I am often asked what my favorite restaurant in town is. It’s an impossible question to answer. There are too many excellent places to eat here and what I think is wonderful in a restaurant might be a total turnoff to someone else. I have a penchant for dives, messy food, sketchy neighborhoods, unpronounceable names, and I don’t care a bit about décor if the food makes me drool. For me, it’s all about the food and the love I feel from the people who make it. If the love’s not there, the food’s not good.
Does anything smell better than a bakery? I can’t think of any other place where one can walk in and be enveloped with an aroma that gives such a feeling of goodwill and welcome. Every bakery I have ever visited has a yeasty, sweet, warm fragrance that immediately puts me at ease, no matter where in the world I am. I have been to ancient French boulangeries and brand new upstart artisan bakeries and they all smell like heaven.
I love noodles. Like Sophia Loren famously said, “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” Except me, I don’t draw the line at spaghetti. I never met a noodle didn’t like. I like them skinny, wide, flat, shaped and everything in between. The only noodles I don’t like are the ones that are limp and overcooked. Soggy noodles make me sad.
I was fortunate to have been born into a family of adventurous, free-wheeling eaters. We have incredible appetites and meals can stretch over hours, sometimes blurring into each other. We plan meals while eating meals. We are never far away from a snack. My husband calls this trait “eating like a Tandoc,” and it’s a foreign concept to him. He’s one of those people who eats only when hungry, and then only enough to be full. He also has distinct preferences about what he actually will eat. He and I are truly from different universes. Luckily for him, I didn’t marry him for his eating habits.
I love spicy food. I love it when I eat something so hot that I get a little high from it, or start to hallucinate just a little. I want to sweat and pant as I eat. It may seem sadomasochistic to you, but it’s my kind of fun. If I eat enough chilies, people seem funnier and prettier and project fuzzy pink auras. I’m not kidding. I do it all the time.