Wednesday, April 2, 2008

$24.03 - - The Review

So as you saw yesterday, I made a really pretty little tasting plate for Andrew and I. Unfortunately, Andrew couldn't join me. I think it is because he saw the olives on the plate (file olives under "Food Andrew Hates."), but he said he was just really busy with work. Fine, so I guess I'll just have to drink both glasses of wine, and eat all of the olives. So I brought everything into the dining room and put the plate on the floor by the window to take a polaroid. After I took the polaroid, I sat down in front of the plate to wait for it to develop. I was planning on waiting to make sure that the photo came out ok, but then I started smelling all of the food and just dove right in. So there I sat on the floor, facing the wall, like a scolded little child, hovering over this plate of food worth $24.03. I'm sure it was a strange site.

The first thing that I realized about tasting stuff is that I seem to be much more critical about the food when I am serving it to myself. Make sense? Probably not. I'll explain. My first bite was a piece of cheese. I smelled it (hmmmmm? not wonderful) and then put a little piece on my tongue, and just let it sit there. I have absolutely no idea why I did that. But that is what I did. It didn't taste great, it was okay, nothing more, nothing less. It was creamy, yes, but a bit too tangy for my taste (kind of the "old shoe" cheese syndrome -- i just made that up ... that's not a real syndrome, but you know what I mean). I thought to myself, "I wouldn't buy that again. Would I? No, nope." Then it occurred to me; If I was at someone else's house, having a tasting or even at a fancy restaurant and this was part of a cheese plate, I may not diagnose it with "old shoe" syndrome. In fact, I would probably say something like, "Ooooooh. Uh huh. Now this is interesting." And I would proceed to eat several pieces of it, liking it more and more with each bite. So I guess I mean that it is somehow more difficult to be objective about the taste of food when you are serving it to yourself. Merely just something for you to think about if you decide to do something like this at home.

Now the olives were good. I especially liked the giant green cerignola olives. They were like eating a tiny piece of fruit. Really meaty and salty, but in a good way, because meaty and salty- - - not always good. The funny thing about olives is that they are a food I hated for as far back as I can remember. Maybe it's because I thought there were only two types; the green ones in the jar with the little red dot and the black ones that come in a can and were served on pizza (which i would pick off, removing half of the cheese in the process). In recent years, my eyes have been opened to a variety of olives, all of which have pits and none of which are served in cans. And now, I am happy to add picholine and cerignola to the list.

Oh. I guess I kind of skipped the crackers. Well, they're not just crackers, are they? They are crisps - - a highly evolved form of the cracker that always comes with a higher price tag. I would buy these again and again. So delicious. So flavorful, and damn if they didn't make the old shoe cheese taste good.

The wine. The mystery wine (sorry about that). I am new to wine tasting. I have been wine drinking for quite some time, and never realized that I was supposed to taste it, too. I still find the whole process quite intimidating. All of those "wine words", it's like an elite club I cannot join. I'm not actually sure that I want to join, because honestly, those "wine people" really bug the crap out of me. Nonetheless, the system does have it's value, and it is fun to appreciate what you drink. That being said, I can tell you that the wine was a really easy drink. Kind of like Bud Light or something (not sure that I am complimenting the wine). A bit watery, very light in flavor, but I still managed to finish both glasses in a record amount of time. Next time I am at whole foods, I'll make note of the wine, so that you can try it, too.

And now, the grand finale. The chocolate. The sweet, sweet little salty butter caramel filled butterflies. Oh, how I have patiently waited to eat you. And now. The time has come. And within seconds I will know how wonderful you are... Uh oh. I was wrong. The little butterfly was not what I thought. It was not delicious and the caramel that I thought would be buttery and salty and creamy (I kind of envisioned myself taking a bite and the caramel would fall out of my mouth onto my chin and I would carefully wipe it off with my finger and then put my finger in my mouth and ingest every last molecule of it). Well this was not the case. It was GELATINOUS. And it somehow reminded me of chocolate covered cherries. I hate chocolate covered cherries. Now don't get me wrong. I ate the whole thing and gave Andrew his (which he devoured in one bite, as I screamed "Wait, wait. No. Oh honey, you're supposed to taste it, not just inhale it). I just wouldn't recommend it. But I won't leave you empty handed. If you want amazing caramel chocolate truffles go here.

