Saturday, May 13, 2006

Meeting Zarah

Where shall I begin? For me, this was possibly the most anticipated meeting ever... Zarah had first mentioned that she and Martin planned a road trip across the USA last July. I held my breath and kept my fingers crossed that it would actually happen. Finally in February Zarah told me that the trip was on and that they would be arriving in the states on March 21st. Yahoo! Martin and Zarah arrived in the US with laptops in tow, so we exchanged emails occasionally as they worked their way up the east coast and I pestered her with Gmail chat whenever I saw that little green light... "Hi Zarah, are you there??"

The big day was April 21st. I didn't know when they would arrive. My anticipation mounted when I received a phone call from them mid-day - they were stuck in traffic, but expected to arrive in another hour or so. As the appointed time neared, I kept vigil by the window and when I saw an SUV slow near my house I ran out with arms waving. Zarah jumped out of the car and we hugged. Even now I cannot believe we finally were able to meet face to face, to eat together, cook together, and just spend time together.

The days flew by and we weren't able to fit in all I'd hoped we could. We did fit in a day trip to Winterthur and between the glorious weather and the gorgeous spring landscape, it was an absolutely perfect day. There was also a day for sightseeing in DC, and of course some time for hitting several cooking stores.

The most interesting of these was probably the Little Bitts Shop in Wheaton (sorry, no website!). They have everything you might need (and plenty of items I'm sure you never dreamed you needed!) for cake making and decorating. We both made a number of small purchases, but what I was most excited about were the beautiful papers for muffins or cupcakes. We also made stops at Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table.

Sunday I was treated to dinner prepared by Zarah and Martin - a spontaneous risotto made with asparagus and bacon purchased at the farmer's market that morning and sugar snap peas that I had purchased earlier. I was so impressed! When I make risotto, I follow a recipe slavishly. Z & M's risotto was out of this world and they never even cracked a book! Wednesday Phil and S. came over for a real, live "Dining with the Bloggers (and Phil)". Unfortunately, I overcooked the roast, but the gnocchi Zarah and I made were delicious.

Friday we all took the train to New York City for a weekend with Bob and Chuck, a fantastic dinner at Blue Hill, and a Sunday food-blogger meet-up with Julie, Luisa and Jen. It was so great to be able to meet the talented women behind the blogs. Our meeting was sadly cut short when Zarah realized her purse had been stolen (be sure to read Jen's eloquent letter to the jerk responsible). After a trip to Luisa's office so Zarah could call her bank, Zarah and I paid a visit to New York's finest so she could file a police report. We had been warned by the others not to expect a warm reception, but the lady who took the report was actually very nice. She was funny too... when she saw Zarah's bag on the floor she advised her not to leave it there saying, "this isn't Law and Order - everything's not sparkly clean", and handed Zarah some toilet paper to wipe off the bottom of her bag!

We parted Monday afternoon when Zarah and Martin headed over to Julie's for a few days. But that wasn't good-bye quite yet. We had a brief reunion in Maryland later in the week before they packed up the car and headed west. Saying good-bye was hard, but I hope someday I'll be able to visit with them again. I continue to marvel at the wonderful people food blogging has brought into my life. This opportunity to meet and get to know Zarah and Martin will be something I'll look back on fondly forever.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy,

What a wonderful post! I'm so glad you got to meet Zarah and Martin ... sounds like you had a lovely time!

Cathy said...

Hi Ivonne! Oh I did! I did! I enjoyed their company so much - they are both just wonderful!

tanvi said...

Oooh sounds like fun (except for the purse part) By the way, those cupcake liners are so pretty!

Stephanie said...

Cathy...aren't they wonderful!? Sounds like you guys had a great time...I'm so bummed to hear about Zarah's purse, but after reading the letter, I'm happy to hear Zarah was able to replace everything.

Did you know that Joe (and Jeff) of Culinary in the Dessert is moving to Baltimore? Maybe we should try and get a bunch of us together some day...

Cathy said...

Hi Tanvi! It was fun! Zarah and Martin were so easy to be with and it really was a thrill to finally meet Zarah!

Hi Stephanie! Yes - most definitely! It was horrible about Zarah's purse, but I must say, both she and Martin handled it really well and weren't about to let it spoil the rest of their trip.

I've heard of Joe's blog, but hadn't visited it before (just did now - looks great!). I'm all for meeting other food bloggers - maybe an east coast welcome party is in order!

Cerebrum said...

Cathy, I'll be looking back on that visit fondly for years and years to come, and can't wait to add the memories of the next one to it! We did indeed have a great time - thank you so much for having us stay with you, and even letting us meet your family and friends as well. And I actually miss the "pestering" on gmail chat...;-D

(PS: what a great picture of the muffin cases!)

Cathy said...

Hi Zarah! I wouldn't have missed it for anything and can't wait for the next time. Wish there wasn't such a big ocean between us!