Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Open Thread: Where Was Your Favorite Meal?

Recently I saw Mario Batali on a TV show (maybe on Jimmy Fallon, could have been an old show promoting the opening of Eataly I think....)  Which show is not really important; it's what he said that has stuck with me.  To paraphrase, it was that the best meals in our lives are not eaten out at fancy restaurants, but rather eaten in people's homes.

What I want to know is:  Where was your favorite meal?

It's not an easy question, maybe not even a question that can answered absolutely, so feel free to give a couple of answers or a top three or something. 

For me Florent was the place of some of my most memorable meals and not because of the food, although they did make some of the best French Fries ever, and I loved the bottle of cheap and good Moroccan red wine (the name of which I can't remember)... mostly though it's because any time I ate at restaurant Florent it was special, it made me feel good somehow.   Florent had created this vibe, this kind of umami of experience....

There are two other places.  The first one is dinners at home with Neil and our friends - really can't be beat.  The food is sometimes great and sometimes not as great as I'd like it to be, but somehow at the end of the day it doesn't matter.

Lastly a meal that Neil and I had early on in our relationship on a trip to Venice.  The food was brilliantly simple and delicious.  I still remember a fresh seasonal Tomato Soup.  We sat outside overlooking a courtyard; the restaurant is still there and it's called Al Covo.  An Italian Chef and his American bride opened it in 1987; I think Neil and I ate there in 1988 or 1989?  And I'm still thinking about it all these years later...

Now tell me yours.


Anonymous said...

Breakfasts in...

The elephant in luang prabang
The imperial in Delhi
The forest in queens wood in London
On the terrace of the sunshine guesthouse in Manali
Babylon in Bangkok

And, as I'm English, tea on the lawn at endsleigh house in Devon

Anonymous said...

- Pancakes on the first New Year's Day with D. in my apartment on 13th Street and 6th (a few weeks after we met).
- My sister's homemade Manicotti
- a bowl of Mushroom Barley soup at Veselka
- bulgar meatloaf in college at a lesbian couple's home
- every meal you've ever cooked.
(thanks for this and for helping me remember...)

neil said...

1. Thanksgiving lunch - hot open turkey sandwiches all around - at the 2nd avenue deli with you, my mum, and my brother...

2. the dinner you cooked for my father where he started to giggle simply because he was drunk with the pleasure of what you'd served him

3. that bowl of udon in the airport in tokyo on the way to kanazawa, i think it was...

4. ice cold beer and freshly fried salt cod fritters in the crowded, standing room barely bar in madrid on my first visit there

5. breakfasts at the sukhothai hotel in bangkok!!

6. snacking at home at the end of a long, long day, when you've made refried beans... or peppery (organic AND kosher!) roast chicken... or grilled cheddar with lots o' mustard...

ok: living with you makes this really difficult - so i'll stop here lol

Chris & Skip in AVL said...

We have too many memorable meals to narrow down (and knock wood for memory still so sharp) but the one Skip and I had at Zuni Cafe in SFO the day after Christmas one year was magical. I've mentioned it before.

At midnight we would be getting on a plane to Hong Kong and Asia-onward for almost a month. Our day was planned around a long late lunch to take us into the evening.

At Zuni, the hostess was leading us straight to a table just as Judy Rogers came down the stairs. Maybe it was our cosmically happy smiles, or our Southern charm (Ha!), but Rodgers said there was a very nice table upstairs about to open up if we wanted to wait. We did. Sipping Zuni's balsamic bloody Marys (with minutely diced shallots!) while watching the busy oyster station, marking our choices.

The indeed very special. It was in a catwalk-like passage between the two dining rooms, looking down on the ant-like activity around the massive wood-fired oven (a rare thing back then). We had the little nook to ourselves, except for the handsome waitstaff passing through ;-)

We started with an ambitious selection of oysters and icy Martinis while watching our meal being prepared down below—Zuni's famous whole wood fired chicken with bread salad. It's an abundant undertaking that takes almost an hour to prepare, err watch. And it was amazing, as always. With a sauvignon blanc to segue between oysters and salad, and a Cotes De Rhone with the chicken, there was lots of rosy cheek giggling and groaning as we stuffed ourselves.

Meal ended with a chunky, icy grapefruit sorbet with a splash of pomegranate syrup in the center that looked like a summery peony. And finally coffee and a snifter of B&B while our sizable check was being tallied. (Actually, Zuni is respected for its reasonable prices.)

It was our last truly western meal for a month and one that always gives us chill bumps to recall

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