99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Mike and I both have that song going through our heads...and now you will too. It gives me some comfort knowing we're all in this together. It was our 100 Days Until Retirement Celebration last night! Yahoo! Do you remember when I shared this graphic?

When I shared it the first time, retirement seemed so impossibly far away. And now...here we are, staring at 99 days. In a few days, it will officially be three months until he retires.

As you know, we've been celebrating each century mark, and last night seemed especially celebratory since it took us into the double digits of our countdown. A few months ago, we received this invitation from a restaurant we like in our little town of Newberg.

Looking ahead, we realized that our 100 Day mark landed on a Wednesday, and so we made reservations right away. You must understand that Newberg is a small community with a population of about 22,500 people. Nevertheless, we have a four-star restaurant in The Painted Lady, and it's always a sure bet for a nice celebration dinner. Their chef, Allen Routt won a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef in the Northwest in 2016.

So, last night was the night, and what a lovely dinner. Each Wednesday "experiment" has a different theme. Last night's theme was "Potato." Good grief. I never imagined the lowly potato could take on so many different and delicious culinary forms. Here's the menu for our evening.

It's a journey, so try to keep up, okay? Not listed are the "snacks" provided ahead of time. These consisted of some homemade potato chips and a potato croquette (which is basically a hush puppy). I can't say much about the "potato chips" except there was something about a sprinkling of umami. We don't get bogged down asking a lot of questions when food is set in front of us.

Looking back at the menu, the first course was soup. This was my favorite dish of the night. When it was set in front of us, it was just a bowl that contained crab, some beautiful mashed potato, an orchid petal, and a sage leaf. Then they poured this sweet potato curry soup over the top from a sterling silver pitcher. The presentation was enough to delight, but the soup was absolutely delicious.

It was quite spicy with the curry, and so it was served alongside these butterhorns. Those helped to mediate the spice.

Next up, was this potato salad. And let me tell you, this ain't your mother's potato salad. The goal here was to get a little bit of everything in one bite. That's a quail's egg there...so cute. There was a little pile of spring greens, pickled radish, tiny slices of cornichons...oh yes, and I can't forget the "celery foam". Of course, doesn't everyone serve celery foam at every meal? You can see it there on the extreme right at the bottom. It tasted just like what it was.

Next up was the scalloped potato, and again, the goal was to try to get a little of everything in each bite. The little potato cake there in the middle had been roasted and it had a delicious crust on both sides. I can't describe it in the way it was described to us, but it too was delectable.

This was the main course, described as "Shepherd's Pie." On the left is a cippolini onion, which I happen to love. There were a couple of baby carrots. Right in the middle was a sausage made from beef brisket, and beside it (under all that cheesy potato stuff) was a New York strip steak. It doesn't show up in this image but at the extreme right was a little turnip under the layer of cheesy potato. So good.

Finally, dessert, and this was really interesting. It was a combination of hot and cold items, including sweet potato ice cream, and under that, a hot bread pudding. The little white round objects are the "bread" and there were potatoes underneath it all smothered in the tastiest custard. 

We always bring our own wine, but we'd finished it by the end of the main course. I was kind of in the mood for a dessert wine because I happen to like sweet wines, and so I ordered a glass of Moscatel. It was a rather large pour, and so we shared this glass.

Well, don't you know we were still famished by this time (ha!) and thank goodness they finished off the evening with these little candies. The little square object is kind of a plum gumdrop. There are some potato chips in the middle with some sort of sweet stuff sprinkled over the top. The dark objects were a sort of tiny pile of hash brown potatoes covered in chocolate.

After that, we asked for a wagon to cart us to the car. Wow. The portions are small, thank goodness, because that was a big meal.

Earlier in the day, I got a good amount of quilting done. When I ran out of bobbin thread at one point, I pulled the quilt off the machine and laid it out so I could see it. It's looking good...better than expected.

I almost think I like the back better than the front, and that's a first.

