Monday, May 23, 2011

Girls, Goats, Pigs, Faces

A week ago, at about this time - I was half way through (arguably) best meals of my life.

I wanted to write about it before today, but life got busy.  This is actually ideal for you, because instead of every single thought I was thinking that night (and believe me, there were a whole bunch) you're only getting the ones I've retained for the past 7 days.  Think of it as a greatest hits album.

Anyway, prepared to be starving at the end of this...

Boyfriend and I acquired (through sheer luck and the fact that I spend about 100% of my waking hours on Facebook) a good friend's Girl and the Goat reservation for Monday at 8:30.  This is epic.  Especially because we only waited three weeks (not 5 months) to go.

So the yelp page said the dress was casual, which for Boyfriend and I means "trying way too hard."  It was all the cool kids were and we were totally pretending like we fit in even a little bit. Its good to date someone you would have been friends with in high school in situations like this.

Once we got seated our waiter came over and explained that everything was served "family style" which is how they get away with charging reasonable prices for end up needing about 5 of them for two people.  Anyway - so we picked what we wanted to eat and then announced these decisions to the waiter, to which he responded,

"Uh, that's an awful lot of meat, are you sure you don't want to switch out for a veggie dish or some fish or something?"

I think he was genuinely trying to be helpful and keep us from eating ourselves sick, but seriously? Who goes to one of the fanciest restaurants they are ever going to go to and orders asparagus?  And we could have gotten fish, but then we would have had to lose a meat dish and we weren't willing to make any exceptions at this point.

Anyway - he left before he could judge our carnivorous habits more and we waited (and drank wine).

The food:

Course 1 - Bread.  It was some sort of foccacia situation with two spreads.  One sun dried tomato and one chive yogurt one.  They were more the consistency of a sauce than a spread.  But it was good.  Separately, together, whatever.  Awesome sauce Indeed.

Course 2 - Fried Oysters with egg salad and capers.  I cannot remember the last time I ate an oyster (if ever) and Boyfriend for sure had never had the pleasure.  This was probably a terrible first oyster as it was amazing and fried and perfect and the next time he has a (raw) oyster - he is going to be sad.  Oh man, who thought oysters and egg salad would go so well together?  (Stephanie Izard, that's who).

Course 3 - Confit Goat Belly, Bourbon butter, lobster and crab and fennel.  I think one of most amazing things I've learned in my dabbles as a foodie is - don't get scared off by words.  Two things I have eaten that sound horrible but taste delicious? - veal heart and goat belly.  Its just meat, tasty, tasty meat.  And what makes meat better?  Crab and lobster meat.  I remember picking up a bite of lobster and realizing that this may be as close as I ever get to pure, unadulterated happiness.

Course 4 - Chick Peas Fritters with more veggies and some cheese.  Our one "vegetable" for the evening.  Fried and delightful.  Probably the most boring part of the meal, and even so, it was a taste I had never experienced and I would chose to eat it over pretty much anything else on any given night.

Course 5 - Sugo, [pasta], rosemary and gooseberries.  We both had a brief panic when we saw it on the menu, as it was a totally unfamiliar term.  When we asked our server what it was (while trying also to look exactly like we knew what we were talking about) he said some things we couldn't really hear (its kind of noisy in there) and so we said "Oh yeah, of course, we'll have that".  What he should have said is, "Rachel, this taste exactly like the most delicious parts of your childhood."  Did Nonna make Sugo?  I have no idea but this tasted exactly how I imagine all of Nonna's cooking did.  It was perfect.  I did not want it to end.  I wish I could just walk around with a bowl of it hanging from my neck and like, the longest noodle that I can just munch on whenever I am feeling like it.

Course 6 - (this just in: We are fatties) wood oven roasted Pig Face.  PIG FACE (and a sunny side egg, tamarid, cilantro and potato stix).  Apparently there are some cultures where eating a pig's Face is totally normal (this was made apparent by some of my friends complete "over it" attitude when I told them about it).  Well, in the 1990's upper-middle class suburban to rustic country culture of my life - pigs face was never on the menu, which is sad because that is one delicious face.  Its devastating that I've had to go 26 years before I even got to try it (although, there are probably like 5 or 6 people out there who have gone even longer).  With the sunny side egg and the potatoes, it was amazing.  It was interesting because it was served in the exact same style (with egg and potatoes) as the veal heart from Otom last year.  I am not sure why chefs serve unfamiliar meats in a style akin to something you would find at a Denny's, but I am not complaining.

And then - there was the ends of a bottle of wine to be dealt with, dessert to be discussed, but ultimately rejected (we were pretty full) and then a bus ride home to reveal in the amazingness of food. 

As I grow up, I think one my favorite things is indulging in a delicious, absurd meal for no real reason at all.  There was no anniversary, no birthday, no greeting cards necessary - just the food, the company, the girl and the goat.

Mmm.  Goat.

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She's pint-sized and amazing.