Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Vegas 2016: Home

I’d Rather be Home, Sick than Homesick

Home At Last
Not just my favourite song on Aja. Exactly how I felt when I got back to Vancouver. “Where did you go?” asks the customs woman. “Vegas,” I informed her.
“What for?” “The food.” “What food?” “The food at the best restaurants in Vegas.” “Such as…?” “Le Cirque,” I said by rote, though it’s no longer true. 
”Guy Savoy.” Still true. “Bazaar Meats, Lago, Giada, Artisanal Foods Café, Eiffel Tower, Milos…” “Is it your job?” “Just a blog.” “OK, you can go.” I must have been making her hungry.
She seemed dubious that I didn’t buy anything, but that’s not to say I didn’t bring anything back. Probably from the flight, I got a cold, which struck 2 days later when I was working on these notes. Soon, my skin was as hot as the pavement on a Vegas summer day; my nose as leaky as the Vancouver sky. Instead of transformational and educational meals, I needed nutrition.
Fumiyo came through with soup. It wasn’t as much a revelation as the bouillon at Bouchon. It was what I needed. The more I ate, the healthier I got.
The soup is made from carrots, potatoes, burdock, and daikon sautéed with butter. Water is added. When the soup bubbles, the bubbles and grease are removed. Torigawa (chicken stock) powder is added. So is sake and salt. The soup is simmered. You eat the soup. Your sickness goes away.

The dread I felt as the trip actually started. Was it justified? If so, by what? That the fish at Le Cirque was far, far below what I expected? No, it’s only the 3rd worst fish dish I’ve had there. The main fish dish I had last year was relentlessly worse. A langoustine dish I had on my first visit was so vile I had to send it back. This was at least edible, particularly with the addition of $29.00 worth of wine (a small glass of P. Montrachet). Was it the failed Jasmine Tea Off? That was disappointing, not depressing. Not seeing friends I’d hoped to see was more disappointing. Not being able to film was a drag, but the same thing happened last trip. So, no, the dread wasn’t justified, but perhaps defensive. How bad can things be when I expect them to be bad. Or maybe the cold that overwhelmed me 2 days after coming home was just starting the day before I left Vegas. Whatever, health has returned.
Food as medicine is basically the reason for food. We eat it and stay alive. Food aesthetics also has an evolutionary basis. Animals are attracted to colours of ripe and thus, most nutritious fruit. We find things delicious because we need their nutrients. But first we need to stay alive.
As for delicious things, I recreated the Branzino Livornese last night, even better than at Lago. I often eat High Liner brand Flame Savours Flame-Seared Seafood, Tilapia Tuscan Herb: Italian herbs, roasted red bell peppers and garlic. Baked at 400 degrees in parchment paper for 23 min. This time I added a dieing green pepper from the fridge, cut into thin strips; a dozen cherry tomatoes and a dozen Kalamata olives, cut in half, a tablespoon of capers and baked everything in parchment for 25 minutes. I could not believe how good it was. I’d always just eaten this fish by itself  but now I know better. Not only better than Lago’s Livornese, better than anything I ate in Vegas and about $4.00 for everything (and Nothing is cheap in Canada.). I was going to add a veggie side, but the veggies on the fish made it a whole meal. The trip was worth it just to learn that. I was as stunned at how good it was as the maiden at Le Cirque was by my compliment. Just bought some premium chicken stock from the soup store and some gnocchi at Puccini’s Italian deli so will try to equal Bouchon’s great soup tomorrow.  Guzzling a tall glass of pineapple juice mixed 5:1 with The Great Jamaican Old Tyme Ginger Beer ($1.50 for a  250 ml. bottle) which is almost as good as something from Vesper. Will make some sangria to drink while watching The Simpsons tonight (too sick to watch last week’s episode, I’ll probably watch it tonight as well.). Home at last!


At 7:08 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

glad you are better


Post a Comment

<< Home