsa of grapefruit, tomatoes and cilantro.
And as sides, she served discs of golden beets topped with goat cheese and olive oil (more on olive oil later),
and a colorful bowl of roasted carrot and parsnip spears.
Lunch was superb: I especially liked the beets with goat cheese. The rich, creamy chevre went perfectly with sweet and slightly tart beets.
And the olive oil... oy! Carolyn, I now know, is an olive oil aficionado, and she had two kinds to sample with our beets (and also on the polenta), as well as an intense, naturally sweet Balsamic vinegar—the real kind, from Modena.
After lunch, she took me to We Olive, where she buys her oil and vinegar, for a tasting. It was fascinating to learn just how different olive oils can be from one another: from soft, buttery-smooth ones to young, intense ones with a black-pepper finish.
sing. When we got back to her place after the olive oil tasting, I convinced Carolyn to let me hear her work-in-progress, a trumpet concerto. She had me sit down at her enormous computer screen, so I could follow along with the score as the midi-file of the composition played.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I will tell you that it’s “modern” in style (which really tells you nothing, of course), with an innovative—at least, to me—harmonic structure. The piece builds quickly in intensity, and is quite exciting: I was sorely disappointed when it stopped short at its unfinished point. I can’t wait to hear the finished product, with a real trumpet and wind ensemble. (You can hear some of Carolyn’s works here.)
Finally, I know you’re dying to know: Yes, Percy did give me kisses—lots of them. She’s absolutely adorable, and as sweet as can be. She has her very own blog, which you can check out here (the fabulous photos in Percy’s blog are all by Carolyn.)
A delicious and delightful afternoon. Thank you Carolyn and Percy!