Sunday, February 19, 2006


Are you a Pumpkin Man?

Three nights later, I returned to Sibling Rivalry with my friend Dan, having another late night dinner. Sibling Rivalry has an eclectic mix of Asian, Latin and European Cuisines, the exact type of food I would cook if I had a restaurant. The name is inspired by the fact that two brothers - both chefs - own the restaurant together. The menu is divided into three columns, on the left Chef David and on the right Chef Bob. The middle is a list of common ingredients, each brother preparing a dish with it, creating a little “Sibling Rivalry.”

The dining room was full so we sat in the bar area, but not many people were eating: either they were winding down from an evening at the theatre, or getting a second wind for a night on the town. In fact, the gentleman next to us was drinking a “second wind,” a cocktail of vodka and espresso, or as he told us on his fourth drink, an “eighth wind.” We soon learned John and his friend Andrea were just relaxing after dinner at 28 Degrees. Nonetheless they perused the menu.

Dan and I were hungry, so we ordered the pumpkin ravioli that David, Leslie and I had previously sent as a Random App. The ravioli was toothsome with a dense pumpkin filling. The sauce, a warm vinaigrette of brown butter and lemon, was textured with toasted pumpkin seeds. The freshly grated parmesan balanced the plate with earthy saltiness. John and Andrea peered over at our dish and John declared, “I’m just not a pumpkin man.”

We needed more food, and I can never resist the Vietnamese Fried Squid with Green Mango and Carrots. We thought it would be nice to share with our new friends, but Dan decided we needed a full appetizer for ourselves. So we continued the Random App of Kindness tradition, and order two: one for us, and one for John and Andrea. We savored the crunchy rice flour crust, with tender squid, in a briny and spicy dipping sauce of nuac chom. The second plate arrived for our neighbors, but they refused it, “We did not order that.” The waiter insisted and they declined. Eventually, they relented when they realized they were the recipients of a random app. They were delighted to taste it, as they too had been eyeing that dish. Alas, they were still full from their dinner and could only eat a few bites. They returned the kindness with a random round of drinks. Thanks John and Andrea! We really enjoyed meeting you.

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