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Another Rover’s Lunch

September 23, 2011 1 comment

Rover's

[From their website]

Perhaps I’ve written enough about Rover’s, but it’s hard to pass up a short note about today’s marvelous lunch. As I have explained many times, Rover’s is the French restaurant not far from our house that is among the best restaurants in Seattle. For too many years, despite its convenient location, within walking distance, we eschewed it. But then they opened for Friday lunches, and two summers ago we ate their regularly.

Unfortunately, we’ve eaten at Rover’s only a handful of times since, partly because I have a habit of working on Fridays. But summer is more flexible, which is why we made it a point to start the summer with lunch there. Today, in effect, was the end of summer and my last day of flexibility for months to come. So when our friend Russ suggested last Friday that we join him at Rover’s today for a belated celebration of his milestone birthday, we wasted no time saying yes.

The menu currently posted online appears to be a faithful representation of today’s in-person menu. That makes it easy for me to tell you what we ordered. We had three different appetizers. For me, the Polenta, Summer Squash Succotash, Arugula; for Gail, the Dungeness Crab, Haricot Vert, Mango, Citrus Vinaigrette; for Russ, Seared Scallop, Peas, Mushrooms, Seafood Nage. My polenta, prepared with goat cheese, was superb. Gail’s crab, mixed with mango, was shaped into a disk that sat atop a disk of finely cut haricot vert, with a small arugula salad on the side. The presentation was beautiful.

We all settled on the same main course: Wagyu Beef, Lentil, Wild Mushrooms, Thyme Sauce. The beef was thinly cut and delicious. The lentil and mushroom mix was lovely both visually and in the mouth. We also all had the same dessert: Chocolate Bavarian, Cherry, Pistachio. It was light, fluffy, and perfect. Oh, I didn’t mention the toasted hazelnuts on the polenta. They added just the right crunchiness.

We began the meal with sparkling wines. Gail and I had glasses of a French rosé. Russ had a glass of champagne. I don’t remember what any of us had specifically. Russ chose the wine for dinner, DeLille Cellars2003 Syrah. According to the website, it “is blended with two percent Viognier which gives its floral, orange blossom notes. Deep black purple color. Concentrated chocolate, raspberries and pomegranates are combined with espresso, white pepper and a floral nose. It is dense and dark with a wonderful plush mouth-feel and expressive balance.”

Just so. Well, what do I know? And anyway, I only tasted it. But it was wonderful, and it did have an expressive balance. Russ chose well.

Maybe we can squeeze in a Rover’s lunch in December. And there’s always dinner. That might be something to think about.

By the way — thank you, Russ!

Categories: Restaurants

Militancy, Non-Violence, and Religion

September 23, 2011 1 comment

This item is over a week old, but I can’t resist writing a post that gives me the opportunity to present the extraordinary graphic above. In a September 14 post, Spencer Ackerman wrote about recent FBI training material on Islam acquired by Wired’s national security blog, Danger Room. As Ackerman explains,

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

The image above is taken from a slide presentation by FBI analyst William Gawthrop. Ackerman again:

An FBI presentation titled “Militancy Considerations” measures the relationship between piety and violence among the texts of the three Abrahamic faiths. As time goes on, the followers of the Torah and the Bible move from “violent” to “non-violent.” Not so for devotees of the Koran, whose “moderating process has not happened.” The line representing violent behavior from devout Muslims flatlines and continues outward, from 610 A.D. to 2010. In other words, religious Muslims have been and always will be agents of aggression.

We are fortunate to be alive now, at the very moment when adherents of the Torah and the Bible converge on on total non-violence. We were already getting pretty close throughout the twentieth century. Those world wars? The work, I guess, of Koran adherents. Hitler? A closet Muslim. Stalin? Another one. The list is a long one.

For more, including an embedded video from Wired of Gawthrop’s presentation, see this report in the NYT three days ago.

Categories: Politics, Religion