Monday, July 5, 2010

Lucky Bones

Even though my mom has always said I have "lucky bones," I never thought I was particularly lucky. I've never won the lottery or had the Publisher's Clearinghouse folks show up on my doorstep. But on the rare occasion when I do win things, it seems to happen at pretty opportune moments.

Last spring my ex and I took a trip to Las Vegas. We stayed at The Venetian (which I highly recommend), and as part of the package we purchased we got a $50 slot machine credit. I've mentioned before that I'm not a risk-taker, and that I wouldn't even gamble with fake money in high school, but as an adult I'll happily gamble with free casino credits. My ex and I plopped ourselves at the slot machines, loaded them up with our credits, and started pulling. A few pulls into it, I won $50. Just like that - free money! So I did the perfectly logical, responsible thing - I spent the remainder of my casino credit, cashed out my $50 winnings, and stashed the bills in my pocket to treat myself to a little something nice when I got home. Vegas must hate people like me.

Last October, my ex and I took a 12-day trip to Italy. I desperately wanted a new camera before we left - the 3.2 megapixel Sony Cybershot from 2004 (no joke) just wasn't gonna cut it on the canals of Venice - but every camera I wanted was outside my price range. Coincidentally, one of the blogs I read regularly, Addicted to Costco!, was having a giveway around that same time: comment and list the five things I buy most often at Costco, and be entered to win a gift card to the warehouse club for $25, $50, or $100. I entered without really expecting to win, but just one month before we were scheduled to leave on our trip and still without a new camera, I got the kind of email that made my day - I'd won the grand prize! Of course, I put it toward my new camera (my ex paid for the rest as an early birthday present) and secretly thought that someone or something was looking out for me and my scrapbook.

And then, just this past Friday, four days before my divorce and thinking about treating myself to a little something special, I got another well-timed email. The good news: I was a winner - again! Days before, I entered a giveaway hosted by the Austin Food Journal for an insulated picnic tote, complete with wine glasses, corkscrew, cheese board and knife, and fully stocked with a bottle of yummy wine, three kinds of luscious cheese, some tasty charcuterie, and a loaf of artisan ciabatta, all courtesy of Antonelli's Cheese Shop

I picked up my prize at the shop on Saturday afternoon, where I got to meet Christian of the Austin Food Journal and John Antonelli, co-owner of the shop. Christian and I chatted while John packed up my winnings (or "babies," as he called them), and then I got to chat with John a bit as well. This is a guy who's seriously passionate about what he does - he took the time to describe each cheese to me, telling me where it came from and what it tasted like. I learned that the Ossau-Iraty would be "buttery," the Trugole was great on lamb pizza, and the Clothbound Cheddar from the Cellars at Jasper Hill was John's absolute favorite cheddar right now. The ciabatta from Barrie Baking, the Felino salame, and the bottle of wine - Verdier-Logel Cotes du Forez la Volcanique - would all pair beautifully with the cheeses, he assured me. I thanked both John and Christian repeatedly and left barely able to wait for my picnic treat. My mouth was watering, to say the least.


The babies (and some salami for good measure).

One of my dearest friends, Allison, came by to help me inhale the feast. We rounded it out with some grapes and jams (fig and pear ginger, to be precise). It turned out to be quite the delicious spread!

Artsy photo courtesy of Allison.

All I can say is: it was so. freakin'. good. The Trugole was my favorite I think, and I having a sneaking suspicion I'll be stopping by Antonelli's to pick up some more. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Austin Food Journal and Antonelli's Cheese Shop! This was a great way to spend the afternoon with a good friend, and an even better way to keep myself from fixating on tomorrow's events. I may never win the lottery, but getting to indulge in treats like this and share them with friends feels pretty darn lucky to me.


fortunecookiejunkie said...

So. Freaking. Good....does not even begin to describe the yumminess that was contained in that one insulated tote. It was all I could do to stop eating that bread w/pear ginger jam (thank you for giving me the rest to bring home). I think my favorite cheese was the Clothbound Cheddar, and I didn't even know I liked "clean dirt"-tasting cheese. Thanks for inviting me to share in your spoils.

P.S. I love that you deemed my photo "artsy," considering I had just lamented the fact that I am unable to take good photos with that app.

Unknown said...

Lucky indeed. And you've made me want a lovely glass of wine and some cheese. It'll have to wait until the wee one goes to bed....

Caroline said...

Hmm, lucky bones, I like that. Good food, good friend to share it with, sounds perfectly lucky to me! Good luck today, you will get through this and without any 'pork or indelible ink' I'm sure. xo and "break a leg" (?) or whatever seems appropriate today.

Katherine said...

CHEEEEEESE!!! I love the little backpack, by the way. So cute!

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