Monday, September 11, 2006

Eclectic company

I guess if I had to choose one word to describe how I eat, it would have to be eclectic. This is for several reasons: being Chinese, I am partial to the wonders of all Asian cuisines; having learned to cook using classic French techniques, I adore the sensual things that the French do so well...foie gras, poached pears and chocolate. Living in LA, I am constantly around fabulous Mexican food. Add those to my food allergies, which throws me different roadblocks for each... and so by necessity, I eat very odd combinations of food. A lot.

When travelling, which I did recently to NYC, upon my return I found myself having to explain why travel was so much more difficult for me than for everyone else. On long-haul flights where they actually feed you, I can't order a "special meal" because none of the specials apply to me. Kosher and vegetarian have wheat, Asian and macrobiotic have soy, low-sodium has everything, blah blah blah. Even the regular snacks are mostly inedible for me. Consequently I have to bring most of my own food everywhere, which is annoying and inconvenient. But when I am out and eating "off the rack" I have to make eclectic and seemingly random (some would say bizarre) food choices because there is nothing out there that is 100% good for me, and the effects physically wear me out. Which is why I think I love the restaurant Prune in the Lower East Village in New York so's eclectic just like me!

It's been around for about seven years, and is tiny (30 seats), with chabby-chic grubby French atmosphere and the most eclectic menu I have ever seen. I relaxed and felt immediately at home! It was immediately evident that the chef, Gabrielle Hamilton, makes what she likes to eat, regardless if it's proper, trendy or sexy. It's just amazingly delicious. The combinations were unusual, and all excellent (I read that her regular menu features sardines on triscuits). Between Elaine, Michelle and I (see the crew picture above), there was a Huevos Rancheros, a big puffy light-as-air Dutch pancake with Maine blueberries and creme fraiche, and my lamb sausage and fresh Malpeque oysters. Everything, including the sausage and enchilada sauce all handmade. Add the heavily tattooed waitresses wearing cute logo'd pink baby tees and the atmosphere of "we're doing whatever we like...suck it" really came through. And people like it. Of course, it's New York. New Yorkers like being told what to do, it earns their respect. We stood in the rain for 45 minutes waiting for a table, jockeying with other patrons to get in for the famous brunch (gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful French actress Julie Delpy elegantly handle her meal, which she ate alone. Very French.).

Ah, there are people out there like me. I'm so happy. I am not the only one out there eating bizarre combinations of yumminess. I'm in good company.

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