December 30, 2009

As the year comes to a close I find myself indulging in taste memories, flipping through the card file in my mind, calling up my favorite flavors. It's an extremely satisfying way to remember the year.
First up, the glorious smush of chicken liver on toast that begins every smart meal at The Spotted Pig, Disgustingly ugly, insanely decadent, and a fine reminder of how good it is to be alive.
The kale salad at Osteria Mercato in Red Hook, perfect proof that not everything that tastes good is bad for you.
Enrica Rocca's seafood pasta. The secret is that the spaghetti is cooked right in among the seafood, absorbing the stock until the pasta itself becomes one with the shrimp, squid and clams. (This recipe, from Adventures with Ruth, is at gourmet.com.)
Peking Duck buns at Corner 28 in Flushing. Is there a better $1 snack anywhere in the world? I doubt it.
Fish and Chips at the King's Arms in Bath, England. The perfect collision of crackling crunch and smooth silky fish. Eating it with Dianne Wiest, who likes it even better than I do, doesn't hurt.
Nancy Silverton's hamburgers. Everything Nancy makes is wonderful, but her burgers are the best. Her secret? She grinds in extra beef fat so that they are juicy and filled with flavor.
The uni sandwich at El Quinto Pinto on 24th St. Crisp, buttered ficelle stuffed with the soft roe of sea urchins; need I say more?
Tuna with foie gras at Le Bernardin. When Eric Ripert hides a nugget of foie gras perched on a crisp slice of toast beneath a sheer sheet of bright raw tuna, the clash of textures and flavors is so intense that I gasp every time I encounter it.
The one tomato that survived this rainy summer in my garden. It may have been the most expensive tomato on earth, but it was worth it. The promise of a sunnier summer in every bite.
More later. Maybe. I am making myself very hungry…..

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