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 Point...it doesn't matter as long as they're fresh, briny and delicious.
3. The warm goat cheese salad at Gnocco in
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
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 Dragonwater.com.
Now I have to go make a pot...