Friday, September 15, 2006

Things to Eat Before You Die

When Melissa over at The Traveler's Lunchbox started this meme, I had only one response: this is the best meme EVER. Nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy inside than imagining foodie bloggers around the world perched in front of their computers pondering their favorite foods and salivating, pecking out a hurried Top Five, then dashing away to satisfy their singular cravings for a ripe fig, Brie de Meaux, a hot Krispy Kreme donut (I feel you on that one!).

Like everyone else, I've had a terrible time narrowing it down to five... in fact, I couldn't do better than ten. I know, I know, it's cheating...and I considered employing all the ways that others have cheated - making five categories, etc. - but finally I came to the conclusion that my readers wanted my extra five faves more than Melissa wanted me to play by the rules, dammit!
So I made two lists: a top five for Melissa, and a top ten for the rest of you:

Five (to Ten) Things to Eat Before You Die:

1. A perfect slice of key lime pie. No jiggly green jelly or mounds of Cool Whip here - we're talking smooth, creamy, tart key lime ecstasy; tender homemade graham cracker crust packed with butter; all accompanied by a dollop of whipped cream so fresh it still has sugar crystals, and a teeny twist of candied key lime zest. Heaven!

2. Seawater-fresh, plump, sweet oysters on the halfshell over ice - preferably eaten within sight of the beach, with wind in your hair. Malpeque, Blue doesn't matter as long as they're fresh, briny and delicious.

3. The warm goat cheese salad at Gnocco in New York. Inexplicably, this particular dish isn't featured on the online menu of this little East Village jewel - but I've had it dozens of times and still develop powerful midnight cravings. The farm-fresh herbed goat cheese is baked atop a thin, crisp round of flaky pastry, then served abed baby arugula and frisée tossed with golden raisins and toasted pine nuts, and drizzled with honey.

4. Lobster hot from the pot and served with salty clarified butter. Ain't nothing better.

5. Warm, flaky croissants with homemade blackcurrant jam and butter-straight-from-the-churn on the patio of a Provencal farmhouse. Some of my best food-memories are still from a trip I took with my parents to Provence when I was fifteen; we stayed at a little farmhouse called Mas de Gres in Isle sur Sourge. The owners and chefs, Thierry and Nina Crovara, prepared uniformly extraordinary breakfasts and dinners from their own farm and from local markets.

Those are for you, Melissa. Thanks for letting me participate in your wonderful meme/project!

And now, for the really dedicated readers, 6-10:

6. Homemade lemon curd on a hot, buttery scone. Lemon curd is one of life's simple, decadent pleasures. The scone is yummy but not necessary; curd is just as good on a spoon (or your fingers...).

7. Fondue at Dante's Down the Hatch. Call me crazy, but even after all my sophisticated New York dining experiences, eating a pot of Swiss cheeses with garlic and white wine with a loaf of crusty brown bread aboard a pirate ship with alligators circling below you is still one of my favorite gustatory adventures. Call three days in advance and you can order the astronomical honey-based Chocolate Fondue, served to a minimum of six guests. I grew up eating at least once annually at Dante's with my best friend, who was family friends with the illustrious Dante himself!

8. My mom's caramel cake. Fluffy white cake, tooth-achingly sweet caramelized sugar icing - this stuff is like crack.

9. A bellini made with fresh Georgia peaches in July. My two favorite things - Georgia peaches and champagne! But really, no matter how they were served (in a a paper bag...), those peaches would make this list. Nothing beats a juicy summer peach from Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

10. An excruciatingly hot cup of jasmine tea on a cold, rainy morning. You curl up on the couch under the softest of all possible blankets, open a good book on your lap, and listen to the rain pound against the window while the floral steam licks your face. Be sure to buy premium tea with whole jasmine blooms; I get all my teas at

Now I have to go make a pot...


M said...

Except for the oysters, I could lived in your food dreams...heck Kate, you even made them sound good!

Jyl said...

Oh, I hear ya about the peaches...I live about 40 minutes from Blue Ridge and we love to go to orchard...and to Ellijay for apples. Something else that is wonderful from the peaches is peach dumplings. YUMMM!!!

Lex said...

Excellent top ten! Now I want key lime pie... I might have to put the biscuits from Crescent Moon on my top ten though. :)

Ivonne said...

Okay. You win. You have the best list!

ThursdayNext said...

Kate, this is one amazing list! Key Lime Pie as numero uno? You bet! :) Perfect, perfect, perfect! I may have to steal this meme, please!

michelle said...

Great list! I won't pretend that I know if Colorado peaches are better or worse than Georgia's, but I'll try one of yours if you try one of mine!! Good to see you again, my dear Kate!

Anonymous said...

This is not blogging bi-weekly!!!!

I want recipes.


Anonymous said...

Are you okay?

vanessa said...

This is a great meme. And you're like me in that I can't keep it five, either. Hope things are well and you're posting again!

M said...

K-A-T-E! H-E-L-L-O!!!!

Jamie said...

I loooooove Dante's! Everyone should go there at least once.

Anonymous said...

Knock, still writing blogs???? I'm in need of a new recipe!! LOL!!

No, really, hope your new job is going well and hope to hear from you again soon....contrary to you're mom's thoughts, we'll still check back!

Caroline in Ohio