Monday, August 08, 2005

Mythos, of time, place and taste


Mythos has been my favourite Greek restaurant on the North Shore for as long as I've had one. Not the great competition for great Greek cuisine one finds overtown, still, when Dino suggested we eat on Lonsdale, and then more specifically, at Mythos, it was like winning the Olympics. To taste it's trusty eggplant stuffed with crab is to momentarily deny the gods their meal for the evening. I wonder if they're sore losers?
This was the first time we'd been to Mythos with Steph, Dino and his friends, so Dino ordered vast tablesfull of food for all tastes. Soki ordered chicken livers, and relished them when they came, to the shock of some of the other diners but those who tasted them swore by their goodness. I ate them not. Instead, I dealved into the garlic prawns. Always Bit's favourite at Mythos, and most everywhere she could get them. Many of us had memories of garlic-dripping prawns dissappearing into her mouth and into Myth, like the maidens painted on the wall to inspire eyes to other Cretes.
More prawns appeared.
It was the day mint first met tomato.
In future memory on yet-undreamt uses of silicon, it will be remembered.
One swims as a prawn through the sauce. Anything else it touches is instantly annointed.
Dino's stuffed squid was another novelty to me. In the swarm of new taste sensations that was assailing me that evening, it did not stand out, but he was pleased.
Fumiyo was delighted with her bowl of lemon soup and nibbled happily on the swollen tablesfull of delights. My crabfilled eggplant was its usual wonder, but I ended up taking most of it home. Lamb had been ordered, and the last lamb I had at Mythos was with Joel whose taste buds are kept polished in the fine eateries of the Bay area and extensive travel, who pronounced his rack of lamb top of the rack. I had a taste, and indeed it was. This time, I had a morsel of some other lamb cut. And flashed back to the first meat I consumed, a lamb chop, at the time of the Cuban Missle Crisis when I ate at the home of a friend. I had never been served meat before, and knew not what it was. My friend's mother was so puzzled at my approach to her shared meal that she called my mother and told her I did not seem to know the difference between "fat" and "meat." My parents promptly switched from Nothing But Fish to 3 beefsteaks a day. Since then I've had lamb rarely. It is a large part of Indian food and the substitution of ground beef for ground lamb in moussaka is a loss, so I would miss it were it to dissappear from the planet, but not as much as many others. The morsel I consumed in the Greek Food Tsunami was delicious. There were an increasing variety of flavours at Mythos I didn't know existed, and would never have ordered as an entree, fixated as I am upon the perfection of the crab. Steph suggested I order more of the sublime tomato prawns but there was too much else to explore this time. The daily specialized Halibut made its appearance. The queen of fish. Strongly herbed, as it would have to be to complete with the armies of flavours overflowing the plates. Took some home with the crab and it retained its pungency. In the middle of a piece of chicken I was surprised to discover Was chicken, it seemed that I had stumbled into 1001 Arabian nights. The banquet tale. Oh there isn't a banquet tale? There is now.
The table is a wine-dark sea of sangria. Was it always on the menu or is it new? I am confused. Did the tomato-mint-prawns by divine intervention exist earlier in time? I had been far too incurious in my previous visits to Mythos. Curiosity must not be allowed to atrophy.

I'm reading Love, Sex & Tragedy: How the Ancient World Shapes Our Lives by Simon Goldhill at present, very much about how ancient Greek ideas live on among us. Would Socrates have had anything like modern Greek food? Are ingredients unchanging and meals the same for any people over thousands of years? For many, there are new options. Will we see a culinary explosion to rival the intellectual explosions of the ancient Greeks? A mathematics of taste.
The gods we thought we stole those meals from really just set us up. The journey to perfection is endless. But on the voyage, you eat really well.

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