North Market, Friday Night, April 26

IMG_1180It’s been a long week, so to get the weekend started right, I made a stop at the North Market.  I love the Curds & Whey cheese counter.  It sells all kinds of cheese and other goodies that make for an excellent Friday night tasting.  I typically ask the proprietor to make some selections for me, and tonight I’ll be noshing on some Morbier, Mimolette, and kalamata olives.  Then I stopped by the wine shop, where there are always interesting and reasonably priced selections.  Two bottles of red and $22 later, I was on my way home.

Now I sit, sipping some wine, getting ready to open the cheese, and feeling like the weekend is ready to open before me like a spring flower.

An Awesome Dinner At City House

On the strong recommendations of a friend of a friend (thanks, Mr. D!) last night we had dinner at the City House restaurant in the old German section of Nashville.

IMG_3539It was an excellent start to our Nashville adventure, and I would recommend City House and its interesting menu to just about anyone.

It was late when our dinner began (who knew that Nashville was in the central time zone, by the way) so I was inclined to lighter fare and small plates.  I started with a fine glass of wine and the olives with taralli.  The olives were wonderful — light and buttery, with melting texture — and the taralli, which our waitress aptly described as a cross between a bagel and a pretzel, was crunchy and a perfect complement to the olives.

Next we moved to the Bresaola, Pecorino di Fossa appetizer, which was close to perfection:  thinly sliced, cured, rare beef, topped with shavings of sheep’s milk cheese.  It was deftly presented and just the right portion to keep the appetite stimulated.

IMG_3542My main course was Bread Gnocchi, Lamb Ragu, Lemon, Limas, Pecorino — a neat combination of lighter-than-normal gnocchi, shredded lamb, and spices and sauces that was bursting with flavor.  It was mouth-watering.  Fortunately, we were not served bread with the meal, because if we had been I would have embarrassed myself by mopping up every last bit of meaty goodness from the plate.

One last thing about City House:  it has a great atmosphere.  When you hear about a “foodie”-type place, you always wonder if it will have one of those stiff, phony ambiances.  City Hall doesn’t.  It feels just like a neighborhood gathering spot that just happens to be an exceptional eating place.  If I lived in the neighborhood, I’d be a regular.

Veggie Wraps, Olive Pits, and Dumb Decisions

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has settled his dental injuries lawsuit.  Kucinich became the butt of jokes here and elsewhere for his decision to file a lawsuit seeking $150,000 for injuries allegedly caused by biting into a veggie wrap that included an olive pit.  He apparently concluded, wisely, that pursuing the lawsuit would only expose him to still more derision — and if there is one thing a politician just can’t stand, it is being the subject of ridicule.

Dennis Kucinich and his upper bridgework

Before Representative Kucinich could go quietly into the night, however, he had to explain why he decided to file his ill-advised lawsuit in the first place.  This was not a good decision.  Kucinich’s explanation, available on his campaign website, reminds me of the lengthy, overly detailed description you might get if you ask an elderly relative how they are feeling.  And you can imagine your side of the conversation, too.  “So your tooth actually split and you didn’t know it?”  “Yes, I can imagine that would hurt like crazy — it certainly was brave for you to go on working despite the excruciating pain.”  “I’m sure you were concerned that the anchor of your upper bridgework was affected.”  By the time you heard the part about the antibiotics causing an intestinal obstruction you would be surreptitiously checking your watch and looking for a way to hit the road.  Kucinich gives more detailed information about the health consequences of his chance encounter with the olive pit than President Reagan provided about surviving an assassination attempt.

Kucinich’s experience should teach every politician a lesson.  If you are smart, you won’t sue under any circumstances — and if you find yourself talking about your intestinal obstructions, you probably should shut up, already.

Veggie Wraps, Olive Pits, And Congressional Lawsuits

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is suing a House of Representatives cafeteria for $150,000 because it allegedly sold him a vegetarian wrap sandwich that contained an olive pit.  Kucinich asserts that biting into the sandwich caused him “permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures.”  The $150,000 figure includes sums for Kucinich’s pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment.

The news about this lawsuit gives the reader a lot to chew on.  First, Kucinich must have a pretty expensive dentist and pretty extensive dental issues if the teeth-olive pit encounter could cause $150,000 worth of damage.  The hungry Congressman must have really been looking forward to that hearty veggie wrap and chomped down into the sandwich with reckless abandon!  Of course, for Members of Congress a fully functioning mouth is a crucial part of the job, so it’s not surprising they would use only the most expensive mouth technicians.  Second, it says something about Rep. Kucinich’s power — or lack of same — that he couldn’t even get the House of Representatives own cafeteria to pay off his dental bills short of litigation.  You would think that the cafeteria would want to keep famished Members of Congress and their staffs coming in for those grim vegetarian meals and would be willing to toss a few thousand bucks Kucinich’s way in order to avoid any problems.

And third, isn’t there something apt about a Member of Congress filing a $150,000 lawsuit for a food-related incident?  We can only assume that the standard, scrupulously accurate congressional accounting and budgeting techniques were used to develop that damages figure.