2018 New Year’s Eve Dinner at Métier (Washington, DC)

As consolation for not being able to go to Hawaii over holiday break (a First World problem, I know), we celebrated New Year’s Eve with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Métier, the younger sibling of Kinship, headed up by Chef Eric Ziebold and his wife, Celia Laurent.


To our delight, the kids decided that they would rather have dinner with their parents than hang out with their friends to celebrate the new year (I suspect us raving over the food had something to do with it).

We think Eric is one of the most gifted chefs we have ever encountered, and he certainly performed beyond our expectations once again. Once we arrived at the main dining room, we began with an Avocado Carpaccio with persimmon glaze, shaved radish, minced brioche croutons, and Ossetra caviar.

avocado carpaccio

Next up was a Russet Potato Pancake with braised quince, spiced crème fraîche, smoked salmon roe, and pumpkin coulis. Who knew something as rustic as a potato pancake could taste so elegant and delightful?

russet potato pancake

Koshikari Garlic Fried Rice with aoyagi clam ceviche, marinated bok choy, crispy shitake mushrooms, and yuzu kosho-clam broth followed. No further words are needed.

koshikari garlic fried rice

The most impressive dish of the evening was a Confit of Savoy Cabbage Agnolotti served with roasted Brussels sprouts, hazelnut broth, and Périgord truffles. The dish was impressive because to be able to create an agnolotti that tasted of essence of cabbage is a superb feat of creativity and cooking.

confit of savoy cabbage agnolotti

Chatham Bay Cod En Persillade was next, accompanied by hay smoked leeks, celery root, pickled celery branch, and Maine lobster bisque. Heavenly.

cod en persillade

And, in case you weren’t quite full enough, the Métier Borscht was served, complete with a grilled Martin Farm beef calotte, heirloom beet tapenade, tempura, and à la Grecque and beet-infused beef consommé. Amazing.

métier borscht

We ended this delightful meal with a Vanilla Olive Oil Parfait served with citrus salad, Meyer Lemon curd, blood orange sorbet, and Niçoise olive meringues. As Jim said, “For a non-chocolate dessert, this was amazing.”

vanilla olive oil parfait

Service throughout the evening was friendly, unobtrusive, and skilled. It was truly a memorable way to celebrate the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019!

Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018 will go down in the family chronicles as the Christmas with an (Over) Abundance of Lintotts. :). Jim’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew all joined us for our Christmas celebration. It was the first time in many years that the three grandchildren all spent Christmas with their grandmother, and it was lovely that everyone could be together to enjoy the holiday.

For Christmas dinner, we had been given a porchetta by some close friends, so the menu was as follows:

Porchetta
Gougères
Caesar salad (with homemade dressing)
Potatoes Anna
Wild Blackberry Pie

We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season!

the porchetta in its “natural” state
Christmas dinner
The Lintott Family Christmas
The family Christmas lights

Book review: A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2)A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series, and I think it is even better than the first. Or, rather, the mystery is even better. The first book suffered (relatively speaking, as it was excellent) from having to set up the characters and the plot to establish the existence of a female Sherlock Holmes, and the mystery component of the book took a back seat as a result. In the second book, with the characters firmly established, the author has the luxury of further developing her characters as well as creating a mystery that is both complex and personal to the characters. The tease of Moriarty’s existence that ended the first book returns in this book, a little more front and center but still a tease.
Historical mysteries have a double burden of creating an interesting mystery and staying authentic to the period. The author has done both here. In addition, what I find so compelling about this series is that Charlotte Holmes’s voice rings so true. The Benedict Cumberbatch line in the “Sherlock” television series about being “a highly functioning sociopath” applies here as well. Charlotte’s intelligence is a relatively easy thing to write about. Charlotte’s thoughts as someone who is on the autism spectrum is not an easy thing to write, and her thoughts come across as genuine and consistent throughout the book. It is masterfully done.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, and I am hoping there are more books to come!
The series is best read in order.

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Thanksgiving 2018

We love Thanksgiving. In particular, we love hosting Thanksgiving—the more, the merrier (especially for the extroverts in the family). This year, we sat 32 people for dinner, including several new attendees! (It’s always lovely to discover new orphans to welcome to Thanksgiving as well as welcoming back returning orphans.)

