Memoirs of a meal or two.
(This blog was written just before lockdown!)
I miss being outdoors and have decided to start my golf lessons again when things clear up. I’m a bit anxious about the golf as I joined a much nicer club than the last one, and have a deep fear of sticking out. I don’t yet have any girly golf friends so it’s difficult to practice and learn when you’re relying only on your pro to teach you, and men who are only asking you to play because they fancy you! Being a woman in golf is a minefield of people letting you win, or assuming you’re the caddy-candy as opposed to an actual player, and sensibly deciding not to buy pink golf clubs because you want to be taken seriously.
Yummies, have any of your eating habits been changing recently? I’m finding myself becoming more and more conscious of sugar, and alcohol. I sound like a bore I know (I make up for it in other ways…) but I’ve been trying to cut down a little on unhealthy foods – so difficult when you enjoy the pleasure of food so much! I love the gym and I’m at a point where I can only progress so far without addressing my diet. I’m a foodie. Food is like sex to me: it’s physical for sure, but the best moments linger in the heart and in your senses for years to come. Plus, I am selfless sexually and love to give – with food I very much love to receive! I love gastronomy, everything from 3 Michelin star tasting menus, to being sat in the market in Barcelona being fed prawns and calamari and that delicious ham with sangria. I’m particular on many things but with food I’m easy, I’ve never been a fussy eater.
(Disclaimer: other than celery. Celery, I detest, it’s like the lovechild of cucumber and dental floss.)
I’ve eaten brain, ants, lung, chickens feet, you name it (fear not, no bat soup!). Many of the weirdest things I’ve eaten are for one of two reasons. One reason, is that a good friend of mine, a great academic has a taste in food that is both extremely simple and extremely narrow. He likes what I would loosely (and perhaps politically incorrectly) describe as “men’s restaurants”. St John, Quality Chop House, Entrecote, gastro pubs (but not the pretty ones), and so on. Places where you can get a simple, rare bit of meat, with a green vegetable and a good, bold, red wine. I pick the restaurants, but I know the exact type of space he enjoys, and so have over our many years of friendship, become something of a micro-expert in this specific type of restaurant. Many serve offal, and these restaurants are where I first tried heart, kidneys, ear, tripe, and so on.
Almost all the other weird things I’ve eaten came from a single meal. An away date with a gentleman from Denmark. It was back when NOMA had just shut and we were both lamenting having never gotten the chance to dine there. According to him on the flight there he was sat next to a woman who said “oh forget NOMA, you must try Alchemist.”
A few hours later I arrive and we make our way to a nondescript building on a residential street. We are let in to an almost indescribable Aladins cave. We sit at a bar (the whole restaurant consists of a single bar that seats only 20 and there’s only two sittings). Every inch of ceiling and wall is covered in plants. No one knows what is happening. We get given a menu that contained around 40 dishes(!) I am a sentimental person and 4 years later still have kept my copy of this menu. Here you see many unusual things – mealworms, bone marrow, duck hearts, lamb tongue, sweetbreads, lamb brain, chicken toes, and so on. I am a daring person and so I tried everything. I think in life you have to try everything. This meal was where I managed to eat the other half of the unusual things I’ve tried. I can’t explain the presentations of these dishes, it was like a Dali painting – live goldfish swimming in bowls, with a skewer balanced on top, edible canvases that we painted with edible paints then ate ourselves, a course that dropped down from the ceiling and hung in front of us. Something very special.
Two months later the restaurant was gone. He had shut down and disappeared. I considered myself very lucky to have experienced this.
Wow! Just out of interested, I just googled the restaurant and the chef reopened summer last year, (4 years later!). A similar 50 course concept but a much larger space. What are the odds I would be thinking about this meal from nearly 5 years ago, google the shut down restaurant and find out it’s just been re opened. I feel so happy for the chef and pleased that I dined with him when he was small. This is the magic of good dining partners and dinner dates. Memories that stay with you forever.
I would love to dine in his new spot – we shall have to make this happen! (as mentioned above, I wrote this blog before the prospect of international travel seemed like a pipe dream).
Here’s to future dinners to remember…