So I need to explain right up front that I have no pictures of Thursday night’s dining experience at No. 9 Park in Boston. Because
sometimes I still forget my camera we were planning on eating in the restaurant’s cafe section, which would have meant a well-prepared but fairly straight-ahead 3 course prix fixe of dishes like pasta bolognese. Since I can and do take pictures of pasta bolognese at home, I thought I’d ditch the camera and have a relaxing, critique-free dinner. Once I realized the folly of this line of reasoning it was too late, and I was stuck with only a cellphone camera and insufficient lighting. Ergo, no photos.
In retrospect, I find it quaint that I thought I could go to No. 9 and restrain myself to the cafe menu, and even more precious that I thought I could go an entire evening without critiquing something.
Burger the First: An above-average room service burger.
For the most part my travels are foodcentric, if not completely food-related. Before undertaking any journey, my most extensive travel research is on good restaurants, local specialties and street food, often to the detriment of other necessary pieces of knowledge like language (except for food-related terms) and currency (except the prices of common food items). When I travel to a place I’ve been before – I lived in Cambridge and Boston for several years in grad school – I like a mix of old favorites and new experiences. Since they use dollars and speak English* in Boston, I was free to focus entirely on the food.
*One must, of course, point out the unique variety of English that is the Boston accent. Also, it may be convincingly argued that many Cantabrigians (yes, it’s what they’re called and yes, it’s irritating) speak a unique form of English called Critical Neo-Academese.
This red snapper wants to be taken to your leader.
Tonight, a special edition cranky and overtired Friday Night Smackdown: Whole fish baked in a salt crust from Cooking with Jamie by everyone’s favorite British scruffmuffin, Jamie Oliver. Because it’s a method I’ve been wanting to try, and it seemed like a pretty straightforward dish to prepare after a long day on the road.
Cue ominous strings of foreshadowing.
That’s some slightly sub-par takeout udon. I didn’t make it (if I had, it would be better). I don’t particularly feel like eating it either, because when I got home from my shitty day at work I ate a bag of cheese popcorn while I watched American Idol. And you know what? I feel better, although I’m not sure if it’s because of the popcorn or Jason Castro’s intoxicating, ukelele-accompanied version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” And if you want to judge my low-browitude, I respectfully suggest that you attend to the beam in your own fucking eye.
You may be wondering why I’m berating you in a post about takeout noodles. I would be too, if I were you.
Thyme for dinner, everyone! (Ba-da dum!)
Sometimes, life gives you extra Bolognese sauce. When that happens, I’m firmly of the mind that you should make lasagna Bolognese.
You’ll probably be tempted to invite some friends over for dinner when you do this, because one typically does not make a lasagna for two. I’m here to advise you that you might want to reconsider this; consider having your friends over on another night, a night when you’re having something not quite so good and you won’t mind having NO LEFTOVERS AT ALL because your friends LICKED the inside of the baking dish clean.
Three bananas, to be exact. Oh, did you need more than that? Tough.
You know you have them: excess bananas, malingering on your kitchen counters and gradually outliving their usefulness. Unless you’re one of those locavore people who only eat food produced within 1.3 miles of your Berkeley home*, which you built by hand from local stone carried block by block from your homemade quarry (it was a fun family weekend project!). You can go back to steaming your fresh-picked asparagus in the sparkling spring water little Timmy just gathered from the stream running behind your renovated eco-friendly but historically-accurate bungalow. Great job smelting those pots and pans!
I kid because I love! I’m pro organic, local foods that have not spent three weeks sitting in a refrigerated tractor trailer, and look forward to the start of the CSA season. But you know what else? I also love a frigging banana.
*If you’re a Costa Rica-based locavore, enjoy those bananas guilt-free!
Step one: Cut a hole in the box.
I’m sorry, but I had to get that out of the way. I burned the HOLY HELL out of my right middle finger pulling a burning hot pan out of a 425 degree oven. THROUGH THE GODDAMN POTHOLDER. Not only am I right-handed, but that’s my prime birding finger, y’all. So you’ll have to excuse a shorter-than-usual post and some sub-par photos. I’m working one handed here, and it’s not because I’m doing anything fun with the other one.
Still, I managed to power through and produce saffron chicken with spring onions, snap peas and pea shoots and parmesan pudding, from Susan Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques. You heard that right: cheese pudding. It was almost good enough to make me forget the throbbing pain in my finger. Almost.