Plinky Prompt: Eat to Live or Live to Eat?

Chateaubriand with Bearnaise @ Urola, San Seba...

Chateaubriand with Bearnaise @ Urola, San Sebastian. 16 April 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life? See all answers
  • Live to eat: Where, When, NOW?
  • How hard am I laughing? Can you peeps hear me chuckling, holding on to my sides with hysteria? Everyone who has ever known me or has read my blog (hibernationnow.wordpress.com) knows that I LOVE FOOD. I am not a gourmand, I eat pizza with jelly or a much-loved Twinkie when I am in the mood. Sure, I love a great piece of filet mignon or sautéed garlic shrimp, chicken francese with buttery lemon sauce over pasta, umm, Chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce. Always, I mean always, leave room for dessert. No matter how full you are, dessert goes into a special dessert compartment. I dream about the dessert menu, Sacher Torte, vanilla custards, flan, Lindzer Tortes, warm, large chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, (with a glass of milk) truffles: the chocolate kind, milk and dark, vanilla layer cake, chocolate layer cake, coconut layer cake….I just can’t relate to the people who have to eat to live. I NEED to love my dinners, especially on Sunday nights, it’s a rule in our house: We Must Love Our Dinners On Sunday Nights. Basically, that means we go to a restaurant, nothing fancy.
    I would go to the ends of the world for the best dish known to man-kind. I admit I’m not very adventurous, not a big fan of sushi, many types of raw anything and strong-smelling fish. I’m trying though..For the best meal of my life? Tell me where and when…I’m on my way, with PLEASURE.

  • Dessert assortment

    Dessert assortment (Photo credit: Nikchick)

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The Joy of a Good Meal (Food Pop)

Roy's Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle

Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle (Photo credit: Mike Saechang)

A third of a steak. Half a plate of small monk fishies, fine, monk fish. Large glass of cranberry juice, no ice but a spritz of seltzer, half of a dinner roll with butter, half of a piece of chocolate molten cake with vanilla-almond chip ice cream. Fine, I know I did it to myself but I fully blame my husband who basically forced me into sharing dessert with him. What could I do? I’m the one who used to say “there is always room for dessert.” I couldn’t let him down and that almond ice cream is not just amazing, its sinful. It’s the one dessert our whole family loves. I asked my husband to take a picture of the dessert before we ate it and send it to the kids and tell them we can come here when they come home from school but apparently we were so excited to eat that we forgot to take the picture until it was half eaten.The cake was warm inside, the ice cream matched the cake to perfection, there was not a crumb left. Yeah, that good.

Ouch, I paid for it when I got home. My stomach was all stretched out and grumbling like an old spitting, cranky man. I don’t eat much these days and for goodness sakes why I ate so much to me is a mystery except that I didn’t have to cook and we were out at a restaurant and I was in the house all day and it tasted SO good and so fresh. I take full responsibility, I am not used to heavy food anymore. I’ve been living on toast, yogurt, eggs, light food. Did I remember that as we were being seated? Hell no. Would I do it again? I’m sorry but yes I would. These tastes were dancing on my tongue. My husband and I agreed this was the best meal we have eaten in a very long time.

Tomorrow, I will go back to plain yogurt with a little honey for lunch and scrambled eggs with toast for dinner. It’s not that I mind eating that at all. Especially when the kids are away at college and I don’t have to be a short order cook. I will happily eat clean food (as we call it) and remember lovingly, the food we ate tonight. What’s a little stomach ache when the flavors did pirouettes in my mouth? The side dishes that accompanied the entrees were exquisite as well. The steak came with some sort of root vegetable minced blend, it tasted like Thanksgiving. The monk fish was nestled on, I have no idea what, but it was soft, creamy and tasted like a risotto with blanched asparagus surrounding it. It was DIVINE and we were both SO happy.

So, while I may suffer a little tonight, it’s okay. Not only do I deserve it, I welcome it. Because a meal like this demands to be eaten and enjoyed. Do I regret eating it and paying the consequences? Be serious. It was worth every single bite and more.

