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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Indiscrete Pyrotechnic Mental Muffin Chasing & Massaging Per Capita

Seems like a fairly inane, nonsensical title for a blog post, right? But there's an ancient Chinese secret to this cryptic heading. To break it down, one needs to look at the progression of an evening that certainly had sober, conservative beginnings but soon took flight like a Cathay Pacific jetliner lifting off the tarmac at Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok Airport....

Smoke from Mike Lauterborn's backyard firebowl drifted up the block, stimulating the olfactory organs of neighbor Art and his sidekick Christy who wandered over from Art's bachelor digs. They toted a bottle of Spanish red wine and a playful, anything-goes spirit -- good ingredients to stir into an evening that had begun (for Lauterborn) with Wild Rice Chinese food and several Blue Point beers.

Fireside chat revolved around C's interminable nursing of her wine, Mike's '03 voyage around the country and Art's efforts to pave the way for Mike's entry into the world of academia.

As the logs in the aging battered firepit burned, outdoor temp dropped and hour became 1 a.m., Mike suggested the trio move indoors. The carrot? A meticulously prepared omelet and Mocha Mike coffee.

Mike set C & A up at his bar counter and high-shifted into gathering up the elements of his mad creation. These check-offs included eggs, organic milk, Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, a red onion, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, sea salt, basil, thyme, soba noodles and garlic powder. Things really got going then as certain elements were sliced and diced and dropped in an olive oil coated skillet to sizzle. Mike invited C to take a stove-side front row seat (at a safe prudent distance as the ginsu knives were really flying), which she bravely did, as the concoction began to gel and take on the look of the aforementioned omelet. All the while, Mike rotated port and Blue Point, alternately sipping each, stirring, oh, and salsa dancing to some Latin rhythyms emanating from a stereo on the far side of the house.

The "Momelet" (Mike's omelet) was finally ready to serve, but just placing it on regular plates would not do... and mood was certainly required. Mike brought down the houselights, set out candles (Pyrotechnic Indiscretions), grabbed chopsticks and ladled out omelet helpings into small glass bowls. As a sidecar, Mike toasted up muffins and slathered them with Blackberry jam. He also fired up a pot of Trader Joe's Organic Bolivian Blend java to which he would soon add chocolate powder and creamer.

And, so, around the bar counter, the trio pinched and shoveled, sipped and sampled, munched and joked, enjoying a ridiculous middle-of-the-night repast a la Nero fiddling when Rome burned. As a Muffin Chaser (one will try and ignore the obvious double meaning), Mike tipped back said port but with a dollop of Blackberry jam plopped in -- which was admittedly lumpy and not as satisfying a combo as he'd hoped.

All the while, Art sputtered phraseology that was worthy of English bards -- that is, until hitting a dry patch writer's block for which it was determined he may need Mental Massage Oil to re-activate his cranial cogs. As his cylinders began to refire, out spouted Per Capita in a most random but notable fashion and it was duly added to the collective lexicon.

Art's inspiration also sparked Mike's own, though he took his in an artistic direction. Grabbing a blank white sheet of Xerox paper, he secured a Sharpie and quickly drew a simple cresting wave across the midway point of the paper, creating a clear division between sea and sky. Next, he took goldfish crackers and arranged them in the "sea" area in such a way as they appeared to be collectively traveling in school formation. For sea rocks, Mike employed shelled peanuts, arranging them in a neat row at the bottom of this "Midnight Monet" he was creating. As kelp stalks, Mike placed ruler-shaped multi-colored frozen flavor ice packages as if they were protruding up from the "ocean floor". Assisting with the "sky" area, Christy drew in a couple of check-mark like sea birds, then Mike dropped in marshmallows as puffy white clouds. This "Cuisinart" had come to full fruition and summed up the genial mood of this revelous triad. Just one more touch would be the crowning jewel. Taking Sharpie in hand, Mike carefully lettered onto one select marshmallow the phrase: "Lost @ C"..... Perfection.