Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Apology and an Adventure!

Sorry for the period of silence! First, my computer broke down for a couple weeks. Then, there was a bit of a cooking dry spell. I just returned yesterday from a week-long trip across the country to the state of Washington. It was a very exciting adventure, and I was so happy to be back with miss Gluten-Free Girlfriend for that time. We didn't cook much, but we certainly had some interesting food adventures.

During my Washington trip, I made my single greatest restaurant expenditure to date. We went to Brooklyn, a steakhouse and oyster bar in the city of Seattle. We went for the oysters. The place was absolutely beautiful, and the staff was very friendly. We found out that they served 13 different kinds of oysters from up and down the west coast. We decided to go for the $32 baker's dozen - one of each type of oyster offered. We approached the oysters one pair at a time, each of us trying one type of oyster at a time as we worked our way down the list, discussing their flavors and textures. Casey approached them more purely than I, only squeezing lemon juice on them. I enjoyed each of mine with a bit of cocktail sauce with freshly grated horseradish (delicious!).

While all of the oysters were absolutely fantastic (some briny, some fruity, some buttery and sweet), the type that really stuck out to us was the Kumamoto oyster, which we learned was farmed in California. These oysters were fatty and buttery like good salmon. We decided to order four more in order to really appreciate them. We enjoyed all of this with spectacular service. At one point, one of the bartenders told us "I can tell that the two of you really enjoy the oysters, because whenever I look over here, you're both smiling". With tax and a tip of a bit over $20 figured in, the meal 17 oysters we ate cost $60. It was worth it in every way.

My other big adventure during my Washington visit was to try out something I've been interested in for a while - flavor tripping (It's legal, I swear! Don't let the name fool you!). There is something called miracle fruit. Miracle fruit contains miraculin, a glycoprotein that binds to your taste buds. It is used commercially as a sugar substitute. Miraculin shuts off your tongue's receptors for bitter flavors, and actually makes sour taste sweet! A single miracle fruit usually goes for about $2. However, you can order a set of 10 pills of miracle fruit concentrate mixed with corn starch, for $15 online. Half of one pill allows a person to trick their tongue for about half an hour. At 75 cents per half hour of fun, it's totally worth it.

We went out and got a selection of limes, lemons, strawberries, kiwis, grapefruit, orange, dark chocolate, cranberry juice, sauerkraut, kim chi, dill gherkin pickles, green olives with pimentos, and some stinky blue cheese. After we had dissolved half a pill each on our tongues, we got to trying things. The strawberries were syrupy sweet, the lemons, limes and grapefruit were citrus candy, the orange was delicious, the pickles tasted dilly without any briny vinegar taste, and the dark chocolate was amazing. Milk chocolate is one thing. Dark chocolate without its bitter taste is just pure, sweet chocolate, untouched by other flavors. None of the other foods impressed me much.

As a parting gift, Casey gave me one more pill. I will be splitting it with my brother, taking what I learned from my first experience to create a truly awesome flavor tripping platter. I also plan on buying a 10-pack for my birthday, totally appropriate for somebody born on April 1st. What better way to celebrate my 20th and a love of food than by playing with everyone's sense of taste?

So, what about all of you? What are some of your favorite food adventures? Guilty pleasures, big money sinks, the wacky and the wild?