June 15, 2007


I like everything about food. I started out saying I love food, but that sounds like a food junkie's desperate cry for intervention, so I changed it to "like", even though the other "l" word is probably more accurate. Some people see food as mere sustinence -- like gassing up a car to make it go. I see great food (as you'll recall from this post) as a close, less dangerous, cousin of sex.

If I had more money, I would be a foodie--I would have eaten by now at every amazing restaraunt in Seattle and the surrounding area. But alas, this gets really hard on the checkbook, especially when "drinking" and "traveling" closely follow "food" on your list of top things in life. As it is, I've been to a pretty impressive handful of places, but there are some, including Le Gourmand and Canlis that still elude me, because of incredibly long waiting lists (um, make a reservation a MONTH in advance? I am a bona fide committment-phobe. I can't commit to a cell phone plan, much less a date a month in advance) and a crippling cost per plate that makes it difficult for me to convince someone to be my date -- even if I assure them of a big payout. (No, not that. I was thinking more along the lines of the pleasure of my company, and perhaps a drink on me, you perverts.)

If I had more than just "more" money -- if I were an actual wealthy person -- I would go to culinary school, possibly abroad. I would then return and do one of two things:

1. Start my own restaraunt. I have two ideas, and can't decide which I prefer. One would be tiny and unmarked with a rotating and seasonal prix fix menu, incredible wine list (no hard alcohol or beer) and deserts that look like works of art and are mandatory with every dinner. I know it sounds snobby, and it would be expensive, but it wouldn't be. Service would be warm and personal, like you're a very important person dining in your own very cool, modern livingroom. Restaraunt number two would be large, eclectic verging on nonsensical or even silly, with a menu composed almost exclusively of all things dippable and/or on sticks, to be dipped in fondue and special me-created sauces. Limited, cheap beer menu, some fun cocktail specials and no wine. Okay, maybe two house bottles. And red and white checked oilcloth tablecloths. I love those.

2. Freelance for top-100 daily newspapers across the country and a few food magazines as I embark on a 500-day American tour of food, hitting every state in the country, eating and writing articles alongside an American food travelogue which will chronicle my trip, the food, and all the bizarre strangers and happenings along the way.

But, alas, as I am neither rich nor filthy rich, and neither of these things will ever happen, I have instead this day decided to give to you, dear reader, a list of my current list of favorite foods for somewhat poor to very poor people. Bon Appetit!

1. Bruschetta. This delightful mix of garlic, basil, onion and tomato on a crusty piece of bread with a bit of balsalmic is pure heaven. Except if your dining partner eats it and you don't. Then, it ruins your sense of smell for two or three days. So I advise you just to eat it. Note: I make the best bruschetta this side of the MIssissippi. I dare you to make better bruschetta than I do. Cost to prepare: $14.00. Time to prepare: 25 minutes (lots of dicing, slicing and spreading).

2. Chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies. They're just awesome, and replaced rice krispy treats on my list of the best things to eat before they're technically ready to be eaten. Get some oatmeal, chocolate, a little peanut butter, a double-boiler, and a spoon. Then, go into glycemic shock. Cost to prepare: $7.50 plus doctor's bills. Time: Under ten minutes. To make. Under 3 minutes to eat.

3. My signature loaded baked brie. This is a round of brie, sliced in half, filled with dried fruit and nuts or jam, put back together and wrapped in crescent roll dough, then baked until melted indide the golden-brown crescent roll. Cost to prepare: $12.50. Time: 20 minutes.

4. Mangoes. These are black sheep on this list, as they cost about ten dollars apiece and are nearly impossible to eat without a bib and a shower afterwards, but a good mango is, I think, the best fruit ever invented by God. (Nice work, God.) Warning: after eating one, you will need to spend 25 minutes with a roll of dental floss. If anyone can figure out how to make it easier, please, please share.

5. Waffle-cut fries with the magic thing that is fry sauce. First, the fries: Whoever came up with these is a genius. It's the soggy-fry solution. These puppies are evenly cooked throughout, thanks to the clever holes, and are crispy everywhere without being little daggers of burnt crispness like you find at some joints that serve the traditional fry. And they beat steak-cut fries in pure condiment-delivery ability. Like Chex cereal holds milk, waffle-cut fries hold ketchup. Or, even better, fry sauce. Now, Fry sauce: I have no proof, but I am pretty sure this culinary delight came from the midwest, mostly because that is the only place in the country I can imagine coming up with a way to actually make fries worse for you. Take the two condiments with the lowest possible nutritional value and highest cravability around (ketchup and mayo, obviously), and mix them, 50-50. Now your ketchup is fatty, your mayo is sweet, and it's a horrible pink color reminiscent of PeptoBismol. But you know what? It tastes fucking brilliant. I had to move away from Idaho (almost the midwest, anyway) solely because of the amounts of fry sauce I'd otherwise consume. In Seattle, nobody believes in it. Something about cholesterol and obesity. Eh, I just run a lot and make my own. Cost: $1.50.


Ben said...

This has been my year of cooking. I grew up in a restaurant, surrounded by great food and drink. Having all of that wonderful food so easily accessible, unfortunately made me lazy when it came to cooking my own meals. Still, one of my favorite things about going home is the quality of food and wine that I always find there. This year that changed. I have found the joy that is so readily available in cooking your own great meals. Taking the recipes I grew up on and making them for my friends.

That being said, I believe your comparison between good food, and sex could not be more apt. Both bring out many of the same emotions. There is of course anticipation, before a good meal. If this is the first time you are to have this meal, there is curiosity of how it will turn out. Many times a good meal is accompanied be an appetizer. And of course when you are finished with a truly good meal, you most often find yourself sated and happy. The to are so tightly linked, that the comparisons could go on and on.

Being the foodie that you are, you should eat at the Palace Kitchen if you have not already done so. I have not been in a few years, but I always love going there when I am in Seattle.

Well enough on good food and sex. Hopefully your weekend includes at least one of the above, if not both.


minijonb said...

mmmn... i got hungry just reading this post!