(Dessert bar, chez moi, Ridgelea Parents' Party 2012)
The 21-Day Cleanse (including no alcohol, no caffeine) ended not with a bang but a whimper. I stumbled to the finish line a little weak and dizzy, through my own fault of just not eating enough that day. So instead of being OCD and waiting for midnight to break the fast/Cleanse, it was off to Justine's at 10:45 pm to celebrate these 21 days and all the interesting realizations about my food issues and seriously wacky mindsets in our society when it comes to our food culture.
At Justine's, cheered by the sight of friend's daughter (flower girl at my way long ago wedding (who also brought us on-the-house salmon appetizer...uh, thanks!)), I order my usual escargots order and, of course, per usual, suggest we split a bottle of the house red, Cotes du Rhone. But I am not what I used to be. What was a walk-in-the-park, easy-to-drink half bottle for me usually, pre-Cleanse, absolutely knocked me out into wiped out exhaustion the next day. Just as well. It was good prep for the next few days of ... Neighborhood Parties!
Sure, the neighborhood parents' party was fun at my house. Warm fuzzies live on in my heart and head at the sight of my friends, neighbors, new neighbors/friends singing around my piano and all the French doors open to the just-cold-enough December night. Good stuff. But all this was just prelude to The Mollie Party.
The Mollie Party started out nicely enough. The white and silver of the living room reflecting the lights and sounds of a happy hum of happy people. But the food - ah, yes, the food. And the grown-up libations. Not just one signature cocktail. Two. A "Partridge in a Pear Tree Martini" followed by "Candy Cane Shooters."
I am 47. Not sure how I still feel compelled at this advancing age to guzzle a shot when the hostess comes by and says: "OKAY - on the count of 3 : 1, 2....3! Yep. Down it went.
I knew my nemesis would be there at the party. Mollie warned me. I was prepared mentally. I have a hate-love relationship with this nemesis: The Dip Of Decadence: onion dip with parmesan cheese and cream cheese and....? Only three dollops were had by me. Spectacular willpower on my part.
I spy a bowl of cashews, each nut glistening with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh rosemary.
What is a holiday party without desserts. Mollie went French: Macarons, for sure, in custom flavors such as egg nog and candy cane, but also these adorable cream puffs, dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in crushed candy canes.
As I moved outside to the bar to wait patiently in line for my Patridge-in-a-Pear-Tree Martini, the bartender gal was busy making up Mollie's surprise second signature cocktail of the night. Labor intensive those candy cane shooters - each shot glass rim dipped in something, simple syrup? - then, again with the candy canes, crushed candy cane on the rims of every single one of those glasses on the silver tray.
And this is the great thing about Neighborhood Parties. No need to fret about the Peppermint Schnapps and Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur Candy Cane Shooters, which followed the Pear Martini. It's just a short walk home from the glowing happy house of food, wine, cocktails, music and light and shiny Christmas cheer. And Kool and the Gang.
Back home, 2 minutes later after all that, I was folding laundry. And assisting with the finals studying by asking two, maybe four or five times, how the studying was going. I even finished up my own work.
Apparently I left just in time - or a tad too early. The police were summoned. And the police showed up. Jealous neighbor perhaps. Too much holiday fun by others can be hard to handle by those not so filled with Yuletide glee (i.e., signature cocktails). Mollie, being the quintessential hostes, I am sure offered them a Candy Cane Shooter. Or at least some mac & cheese sprinkled with bacon - to go.