Saturday, February 2, 2013

But if you try sometimes...YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED!

That's right Mick, dahlink!

There is this restaurant in my neighborhood called goosefoot that I have been dying (so dramatic) to try since it first opened a little over a year ago.  Now, I can walk to this place-it's that close- or you can even book a reservation online at Open Table but, via phone or internet, no matter what night I inquire about, what time I inquire about or how far in advance - I just can't seem to get my ass a table.   Can ANYONE get in there...I mean, lately?  Be honest.  Someone must be eating there!  I know...First. World. Problems.

So, what's a gal to do?  Since my abilities to book the restaurant over the interwebs or via phone have been continually thwarted - I thought I might send an email directly to Mr. Chris Nugent and wife, Nina, at goosefoot and see if it would help to politely and simply ask if I could have a reservation. Why not?

This guy.
This is what it said:
------- Original Message -------- 
Subject: request for reservation 
From: Carolyn Klein 
Date: Wed, December 12, 2012 12:06 


First off, cheers on such a successful and amazing restaurant in the 'hood - so very exciting! 

The reason I am writing to you today is because I have been trying to make a reservation at your lovely establishment for months now but - and I'm sure this comes as no surprise - I have been extremely unsuccessful. 

Anyhooo, I write a food blog called RELISH and we are just starting to get our feet wet in the foodie blog community. We usually meet monthly to cook, explore wine, talk about important shit, etc...however, next month we are starting to branch out into more exploratory urban pioneering element of the blog and I know goosefoot would be a great place to inaugurate. 

Now, please forgive my boldness - and I'm pretty sure this is impossible - but, our next date is set for Sunday January 13th and, if a girl could beg, we would LOVE to come to your restaurant! So, if by some MIRACLE you had a cancellation or the rapture happens and the sinners are left to eat good food could you let a girl know? We have a party of four and can do any time you have available on that Sunday. If not this time 'round...perhaps another time... Thank you for your consideration and continued success to you! 


Now, perhaps I'm biased but, COME ON!  That was an awesome email!!  I would have given the reservation to me...
"Ha!! She'll never get the reservation!"
This was their response:

----- Forwarded Message -----
Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2012 3:12
Subject: RE: request for reservation


Thank you for contacting us!

We'd like to apologize for the delayed response, we recently received a very high volume of requests. Unfortunately we are not open January 13th as we are only open Wednesday-Saturday. Thank you for your interest in goosefoot and we wish you a happy new year!

Kind regards,
Chris and Nina

Perfectly lovely response AND they did an awesome job of not remembering the part of the email where I said I'd come any time they had available (i.e. - hooking a sista up) and simply ended their correspondence with a "we wish you a happy new year!" all. in. lower. case. goosefoot. style. y'all. aw. 

It's okay Chris and Nina. I know you are probably very busy. Catch you on the flip side...

Licking wounds and moving forward. What to do now? We still needed a plan! We still wanted to eat something amazing! We wanted wine and savories and good conversation in a lovely atmosphere - where we didn't have to cook for once! We still wanted to be entertained by gorgeous food. Yes, back to the drawing board...

Ms. Jackie had an idea! She emailed us within a few days saying she had something in the works but, would need to get back to us. It was all very mysterious. Who did she know? Where was she taking us? Why so secretive??

Apparently, Jack had a connection behind the scenes at Angelina on Broadway in East Lakeview. The restaurant doesn't normally have cooking classes but, she had taken a private class there before (she's fancy) and found the chef to be lovely, the atmosphere to be cozy and the food - amazing! Fred, the Chef, and Jackie sat down to discuss the menu and this is what Jackie sent us...
From: Jackie
Date: January 18, 2013 7:29:45 PM CST
To: Carolyn, Shannon, Kristen, Sara
Subject: Fwd: Dinner Menu Ideas

Girls.  I am over the moon.  Here is Fred's email below.

After reading it, please finish reading my thoughts here regarding a plan.
SO.  I have requested that we do this next Saturday at 5:30.  Shannon and Sara, I am really hoping you can be there!  I have mentioned to Fred that one of us may arrive late and join in wherever we're at....sound good Sara?

I have also told him that he should choose the meat, etc as we are most interested in what he thinks we should taste.  Right?

Question:  any food restrictions I should tell him about?

Question:  do you want to to a wine pairing with each course for the added cost or just have white or red for the whole meal?

I have told Fred we're up for the cheese course, YES?

Hopefully I'm not forgetting anything.  Please let me know about diet restrictions and/or your preference on the wine pairing and I'll confirm it all with him.

EEEEEeeeeeep!  Excited.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Fred Ramos
Date: January 17, 2013 6:12:31 PM CST
Subject: Dinner Menu Ideas

Here are my thoughts on a menu for you kids!

Amuse- Demitasse  Cream of Cauliflower Soup
First Course- Golden Beet Carpaccio, Green Beans, Hearts of Palm, Aged Goat Cheese
Pasta Course- Hand Rolled Ricotta Gnocchi
Fish Course- Scallop al Cartoccio
Meat- Braised Beef Shortrib  or Pork Saltimboca, Roasted Amish Chicken or duck u pick what u want for your entree?
Dessert- Served Family Style/ Tiramisu, chocolate Bread Pudding Creme Brulle, Spumoni, and whatever the special dessert is that wk!

6 courses small portions. That way you girls can taste a bunch of food, learn some new cooking techniques drink some wine and have a good time!

I think we could do it for $40 a person and that would include white and red wine. Does not include Tax and tip. We usually do not do tasting menus like this do to the size of the restaurant and kitchen. I will make the exception for you because it is earlier in the day and its only 6ppl. We can always add a cheese course we can do wine pairings for each course for an additional charge? Let me know about food allergies or vegetarians.

