November 8, 2005
my unrefined palate + heavenly curry pan
Things that are caustic:
- hydrochloric acid
- Frank Bruni's review of Ninja
While we usually just taste wine in my Beverages class (procedure: swish in mouth, suck in some air, swish around some more, spit out), today we had to drink (procedure: swallow) it for our "Food and Wine" segment. Damn. Drink. Process of allowing wine to travel down my esophagus instead of the inside of my spitoon. I'm sure the amount of wine I've actually consumed on purpose over my lifetime has amounted to less than half a cup, yet here I was around 11 AM, told to try nine wines with an array of different foods. Obviously, we had to take small sips and bites to get through everything, but I found it semi-torturous.
I should remind you that I have a highly unrefined palate. The drink I found most appealing so far was a hazelnut liqueur that barely tasted like alcohol, but had the strongest brain-clouding hazelnut scent I've ever smelled. Oh, it was sweet too. There wasn't anything subtle or complicated about it. JUST LIKE MYSELF.
We started with the savory foods, which were olives, roast beef, turkey, Gruyere cheese, young goat cheese, and mustard to go on...something, if you so desired. First, we paired the foods with four different white wines. Take a bite of turkey. Take a sip of wine. Wait for your stomach to curl into a ball and mew like a dying cat. (And by "your" I mean "my.")
The only combination that stood out, to me as un-sucking was Champagne with goat cheese. Everything else was labeled oh-so academically by my unenthusiastic brain as "okay", "eh," or "NOO!!!!" The worst was roast beef with anything. I don't really like roast beef. God knows why I was taking notes since it really didn't matter what everyone though if I didn't like the combinations.
Classmate: "The Gruyère went well with the Chardonnay."
Inside my head: "...Meh."
Next up were the red wines, which were three dry wines and two sweet wines. I was rather excited to finally try this long-fabled SWEET wine, something with sugar, something with sweetness, something to make me happy! Maybe! Or! NOT, as my taste buds would soon find out and subsequently write a pact against to never try again or else they'd commit mass suicide.
I had nothing against the food, except for the Whole Foods mocha truffle. Why? Because. Mocha. Not only do I not like coffee in liquid form, but even when combined with silky smooth (i.e., fat-loaded) ganache does my palate go, "NO, no more, noo." At least the cashews and snickerdoodle were awesome.
But did any of them go with the wines? Er. Um. Well. The Pedro Ximenex Sherry was caramel colored and similarly carried a strong caramel/fig flavor, but I wasn't very into it because of the alcohol content. Oh, you say that wine has alcohol? Oh yeah! I suppose that explains why my taste buds are adverse to it. Sorry.
I'm a heathen. You can try to assimilate my tastebuds to alcohol, but I have no idea what advantage that would give me except an inclination towards drunkenness. (And don't remind me about the "French Paradox" and red wine deal, beacuse I already know about it.) Today's class showed me that any food with wine will probably taste awful to me.
While leaving class, one of my classmates said that she's all about the savory foods. My internal response?
"I eat honey out of the jar."
Remember: I have that super-unrefined palate that knows no boundaries. You want to know what drink goes with everything and is vital to life? Water! Yeah, it's quite good, last time I checked, which was a second ago when I was thirsty and thought, "Hey, this water would go well with that mix of gaseous elements I juts breathed in". It doesn't burn my throat, unless it's composed of fermented grape squeezelin's.
Yes, that's my new word for juice: "squeezelin's". Surely, it'll never catch on. Just to make sure, I googled it and my search did not match any documents. Thank god...I wouldn't want to know who else would use it.
I had a large day of eating considering how un-hungry I was. I made that mistake of eating breakfast despite not being hungry. To take a very informal survey, how many of you are hungry at 8 AM? I'm not, but I've seen the lines stretching out of the coffee carts. It's like my stomach is still warming up while everyone is down the race track. Lapping me. Multiple times.
I've only been to Panya twice before (or rather, eaten from there twice before; I've gone inside a few times without getting anything) but since it was on my walking route, I stopped in for a curry pan, which I've never had before.
So. I wasn't hungry, and I knew I was going to eat in my Beverages class in a few hours. BUT YOU CANNOT RESIST THE CURRY PAN! IT'S PUFFY GOLDEN PANKO-DUSTED AURA PULLS YOU IN! WITH OIL! AND CURRY! AND HAPPINESS!
I took my winnings (I could say "purchase" but "winnings" sounds more exciting) to the Starbucks by Cooper Union (you know, from where you can see the other Starbucks at Astor Place), sat at one of the the semi-deserted outdoor tables, and started a-chompin'.
It was almost a Yakitate moment. Seriously. I don't know how to best describe the sensation of eating a baked and fried bun filled with spicy curry, but I'll attempt to anyway in the case that you can't get one of these for yourself. It starts with that addictive, oily fried taste (it's not very oily but make sure you have napkins) before transforming into the soft bun dough I love about Japanese and Chinese baked goods. Then on top of the wheaty goodness, there's CURRY INSIDE! Eating the curry pan was more so a textural pleasure than a flavor one, although it succeeded in both. Curry is one of my favorite foods EVER, by the way; if you don't like curry (*gasp*), don't expect to be wowed.
I don't think I was truly hungry at any point today. Maybe the wine killed my appetite. Still, I ate...a lot. Some more of those damn chocolate chip cookies. The rest of the Ritter Cornflake bar I bought yesterday. A random dish of potatoes, leeks, onions, lemon juice, and sardines. An apple. Estimated caloric consumption: 2000-something calories.
...oh, but how could I forget?
I went to Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven after my Beverages class, about a 10-15 minute walk away (in other words, not far enough to escape the wrath of my sweet tooth). My quest was to buy a bar of chocolate for a friend overseas, but I wanted something for myself also. For $1, I got a nice little PB & J piece, which as you can see is...peanut butter and jelly. In chocolate. You know what could be a good (or really bad) idea? If someone dipped a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in chocolate. Yeah, enrobe that sucker, you know you want to.
Alas, I didn't buy any cookies because that would've made me feel a bit too indulgent (says the girl who eats 100 grams of chocolate a day).
Posted by roboppy at 10:07 PM
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