Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why we do what we do

Sometimes we need little reminders in life for why we're doing what we're doing. My reminder tonight came in the form of a call from my friend Tonya, insisting that after my 11-hour, slightly hellish day at school, she was treating me to a dinner of my choice: Le Pigeon, Sel Gris, Ten-01 or Carlyle. Though I know we would have been happy at any of them, I've been dying to try Le Pigeon for months.

I don't know how I lived for this long without having goat cheese-cake in Oreo crust with strawberry-mint compote. Not well, that's for sure. We cozied up to the bar surrounding the open kitchen, where the much-touted Gabriel Rucker and his two co-chefs worked their magic. I watched the saute pans fly, filled with fatty duck, crispy, moist halibut, beef cheek bourguignon and pans of unending creativity and expertise. Mr. Rucker, though swamped, seemed more than happy to talk about the food, and when I asked him what his inspiration is (though I know he gets asked this 80 times a day), he asked me something that I liked to eat when I was little. I answered with my mom's scrambled eggs and tomato with sesame oil, and without a second's hesitation, he suggested a modern, relevant, servable-at-a-25-dollar-a-plate-restaurant version of the dish. This is a genius at work, my friends.

I just had the best meal I've had in months, and I'll detail it more soon, I promise. For now, it's dreams of passion and creation that will send me merrily to slumber for the first night in weeks.

3 comments:

Woodrow said...

FUN blog Ingrid!! I love your style and enthusiasm. Your style (and interests) would certainly make you a great food writer. My only wish is that you were in our night group - you'd bring some great spirit and focus. Oh well... Bikram is both my mentor and friend and I'm extremely pleased you're getting his instruction. I love and respect all of our Chefs, though each has their own approach (as is true of the industry itself). Can't wait to talk to you about your internship thoughts - I have a couple for you to consider. Anyway - great meeting you. Woody

ml said...

sounds like a great meal! very jealous!

McAuliflower said...

Hmmmm- interesting timing with the chef crush posting! :)