Monday, June 26, 2006


I love to eat. No, correction: I love the first mouthful of food.

I would gladly pollute my palate, taking in one new taste after another even if they run together; salty into spicy into spicy-sweet-salty and bitter umami.

Such a wasteful character; I open a package and eat briefly. Leaving the rest to grow stale in a dark cupboard, bored, of an already-visited taste. Happily left to my own devices I would eat meals composed entirely of appetizers, a riotous gustatory parade of small items. Dim sum, amuse guel, tapas.

On Saturday, we three sat at a large round table, in the corner of a small restaurant. Among the first patrons of the day, from my vantage point I watched as the restaurant began to fill up, pick up steam, as the beat of the music stirred the tinsel on the wall into a shimmer.

First the rice and beans, with stray bits of rice tumbling off the sides, like yellow confetti for the parade. Hurrah, hurrah!

The more subtle fried plantain has arrived as well, in browns and blacks belying the open and cloying sweetness as your teeth first sink into its sticky-firmness. Old friend, I’ve missed you in these cold climes. A consistency yet to be revisited by any other food.

The shrimp, in an innocuous pink sauce, creamy spice. Fried calamari, boring perhaps, but notable for the lemon tinged airiness of each small piece.

And of course, the mushrooms. Each tight ball of fungus bathed in a milky-garlic-wine, a second cousin of the Belgian mussels, perfect for soaking bread. They arrive in a small black saucepan and I watch amused at Adam’s obvious discomfort. It’s okay though, more for me. I fork one more into my mouth, the last possible one before I might burst. I don’t quite tear up but the spicy garlic flavor of the more pungent mushrooms imply that it could happen.

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