Last evening, I had the great delight of taking my newly crowned doctor friend Cindy Drakeman to Jamie's Italian here in Oxford. She is a proud graduate of New College and a recipient of a DPhil.
I enticed her to an Italian feast at Oxford's most popular restaurant. Since its opening in late spring of this year, Jamie's Italian has been the hottest spot as far as fresh pasta and tiramisu are concerned. We started with a meat antipasti plank, which consisted of cured meats, including a beautiful pistachio mortadella, gorgeous buffalo mozzarella, and pecorino. The balsamic vinegar was expectedly of the best quality. My mother being from Kalamata, you would think I am a great fan of olives. If they are not pressed and not in the form of oil, then I'm honestly not a fan at all. Nonetheless, Jamie's concept of large green olives on a bed of ice served with his own black olive tapenade and music bread was something I recommended for Cindy (since she's actually a fan).
For main, we wanted meat. We shared chargrilled king prawns in a beautiful mint dressing, the highly acclaimed flash steak, which is a beef feather steak that's pounded with sage leaves and prosciutto, along with a free-range chicken (halved, boned, and marinated in some sort of pestoish sauce) and cooked under a brick.
For dessert, I had the chocolate brownie which was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Very Americano in an Italian restaurant. Forgive me. But it was divine. Cindy enjoyed the lemon and mango sorbet, which was pretty stunning as well.
We walked off our dinner by visiting the grounds of New College, which I never have before. Cindy showed me the 'squeeky mound' (basically a hill in a garden with steps that looks like a Mayan temple and is how English gardens were designed back in the day), and also the old city walls of Oxford that are located within the grounds of New College and are marked by sections where the English would station themselves and shoot arrows at invaders. We talked politics, the US election, and about Sarah Palin. All of this under a brisk yet pleasant Oxford autumn night.
I will miss Cindy.