I just polished off the last of my Friday lunch: a mouthwatering melange of rice, heirloom beans, heirloom tomatoes, and spicy salsa, topped with a sunny side up egg. This bit of ambrosia was prepared for me by Peter Gobin, genius proprietor of Mijos Tacos, and it was so tasty that I’m pretty sure I wept as I shoveled it into my mouth.
Whilst slurping away, I was struck, once again, by what a lucky eater I am. This week, I had lunch on Monday with the delightful Mary-Kim Arnold (Do you read Mary-Kim’s blog? You must. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I am humbled by the beauty of her writing everytime I click.) at New Rivers. Beau Vestal, chef and owner, officially opened last Monday for lunch (I went then, too, by the way), bringing his tremendous skills to the midday. I could not be more pleased. Chef Beau is something of a savant in figuring out what I want to eat before I even know it. On Monday, Mary-Kim and I shared a plate of falafel and the juiciest, most piquant take on melon and ham that I have ever experienced. Just the right amount of acid in the vinaigrette, the sharp saltiness of the (American!) ham, the voluptuous sweetness of the melon, and a heady kick of mint. Holy crap. I still get excited just recalling it.
Then on Wednesday night, Jay and I went to La Laiterie for a quick dinner. My pre-dinner cocktail, devised in the wickedly wonderful brain of David Mangiantine, the Purple Haze, included purple basil, gin, and charred pineapple bitters. Chef Jorge sent out a stunning dish of a soft cooked egg, seared pork belly, and squid ink. We had tiny ravioli filled with beef shank in a broth fortified with marrow. My tomato salad included house-made burrata and kimchi vinaigrette. KIMCHI VINAIGRETTE!*
*I took no photos of this triumphant array of food, because my dining companion ain’t too keen on the photographing-one’s-dinner thing. And he was paying, so…
Was there anything special or important about this week? Any reason for celebration? No. All of this amazing eating happened during a profoundly normal week in the City of Providence. A week so unexceptional that—apart from the eating—one might construe it as bromidic. Banal. Blah.
Fantastic—and I mean that in the sense of unbelievable, outlandish, inconceivable, right?
I’m a gal who doesn’t generally cotton to the idea of “being taken care of.” In fact, I chafe at it. Lots of folks will be happy to tell you about my tendency toward tough love. Doing stuff by myself. Pulling up those old bootstraps. Not being indebted to anyone.
Yet, at each of these magical eating experiences, I was taken care of completely. And it was done in such a subtle and masterful way that only later am I conscious of all the work that went into feeding me. I am, indeed, the luckiest eater.
Thank you, thank you to Chefs Beau, Matt, Jorge, Nick, and Peter for feeding me. To David for such great imagination and Ron for perfect recommendations. Your food and drink inspires me!
PS: I am ashamed…ASHAMED…that I didn’t include the awesome dinner that Jay cooked for me on Tuesday, a day when I was wrecked from work and the aftermath of a week in 100+ degree heat in Texas. My dreamboat of a husband kitted me out with some truly excellent chicken thighs with lemon & capers, a healthy salad, and a bracing Albarino. I think I’ll keep him.