Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thank you, from the Canadian Minister of Propaganda, at Large

Declan thanks Jerry and Claire for his birthday present, a spiffy new Canada t-shirt.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dinner at Noma, Anyone? Foodie friends? Strangers?

We have come into a reservation at Noma, widely regarded as the best restaurant in the world, but now we need to find another dozen people to join us for dinner at Noma in Copenhagen on Thurday, August 30th at 7.15 pm.  Dining at Noma is supposed to be quite the experience, described on their website as "our personal rendition of Nordic gourmet cuisine with an innovative gastronomic take on traditional cooking methods, fine Nordic produce and the legacy of our shared food heritage".    Interested?

 Noma  has been declared to be the the Best Restaurant in the World in each of the last three years, after inheriting the mantle from El Bulli in Spain in 2010.   When Restaurant magazine declared Noma as the best in the world, it described Noma thusly:

 Something truly significant is taking place at Rene Redzepi's Copenhagen restaurant.  Noma is a homage to soil and sea, a reminder of the source of our food. Take his starter of crunchy baby carrots from the fertile Lammefjorden region of Denmark, served with edible "soil" made from malt, hazelnuts and beer, with a cream herb emulsion beneath - you are literally eating the earth!  Great restaurants are a blend of sophisticated cooking, imaginative ideas and respect for ingredients. Noma is more than this.

Doesn't that make you want to eat there?  Not so fast.  It is exceedingly difficult to get a reservation at Noma.  According to some, it is the hardest reservation to get in the world and that legend has been borne out by our experience. We have been unable to get a reservation by phone or online on the allocated reservation days, despite numerous attempts.  As was the case when we wanted to go to the French Laundry, another former #1 restaurant, we have found a bit of a backdoor to dining there, and that is to rent their private staff room.  We have a confirmed reservation for the private room on August 30th, so now all we need are 13 others to join us!   The menu is the same 20 course one you get in the rest of the restaurant; the only difference is you are seated in a private room on the second floor.

Now we figure with the expense of getting to Copenhagen as well as the expense of the dinner itself, we might be going beyond the circle of our acquaintance to fill our table, so feel free to forward this invitation to any foodies/travellers/etc you might know.  Should be an interesting way to meet some people, right?  If you have any questions you can post here or email me at  Come join us!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pony and pinata party pics....

I am a firm believer in pinatas at parties.  Everyone enjoys taking a good whack at something now and again.   Declan called dibs on the first go at what would turn out to be an exceptionally well-made pinata. 

This year, the pinata was put to rest by Grant "The Punisher" Palmer.  He is ordinarily a very sweet boy, but put a bat in his hand and it was like that pinata had personally wronged him.   That sack of paper mache didn't stand a chance.

Here is a bunch of pony pics.  Because who doesn't love a pony?

As the birthday boy, Declan got to take the inaugral pony ride up and down our cul-de-sac. 

He loved it so much that upon his return, he promptly claimed birthday perogative to cut to the front of the line to try out a different pony.  This time a wee one.

Declan's Fourth Birthday Party

We did a big Western style party for Declan's fourth birthday this year.  It was epic in scope.   How did we end up at a Western theme?   Well it was largely my nostalgia for Brown family style party planning.  There must be ponies, or its just not a party.  So really the party theme was to make the ponies less noticeable. 

This party has legs!

Here's the invitation-

This year, in an effort to combat the general resistance of Arkansans to RSVPing, I actually included a subtly- worded reply card: 

It wasn't just super cute, it really worked.  Good thing I had an accurate head count too, as we ended up with 90 guests, including 42 children.  Doesn't that sound terrifying?  It wasn't too bad in actuality though, as we didn't have any organized activities, so everyone just spread out to the different play areas, so it never felt that crowded.  We had pony rides, and a petting zoo, toy tractor rides, a Western playhouse town hacked out of cardboard and duct tape, and a crafts table to paint wooden snakes and make Western beaded necklaces.  We also set out the train table, parking garage, and the bouncy house from last year.   In all honesty it turned out to be more of a production than I had originally intended, but it isn't the first time I have gotten carried away, and it is not likely to be the last.  There was a great moment when Shane and I were watching them unload the veritable Noah's ark of petting zoo animals, and a llama and a goat walked by, and I looked at Shane and asked "Too much?" and he assured me it was just right.  Just the right amount of livestock to really make the party go smooth.

Here is the Western town out of cardboard. Included were jail, saloon, outhouse, general store and the shooting gallery.  For the sake of authenticity, the kids' juice boxes were kept in the saloon. 
Also note the cheesy western sunset backdrop used to cover up the huge hole in our fence where we had a dead pine tree removed last week. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Unexpected Detour

With about 15 hours notice, I flew to Denver this afternoon to attempt yet another IVF egg retrieval cycle at CCRM. I've had my cycles cancelled so often that I really don't expect to go, but then all of a sudden I get the call and have to get gone.  I had booked about 14 appointments this week, meetings, cocktails and birthday parties and so forth, fully intending to be in Little Rock, but now here I am.  If you are expecting to see me this week, I'll be calling you tomorrow.  Wish me luck: I'm off to a better start than ever before, but many hurdles yet to clear.  
In other news, I have left these two behind to fend for themselves whilst I am gone. Wish them luck too!  They look ready for anything.

On the upside, I should manage to catch up with my blogging while here. Lisa, your wish came true.

For Miss Whitney and Miss Courtney, Declan's teachers......

On why I secretly wish you would intermittently poke him at nap time, a little video taken a mere 90 minutes before he finally fell asleep.