Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New York I Miss: The Food

Here it is,  the first in my NY I Miss series.  I had started this a couple of months ago and had 5 or so items when I became frustrated because there was just too much to say! What I had was insufficient and I felt weird about it. Plus, I think to pay respect, each item deserves its own separate post.  So they may still be short, but they'll stand alone.

Living in New York, I always tried to live in "nowstalgia," a term I thought i'd coined but turns out, i didn't.  But it meant attempting to be particularly present in my life and appreciate and love the things I was experiencing at the time.  Paying special notice so they don't slip by, especially because I knew I'd leave one day. Well, funnily enough, after I had begun this here list of things I miss,  I found in the underbelly of my blog drafts, a post. Unpublished. Called Things I'm Going to Miss.  I forgot all about it.  It was prophetic. A premonition, and a treat to read, four and a half years later, having moved, and it confirmed all of my feelings. I love nowstalgia! So i published it where it lay, and you may read it here.

So here we go. Item #1. I'm going to include the introduction in the original post because it's funny and I would be remiss if I didn't do all i can do in life to keep [my] jokes alive.

I've been thinking about strange things I miss about the NYC so I'm putting them here.  I'll try to keep it interesting because no one wants to hear about "ohhh i miss NY, the food there was sooo goood..." etc etc.

The food there was sooo goooood!  But really.  I knew what I was getting into by leaving and had resigned myself to it, and granted I haven't tried all the Utah restaurants yet, but my heart broke in two when I deleted the Seamless app because it became totally null by moving here.  Seamless is a food-ordering website. On it you can choose from literally one bazillion restaurants, select the food items you want, specify instructions like "light on the ___" or "sauce on the side pls!"  You can choose to pick it up or have them deliver AND the time at which you want the food to arrive. So i can order dinner at 8am! It was a staple of our lives, one I knew I wouldn't have anywhere else and knew i'd painfully miss, so we loved it up as much as possible.  I would use it to delivery dinners to peoples with new babes. Ohhhh Seamless.  I dream of you. Sean says to help himself cope with the pizza discrepancy, he just views the pizza here as a completely different food item.  I told him he should secretly call it something different, like zippa. It was just an idea.

Food is one of the areas where I'm not so sure ignorance isn't bliss.  Had I not had all the culinary experiences I had, would it make much difference to me? Would it be better to ignorantly be eating ____ and calling it "good food"?  Maybe.   Well...   No.  No.  I have had way too many spiritual experiences at restaurants than I can never choose the other way.  Eating in NY taught me so much. It taught me about, i want to say, approximately a billion (more or less) new flavors and how to savor them. It taught me what a "bistro" was, which was a great love. I'm not even sure how to define it still, but I know I love them. Small cozy restaurants? where you sit quietly, with very subdued lighting, just you, your friend, and your food. A very intimate dinner party. I also learned what it meant to have a "palate,"  and how to refine said palate. I don't really know how to do that other than eat out a lot, but man, we worked at that. We worked HARD.

I am sitting here trying to think of the separate experiences that i've retained in my memory.  Normally I enjoy poking good fun at people who take pictures of their food, especially when it comes nowhere close to looking as good as I'm sure it tastes.  But dang if I didn't wish i had those pics now, to remind me.  But let's see what i can remember. Yup, I'm actually going to make a list.

1. I remember when I had endive for the first time. It was in a French restaurant. I bet if I tried reeeally hard, i could come up with the name of it. It was THE cutest place, all provincial-y. It also had the best bathroom I can remember.  Endive, you deliciously bitter crunchy delight, you.  Paired with a strong cheese and a sweet dressing, you can do no wrong.

2. Sean and I ate at another French place, called Payard, and had the craziest dessert ever. It was a chocolate cube with about 5 interior layers. We busted through the top to find a secret hidden treasure inside, and then another, and another! Pure magic. Desserts should always be treasure hunts.  I also tutored a guy who was a pastry chef at this same restaurant and brought desserts for me one time. Bless him. *sniff*  It was in New York where I first learned the magic and superiority of dark chocolate, though interestingly it was not anything fancy. What was it? I will tell you: dark chocolate Dove Eggs.  I was obsessed. Funnily, now those are total weak stuff for me and taste kind of like garbage (no offense).

  • First trying a really fancy pastry place and thinking we had discovered gold.  Then experiencing a few other places over the years, going back to that original place, and realizing it was rubbish. Ha ha. 
  • R-and-D (blogger won't let me use ampersands) down the street with the fanciest patio I've ever enjoyed dining on. AHH! I have been scrolling through endless pics and found some food pics! You're so LUCKY! And they are of R-and-D but I caught nothing of the patio, just us stuffing our  faces with delicious half-eaten food.  Feast your eyes on THIS:
  • hahaha, suckers
Enjoy that gourmet mac 'n cheese you beauty.
Sean is either super engrossed in his food or extremely confused by it. Or both. He's eaten it so it must have been good.

  • That mushroom soup at Greenwich Bistro. Sean's heaven would include mushroom soup. 
  • That avocado popsicle at Kaz An Nou, french carribbean fusion. That place was so good, I almost cried. Or may have. And the waiter was the owner. I think his wife was the chef.
  • The restaurant near us called James, where everything tasted like it had just been picked from the garden because it had been. The owners and chefs live upstairs and grow all the herbs right there. 
  • French toast from across the street. Slices of peasant bread drenched in an egg wash of orange oil and fairy dust, I have dried SO hard to recreate this and can't figure it out. It's so wet, not dry and heavy like a french toast brick. Is it a quick sear in a hot pan? Maybe. I'll figure you out one day, French toast! Onnne daaay! *shaking fist*

I know this is really boring so I'll stop. But I do not exaggerate when I say these experiences were, indeed, spiritual.  And, about the pizza--we keep trying to somehow recreate it here even though I know it's futile. Everything we've ever ordered or purchased here is nowhere near it. Sean once went to Papa Murphy's and ordered a plain crust with sauce, that's all. This was in attempts to make our own margherita pizza. Sauce, basil, and fresh mozz.  Everyone stared at him and made him repeat the order again and again. "he wants what? with NOTHING?" The pizza turned out really bad but when we make it with our own crust, sometimes with pepperoni, though it isn't even close to the dream, it is delish and my favorite here.

RECIPE: We get dough and pizza sauce from Trader Joe's. Slice on the fresh mozz, toss on the basil and sprinkle some olive oil. You won't be disappointed.

Food, glorious food. Thank you, New York, for showing me what food could really be. For Valentine's Day I ordered some chocolates from chocolatier L.A. Burdick and Sean and I almost wept as we sliced each tiny bonbon in half. Felt like we had transported back, just for a quick bite. If only.


lindsey v said...

Omgness! You moved?! It's been so long since I've read your blog. Too long.

I like a homemade margherita too. But I KNOW I am ignorant about amazing food. I'm jealous of your spiritual experiences.

You should open up a restaurant! Or a chocolate shop!

)en said...

Hello! Yes, we moved! it's bananas. Bananas... New York had such good bananas! *sniff* JK, but yeah. :)