*I Was An Airline Brat

The final TWA logo

Image via Wikipedia

There was a very good article in “The New York Times”

Whatever Happened to First Class?

By JESSE McKINLEY
Published: February 10, 2012

that I really liked and I wanted to share my own memories since I started flying when I was nine months old and stopped abruptly when my free airline tickets, from my dad, who worked for TWA, stopped at my ripe, young age of twenty-one. Or at least not yet twenty-two.

Flying was my dad’s dream, and no, he was not a pilot even though in his heart he thought he was. He worked in offices and volunteered extra shifts if there was an accident and flew to St. Louis to buy fresh milk for my older sister when there was a milk strike in NY. He loved everything about flying and traveling with our mother and when we were children we came along, almost always. A visit to Grandma’s house for us was to fly to Vienna, Austria or Tel-Aviv, Israel. I thought nothing of it as a child, it’s what we did; my older sister and I did have to get dressed up in a matching sweater and skirt sets, identical (except for color and size.) We were not allowed to wear pants, God forbid jeans. We had to dress up formally before each flight, our dad’s rule because we were flying “subject to space” which meant we would try for a flight but since we were “non-revs” (non-revenue passengers) we never knew when we would be able to get  on a particular flight, looking good wasn’t optional in our house. We had no choice. In fact, back then, everyone dressed up for a flight, there were no jeans or sweat pants….they didn’t exist.

If the flight was fully booked our dad would make the shape of a hanger with his hands and shake his head dejectedly. We knew that meant “a cliff-hanger” fully booked, not a great chance of getting on but we would go anyway. There were times we were already seated and buckled in and the door closed when in dreadful embarrassment they called our names over the intercom and we had to unbuckle, get up, gather our bags and belongings and march or rather limp off the plane if paying passengers had arrived. Mortifying.

We may have complained about getting up at four in the morning to go to Phoenix, AZ. but once we were on the flight, our vacation had started. Flying was part of the vacation not like now where it is something to live through with great dread and anticipation. Was there a difference in first-class and economy? Sure, but either was fine. We always went economy (and we could stretch across 3-4 seats back then) until one day I think we begged our dad to try first class, it was a matter of twelve or eight dollars per person. It was hard to go back to economy after that.

First class had luscious, huge seats, especially for young adults, a printed menu with delicacies to choose from. I’m drooling just remembering them. Beef Wellington?Steak? Salmon? Really, really good, gourmet food. I remember one of the desserts, it was the ice-cream sundae cart approaching me. I saw mountains of vanilla ice cream come headed towards me. Near it was a huge silver bowl filled with whipped cream, hot fudge sauce, sprinkles and many other condiments. “Make your own sundae” in the best of times was good, but while flying through clouds? Heavenly.

I’d like to add to Mr. McKinley’s post that my ideal flight was boarding the TWA 747 that had a winding staircase to the lounge upstairs with comfortable soft and wide chairs and private window seats. I remember reading a book up there and feeling like hot, um, bananas!  That same trip, before landing, they served a snack before landing; it was the biggest, hero sandwich, I had ever seen, filled with possibly every kind of meat and cheese that existed. The enormity still bogs my mind. There were drinks or soda, snacks. How could flying NOT be part of the vacation, it was the greatest in relaxation; no one could reach you and why would anyone want to stay in touch on vacation? If you had told people back then that it would be a posdibilityin the future,they would have called security at the very least.

I don’t know when it started but slowly the airline industry disintegrated. There was no more food (gasp) you had to pay separately for everything, even bags and suitcases. People didn’t treat you like royalty anymore. After 9/11 the whole world changed and it will never be the same again. Some people refused to fly after that forever. I wasn’t thrilled with the aspect of flying but I flew many times. It became a horribly, long, painful process. I am personally grateful for the TSA agents that check and recheck but it is hard work for them. Nobody seems to appreciate what they are doing all day long or at night. Not fun for us either but still…

I will probably fly again at some point but it isn’t something that I look forward to doing. The point of relaxation does not begin at the airport but probably a day after you have reached your destination. Is it worth it? I’ve always thought it was but as time goes on I think more about it. I was so very lucky to see so many countries when I was a kid, I know I didn’t appreciate it then. It will never be the same and that is one dreadful loss. I’m glad my dad is no longer on this earth to witness travel the way it is now, he would be horrified, as those of us who remember “the good old days” are.

