Friday, July 6, 2012
I love to talk about food, to try new things & revisit my favorites, to experience new flavor profiles. And while I've had a lot of great food and experiences there are just a handful of what I call "Food Moments". It's that experience, when you eat something and it stays with you on your palate. Each and every one of my food moments, I can recall to my palate the exact flavors just by the memory of the event. I love being able to taste in my head..and it's funny (total sidebar by the way) one day I was talking with a Chef and her sous chef; and the sous chef didn't have any idea of what I was talking about regarding tasting in our heads, let's just say that her culinary career didn't portend well. I don't say that to be obnoxious though, it's just that I think it's kind of a hallmark of a great chef...but anyway, I digressed.
I don't think that we have very many food moments in our lives, maybe a couple dozen. I know that when I think of it, I have ones that come to mind instantly...and while I'm not going to do this in any particular order, just really what comes to mind, I can almost pluck them out of my bank of memories tasting the flavors in my head, remembering the aromas, the ambiance, who I was with. ...it's almost magical to think about.
So there was this restaurant in Grand Cayman, where I used to go to rather often as a kid, it was called L'Escargot. It was magnificent, just stunningly beautiful. I had never scene French service at that level, and as a child it was just so impressive, so elegant. I remember my dad had frog's legs, and I don't know I remember that because I have no idea what I ate...but then dessert came around. I had table-side Bananas Foster. Here I was just 5 or 6 years old, and this perfectly coiffed waiter wheels up a cart, and then the chef comes out to make the dessert all for me. It was such a show, but with such grace. The bananas were perfection and I can taste the caramel, rich and buttery. The Chef explained to me that he was making a comet; that the ice cream was the head and the bananas were the tail, and the sauce was the galaxy....and to me it just tasted like heaven.
Another great moment in food for me was the last time I ever ate duck...but oh what a duck it was. My mom took us to the Publik House in Cape Cod when I was about 8. Back in those days it was much more formal than it is now...my brother who was 9 at the time didn't have a jacket and we had to go back to the hotel to fetch one, so much for just being spur of the moment and deciding to have a nice dinner. In fact, I would never go back now because it is really just a shell of what it used to be and I firmly believe in never going back to revisit a great memory because it will always live greater in your mind. It's also sad too to me, when places don't keep up with their standards. Anyway, I had Duck a l'Orange there. I can close my eyes and taste the astringency of the gastrique against the gamey duck fat. Oh my god it was delicious. I didn't know then that it was going to be the last time I would eat duck, and even still I savored every morsel, every moment. It was beyond words.
So as I've said, I have a couple dozen food moments thus far in my life from all over the world, but actually quite a few here in the Capital Region. I'm going to share them here on the blog periodically, and hope that enjoy!