Once the candy was gone, so were we

It’s just impossible to predict how much trick-or-treat business there’ll be. We try to have treats left over; that’s why we buy only what we like ourselves. We misjudged, though, this year. I don’t know whether it was a bad TV night, or what, that the crowds were so great. So, after extinguishing Newtie Poot and Georgie Porgie, we revived an old tradition and headed for Jeffrey’s, which we used to do for at least the first dozen and a half years it was open. Without a reservation, there was a table.

The waitpeople still observe the holiday by wearing elements of disguise. The atmosphere’s not so dim and, although business was good for a Tuesday, not every table was taken, which was perhaps partly a function of the larger space these days. There’s valet parking now, but we parked ourselves and walked three blocks. There were no kitchen people or cats on the landing outside the upstairs door.

There was sampling and sharing. Before the meal came to the table, there was a tiny sample of truffled duck pate with a very delicious bit of concentrated currant something-or-other. A couple of kinds of bread were brought round and served individually by a person wielding tongs. It wasn’t crusty, but tasted good with the composed butter brought on a tiny round ceramic base covered by a small metal dome. What used to be little appetizers of shredded duck rolled in thin corn tortillas in the days of Chef Raymond are now packeged in eggroll wrappers (“duck spring roll with jicama mango slaw and sweet and sour sauce”). The flavor is still concentrated and rich. And there’s a reason that people return especially for fried oysters on yucca root chips. The roasted acorn squash soup with a float of crab and orange cream on top was savory and hearty. I didn’t taste the topping, but I think that I could accomplish mighty deeds if fueled by that soup. I tasted the crab cake accompanied by a sort of pool of beets with crunchy quinoa. I don’t much like the concept of sweet with meat or seafood, but individually each tasted great. Honestly, I forget what main courses were at the table. I was too busy enjoying my fish, selected over lamb. The “petits reves” dessert plate contained a selection of small confections, including a pair of each of two kinds of truffle. Chocolate intemperance was a rich as ever, and a fit finale.

As we cruised through Clarksville, Enfield, and the close-in East Side, we saw that people with driveways had done what we should have before sallying forth; they put up barriers. When we arrived home, we saw that some bad driver or more than one had left scrape marks along the curb and had gouged chunks from it. This morning we relit Newtie and his pal. They’re already attracting flies, but maybe they’ll be bright again tonight before they head for their final resting place in the compost pile.

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