One of the best books I’ve read this year has been Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. I enjoyed it so much that I actually chose to savor it, like a piece of rich chocolate torte. When it ended, I went into withdrawal, and then, luckily, Gabrielle came out with her cookbook, which I now keep doggy-eared on the dinner table to flip through at every meal.
The problem was — I had never been to the restaurant. In B, B &B, Gabrielle paints her world with such evocative prose that you can taste the butter and anchovies, you can hear the clang of the dishwasher in the kitchen and the lingering chatter of restaurant customers. But it just wasn’t enough.
Until last night! What a treat. I would eat there every night if I could, and I think that’s the point — the food is homey but delicious, comforting yet slightly unexpected and so well executed. Despite it being a renowned restaurant, it still has that neighborly vibe. The man sitting next to me, for instance, was clearly a regular. He came in for a treat (a campari soda and a bowl of cold mascarpone ice cream), and then referred to the waitress by her name before leaving.
I tried the bitter orange cocktail which was amazing, and we shared a few appetizers — fried sweetbreads with capers, head-on shrimp with butter and anchovies (seriously, they’re in almost every dish), and for dinner, I chose the blistered squid with pork sausage and white beans. For dessert, we shared the cold candied orange and white tiramisu. Throughout the meal, I kept an eye out for Gabrielle herself, though she never appeared. Bummer! Maybe next time…
Such a fun night, anyway. And so good to be home.
^Right after taking that photo, my family joked that I was like a tourist snapping photos of the subway. I couldn’t help it! They’re so used to city living, but I’m out of practice.