Wednesday 7 January
Susann and Bert had kindly arranged a surprise party to honor the retirement of Jim Anderson, celebrated teacher, author, and Rome maven. They had called in family, friends, and colleagues, and arranged it to be catered by, and in, Tartine, a lunch place so small and neighborhoody that even our 90-year-old taxi driver had never heard of the place.
While we helped set up the decorations, chefs Cara (pastry) and Evan (not pastry) were laying out the food. There was a bounteous charcuterie platter, featuring salami, mortadella, olives, cornichons, paté, and relishes, to start. Holt loved the spice-boiled, mustardy-sauced shrimp gougères, and luscious deviled eggs with crabmeat.
One could progress from there to an array of roasted vegetables: beefy portobello mushrooms, red peppers, asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, and red onion. There was a side of house-smoked salmon (with green tartar sauce, capers and other condiments), a whole grilled beef tenderloin with mustard and horseradish sauces, plus fresh rolls, and if that didn't fill all the gaps, a mixed green salad.
Once we had fressed our fill of those, the desserts came out: two traditional king cakes, as it's now Carnival; plus brownies, frosted macaroons, chocolate chip cookies, and a toast to Jim in prosecco. We were honored to share the evening with him and his family and other friends; all our thanks go to Susann and Bert for arranging it, and to chefs Cara and Evan for cooking it.