My love affair with toast hasn’t waned since it began back in May. Sure, there’ve been some breadless mornings where I eat a piece of fruit or don’t eat anything at all, but most mornings there I am in my kitchen, slicing a big slice of bread, popping it into my cheap-o toaster and slathering it with something interesting.
The slathering, as you might imagine, is the most exciting part. That’s why I keep my eyes peeled wherever I go for potential toast toppings.
Last week, at Cookbook in Echo Park, I spied this bowl of pink lemons. I overheard the woman working there explaining them to another customer; something about a fungus or a disease that turns them pink. (I assume this fungus or disease isn’t deadly.)
I didn’t go into the store with the intention of buying pink lemons–I didn’t even know pink lemons existed–but I decided to buy one and to bring it home. Maybe it would make a nice garnish for a fruity cocktail? Maybe next time I could buy 8 or 9 and make a batch of naturally pink pink lemonade? I wouldn’t know until I cut into it, which I promptly did the next day.
When I was in New York, back in February, I got into a very intense conversation with some friends (one of whom works in the art world) about whether great food rises to the level of great art. Specifically, we were talking about food at the highest level–the kind of food you saw in my French Laundry post yesterday–and whether those who make it share the same status as those who make art at the highest level. When I got back from my trip, I was lucky enough to meet artist and chef David Thorne at the Molly Stevens cookbook dinner I attended back at Elysian (David’s “occasional” restaurant) in March.
Recently a friend (who shall remain nameless (John K.)) compared me to an “old lady” because I described my new morning routine: I make toast and I make tea. Tea and toast.
I’ve described the toast to you, but not the tea. I started with Harney & Sons but as that started to run out, I bought a box of PG Tips from my local Gelson’s. I first heard about PG Tips from my friend Morgan, who went to school in England and drank lots of tea; then I saw it again in April Bloomfield’s new book, where she describes drinking it with a splash of milk.
The first food book that I ever read (and the first food book that changed my life) was Calvin Trillin’s Feeding A Yen. I don’t recall what led me to it, but I remember the first chapter incredibly well: Trillin’s daughter no longer lives in New York and he thinks he can woo her back if he rediscovers the pumpernickel bagel that she loved in her childhood. This feat of food writing–which deftly juggles comedy, pathos, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the New York bagel scene–immediately revealed to me that food writing didn’t have to be stuffy or pretentious. Though Trillin takes food seriously, he doesn’t take himself too seriously; his lightness of touch is unmatched in the business. Which is why this book tops the list (though the rest of the list is no particular order); it’s the book that made me want to be a food writer.
Our neighbor Chloe is a godsend. Not only did she plant the Meyer lemon tree near our door, but when we go away on vacation, Chloe watches our cat, Lolita. If the list ended there, Chloe would still be a hero in my book. But then the other day, I received the following e-mail: “Hi Adam, do you have time to step outside to the garden? Chloe.”
If this post were a text message being sent to a modern-day teenager, the teenager’s response might be: “Obv.”
That’s because this post basically says something that you already know: “Instead of cooking something good for dinner, you can buy something good and bring it home.” So why am I writing it? Because even though it’s something that you may already know, it’s not something that you necessarily do. I don’t do it much myself–if I’m going to cook, I buy ingredients and cook; if I want food from a restaurant, I’d rather go to a restaurant–but that changed when I discovered Mozza-To-Go.
It happens to all of us at one point or another; we order a drink without looking at the price and then find ourselves startled when the bill arrives.
That happened to me TWICE last week. The first time I was at Franklin & Company, a cute restaurant near our apartment that serves sandwiches and salads and a smoked chicken dish that comes with smashed potatoes and cauliflower. That dish, which I ordered, has a wine suggestion underneath it–a Pinot Noir–and so I told the waiter I’d do the dish with the pairing. No price was listed. When the bill came, that glass of Pinot Noir was $17. (The dish itself was $18.)