I’ll admit it. I have succumbed to the “Fifty Shades of Gray” mania and have jumped into this soft porn for hard old ladies phenomenon that has become so popular. While the subject matter has successfully taken me to old familiar heights of passion it left me slightly unsatisfied: the story line dependent on a beautiful young co-ed and a dashing young rich entrepreneur. Characters a little too far-fetched to relate to personally. However, I was thinking perhaps it did get the libido engaged as I found myself wanting to write about my recent dining experience at the Pantry at Delancey in mostly pornographic terms. Thus, my latest entry:
How to Eat Porn
Start with a tease. Let your partner know what you are capable of. What treasures you might have in store. Perhaps a quarter sized mushroom shell, softly supple, with a smooth, moist flesh loaded with a sharp salty goat cheese blended with a hint of sweetness emanating from the creamy caramelized onions blended in. Approach gingerly. These may be too hot to handle at first, all fired up from their time in the oven.
Or slap your palate, shocking your taste buds with a bright bite from the lively blend of finely minced salsa of biting green jalapeno pepper and white fleshed apple lightly saturated with freshly squeezed lime juice preciously poised atop an also quarter sized round bed of pink salty salmon flesh.
And just in case you are not yet primed for the sensual encounter, wrap your tongue around a savory herb stuffing laced with juicy pieces of wrinkled currents all atop a fat, juicy, soft plump clam which you scrape off the shell with the sharp edges of your sharp and assertive front teeth. Try not to sigh out loud too loudly as you macerate this very satisfying combination.
While you are playing with your taste buds it is good to keep your mind well lubricated with very good wines. For the first few rounds a lively, fragrant, flowery Riesling which deflowers your mouth with the aroma of springs newest blooms, like a 2011 Efeste Columbia Valley Riesling will do very well.
At this point you become aware of the fact that your palate will be experiencing a long night that will go down in the books as a multiply orgasmic experience and you want to be fully present to the dance going on inside your mouth besides the distractions emanating from the room around you. You must focus on the dishes set before you, not wanting to miss a single touch to your taste buds.
The next course will send you over the edge, even though you are early on in the encounter. Bite sized pillows of creamy ricotta dumplings bathed in a bath of browned butter give way in your mouth. Your mind sorts through a question of whether this is a lightness or a richness you are pressing to the roof of your mouth with your eager tongue. You decide it is perfectly both. The dumplings are wearing a conservative top coat of beautiful bright green wood sorrel shedding a crisp peppery flavor with a hint of fresh lemon. The perfect way to cut through the richness of the dumplings.
Next arrives a more rugged entry, rustic and bold, a taught layered complex soul just waiting to be explored. A crusty toasted slice of levain bread with chunks of nutty walnuts incorporated provides the mattress on which a perfectly poached egg is laid out. This is tucked under a beautifully executed garlicky green fennel pesto which helps to contain the oozing yolk of the egg as it breaks into the toast in which it is absorbed. You lap up every streak on the plate, blotting with the pieces of toast scattered to the sides as you abandoned your soul to this hearty romp.
This calls for a stronger libation. Something to stand up to the testosterone of the egg and toast. A red blend which must have at least four or five different grapes to get your palate immediately sorting and wondering. For this you have a 2009 Columbia Valley Red from “For a Song.” The complex layers draw your attention from the fennel pesto and you think “is this too much? Can I take so much in one night?” But like many cases of overstimulation, you adapt. Boost yourself up. Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself you are in it for the long run.
And just in time, arrives a virginal palate cleanser, white and shivering on the platter, pale and thinly shaved flesh of fennel, turnips and radishes. Very lightly sprinkled with a clean mildly tart vinaigrette. Then dusted with a coarse salt and dry grana parmesan.
The tricky thing with love is to know when to stop before too much damage is done. Or actually more about how to let your love know when you have had enough. You look forward to lying together, fully sated in the arms of a sweet blanket of surrender. So when one is spent and the other arrives with a lovely offering of even more perfection the work of love is cut out for you. Disguised as a bath to soak your senses in, the blend of the sea brine found in the fish broth is made richer from the crème freche with which it is steeped. Lovely little French carrots float with fleshy pocketed morel pieces and short lengths of crispy asparagus spears swimming with perfectly poached shrimp, scallops and fleshy halibut pieces. Ah, if this had just arrived in your lap before you were so perfectly sated by your earlier moments of palate pleasing bliss. It is too much stimulation for one night. You force yourself beyond comfort, perhaps faking your pleasure as there is just nothing more to give. Perhaps. Only you will know. This is the only dish you cannot fully imbibe. Even chilled glass of Righteous 2009 Walla Walla Viogner is pretty much un-noticed. Your mind wanders away from the lovingly executed offerings set before you to thoughts of future fasting, which gym class you must hit the following morning and what strategies you might come up with to be able to find comfort enough to sleep in the following hours. You want to get up and walk away but you don’t want to hurt any feelings. Or, selfishly, miss anything further that might be coming, even though you know you are already done. In the arms of a great lovely meal you are grateful that you were able to find in the depths of the soul that is you the ability to come up with the proper sounds and words to let your server believe that you are still in it.
And there is a final offering. Painfully undeniable. Your own personal jar of tart and spicy ginger roasted rhubarb layered with a pillowy lemon fluff topped with crunchy ginger cookie chunks. Somehow you find a way. Spent and panting. Nearly comatose. So grateful for the mug of black coffee, this one a Stacya’s blend, True North. A lovely and reorienting final note.