Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rambling: Travelling gluttony. Oh, and perfume, too.

Last week, we went back to the Bay Area to finish off some business and touch base with our respective employers. And (who am I fooling here?) to eat. Himself will no doubt be blogging about the eating, and I'll be offering a link when he does. Updating earlier travel, Himself has posted about our second day of northern gluttony and sightseeing, in September, here.

Regarding food, I'm just going to tell you that if you're ever in San Francisco, go eat at House, my favorite restaurant in the world. We went there for lunch. Then Himself, because Himself is very nice to me, changed our dinner reservations and we went there again for dinner. (Not that Himself doesn't also adore House, he just tends to believe in variety.) If the last train out of town hadn't been leaving at midnight, I might have suggested that we wait around to get hungry again and go there a third time.

I don't like salmon or mustard or cabbage; the House salmon roll with mustard and cabbage slaw is one of my favorite plates of food in the world. I don't like chicken livers; the only thing that kept me from completely cleaning my plate of chicken livers and baby greens at dinner was the fact that I was trying to finish it and the salmon roll after also having eaten the tuna tartare, and of course after an earlier lunch of another salmon roll and the rare-tuna BLT and chocolate cream pie. Did I mention that I also usually don't like dessert? I scraped the pie plate clean.

Ahhh. House. Go. Eat. Have the salmon roll and, if it's available, have the panko-crusted tuna roll. Beyond that, you're on your own recognizance.

OK, apparently I'm going to talk about food after all. I have a question. We ate at Picadilly Catering, where, by the way, they had very fine fried chicken of a school different from mine (battered and seasoned; I go with a dusting of flour and no seasoning other than salt), prepared with a skill greater than mine.

But the question is about the cake - they had layer cake with a very, very thin coating of frosting, and I realized that to me, the modest amount of frosting was exactly right, and somehow familiar. Why familiar? Are there regions of the US where a very modest amount of frosting is more popular than the huge sugar-bomb globs that seem more common nowadays? (Sugar-bomb globs that are partially responsible for the fact that I don't usually like dessert.) How much frosting do they use in Tennessee? I spent much of my childhood there, but I just can't remember.

Anyway. Where was I? Ah. Yes. Bay Area. In other words, Barney's territory. We went there, and Himself kindly settled into one of the "guy" chairs for the duration. I expected to rush in and rush out, but instead I had a lovely conversation with a man whose name starts with 'Mar', and if he ever happens to read this I apologize; I've never been able to remember the names even of people that I meet day after day, and I'd have lost the 'Mar' if he hadn't commented that our names have the same first syllable.

He kindly gave me samples of Parfums Del Rae Bois de Paradis and Mythique, and guided me to skin-testing Carthusia Corallim and Nasomatto Pardon. Corallim was lovely, but too bright for me to appreciate as summer's winding down; I'll be trying it again in the spring when what's now a slightly-too-fruity vibe will, I suspect, be just the right amount of fruit and bergamot nicely muted with the woody notes.

Pardon, on the other hand, was perfect for the season. It had a sandy, dry texture that reminded me of Serge Lutens Serge Noire, even though the notes had very little resemblance. I suspect that it will be more wearable than Serge Noire, a scent that's glorious in full heat or full cold, but that feels "sticky" to me when the temperature isn't right for it. In that day's in-between weather, Pardon was woody, rich but not too rich, sweet but not too sweet, and complex enough that I can't really speak to the notes yet. On my arm, it puffed clouds of scent up to my nose a little too aggressively, but the memory of it is haunting me, and I suspect that in the long run I'm going to end up buying it and making it a back-of-the-neck "waft" scent. Of course, I won't buy it without sampling it again. Really. That Would Be Wrong.

I just dabbed on the Mythique, and I'm enjoying it too. The first minute or so was a bit of a jumble - I don't know if this was a result of dabbing rather than spraying, or if I just don't like the very first top notes. But five minutes in, I'm already liking it - a nice smooth, dusty, powdery thing, without annoying girly sweetness. The reviews refer to fruitiness and flowers other than iris root, and I'm not getting that at all; I'll have to try this again, maybe decanting my sample into a sprayer, and produce a proper review. (At least, as proper as my reviews get.)

And the Chanel boutique had the small bottles of Les Exclusifs. I acquired their only small bottle of Cuir de Russie with unseemly haste. With my usual protectiveness of the associations of scents that I've committed to, I'm saving the first wearing for this weekend.


Image: By the27thmaine. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. What a mouth watering post, all the more of a feat for being so whilst mentioning foodstuffs I also don't care for like mustard and liver. It is a crass analogy compared with the fine dining experience you enjoyed, but I found myself enjoying a McDonald's mini chicken wrap with honey and mustard dressing in Belgium this summer. (I only visit McDonald'ses when abroad, I should point out, possibly because there is less risk of being spotted.)

    Perfumewise, I had the exact same experience with Mythique and would like to try it again. Pardon and Corallim are new ones on me, but it sounds as though Corallim might be more my thing.

    An American lady at our church used to make chocolate cake with optimum white frosting. She lives near Vancouver now - if she is still alive, that is - and I would love that recipe. It might even prompt me to go buy a cake tin and get baking.

  2. Yo hey, Vanessa! Hey, if you enjoyed it, it's good food. (But doesn't confessing to it on your blog sort of undermine that whole avoidance-of-being-spotted thing?)

    I'll be curious to learn your opinion of Corallim. I've gone and forgotten - does your skin do something to perfumes that's the opposite of mine, or was that Mals?

    Ooh, homemade cake.....

  3. I amplify civet, indoles and grapefruit, I do know that. Not good with a lot of naturals like DSH or Aftelier either - with some happy exceptions they have this weird, desolate, medicinal fustiness about them, such that the whole naturals bandwagon largely passes me by.

  4. I don't believe it - my captcha was "noses"!

  5. I think less frosting is a European norm? But not sure about regionally within the US. And thanks for the recc re: House. (I've not been there, but I live in the Bay Area, so I shall now go. Yum.)

  6. Hey, Vanessa! That's what I thought I remembered. I seem to tone them all down, to the point that I can get away with the ill-mannered perfumes. Except for some citrus; sometimes they grow out of control on my skin. (Hee. Noses. Hee.)

  7. Yo, another! Yes, yes, eat there! Yum!