We don't much care for the term "Foodie." In its basic sense it refers to one who has a keen interest in all things food. That term is now enshrined in the common vernacular. Alas. And that "interest" thing is now quite something else again.
Narcissistic preoccupation/obsession? People are going to bed hungry in this world (still). And we are sending back the poached salmon because it isn't chilled sufficiently. "Waiter, the texture of this mousse! It's inedible!" "Show us the water menu, please."
Who doesn't like food? But, give us a break. It's out of control. Bacon ice cream? The nuances have nuances. How many kinds of salt do you have at home? Oils? Condiments? Sugars? Honeys? Don't let's get started on cheese. We don't shop anywhere where there are less than 250 varieties available.
Fondly remembering a very posh restaurant in New York City. Christ Cella. Going back to 1923. Alas, no more. (Now Aretsky's Patroon Townhouse. Similar vibe.)
No menu. White tablecloths and napkins. Waiters with long white aprons. Wood floor. WWII aviation photos on the walls. Want a Shrimp Cocktail: a fist full of Shrimp in a plain little bowl drenched in Cocktail Sauce. Broccoli with Hollandaise: Steamed bunch of Broccoli on a plain plate drenched in Hollandaise. A Steak: grilled perfectly. Dessert: Napoleon; yes, stacked crispy and custardy on a plain white plate. If you haven't caught the drift ... make it simple ... put it on a plate.
Yes, there's a place for everything. But, particularly in NYC, there's a tendency to try to top the top. Then top that. And even again, and more so. Basta!
It now seems to also have spawned a whole class of individuals who we would refer to as "Food Snobs." Maybe we can recalibrate to add the term "Foodhole"? Foodies gone too far. And, an industry that has grown up catering (capitalizing) on the penchant for these types to relate to food as entertainment.
Our bouche is not amused. It just seems somehow off to be sitting in a restaurant propped up to here to give the impression that what you are about to partake of is heaven sent. The food usually stacked so high with so many elements it looks like it could indeed reach the celestial realm. Prices to match.
We recently shelled out $37.00 (!) for breakfast at a new trendy spot in toney suburbia. A 3" x 2" piece of brioche French toast topped with a single egg (organic, oh yes) accompanied by some undistinguished sausage called farinheira. It's a traditional Portuguese sausage made with farina and pork fat (show us the pork!). It's the kind of thing that you have to have grown up with to appreciate. Bland to high heaven. The owner/chef was ecstatic about how it comes from a shop that makes it specially for them. All that surrounded by a drizzle of honey and a generous sprinkling of bits of hard mission figs. Also, a flat thin frittata of dense thoroughly cooked eggs infused with a confetti of colorful vegetables. Custom roast coffee with an odd flavor note; $2.50 per cup. Seconds? That'll be another $2.50. Make it nice with a mini-croissant. It was stale. And a thimble of jam for +$1.00.
It didn't hurt that our lovely waitress was most welcoming and all smiles and rather shapely in her tight jeans. But, we can't help feeling that the tab was mostly for hype. More the idea that it was special, than the proof in the pudding. And, the owners' narcissistic fantasy that they were bringing something really new and exciting to the table. We will let sleeping dogs lie. We'll not be back.
Just to button it up, this Cat doesn't want to go out to dine and pay up the wazoo for stuff that isn't even half as good as something we could whip up at home any day of the week.
Someone recently shared about her lovely lunch at this trendy new spot, "Pulled Duck Croissants." She's a local booster of trendy dining spots; nothing but superlatives. Not just duck, but it's been "pulled." And, on mini-croissants. Where's the duck? We got your duck to pull! And what's with croissants for sandwiches? Sure they're good. But it seems that any time you make it with a croissant the big spenders stop thinking and pony up just to partake of the experience of being with the in crowd. We like imaginative food, but not a fantasy of food. As in, good mainly in your imagination.
There's a place for special foods and food preparation. But, there are too many now for the majority of those aspiring to greatness to hit the high marks.
For heaven's sake!