Flavor of the Month: June/July 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017
The pendulum has swung. May 2017 had so many meaningful eating/drinking experiences that I had to narrow the list down. June and July had far fewer, to the point that even combining them only gave me a handful. I can't tell if that should be a cause for concern or not. Maybe the lower number gives more emotional weight to the ones that are there, or maybe I'm in a rut and should be seeking out more culinary adventures. In either case, let's get to the special meals that helped enhance the sweltering summer.

  • A pair of double housewarmings in an unexplored corner of the city

  • Ferguson, Missouri is famous for a terrible reason. But when a couple of friends moved there and decided to throw a joint housewarming party with their next door neighbors, I was excited to see not only their new place, but a neighborhood that I'd only really seen filtered through the lens of tragedy. It turned out to be incredible in all sorts of ways. The houses were lovely. The neighborhood was lovely. And, lest we forget the focus of this journal, the food was lovely. Whole roasted pig! A fruit bowl made out of actually-fresh fruit! Gooey butter cake! Pasta salad that shook off its reputation as a boring side! I had a cold at the time, and couldn't indulge in any of the wondrous cocktails I saw in people's hands, but even given that, this party was a delightful picnic.

  • Discussing the state of the restaurant business while flying solo

  • Eating is usually a very social experience. It's rare that I'll go out to eat by myself, but once in a while, there's nothing better. Such was the case one evening, after a round of drinks with some friends. I was hungry, but didn't really have anything in the apartment, so I strolled down to my usual ramen place. I sat at the counter, and indulged in one of my favorite restaurant activities: Eavesdropping. After an enjoyable session of listening in to the chatter of the other patrons, the owner struck up a conversation with me about the intricacies of running a restaurant. Building costs, the ebb and flow of which times patrons seem to prefer, and the feasibility of outdoor seating in off-seasons. To a food geek like myself, it was incredibly interesting, and having such a conversation while enjoying a giant bowl of ramen just put a topper on the whole thing.

  • A casual summer brunch with a recipe that finally worked out

  • I need an excuse to get out of bed in the mornings on weekends. My friend Kyle gave me a good one when he and his boyfriend hosted one of their occasional brunches. I like to put some effort into the food I take to these things, so I decided to head back to the Test Kitchen for a recipe that I've never been able to conquer before: Monkey Bread. As with many of my Test Kitchen recipes, this one came from allrecipes.com, and as with the majority of the recipes I find there, I found a promising one, went to the reviews, found the one that made modifications that made the most sense, and then added my own modifications. The result?

    I feel like a gladiator that just vanquished his opponent in the arena. Finally, I'm able to make Monkey Bread that isn't a doughy mess! I'm over the moon.