When I'm not actually eating, I'm thinking about food. I saw a show on Nova last night that featured new research on compulsive eaters. I have my problems, but these folks were morbidly obese; they stuff themselves until they feel physically ill, and then drown in guilt and depression. The lead researcher believes that something like one in a hundred overweight people have a defective gene receptor that causes them to eat way past the point where people without this problem will feel full and stop. I don't understand how this works, but maybe there's more to overeating than a simple lack of willpower. I guess I want to be told it's not my fault. Anyhow, since I am thinking of food, I decided to write down my dream dinner. It involves travel to several restaurants, so let's get going.
For appetizers, we need go no farther than a local favorite, Gennaro's Restaurant on Staten Island. They serve two appetizers that are equally good: one is a couple of dozen fat Mussels with strips of roasted red peppers and onions in a garlicky white wine sauce; the other is grilled zucchini, eggplant and onions served atop a warm pannini-style bread. If you finish one of these appetizers, you can just have them doggie-bag your entree because you'll be too full to eat it. A nice Pinot Grigio goes well with either of these.
Next, a salad to cleanse the pallette. Caesar salad is my favorite, but there are a few rules that need to be followed. First, the anchovies must be used sparingly, just to flavor the dressing, not overpower it. Next, the lettuce must be crisp Romaine; I've actually had places serve me Caesar Salad with iceburg lettuce....please. The toasted croutons should be on the large size so they don't get lost, and finally the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese must be generously shredded on top. Drink a California Pinot Noir with the salad. Rosie O'Grady's in Manhattan and Arturo's at Bally's in Atlantic City both do a great Caesar salad.
I wrestled with the entree because there are so many dishes I love. With apologies to my Italian ancestors, if I was ordering my last meal on earth, it would have to be a juicy, sizzling steak. I don't eat steak that often these days, so when I do, it has to be good. Most premium steak houses earned their reputations for a reason: my favorites are Ruth's Chris, Morton's, Sparks and, if you can tolerate the service, Peter Luger's. Tier two places include Sammy's in Mendham, New Jersey and Embers in Brooklyn. Sides should include large onion rings and an Idaho baked potato with sour cream. For a companion wine, any decent full-bodied California Cabernet Sauvignon will be perfect. Angioplasty anyone?
Got room for dessert? Of course. Again, tough choice to top off my last meal on earth. To refresh the tastebuds, start with a bottle of cold Prosecco. Then, if you like fancy, Ruth's Chris makes a chocolate lava cake that is so rich it requires CPR in-between bites. Bananas Foster is also a very special treat. Other choices might be Junior's Cheescake (from downtown Brooklyn) or a crisp sfoglitelle from any good Brooklyn bakery. Of course, a big pot of real espresso (screw the decaf) to wash it down. Take a ten-minute walk around the block to give your stomach a rest. Then come back for a nice Cognac and, since I don't really like cigars that much, a few Marlboros to relax.
What's that...the Warden and the Padre are coming? I guess my time is up. That last meal made it all worthwhile. Do I have any last words before walking that green mile? Yes, does anybody have a piece of chocolate for the trip?
SEE DATES ABOVE RIGHT FOR OTHER POSTS FROM "BRAINDROPS". ALSO, READ MY OTHER BLOG: SPALDEEN DREAMS