Food Love

Posted: 5 August 2006 in Food, joy, the fantastic
Tags: , ,

I’m not going to be tiny, ever. Here’s why: Flavor.

It’s not that I love to eat. In fact, most of the time, I think of it as maintenance…or necessity…or a chore. It has to be cooked, chewed, and digested. Don’t get me wrong. I love to cook. I like the way garlic smells with olive oil and onions. I like the way things blend together (or don’t), burn or brown, combine to make whole new flavors. I enjoy eating. But the other night at dinner, I was reminded why I love to eat.

We went to a spot we’d been eyeing called Artie’s. We thought it was probably middle-of-the-road American – in fact, we were looking for something easy. Instead, we got the most flavorful calamari resting on lobster cream. We got delicate flounder wrapped in kale, crab meat and slender slices of crisped potato. We got braised pork tenderloin with a slightly caramelized chili glaze and shredded parmesan potatoes flecked with a hint of dill and broiled just enough to crisp. All we drank was water, but it was appropriate as everything had the perfect consistency; nothing melted when it should have crunched, nothing was gummy when it should have been flaky. We thought we were satisfied (no, thank you, I couldn’t eat another bite!) but in fact, the strawberry shortcake proved beyond our willpower and the from-scratch biscuity cake (not too sweet) and the layer of rich cream (not too bitter) with the plumpest blueberries (none soft) and the ripest strawberries (perfectly juicy) went beautifully with the hand-churned ice cream (not too firm).

I felt like I could have rolled home, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. The waiter was friendly without being flirtatous (which I find unappealing in a waiter), the booth we sat in was deep and comfortable, slick brown, padded cushions blocked by a shiny, glossy…buttery…dining table. The napkins weren’t too stiff and the service was perfect; our water glasses never got low, unobtrusive busboys cleared plates at the appropriate time, the staff seemed to truly like each other. I don’t know how soon we’ll go back, but I’ve been back three or four times in the last week alone.

And that is why I’ll never be the girl in the magazine.

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