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A few nights ago we sat Sonia for David & Kim so they could have a “moms & pops” dinner and a movie night. David came bearing gifts, namely some raspberries & a huge bowl of sour cherries that he had picked from a friend’s backyard tree.

Alone, the cherries were almost inedible. They were terribly insensitive to the tongue’s sweet needs. But they had a nice texture about them, and I loved the idea that they came from a local tree. So yesterday I spent a good hour or so de-pitting the little fruits doing my best to acquire at least three cups for the filling. I didn’t quite make three cups, so I added the leftover raspberries and some rhubarb I had stored for such occasions. Oh, and a full cup of sugar (normally I use far, far less than that, but it was absolutely necessary in this case).

I made the crust, easy peasy, but I ended up not having enough dough to make a lattice top (not to mention I’ve never made a lattice top before. Those of you who have enjoyed my sparse attempts at pie-making have remembered they are almost always open faced with a crumble top).

We had plans to meet up with the Gracers for the 4th of July, and I had hoped to have the pie ready for our not-very-fancy party plans, but mine & Justin’s absolute sloth throughout the day forced me way behind on the pie making. By the time David called, I had only baked the shell and to bring the pie would have cost an extra 45 minutes we just didn’t have. I removed the crust from the oven, put the “lattice” in the fridge and decided I’d bake the pie when we got home.

We had plans to meet up with Marlee & Chris and baby Aurora (glass gallery & cherry tree owners) and an out-of-town (Bronx) guest: Baron Ambrosia and his lovely baroness-to-be, Kim.

YouTube Link

“The Baron” and “Baroness” were in town to visit the Gracers and Moms & Pops Baron in Connecticut. Each of us at the table share a common interest: making and eating cultural and exotic food and drink.

We met up at the Blue Elephant in Providence, one of a handful of restaurants who are offering seasonal and available “bug entrees” on the menu. We sampled some termite cakes, silkworm chowder, dragonflies on greens, cricket kebabs and some wild mushrooms David & Kim picked earlier that afternoon.

The group of us headed over to East Providence to watch fireworks, since Providence cancelled fireworks because of a city complaint from last year.

Sissies.

It started to get late for the Belleaus, so they went home and the rest of us followed the Barons to their hotel for hot tub & cool pool double combo act. When Justin & I got home, the first thing I did was look up Baron Ambrosia on the internet and found the above video. I laughed. I laughed hard. I love this guy.

I’m finding myself surrounded by people who love their communities, and one thing I love is people who love their communities. I love the fact that people are “bringing it home” and exploring their neighborhoods’ flavors. Baron Ambrosia goes to local restaurants in the Bronx and talks about the things they serve, the cultural aspects and histories of the dishes, all the while remaining light-hearted and entertaining (even if sometimes some wacky and possibly dangerous interviewees).

I learned that he is interested in infusing extraordinary essences into liquors, is interested in distilling in general and is both is a film-maker and artist.

One of the places the Baron recently visited was S&S Cheesecake in the Bronx; He elaborated on the pleasure he gained from a cheesecake that didn’t quite make the selling mark. The owner of the pies let the Baron put his whole hand in the gooey goodness of the pie and scoop out the middle and feast on it like a five-year old. He said it was truly amazing. My love for cheesecake made me immediately jealous of his experience.

He had a cheesecake for Dave, which ultimately meant cheesecake for me. Yay!

So back to the pie. I baked the pie, like I said earlier, and it was beautiful. So I emailed a picture of the pie to David and asked if he, Kim & Sonia would like to come eat it with us later this afternoon. We ended up making dinner with some of the leftover mushrooms from yesterday’s bounty and some extra vegetables.

We made a stir-fry (effin’ yum!) and then we did a dessert swap, Justin & I made fresh vanilla ice cream and we feasted on the sweet, creamy goodness of some of the nicest cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. Srsly.

Oh, and my pie completely rocked. The Belleaus said we could come rob their tree this weekend, so that’s on schedule for tomorrow. Yes. Yes.