Recognize this? Some of you might know it firsthand, and others of you will be able to figure it out because you are clever.
A few months ago, my brother-in-law called to see if we'd be interested in joining him, his wife, and his wife's parents at a special restaurant in Yountville. They already had the reservations, and were flying to California expressly for this occasion. Oh, and the treat was on the dad; he's well off and generous. Jeez. The correct answer, the only, always, necessary answer was yes. YES.
The restaurant serves a nine-course tasting menu. I don't have that kind of appetite, but I didn't have a choice. Well, I did have a choice, and that was to opt for the vegetarian tasting menu. With the help of a few take-home boxes, I ate, happily.
Naturally, everyone else at our table ordered the meat menu. I got the feeling that a few of them were perhaps a little jealous of my food, beautiful dishes of foams, sauces, sprinklings, impressivements and plants. So good. I heard that the meat in one of the courses the rest of the eaters ate wasn't good. They were a little disappointed. I WIN.
Too full for anything else, I just picked and poked at the desserts. Yes, plural, because the servers kept bringing out sweets. I did enjoy the house-made chocolate candies. I picked one with a passionfruit filling, and it was nearly the high point of the evening, though I admit I was delirious with satiation by that point, and my judgment may have been a little hinky.
Which didn't stop the staff from delivering to each of us our own pretty souvenir: that box, which we were told to take home, there to enjoy the luscious shortbread cookies inside.
And there's your clue. The clothespin. (You already guessed, didn't you?)