Now, I'm off to work on a new Drink of the Week, and laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.

PS. The photo is of my new tasting notebook and today's breakfast (melty ham, swiss and tomato on sourdough).


k said...

Great post! I do a lot of little food and wine tasting at home. I work at a winery, but I (and we) are not "that" kind of there's no snobbery, but it is an art form and I love that about it. So, I study at home, try things out. And I notice that it's always fun-ner to do with others. I don't put as much becomes something about a gathering, rather than just something.

Oops, dog is whining...I should get him outdoors! to read here.

ginger said...

hee hee... the bud light of wines

you're the best kind of foodie, the non-pretentious type.

Great photo and yet another charming post!


Krysta said...

I love the bud light remark! The wine lovers would HATE that you even said that. They would say something to the effect that the wine had some fruity taste and then mention the terrior and then say something about the drinkablity!

Emily said...

Just let me say I have loved your $20 posts. Your descriptions of the food is fantastic. I'm glad you liked the crisps. I really like them too. Actually my mum and dad went to school with Lesley Stowe.

kristine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kristine said...

I am with you on the 'food I serve myself gets harsher treatment' issue. it's true. I am also with you on the wine words. I think the bud light description, while perhaps not what wine-people would prefer, is a very good description. At least I knew what you were talking about.

(sorry I had to re-post this comment, there were so many typos I was embarassed to have you read it. And I don't even know you!)

Jackie said...

Well at least someone is being truthful about this expensive food. It's not all good. But the chocolates looked so lovely.

Meghan said...

Very curious. I am just the opposite in my own cooking critiques. I pretty much devour most of the meals I make, believing them to be delicious and well executed. It's usually not until my plate is empty that I realize how dissatisfied I would be if that was served at a restaurant or friends house. Hmmm. What does that say about me? (Or you???)

bronwyn said...

OK - so all this talk of salty caramel made me duck into the little chocolate shop downstairs from my office on my lunch hour and get a sea salt caramel truffle. I am enjoying it with a cup of tea as I write this. Thanks for the inspiration!

voyance said...

Thanks! great blog!

Rita Finn said...

I love your blogs. As a self-proclaimed foodie for some years, I find your blog fresh and inspiring. I contend that good food can be found as much at a fine French restaurant as at a roadside hot-dog stand. There is good food and there is bad food. While I am no wine connesseur, I got a wine journal that prompts me with questions that force me to really taste the wine. I've turned it into a game to find the nice "value" wines. (Translate: Inexpensive but full of life) Thanks for the vicarious pleasures!

Jared said...

Can't say I'm much of wine expert either. I can tell the difference between jug wine and good wine, but that is about it. It's all relative to what you like anyway. No reason to let the "experts" dissuade you from trying something different.

lisa said...

Well, the $24.03 plate looked terrific...but I'd much rather eat the melty-cheesy-tomatoandham-thing-on-sourdough! Like right now.

I think it's time for a melty-cheesy dinner. Bye :)

maple sugar said...

Okay. I would like to say, that I just found your blog, and I could probably spend all day here. I LOVE your posts, and your photography, and I will be back often! Sorry for all the gushing!


Nicole said...

You do have a way with words! Great post. I am often disappointed with the "fancy" looking chocolates. Like they look so good sometimes but just taste rather plastic or stale or just not right.

Relyn said...

I love it! Love the idea, the picture, the review. Keep them coming. I bet a lot of us here in blogland end up joining you, whether we post about it or not. Well, I'm off to find the perfect sweety-salty caramel.

Anonymous said...

You are hysterical. I love your honesty and humor; this is a real delight to read and now I need to figure out why the RSS feed never shows up in my Bloglines, sigh.

Re. Cerignola olives, I always describe them as "meaty," too, and they are my absolute favorite. I buy the tubs of them at WF (you can get one of the tubs for about $4 usually, I think, with about 15+ olives in it) and eat them as a snack when I'm watching tv. Or cooking dinner. Or checking my e-mail. Yum.

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