Understand the sample menu is just some ideas we can make your favorite soup, salad, pasta, doesn't have to be a scallop - can be salmon.  Let me know what you are thinking.  Let's lock down a time and date and talk to you soon.f

Upon arrival, look what we found on our table.  Our own menu.  FRED IS AWESOME.
Let's begin...
Amuse Bouche: n. (AH-moos BOOSH): small taste to start the night - literally translates as "entertain the mouth," - usually a good indicator that you're about to have a great meal!
Cream of cauliflower soup with crispy Proscuitto, Prosecco
First course...
Golden beet carpaccio, Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc
I'm certainly not a carpaccio expert but, in my mind, it is usually a raw meat or fish with lots of acid - this had no meat or fish going on but, hit the acidity nicely and I thought a delicious play on the word!  Clearly I've been watching too much Top Chef!
Scallop al cartoccio, Chardonnay
I had to look up cartoccio 'cause Momma had no clue.  It simply means: cooked or steamed in parchment.  Cartoccio sounds much sexier - nice menu play, Sir.
Hand-rolled Spinach and Ricoota gnocchi, Montepulciano d'abruzzo
OKAY - this was some of the best gnocci I've ever tasted.  It was light and had an almost Uni-dissapears-in-your-mouth type of consistency.  Delicious.
Clearly I hated it.
Meat course...
Beef Short Rib, Cabernet Sauvingnon
This was damn good, reminds me of that slow cooked Brisket I make from time-to-time...
Sidebar for K-Hud, who got a nose piercing since we last saw her - I did not fully capture it in this picture but, it looks totally HOT!
Moving on to the cheese course...
Fontina, Pecorino Toscano & Robiolla, High Valley Eruption (boom!)
Creme Brule (Tiramisu - not pictured).
Our Chef's assistant (or maybe they worked together and I'm mortified I am not remembering his name - sorry, awesome guy!) brought us out a lovely Inniskillin to pair with our beautiful desserts.

I digress... 
BUT, Ms. Shannon PR-ed her 1/2 marathon earlier this day, came in under 2 hours and then still dragged herself out to dinner with us-so awesome! (This is a picture of us zip-lining in Costa Rica last winter - I didn't have any pics of us from this last night so, this will have to do!)
Here were all the things I was going to talk about in this blog entry but, feel as if this baby has already worn out it's welcome.  Please ignore all typos.

We actually discussed quite a bit about our travels this night. Mainly France: Kristen and her partner, Sean, just got back from Paris and had an amazing time, Jackie officiated a wedding outside of Paris a little over a year ago and now and I'm planning my wedding in southern France in the fall. So, there were many stories to share on that front. I won't get into all the minutia but, so exciting all around!

It seems this dinner was, as many of ours tend to be with such friends who have many irons in the proverbial fire; diverse in topics, ADD in nature and full of our daily to-do's and what-to-be-done's. See notes above. So, it leaves me with - what did I/we take from this night? How do we tie this breadth of energy, varied discussions and culinary delights all together? 

Here's a thought...

I'm certainly no expert AT ALL but, I find it very interesting how afraid people are to ASK in life. Whether it be for simple directions, needs/wants in a friendship, desires from a partner or even for help at work because you're afraid you'll appear you don't have all the answers! Hell, I certainly have been guilty of all of the above at times. But, here's what I'm humbly learning. We can pretend to know it all. We can pretend our partner should know what we need and want - magically be able to read our mind and give it to us.  We can pretend our friends should know how or why they have hurt our feelings.  Or, we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable and ask for what we need and want before someone dissappoints.  I know I prefer to know the rules of the game I am playing so I know when I'm wrong!  I mean, what's the harm, really?  At least when you ask, the playing ground is level - people are aligned - and it's honest. 

Jackie, Kristen and I reminisced about how utterly lost we were in Chianti one October, years ago: we had to pull over to the side of the road, stick our noses in our Italian phrase-books, put our big girl pants on and try and ask for directions to our Villa (which we eventually found we were only 25 kilometers from...duh!) to a group of Italian construction workers and one bad-ass waitress who immediately, upon hearing our butchered Italian, started giving us directions in English. As dumb as it sounds - it was scary - but, if we didn't ask, we never would have found a place to lay our heads after an exhausting day/night of travel and would have ended up sleep in a compact car in the middle of nowhere (well, not really) with nothing to eat or drink but three bottles of Coca-Cola Light and a tube of Pringles.

So, yeah, maybe when you ask for directions - the person you are asking wants to help you and doesn't just think you are a stupid foreigner. Or, hey, maybe when you tell your partner you need something from them - you don't get the response you would have liked. But, isn't it better to give someone (even if it's yourself) the benefit of the doubt and in the long run, know you were honest and fair.

It's like goosefoot. True, we wanted to go there. We asked. We asked nicely. It didn't matter. The answer was no. But, no one got hurt and I'm certain we'll get there at some point. Similarly Jackie asked, too. And, this time it paid off. And, Fred at Angelina was able to give us what we needed: a night filled with the celebration of fantastic food, wine and a sincere connection between friends. 

If anything, maybe we should take it from Mick and Keith: You [really] can't always get what you want but, if you try sometimes you just might find YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED. Life. Love. And some delicious eats. Thanks Jackie. And, a special thanks to Chef Fred.

Carolyn (and the ladies)

PS: Stay tuned everyone - next up is the SOUPERBOWL SMACKDOWN! The "Smackdown" is back and I intend to capture it - as best I can!

***picture courtesy of Sara Jean McCarthy's creative insomnia!***

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