Here is the complete Thanksgiving menu for this year:

Thai pumpkin soup (served with gougères)
Smoked organic turkey
Roasted organic turkey
Confit organic turkey legs
Stock-braised organic turkey legs
Deep fried organic turkey
Sous vide turkey breast with chipotle honey
Sous vide turkey breast with sage & rosemary
Roasted pork shoulder
Roast duck (from Mark’s Duck House)
Roasted beets with chimichurri sauce
Brussel sprouts with mustard and brown sugar sauce
Chickpea, arugula, and picked carrot salad
Sweet potato and star fruit chaat
Mom’s stuffing (from the Lintott side of the family)
Jamaican rice stuffing
Country ham stuffing
Smashed potatoes
Orange-cranberry sauce
Lemon-pomegranate cranberry sauce
Kimchi
Rice
Gravy
Dinner rolls
Chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake
Wild blackberry pie (berries from Washington state)
Apple pie
Sponge cake with cranberry curd
Cranberry orange shortbread
Divinity and nut brittle

smoked turkey

roasted turkey

deep fried turkey

the spread from one end

the spread (from the other end)

We hope everyone who came enjoyed the festivities, and we further hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Book review: Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman

Devil's Brood (Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, #3)Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sharon Penman is one of my favorite authors (she ranks up there with Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien) and certainly my favorite author of historical fiction. Devil’s Brood describes the internecine warfare and deteriorating family relationships of the sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. (The Plantagenets make the Kardashians look like a stable and wholesome family.)
Every good historical fiction author does impeccable research and brings to life real life characters. What this author does that is head and shoulders above the rest is to imbue each character–whether primary, secondary, or tertiary–with a sense of believability and humanity. The characters are accessible, heroic, and flawed. You come away from reading this book knowing this version of events is how history actually unfolded and that truth has emerged from the author’s pen.
For those interested in medieval British history or historical fiction in general, check out Sharon Penman’s works. The Plantagenet saga is best read in order.

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Eagle Scout Court of Honor

Becoming an Eagle Scout is the pinnacle of a Boy Scout’s career and only a small fraction of those who start out in Boy Scouts achieve it. We are the proud parents of an Eagle Scout whose Court of Honor was held on October 22.
But, first, an aside. The Court of Honor is the ceremony honoring an Eagle Scout’s achievement, but, first, the Eagle Scout-to be must pass a Board of Review in order to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. Jim has been the primary mover-and-shaker in Marcus’s Boy Scout journey. He takes Marcus to most Boy Scout meetings, accompanied him on campouts when he was young, and encouraged/cajoled/ordered Marcus to stay with Scouts when he wavered, as all boys do. We were in Paris when Marcus had his Board of Review, and woke up in the middle of the night (3:17 am to be exact) to a 20 second voicemail on *my* phone. The first 15 seconds were in Chinese when Marcus told me he passed his Board of Review and that he knew it was late but to please call him back. The last 5 seconds were in English when he said, “Daddy, if you’re listening to this, I made Eagle.” I’m so glad our son gave credit where credit was due. 🙂
For Troop #128, this was only the 3rd or 4th Court of Honor where *four* Eagle Scouts were honored. And Marcus showed an uncommon maturity and internal validation system during and after the ceremony. As part of a Court of Honor, an adult—most commonly the Eagle Scout counselor—says a few words about the Eagle Scout and his accomplishments. Due to a miscommunication, no one spoke about Marcus although the other 3 Eagle Scouts were lauded. Marcus’s reaction on what happened: “I was confused, but it wasn’t important. My family and friends know what I did. And I’m an Eagle Scout—that’s all that matters.”
I do not think there are many 17 year olds, after going through all that work and all that effort, who wouldn’t have been disappointed that they weren’t praised for their accomplishments. And so we are extremely proud of our son, who already knows to look inside himself for the true worth of his actions.

Eagle Scout Court of Honor

officially deemed an Eagle Scout!

with Congresswoman Barbara Comstock

Court of Honor speech

Troop #128 Eagle Scouts!

Book review: The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

The Number Devil: A Mathematical AdventureThe Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time, as it came highly recommended by both my kids. After reading it, I can see why. The author has written a loose structure of a novel in order to painlessly and seamlessly teach children some basic math concepts. Along the way, he makes math fun and interesting and accessible. (I actually happen to think math *is* fun and interesting and accessible, but I realize that not everyone does.)
The book is geared towards middle schoolers, but it works well for older children and adults as well. It also works well for both people who love math and its intricacies as well as people who are math-phobic, as it provides explanations and projects for experiential learners, all in a fun and light-hearted way.
I would best characterize the book as a novel about math. If that intrigues you, then read the book!

