Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The other night Aimee and Jeff and I went to a swanky French restaurant on 20th Street and, flush and giddy with the uniqueness of the occasion, ordered the six-course tasting menu and its accompanying wines. It was great – for some reason much better than my recent experiences at other fancy restaurants where you get some exquisite appetizer but by the time the main dish comes you've lost interest somehow, not full so much as mentally depleted by the arduous tasting you've already done. They bring out those lukewarm medallions of meat with the squiggles of dipping sauce and the dollops of pureed vegetables and you think Jesus Christ, I have to eat this now? Wine always helps.

But here each dish was smallish and unique and though the main course was the weakest the entire experience left me energized.

And as I try to remember what was memorable I think of Al Pacino playing the real estate salesman in "Glen Garry, Glen Ross" seducing his mark in the Chinese place, saying "What does a life consist of? What do you remember in life? A good meal?" Spitting the words, getting ready to open that glossy green pamphlet of worthless tracts and go in for the kill. And so I try to actually remember a good meal after all, every now and then. And what I remember about this one is the solitary scallop in a bowl of buttery, frothy cream sauce in which swam several thick blades of some wonderful waxy-chewy thing. I have no idea it was but its texture as well as its delicate taste was familiar in some deeply comforting way. It felt good between the teeth, a vividly sensuous experience.