May 24, 2020

Another week in our lovely city, compromised, but not lacking in good food, good wine, and shared memories.

Food and wine culture is a marvelous trigger to allow one sensory joy without even having it actually in front of you at the moment. Chip and I have so many that we could spend all day just getting full from the conversation of foods enjoyed, wine discovered, the company of those we shared with. Our experiences in the restaurant business have certainly provided us with treasures that mean more to us than the fact it has always been a break-even adventure. To think in terms of finances almost distracts from the simplicity of the moments etched joyously forever on the memories of our taste buds! So, this is really what brings us satisfaction at the end of each day of what most call work and we call a lifestyle!

To recall these moments now offer comfort to so many around us. Friends and guests alike can share with you in detail the times in their lives and travels that linger still for them, fondly, with a light in their eyes and satisfied sigh. Our friend Lisa Millman, who is in New Jersey with her parents, sends over her culinary creations she now has time to enjoy producing that point out that travel is a state of mind. She foraged for ramps, sauteed up Soft Shell crabs, grilled Lamb chops, drove into the city for an errand, and stopped just to get some Chicken Liver terrine for her mom that Chip had on the menu last week. Another guest recalled her discovery of Polenta, normally considered a “peasant” dish, or a simple offering for some places, and our having it with one of Chip’s dishes last week prompted her to share with us the joy it brings to her when she is able to have it with a meal. Having never had Polenta she had the great honor of visiting Rome in 1982, was served it during her visit at the residency of the American ambassador and just fell in love with it, requesting it served again for the lunch she was to have with the American ambassador, dismayed though the staff was to serve a “peasant” dish to the distinguished gentleman and his guest.

I find it a marvelous and perfect gift that I can turn an OK day into a perfect day just by having a bite of a perfectly ripe avocado with fresh lemon juice a little olive oil and sea salt or a poached egg in milk and butter over toast with a yolk the color of a tangerine. Carolina shrimp, poached and chilled, dipped in melted butter with a splash of Texas Pete. A perfectly roasted chicken, Cascun Farm of course, with tender carrots and onions. Or those potatoes, which we discovered were from a can, that sit in the drippings of the chicken man in the French Markets all day soaking it up while the rotisserie goes around and around, finally sold to you before closing up for the day. Fromage d’Affinois that is just right when cut, oozy but not too loose, on crusty bread. Rhubarb tart fine, guiltily for breakfast with my coffee. Fresh made corn tortillas, brushed with butter, a bit of salt, hot off the flat top griddle, rolled like a cigar and eaten before the butter runs down my arm. Croquettes of any kind, bite-size, perfect to sneak out of the kitchen if I am lucky. So many more things to remind me why we are lucky to be in the “lifestyle” that we chose to be. I cannot even begin to start now on the wine that pairs with all of the above, but those that are familiar with and sort of love me know that I have it at the ready to pour for you when I get the pleasure to host you table side once again.

This week’s a GoGo offering included a beautiful local Jersey spinach and Chip’s fresh ricotta ravioli, brown butter, ramps, first of the peas from California. Fresh pasta is always a treat. And I did try a new wine I had never heard of and thought how delicious it would be with a bite of this pasta.

Luli from Val de Susa in the southern region of Monderrato, in the center of the triangle of Milan/Turin/Genoa. The grape: Baratuciat. An ancient and original white grape. Cement tank finished. The freshness and the middle textures combined with the most unusual combo of aromatic and acidic notes was amazing. I wanted to say Chenin had an affair with Marsanne and then eloped with Friulano. Try it if you can put your hands on it.

I have rambled on enough for this week. It is Sunday and there is a bowl of salty, buttery popcorn with my name on it. With a glass of Champagne…or Rose…or both.

–Tina