TMI?

I know I’ve gone on ad nauseam about Pasta alla Norma but honestly it’s been a good long while since I’ve mentioned it so I’m just gonna rave about it one more time. This is so damn easy to make and so delicious inspite of or perhaps because of the anchovies. This is one of the the-sum-is-greater-than-the-parts meals.

Pasta, eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, cheese and basil. Of course, my first mouthful would be . . . anchovies. I survived. Just barely.

Last Supper in Nice, La Cambuse

Because I had eaten there several times, I wanted our last meal in Nice to be at La Cambuse, a restaurant located in the Cours Salaya (which is a restaurant, shopping promenade in the old part of the town). It’s a touristy area and going and eating there could be a little risky. Plus the reviews on Trip Advisor were less than stellar not that I put much stock in reviews not only because it’s easy to complain but having been personally burned by anonymous restaurant reviews I usually choose to disregard them. But there are hundreds of lovely (looking anyway) restaurants in Nice and so it was a choice between two risks. An unknown and a known. So it was La Cambuse, a place I’ve been to many times versus some cute place fraught with any number of perils…loud Americans, frolicking children, bad food, French waiters.

La Cambuse was not full. I don’t think they served 4 meals while we were there, but OK…We started with grilled peppers. Speaking of fraught perils…The menu said grilled red peppers, the did not mention raw garic and basil, chunks of RAW GARLIC and anchovies. ANCHOVIES. Who eats these??? OK, well the Food Control Police ate one, carefully moving the others to the side of the plate. I ate the damn shit. Not the anchovies, although I could taste them, the raw garlic…there was no getting around that. Even though I scraped off much of it, I ate plenty of garlic. RAW GARLIC.

The main course, boeuf en daube provençal with ravioli, for me, might have been spectacular but it was like eating dinner with your head in an oily miasma of garlic. Nothing can get that garlic taste out of my head. And so for the rest of the evening and all through the night….the dreaded garlic vapor lock.


Stir fries and ball bearings

The feeling I get as my dinner concept skitters off course, is something not unlike attempting to get across a room with a floor filled with ball bearings. What happens, after I get out celery, chicken and mushrooms with the presumption that I am going to produce something like a Chinese (or Asian in general) meal, is that I just lose my direction, I carom dangerously around the kitchen, cleaver in hand, as the goal of the meal that I once had clearly in mind abandons me. I cannot imagine why I bought mustard greens to add to this mess, squash, these stinking mushrooms (they’re fine when they’re cooked but raw they have a smell that is vaguely nauseating), celery, scallions, green pepper and bok choy. Oh, and that damn hot pepper. 

I blearily drag out all my various sauces that relate in some way to the Pacific rim—although not that horrific fish sauce—Thai red curry paste, gochujang, several soy sauces, mirin, rice wine vinegar, whatever the hell looked appropriate lurch to the pan, and in a haze of confusion slop this and that, whatever into whatever.

That feeling of disorientation, the bewildering sense of loss of purpose dissipates when I sit down to eat. Because, no matter. It always tastes the same. I have arrived at the same place I always do. Except for the mustard greens which tasted like, well, nothing. It was fine I ate it (for days), I’ll eat anything. Except anchovies and I’m gonna work on that. And maybe once I conquer that I’ll work on the fish sauce.






Stir fries and ball bearings

The feeling I get as my dinner concept skitters off course, is something not unlike attempting to get across a room with a floor filled with ball bearings. What happens, after I get out celery, chicken and mushrooms with the presumption that I am going to produce something like a Chinese (or Asian in general) meal, is that I just lose my direction, I carom dangerously around the kitchen, cleaver in hand, as the goal of the meal that I once had clearly in mind abandons me. I cannot imagine why I bought mustard greens to add to this mess, squash, these stinking mushrooms (they’re fine when they’re cooked but raw they have a smell that is vaguely nauseating), celery, scallions, green pepper and bok choy. Oh, and that damn hot pepper. 

I blearily drag out all my various sauces that relate in some way to the Pacific rim—although not that horrific fish sauce—Thai red curry paste, gochujang, several soy sauces, mirin, rice wine vinegar, whatever the hell looked appropriate lurch to the pan, and in a haze of confusion slop this and that, whatever into whatever.

That feeling of disorientation, the bewildering sense of loss of purpose dissipates when I sit down to eat. Because, no matter. It always tastes the same. I have arrived at the same place I always do. Except for the mustard greens which tasted like, well, nothing. It was fine I ate it (for days), I’ll eat anything. Except anchovies and I’m gonna work on that. And maybe once I conquer that I’ll work on the fish sauce.






Anchovies

Peggy and I had dinner at Sweet Basil, at the bar. I had the caesar salad. With anchovies. I want so much to like anchovies. I ate them. But the thing is, they weren’t really anchovyish. They weren’t exactly delicious but I ate ’em. But then, I’ll eat pretty much anything except anchovies.