Flavor of the Month: May 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
On all of these posts so far, there were only a handful of meaningful experiences per month, which makes sense. In May, though, I had so many cool meal experiences that I had to narrow it down. Those are the kinds of problems you want to have! So you'll have to do without the retelling of a fantastic breakfast sandwich in New Jersey and the best pineapple upside-down cake I've ever had at Juniper. So what was the best of the best in May?

  • Softening the blow of hearing about big life changes over a bowl of ramen

  • I want to respect people's privacy, so I won't name names in this one, but I learned at the beginning of May that one of my friends will likely be moving out of the area soon. It's always difficult to hear that someone you love won't be around anymore, and there's no good way of getting that news. We did our best, though, as we talked over a bowl of salty ramen at Robata. They have insanely good ramen there, and the fact that it's walking distance from my apartment only increases its allure. It doesn't alleviate the sadness of a friend leaving, but it always hits the spot.

  • A celebratory Done-With-Treatment brunch at Fleming's

  • James is finally done with his cancer treatment, and though he still has some tests and checkups to go, we're both cautiously optimistic that he's in the clear now. We had to go out and celebrate, and though we usually save Fleming's for an indulgent steak dinner, we went for Sunday brunch this time. Your usual brunch places with have eggs and waffles, chicken salad and corn chowder. Fleming's? Fleming's does stuff like this:

    This Asian noodle salad with seared ahi tuna was pretty amazing, and the complementary mimosas were the perfect way to clink glasses and tell cancer to go screw itself.

  • Tearing through a metric ton of snacks while..."altered"

  • Despite the good news about James' treatment, it's still undeniable that I've been having a rough time of it lately. Someone suggested that one way to counteract the stress would be to find a source of...help, and fortunately, some friends were nice enough to track down a small supply. We all partook of this "help" one afternoon, laughed our way through weird old episodes of The Magic School Bus, and ate. And ate and ate and ate and ate. I can't ever remember half the snacks we put away, but I vaguely remember cramming a Mr. Goodbar into my face, and downing some cheap sushi in about three bites. That afternoon of indulgence may not have done my waistline any favors, but it certainly helped my mood.

  • A whirlwind of a culinary tour in New Jersey and New York City

  • Towards the end of the month, I popped across to visit a friend who lives in northern New Jersey. He's as much of a food fan as I am, and we had a ball picking out restaurants to visit. All of them turned out to be wonderful, but even with such a strong roster, two stood out. One was for the experience: A pitcher of sangria after a Broadway show at Victor's Cafe in Manhattan. It was a warm evening, and it was so great to kick back with someone I don't get to see very often and sip our refreshing drinks. The fact that the nearby band took our names and incorporated them into their rhythmic Cuban songs was an extra bonus. The other standout was for outstanding food. If you ever find yourself in Morristown, New Jersey, make sure you get to Ming II. When I asked my friend to describe it, he said "It's what you'd get if you went to India and ordered Chinese food." I can't improve on that description, and let him and his brother order everything. Every single bite was fantastic. The restaurant itself is actually very pretty, and the service was terrific, but even if it had been some hole in the wall, I haven't had such remarkable food in a long time.