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Book review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1)Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As you can tell from my Goodreads shelves, I read a lot of Regency romances. I love them–they are light, frothy, and “spoiler alert” always have a happy ending. :). Occasionally, one comes along that has more depth than normal in this genre of lightheartedness and deserves a special mention. “Wicked and the Wallflower” is one of those books.
To begin with, the heroine is plain (but smart). This is a fairly normal anomaly in a genre where the heroine is usually–but not always–beautiful. But the hero is dark (ethically, not just physically) and climbed out of the gutter through sheer force of will and brains. This is not a “good girl reforms bad boy” plot. This is a “good girl joins bad boy” plot. That’s an unusual anomaly. I adored it.
The backstory has complexity, the banter between the hero and heroine is charming, and the entire book has unsuspected depth. It’s as if a Georgette Heyer Regency romance married a C.S. Harris Sebastian St. Cyr mystery, and they had a child (who was happy).
I can’t wait for the second book in the series!

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Paris!! (September 2018)

We were in Paris for a week to celebrate the Inn at Little Washington’s 40th anniversary (and its 3rd Michelin star). The weather was lovely—sunny and crisp. In total, we ate at 5 restaurants (if you count the Inn) with a total of 12 Michelin stars (yes, we are gluttonous pigs). But it was a glorious gluttony!
We went with two friends of ours from Wichita and stayed at the Shangri-la Paris. The Shangri-la is situated in the 17th arrondissement, looking over the Eiffel Tower, and the building is the former estate of Napoleon’s great-nephew, Roland Bonaparte.

view from our terrace

The Inn had arranged for a couple of additional events for us to attend. The first was a private tour of the Dior archives, which consists of both clothing and documents. It was fascinating to see how the archivists conserved vintage clothing and preserved various documents from the Dior shows and from the designer himself.
In addition, Jamie McCourt, the US ambassador to France, hosted a reception at her residence for the Inn. The ambassadorial residence is a building that was formerly owned by a New Orleans-born woman, the Baroness de Pontalba. (Talleyrand also once lived at that same location). After the death of the Baroness, one of the Rothschilds purchased the estate. The family fled to Switzerland when the Germans invaded. This proved to be a wise decision as the residence then became a club for Goering’s officers during the German occupation.
The residence and the grounds are beautiful, and there is even a Calder located on the grounds (it’s on loan).

The US ambassador’s residence

the Calder!

But the crowning event celebrating the Inn took place at Vaux-le-Vicomte, the former residence of Louis XIV’s finance minister. It is said that Louis XIV modeled Versailles after Vaux-le-Vicomte (with Versailles being a bigger and better model, of course—that’s what happens when you’re an absolute monarch). Vaux-le-Vicomte is a drop dead fairy tale-like gorgeous chateau, complete with moat in front (no sharks) and an 18th century French formal garden in the back.

the gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte

There were guardsmen, jugglers, musicians, and flamethrowers, all dressed in 17th century period clothing. Patrick O’Connell, the chef and owner of the Inn, was also dressed in period costume.

with Chef Patrick O’Connell

The food was excellent (of course!) and at the end of the evening, there were the most amazing fireworks in the garden, set to music. It was the most elaborate fireworks show I have ever seen.

menu from the 40th anniversary dinner

dining in the Grand Salon

In between all of these events, we played conventional tourists (the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame) as well as unconventional tourists (Musée de Marmottan, Musée de L’Orangerie—both filled with Monet paintings, Musée d’Orsay, and Sainte Chapelle).
We also ate at Shang Palace, Taillevent, Guy Savoy, and L’Arpège. They were all their usual impressive places, but the place that stood out this time was L’Arpège. The chef is a genius with vegetables, which all come from his 10 hectare garden in Normandy.
Speaking personally, I am replete with paté and foie gras and red wine. It was a magnificent trip.

Book review: The Political Classroom by Diana Hess & Paula McAvoy

The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic EducationThe Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education by Diana E. Hess
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I sit on the board of a pre-K through 12 school, and this book was recommended to me by a faculty member. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which uses philosophical thinking and empirical science to frame a discussion on how best to answer the question: “How should we live together?” In an era of increasing political polarization, is there a place and an opportunity for schools to teach and model respect, tolerance, and political equity in the classroom, and what should that teaching look like?
The authors examine several types of schools, communities, teachers, and teaching styles to arrive at an ethical framework with which to analyze the question. They looked at schools across the political spectrum and how teachers dealt with students from differing socioeconomic classes, ethnicity, and political viewpoints to model political engagement in a respectful way and how that might differ from teachers who deal with students from more homogeneous socioeconomic classes, ethnicity and political viewpoints. The result is a thought provoking book on what ways teachers should model ideal behavior, the challenges in doing so, and the obstacles that remain.
This book should be the beginning–not the end–of the discussion of how we should all live together and demonstrates how schools and teachers can assist students to start on the path towards political tolerance, respect, and engagement. I highly recommend this book to teachers, parents, and administrators alike!

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