Flavor of the Month: March 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017
Kyle and I once mentioned on the podcast that oddly, March seemed to rank among the best months of the year for eating. St. Patrick's Day! Pi Day! A Lenten fish fry at every neighborhood church! Meals in March can easily outshine some of the other parts of the calendar, so how did 2017 stack up?

  • Kampai on the go with Tiffany

  • Things have been somewhat rough in life lately, and my friend Tiffany had an idea guaranteed to lift my spirits: Grabbing a metric ton of sushi from my favorite place, taking it to her house, and settling in to watch the first episode of Feud while stuffing our faces with spider rolls. It worked. Combining great food with great company is the best medicine in the world.

  • James' birthday extravaganza at Fleming's

  • James hasn't had many opportunities to eat well, lately. Fortunately, he wasn't scheduled to be in the hospital on his birthday, so I made a reservation at one of his favorite fancy places, and when we got there, I told him to go nuts, and order whatever the hell he wanted. I did the same, and we were soon luxuriating in richly sauced sea bass and perfectly-cooked filet, along with creamed spinach, baked potato, some nice red wine, and fresh berries in lightly-chilled cream. The bill certainly reflected our extravagance, and I've had to pinch my pennies since then, but it was a good reminder that every once in a while, if you get a chance to throw moderation to the wind, you'd best grab it.

  • The annual St. Patrick's Day party at the Dogtown parade

  • Halloween is still an enormously important holiday to me, but at this stage in my life, it's pretty much been upstaged by St. Patrick's Day, which is a holiday that is paramount in my circle of friends. No matter the day of the week, and no matter the weather, we've been gathering together for the Dogtown parade on St. Patrick's Day to drink, eat, catch up with old acquaintances, and remember the loved ones we've lost. St. Patrick's Day has its traditional food, so in addition to all the booze and hotdogs I inhaled, I made sure to save room for some good ol' fashioned corned beef and cabbage. Irish identity is always fun to celebrate, but St. Patrick's Day has become about celebrating friendship itself, and hey, I can think of way worse ways to commemorate that than with corned beef.

  • Revisiting the past while hanging out with Jack and Corey

  • It's always good to have friends who enjoy food culture as much as you do, and I always have a ball going out to eat with these two. On this particular evening we wound up at Wildflower in the Central West End. This restaurant has special significance for me, because I worked for them for years as a caterer waiter. Going back as a customer made me feel like I was dropping by my high school Homecoming football game. Event catering was hard work (especially at Wildflower, whose catering space is only accessible by a narrow staircase with no dumbwaiter - every dish had to be carried up and down to the kitchen by hand), but I enjoyed it. As we sat down to enjoy our dinner, I found myself reminiscing about some of the old stories, from faking my way through bartending duty to getting a ridiculous amount of tips the night we catered an even for the Gay Rodeo. Dinner itself was pretty remarkable too; I got a carbonara dish with a ridiculous amount of calamari on top. While it can be nice to look back at the past via photo albums or old letters, there's something pretty satisfying about going back in time while chowing down on pasta.

  • Considering the modern wave of home food delivery with Tiffany

  • I finished out the important meals of the month the same way the month began: Kicking back in Tiffany's living room. Instead of sushi this time, she split up one of her Blue Apron meals. I'm intensely curious about the recent wave of services that deliver pretty involved recipes to your doorstep, and may even sign up for one at one point. They seem a little pricey for a guy who works in publicly-funded science, but there's something intriguing about coming home to find the ingredients for battered catfish and marinated cabbage waiting for you. That's what we had on this particular evening, and it was quite tasty. Home delivery meals will never cure me of my cookbook addiction, but it's always cool to try something new.