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I fought with my mom. I had to take my car to the shop. I didn't have time to eat breakfast.

But my co-worker brought in homemade biscuits and gravy. And somehow, all was well.

going greek

I know, I know -- been missing in action. My excuses: Last week was our national sales meeting (remember the Tahoe scouting trip?), which was followed by a big toga party, which was followed by a morning of tending to a hungover friend, which was followed by lots of catching up at work to make up for all of the days spent out of the office.

I promise a real post soon. But in the meantime, here's a photo of us dressed as Pan and a wood nymph.


So we've lived here in Chickenland for more than a year now, and one tough thing about having left San Francisco is the fact that we don't see our city friends nearly enough. We used to hang out all the time -- all it took was a spontaneous phone call, and suddenly, we'd be meeting up for a drink or a sample sale or oeufs en meurette. But now planning is a little more complicated and involves multiple calendars, the calculation of driving times and budgeting for gas and bridge tolls.

After trying to schedule something over the past few months, we were finally able to meet for dinner last night. And what a dinner it was -- we went to Aziza, where we indulged in pre-dining cocktails (I got the Ginger -- gin, Frangelico and muddled ginger -- yum) and then ordered the five-course tasting menu:

First course: Soup. We chose between lentil, which is the regular menu offering, and corn with cream and crab, which was yesterday's special. I went with corn and was very, very happy.

Second course: Appetizers served family style. We shared the spreads (eggplant, piquillo-almond, yogurt-dill) with flatbread and the artichoke hearts with parsley, caper, parmigiano-reggiano. There was also a hot dish of cannellini beans with ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend), sheep's milk feta, za'atar (apparently, another spice blend).

Third course: Basteeya, a hot phyllo pie filled with saffron-braised chicken and almonds and dusted lightly with cinnamon and powdered sugar. It was delicious -- a great combination of savory and sweet. (Although for Jessa, it was a little too sweet!) Our server suggested the Hirsch 2006 Riesling from Austria to pair with the dish, and he was right.

Fourth course: Choice of entree. I went with the scallops with fava beans, lemon-saffron rice and pea shoots. I took photos (above). Does it look like it disappointed?

Fifth course: Choice of dessert. By this time, we were all about to explode, but Aziza's dessert list is so good that we forced our stomachs to expand just a little farther. I went with the hazelnut madeleines with goat cheese sorbet, cinnamon ice cream and peaches. Talk about perfect flavor combinations! I kept playing around with how I ate mine -- a little madeleine here, a little peach there, now try it with just a dot of goat cheese, now a spot of cinnamon, now all together -- and every bite was delicious.

But the best part was that the entire meal was just so leisurely. We got there at 7:45 and didn't leave until 11, so we had lots of time to catch up. And the restaurant wasn't loud, so we didn't have to yell across the table at one another. Loved it.