I wondered how the design would look when I got to some of the pieced sections of the back. It looks good there too.

When I got back to work on it, I was momentarily disappointed to find this as I quilted along.

What a shame. This is a block made by one of the other bees in the hive. I don't know if that fabric frayed apart or if it was just sewn too close. In any case, I think I'm going to shove a bit of blue fabric into the hole to give it a little more strength (I'll have to take out the quilting in that spot), and then stitch a dense zigzag over the top. That should hold it. Fortunately, the back is also a dark blue at that spot, and so it shouldn't show up to the casual observer. I might even be able to get it past the quilt police.

When I quit for the day, I'd progressed to the bottom left corner, and so I've done the longest of the long rows. They'll start to get shorter from here, and each row quilted will get progressively shorter until I'm at the bottom right hand corner. And then it will be finished!

I don't know if I'll have time for quilting today. Matthew and I are meeting up for a late breakfast this morning at long last. We've rescheduled twice because of weather. After that, I'll do my weekly grocery shopping. Probably I'll be tired when I get home, and so I'm not expecting much quilting activity this afternoon.

15 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sandra W said...

Oh my. That sounds like a yummy meal. You are so lucky to have such a great restaurant nearby.
And the quilting looks very nice. I once did a quilt where a patchwork square had a flaw (hole) in the middle. I cut the offending out and hand appliqued a new square on top. Then I re-did the stitch in the ditch around the square. Turned out perfectly.
There used to be a quilt "rule"--when your quilt design is geometric, make your quilting curvy. Likewise, when your design is curvy, use geometric (straight line) quilting. The "rule" seemed to work beautifully here.
And tomorrow--98 days! I like how you have celebrated these milestones. Makes it special and real.

Quilting Babcia said...

Looks like you had quite the culinary adventure last night. And, congratulations to Mike! Enjoy the countdown, I remember them well. Mine started at 1,000 workdays, not calendar days! It was the job from H---, thankfully got to move on to a better one well before the 1,000 days elapsed.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Lovely meal and way to celebrate such a milestone. Ouch, all that work and then to find an errant seam - your fix sounds like the solution.

claudia said...

What a beautiful dinner! So fancy! It looked delicious. Happy 99th day!
Your quilt/quilting looks great. My heart dropped when you showed the fray...But as usual, I am sure you will make it all better and looking good!

Teresa in Music City said...

Your quilting is looking awesome Barbara! And WOOHOO for being so close to retirement!!!! I'm glad you two celebrated the 200 in style - most of that meal looked delicious, and what didn't at least looked very intriguing :*)

Brown Family said...

That was a very interesting meal. You are so adventurous! It is a shame that the block was coming apart. I like your idea to fix it. I have encountered that issue before and know I have an idea on fixing it!

Wendy Tuma said...

Oh my, that meal looks like it tasted great and was a bunch of fun! Your quilting is so nice; I really enjoy the look of the stars on the back of the quilt. Too bad about the little spot with separation, but I think you have a good fix in mind. I hope your breakfast pans out this time! Enjoy your weekend!

Dana Gaffney said...

Who knew they could do so much with the lowly potato and not a baked or mashed in the mix. I think you need to start each day singing the bottles of beer on the wall with the next number and of course a beer toast on the final day.

Grandma said...

What a great meal! Retirement is wonderful! Will sing with you.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

No fun to find a rip in your block. Hope you get it fixed easily.

Valerie Reynolds said...

100 days....how exciting and what a wonderful celebration you enjoyed.

Cherry said...

Congrats on being down to double digits until Retirement!

quiltzyx said...

Wow, only 90-some days left! I do remember when you first put up retirement graphic - time is flying. Your meal looks wonderful.
The stars & stripes are also flying along. Way to go!

Kate said...

That was quite a celebratory dinner! Very memorable too I'll bet. Congrats on being in the double digit count down stage. April will be here before you know it.

Lyndsey said...

What a fabulous meal, and a great way to celebrate .