You remember it, at least if you are a sci-fi geek (and maybe if you aren’t):
So actually this was about my birthday dinner, which
because I am sorta warped and this was what I wanted, was a buttload of perfectly steamed asparagus, hot ciabatta rolls dipped in Laconiko olive oil, and a big salad with quartered freshly boiled eggs and Havarti cheese straws, washed down with Astica Torrontes, a previously untried wild card, wonderfully mineral and floral at the same time. (Also cheap. You cannot beat cheap.)
This had what to do with Jean-Luc Picard exactly?
Well… other than that one always gathered Captain Picard was a man with a Gallic appreciation of homely delicacies… as it happens, a while back the Engineer and I were entertaining the notion of a Star Trek bar menu, a cocktail for everyone. Lt. Commander Worf’s dram would clearly involve prune juice (“A warrior’s drink!“), Chief O’Brien would simply and sordidly be honored with a Jamison’s and Guinness boilermaker, and… Captain Picard???
“Do they make a bergamot liqueur?” I asked. Our friend the Internet told us that yes, they do, if you wanted to send off to the UK for it at a usurious price. “There we are… bergamot [the flavorant in Earl Grey tea, which I have drunk since I was thirteen] with, let’s say a good French brandy, everyone knows from cognac, what about some Armagnac*?” Which I had had once previously in my life — fruity, fiery, invincibly smooth. We had our recipe, and were amused.
When the Laconiko oil was all dabbed up the Engineer set before me a home-baked personal cheesecake, a couple of fruity balsamic vinegars, and finally a Pedro Ximenez sherry for drizzling, courtesy of the inimitable Azahar. (It’s only taken me a year to crack that bottle of PX, Az. I know you thought I’d never do it. I can heartily recommend it with chocolate cheesecake.)
Then he slipped out of the room and reappeared with his hands behind his back.
(Mr. Ferguson’s hindquarters at no extra charge)
Le Picard was exquisite.
*Post scriptum. The reason I even knew such a drink as Armagnac existed, back in the day when I first had a chance to order some, is that I loved the musical revues of Flanders and Swann. Whose snarky tribute to Charles de Gaulle (“this old man thinks he’s Saint Joan!”) invoked both Cognac and Armagnac, among other French contributions to gastronomy.
I will always have a soft spot for the autocratic, charismatic de Gaulle, another Scorpio. As I do for Joan of Arc, who wore men’s clothes and slugged it out armored cap-a-pie.
I’m superstitious and sentimental enough to hope they’re both watching out for France, lately.