Tuesday, May 1st

Happy May! I can't believe summer is just around the corner, I feel like spring has barely settled in. Today my boyfriend had a special coat and tie dinner event for one of his classes in order to thank the class sponsors (they paid for the class equipment, it was a big deal). In anticipation, I knew I had to eat light for lunch so that I could compensate for the unavoidable pitfalls during the dinner. It was supposed to be worth $80 a person, so there was no way that I was going to go and not eat anything haha.

11:30AM Molecular Biology Lecture
Salad from Baker dining that I made last night. Consisting of: blanched broccoli, raw spinach, carrots, onions, corn, romaine lettuce, scallions, cucumbers, jumbo cherry tomatoes, egg whites from 2 hard-boiled eggs, topped with about 3 oz. of baby shrimp sauteed with garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings, all drizzled with 1/2 tbsp of fat free Italian dressing and 1/2 tbsp of fat free tomato basil dressing. The volume of the salad came to about 3 cups or so, which is a ton of vegetables lol. I was sitting there crunching away (probably quite loudly) for about 40 minutes or so, trying to eat my lunch. I had to get used to the taste of the dressing, which was a little bit nauseating at first. Let's just say that combining Italian and tomato basil is not a good idea for reasons that I'll leave out since this is a food diary and I don't want to gross you all out. The vegetables themselves were not bad though, and I felt pretty satisfied afterwards. My favorite item was the blanched corn, which added a touch of sweetness to the veggies. The shrimp were also delicious, with just the right amount of lemony-garlic flavor to perk up the salad.

Salad eaten with 1/2 bottle of water (8.5 oz).

6:30PM MIT Faculty Club (Alfred P. Sloan Building) – Cocktail Hour
Cocktail hour to start off my boyfriend's dinner party. Admittedly I didn't hold back (I had a bowl of vegetables for lunch, I was starving!), so for appetizers I grabbed a few grapes, a couple florets of raw broccoli, a slice of cantaloupe, 5 small baguette slices, and 3 crackers, with buttermilk herb dip and roasted garlic spread on the side. So good! The herb dip and roasted garlic were heavenly when paired together and eaten with the baguette rounds. My boyfriend had to practically stop me so I wouldn't get full on them before dinner haha. Probably also has something to do with me cutting carbs out of my diet for the past few days, my body knows what it wants! Since it was cocktail hour after all, I also had a glass of white wine on the side. It was subtle and a little bit sweet, which went well with the appetizers.

After looking at the menu from the faculty club catering page, this is what the appetizer spread consisted of in total:

Rustic Tuscan:
An Artfully Displayed Assortment of Imported Cheeses
Gourmet Crackers and Rustic Breads
Fresh Sliced Seasonal Fruit and Berries
A Bounty of Crisp Baby Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb and Blue Cheese Dips
Citrus Roasted Country Olives
Eggplant Caponata and Roasted Garlic Spread
Farmhouse Style Chutney and Whole Grain Mustard

Random interjection b/c I dunno where else to put it: this is me being vain in my room prior to the dinner: (I like dressing up for events)

7:15PM Three Course Dinner
The MIT faculty club is actually a rather nice spot on the top floor of the MIT Sloan building. It has large windows that overlook the Charles River, with a beautiful view of the Boston skyline. Since the sun was setting when we sat down for dinner, it was particularly soothing to watch the light blue sky fade to a dark blue. Our table settings were very formal, with multiple forks, knives, and dessert utensils all set out before us, as well as multiple glasses for water, wine, and coffee. On a small plate in front of us sat a dainty pat of butter in the shape of a flower (they call this a butter rosette on their menu). Aside from the fact that the tables were a little bit crowded (10 people to a table), the presentation was pretty nice. I sat directly facing a window, so I was able to look out at the city skyline all night.

The first course was salad, which was a plate of mixed greens with a few grape tomatoes, tossed in a light vinaigrette. On top of the salad sat a single toast point with a layer of sweetened cheese spread piped on top. I think the toast with cheese was my favorite part of the salad. It had been baked in an oven, so the toast was warm and crispy, while the cheese was lightly browned on top. My boyfriend commented that it tasted like a danish, but I thought it was much better. Mind you, it wasn't ooey gooey cheese like cheddar or mozzarella. It was more like a grainy cheese spread, a combination between cream cheese and ricotta. From the menu, this was salad with "Warm Goat Cheese Crostini and Orange Sherry Vinaigrette Dressing"

The servers poured wine for us, and I requested a red wine, which I thought would go better with the steak than a white wine. Unfortunately the red wine was very acidic, and didn't complement anything I was eating, so I left it alone for the rest of the night.

Then came the bread basket full of "Artisan rolls", which was passed around the table. I picked a dark brown looking square loaf just to give it a try. To my disappointment it was pumpernickel, which I really dislike. (We did a lab in my chem lab class that involved purifying caraway essential oil. The strong flavor of pumpernickel comes from the use of caraway seeds, therefore I was thoroughly sick of that smell by the end of that lab.)

Next the entree. Greg and I both opted for the steak entree instead of the pasta one. I'm glad I chose the steak, as the pasta dish was a big mound of rich and heavy pasta primavera in a thick cream sauce. The steak entree came as a 12 oz. sirloin, cooked medium rare, on a pool of gravy. It came with a small side of mashed potatoes piped to look like whipped cream (the volume was about the size of a scoop of ice cream), and 4 sticks of asparagus wrapped with a piece of carrot, next to a random piece of roasted red pepper. The presentation was pretty nice, and the flavor of the steak was quite good too. I normally dislike steaks because I don't like the excessive chewiness of grilled beef. However, since this sirloin was grilled medium rare, with a gravy sauce, I actually enjoyed it. The texture was easy to chew on, and the sauce gave the steak a richer flavor, not just that of meat. I think it was a mushroom based sauce, at least it tasted that way. The mashed potatoes were extremely good, because they were very buttery and creamy. Everyone at the table had commented on how decadent the mashed potatoes were. The vegetables were good, albeit sparse. I would have preferred more vegetables on the side for variety. On the menu this is called "Grilled Black Angus New York Sirloin of Beef with Forest Mushroom Ragout, Asparagus Bundle, and Dutchase Potato". So I was right on the mushroom sauce :)

Finally, after our entrees, came a most delicious dessert, their "Classic Apple Tart". Apple tart with a mini-scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with caramel sauce. The apple tart was amazing. It had a buttery crust that was topped with beautifully laid out slices of apple. The fact that the apple was baked on top of the tart meant that it didn't turn into a pool of mush like it does in regular apple pie, and they must have used something other than granny smith apples since they weren't tart at all. The richness of the tart was balanced perfectly by the refreshing little bit of ice cream. My only qualm was that there were no dessert drinks (milk, coffee, or tea) offered to us until after we had finished our desserts. I could have gone for some milk to go with the tart instead of just ice water. Still, the tart was such a guilty pleasure, and I loved every minute of it haha.

Ah… what a satisfying dinner. And it was all for free, thanks to my boyfriend taking that class of his lol. But now I gotta get off my ass tonight and work out some more to burn some of this splurge-fest off. Bummer! Here I am, probably on a sugar high from the dessert, after the dinner was over: (I'm standing in front of a map of MIT on campus lol)

11:00PM Dorm Room
1.5 bottles of water (25.5 oz).

1:00AM Baker Gym
30 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes stretching, 15 minutes lifting weights (they're easier to lift today, yay!) Don't ask me why I'm always working out at such late hours. I do everything late at night, it seems.

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