Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


It had been a very trying week.  At the start of it I was in full-on work mode, engaged in another of the competitive micro-elections for money in which I have been performing for the past thirty seven rather marvelous years. 

But then, through no fault of either mine nor my competitor, it all just ....stopped.  The proceedings halted and ultimately nullified.  Only to be replayed at some future date.  This sort of thing is deflating in the extreme.  You have nowhere to expend all of the build up energy and focus that were fueling you for the event.  Well, I suppose if one were a runner, or an exerciser, but I have sterling credentials as neither of those. 

What to do?  To quote one of my favorite characters from a movie long ago, "ROAD TRIP".  My favorite casino happens to be a modest drive away and I rapidly claimed a complimentary room, booked dinner at the excellent hotel restaurant, threw a small Italian leather bag into my trunk and drove west.  Feeling none the best for wear I might say.  I almost talked myself out of the trip.  But the dedicated Epic learns to follow his inner voice in such matters.

Upon arrival I got settled into my room and considered soaking in the large hot tub.  Apparently someone in the booking office was under the impression I was planning a much more complicated escapade that was the case.  Avoiding a bath that would have probably put me to sleep, I straightened my tie and headed downstairs to the caisse to exchange some money for chips. 

It should surprise no returning Epic that I was the only person on display on the casino floor wearing a coat and tie.  Nor should it surprise anyone that the feel of casino chips in my hand and the distinctive clacking noise they make when you riffle them against a green baize surface is a soothing influence to the my heart and soul. 

It had been some time since I last played Roulette but my weariness from the week's events and a three visit losing streak at Blackjack prompted me to a simple plan of action at the table of the spinning wheel based upon James Bond's system.  Which was based on John Scarne's system I believe.  A solid notion. With that firmly in mind I had a "half and half" martini in the cocktail lounge and headed to the steakhouse for dinner to further fortify myself for the evening ahead. 

I don't always have steak when I dine out but when I do I have steak au poivre.  It is another sad feature of the current era how difficult it is to find a great steak, crusted in peppercorns, with a brandy cream sauce.  A French bistro classic now relegated to the novelty list.  On one less than memorable occasion, I asked a waiter why the "steak au poivre" that had been perfectly cooked and delivered to my table had no flavor.  The horrifying answer was "People kept sending it back because it was peppery".  Good lord.  Why on earth would someone order steak AU POIVRE and object to it being steak au poivre?  I digress.  The casino steakhouse in question makes the dish perfectly.  I suspect that from the great beyond James Beard weeps with joy every time someone makes it there.  A large wonderful filet [I know, I know, the classic should be a strip steak but I occasionally allow myself a slight turn away from tradition] cooked medium rare, with a significant peppercorn crust and a perfect and silky pan sauce which served to slightly soften the heat of the pepper in the way the first chef to make the dish certainly planned.  Magnificent...

With a glass or two of a very good Pinot Noir the old life compass was slowly swinging to the proper course.  After that outstanding steak I celebrated the existence of at least a few chefs who can still prepare it properly by ordering what in that locale has come to be known as the M****** Sundae.  Simple but the perfect sequent to my entree....

Fully bucked for the remainder of the evening, I sauntered back to the main Roulette table where I whiled away several hours in the company of a couple of nice croupiers and a very attentive cocktail waitress.  I ended the evening happily ahead of the house.

Somewhat later, relaxing in that tub with a snifter of cognac, I considered the word "languid".  One of my favorite adjectives. I love the way the word sounds.  It is one of those words which immediately conjures up just the sort of evening I had experienced.  Or the look in the eyes of certain women at certain times.  It shouldn't surprise me that the primary definitions of languid are pejorative but I put this down to a cultural variant in the U.S. where the lack of "proper" [i.e. energy and goal driven] activities are usually looked at with a cocked eyebrow.  I prefer the alternative definition of languid which is "leisurely".  Sensual leisure.  The Epicurean definition of the word.  And of a superior evening.


Uncle Beefy said...

Hello M., Lovely to see you pop up in my reader and the perfect post to partake in on a Sunday evening. Sounds like a marvelous night you had and I will definitely be adding languid more often to my vocabulary and, with any luck, to my life. Additionally, and this you may well find shocking, I'll need to indulge in Steak au Poivre as I've yet in life to enjoy this culinary treasure. One hopes that I'll be able to find an option for skillful preparation in my area or that James Beard inhabits my body should I attempt my own round in the kitchen. I'm a bit skeptical of a half & half martini but it does sound decidedly apropos should I find myself in a darkly lit steakhouse. Good to hear you're getting in some good times and hope you're well overall, sir. Cheers!

Amy said...

A martini, then steak au poivre. You were already ahead before you started!
Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Epic.

Ben said...

I have suspected, on more than one occasion, when a mistrial has been declared through no fault of my own and before delivery into the lap of a jury, that my opposite number has chickened out and was never as prepared as he claimed.

Oh well, at least his cowardice delivered you to a casino!

M.Lane said...

Ben I know the feeling my brother. Thanks for dropping by! Its good to know some of us are still typing away.

Amy thanks for the visit and the comments! They mean the world to me.

MON ONCLE!!!! SO glad to hear from you! I hope all has returned to an even keel for you. In your neck of the woods Morton's steakhouse can do a great steak au poivre [thats where the post pictures were taken] and the steakhouse El Gaucho in Portland and Seattle does it too. I really love pepper so i get it the old way with a peppercorn crust and the traditional creme and brandy based sauce. But I think that if Mr. Beard takes over someone he could very well choose you!!!!! Please stay in touch.


Uncle Beefy said...

How do, M., It's been a rather severe 1+ year having gone through a great deal of loss with the deaths of my dad, my uncle, our two pets, my mom, and a co-worker. Needless to say, the notion of sitting in a darkly lit steakhouse while savoring both food and life sounds pretty damn near perfect. Certainly it wouldn't hurt in adjusting to the new normal – a journey I know you've endured as well, sadly. One day at a time, n'est-ce pas? I'll have to venture to El Gaucho sometime soon – Morton's closed some time back, sadly – and report back on my au Poivre adventure. Wishing you well during the holiday season and the very best to come in 2020, kind sir! – MO

JohnP said...

Perhaps an amendment to your profile is in order. I seem to remember a weekend in NYC that contradicts the statement that you are in your mid 50s. Alas I tend to pass on Stead au poivre because I have not found it done well. TJ and I both love pepper.

Edwina Cross said...


Edwina Cross said...

Languid & mysterious!

M.Lane said...

Edwina thanks for visiting The Epic! I just received these comments in October 2020 or I would have responded earlier.

JohnP, an appropriate amendment has been made. It is very difficult to find the dish prepared correctly. Mortons doesnt have the au poivre sauce any more but does a very good bearnaise to go with the steak. I have been unable to determine why the proper sauce is gone. Probably because people found the dish to "peppery".

Mon Oncle, wow what a brutal path of late. Keep going a step at a time brother. A step at a time....there is wine and steak out there somewhere.