* a few sentences were used in the comment section for the NYT on Mr. McKinley’s wonderful article.

The Lex (A Foodie Blog) *My 100th BLog!!!*

What better way to celebrate my 100th blog than to talk about one of my favorite topics: food. Glorious,  delicious, dance in my mouth food. I confess, I love food. Not just any food but good food, preferably in a restaurant with no dishes to wash after the meal. Due to the economy we go out rarely but this was a special day. A worthy celebration; this was Mother’s Day!  To moms everywhere,  I applaud you, we know how important we are, every day.

Just thinking back at the Mother’s Day dinner at The Lex makes me drool excessively.   We hadn’t been to this particular restaurant in years, often commenting that the food was always good but it was always the same. No specials, nothing new, ever. Much to our incredible delight (and I’m talking about my audible squeals of excitement) the menu had been expanded.  The quality of the food, was always very good. I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad meal there. Consistency is one of their virtues. Waiter/Waitress service, not so much, but we were here to linger and enjoy.

As soon as we sat down they brought us a bread basket with a sour dough/Italian type bread, bread sticks and crackers topped with poppy, and sesame seeds, and a dish of olive oil for dunking. How can you NOT be happy right away and yes, they do refill graciously  (ask my teenagers). My daughter and I shared a  delicate chopped arugula salad to start. It was simple, fresh and very light. It was served with slivered almonds, goat cheese and I want to say small pieces of hearts of palm. The crunchy and the smooth all wrapped up in one perfect bite.   They even divided the salad into two plates which is really, a very nice touch. The dressing was lovely, (olive oil? a hint of lemon perhaps?light balsamic vinegar?) I’m not sure but  a perfect partner to the salad. The salad did not drown in the salad dressing nor did we have to pick up individual leaves to see if there was dressing on it. It may seem like a small thing but perfectly dressed salads are not that easy to come by. It was a first course that seemed to cleanse my palate and make me hungrier for the main dish. Luckily, we were not in a rush.

I ordered lobster ravioli in a light cream sauce with peas and mushrooms, delicately intertwined and the combination of the flavors made me crazy happy and I swooned. My daughter, who is a vegetarian, ordered butternut squash ravioli that was served with a sweet, apple cinnamon sauce. Sound crazy? Maybe. It was out of this world. Tender, sweet, the consistency of the ravioli played so nicely with the thin apple cinnamon sauce. The staff also went out of their way to make this dish for her because it was not on the menu that night. Nice.

My husband and son shared the Thai lettuce wraps with chicken for an appetizer and the small tidbit I got was flavorful, and spicy.  My husband ordered lamb for his main dish (could have done without seeing the lamb leg) which he said was excellent but looked like something Fred Flinstone would have eaten happily.  It came with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes.  Our son ordered a nicely done steak that he devoured, it came with a baked potato and broccoli which, of course, he didn’t eat but i did. Teenagers.

For dessert,  our son had the apple-cinnamon crisp, the thick crumbly topping sweet and the texture perfect, hard but moist.  A perfect balance.  Our daughter ordered the brownie sundae which looked more like an elaborate cake than any ordinary brownie. Judging by the scrapes of her fork on her plate, she approved heartily.  She ate it so quickly there was not a piece available for me to taste.  I wouldn’t ordinarily order dessert but (ok, stop roaring with laughter now)  what could I do? It was Mother’s Day and I didn’t want to appear anti-social. I also couldn’t  resist a piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting served with vanilla ice cream. The texture and the smooth flavors melted into my mouth; the cold vanilla ice cream, the rich, moist, smoothness of the red velvet cake. I don’t really know why they call it red velvet and I don’t really care, it was exquisite; that’s all that matters.

I wish Mother’s Day  would come around more than once a year. I desperately want to go back to the Lex for dinner. Thanks to my family and The Lex for a lovely Mother’s Day. Next year, same time, same place, great love.