On Good Summer Eating
July 16, 2012
This was a fantastic week of eating – punctuated with long warm walks, windy roads, water slides, back of knee sweat, good wine, waterfalled swimming holes, and laughs.
It’s summer, and I have time to breathe and eat what I love rather than whatever is convenient (sometimes these are the same thing i.e – tostadas). I had this wine professor that told us that the only way to really get good at picking up all of the smells and tastes of wine was to smell everything – at the farmer’s market, in the garden, in clothing stores, just smell everything – be a medium. t’s the same thing with food, right? Just taste everything and your palate develops, and it becomes easier to figure out what you love.
I feel like I’ve been really good at just being wide open to things this week, and letting the city, and the farmer’s market, and the lure of the grill decide what’s for dinner.
On Monday I saw this post from Dinner 365, and thought, “I can’t go another minute without a hot dog and creamy potato salad.” I made vegetarian dogs with cornichons, and curry potato salad (boil 2 potatoes, toss with a few tablespoons of yogurt, curry powder, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon) and ate with huge salted tomato wedges. I ate this wish a Sixpoint Crisp.
On Tuesday I was walking up First Avenue, and I saw this man with a fantastic ponytail eating a huge bowl of linguine with clams and red sauce outside at a little bistro. I zeroed in. I picked up a dozen little necks (the flirtatious fish monger threw in a few extra) and steamed then up in some spicy arrabiatta (fire roasted tomatoes, red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon, splash of wine) and served them with some zucchini spears and the better part of a baguette. This was perfect. I could not have been more satisfied. So satisfied, in fact that I started some research for my thesis project after dining.
Thursday was maybe a little indulgent, oyster sliders, and brisket sandwiches at The Penrose. The sandwich was really supremely good, especially with a McClure’s pickle martini.
Friday was a BBQ at the old homestead in NJ. Sweet and spicy BBQ chicken legs, arugula salad with peaches, ricotta with honey, israeli cous cous with lemon and basil. Family. Perfect Provencal table cloth. Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
On Saturday we drove upstate to pick up a friend’s car. We checked out future B &B locations and drank local cider in a river near a waterfall. We ate insanely good vegetarian burritos made by incredibly handsome fellas, overlooking a field of flowers for cutting.IDYLLIC.
We bought the most gorgeous produce, nested perfectly into quarts and pints. My haul included hericots verts, eggplant, first baby squash, and enough stone fruit and blueberries to induce a stomach ache.
Upon returning from our mini-road trip, I went to my favorite restaurant maybe in the world, The Belmont Tavern. The service is awful, the wine is awful, the tablecloths are plastic, and there is a screen door. We purposely gave my cousin a wine glass with lipstick on it, to see if he’d test the waitress for a new one. He did, and she groaned, “Jesus Christ” and brought him a new one. But the food? The hand-rolled cavatelli and homemade pot cheese dotted with red sauce? The vinegary, herbaceous, fall of the goddamned bone chicken savoy? It’s like from another era. Everything is so fresh and amazing and constant.
On Sunday we went down water slides and had a diving contest. We prepped for an upcoming camping trip (me making 31 Cajun burgers, and marinating serious steaks). And I made a big Sunday meal for everyone, because I love them – ravioli with baby squash, roasted tomatoes, and fresh basil. My aunt walked into a set table, and told me how much she missed me. I miss having people to cook for who really appreciate it. But it’s a good reminder to myself to appreciate the meals I make for myself.