Went to Shashlik with a very good friend this evening. We had borscht and shared beef and chicken shashlik. The borscht had generous portions of cabbage and sweet onion and potato and beef, but was a tad too tomato-y for me – it was hearty and appetising while it was hot, but as the stew got cold, the taste of tomato got cloying, and I did not finish every last drop of it. The beef shashlik – served without any gravy – was good, which was expected, but the chicken shashlik – which neither of us had tried before – surprised us: it was excellent! Different cuts of chicken were roasted together with green pepper and sweet onion till they were seared on the outside to a slight crisp, and tender under the skin. Yummy! (The chicken shashlik included button mushrooms too, but these were obviously from a can, and the taste did not match well. Would have been near perfect with fresh mushrooms!)
Then we went to Bakerzin, and had lime and raspberry sorbet along with black sesame ice-cream. The black sesame ice-cream was full-bodied but not overpowering, almost like well-done black sesame paste made cold and creamy and somehow lighter – really really delicious stuff. The portion Bakerzin provides is just right for two to share, I think. And of course, we had the Bailey’s Irish Cream souffle – this was a little under-baked (probably because it was near closing time) but still good.
We discussed work and music and the interesting times she had recently been through. Oh, the music discussion was classic! Our friendship has been characterised by music a lot: In one of my first memories of her, she was singing a Sarah McLachlan song; we have a song, the two of us, which is strange for platonic friends; we get happy in an all-out-of-proportion sort of way when we find out the other likes a song we like. So tonight, I asked her which song from 孙燕姿’s new album she liked better: 我怀念的 or 需要你? And at first, as she looked to her right in a slightly distracted way, I thought she was ignoring me for a bit, concentrating on something else; then I realised she was taking the question very seriously and singing the songs in her head to determine how she should answer. That thrilled me – I don’t know if there’s a better way to describe that – but that thrilled me. We talked animatedly about how 孙燕姿 had never sung as high as she did in 需要你, about how it’s a special song in the way she used her voice to express her emotions, and about how 我怀念的 is a special song too – the lyrics are great, with an understated multi-layered drama.
I think that talk made my year and restored my faith in everything good :)