I’ve been thinking a lot about consuming experience.
For example, Hannah and I went out to dinner for her birthday this past Sunday night at Le Pigeon here in Portland. I had set aside tip money for the dinner because sometimes, you just need to celebrate and go big. I was so giddy and nervous (similar to how I feel when I get to eat at Tanuki!) Hannah has a thing for little french restaurants and like the responsible food lover I am, it felt important to experience this level of dining.
We sat in the corner near the big windows — being able to see the whole restaurant, the open kitchen and other diners. We sat at the end of a long table with another couple who didn’t seem to talk to each other. They quietly sat and took pictures of their food and ate it while it was too hot and just things I don’t quite understand.
I’ve been learning how to smile more while eating. Especially if it’s good. It’s so discouraging to be a part of someone’s meal and wonder if they’re even enjoying what they eat. Cooks look at that kind of thing. “Is anybody out there enjoying their food?” To see hoards of people chewing food like cows munchin’ cud — it can be a little disheartening.
Everything we ate at Le Pigeon had so much flavor — so much complexity. I ate the flash fried pigeon with liver toast, grapes and white anchovies along with beef cheek bourguignon (my favorite thing ever!) — both of which were so ridiculously good I almost blacked out. That could have been from the wine, though.
Hannah ordered the rabbit and eel terrine with peaches, avocado and foie-miso vinaigrette – (shyeah, foie-miso) and the shortribs with scallops, succotash, tomato jam and padrons.
I mean, everything just worked.
I said out loud, “I wanna do food like this…”
It’s one of those dining experiences where you can just feel that the folks in the kitchen cook with passion and a great love for the ingredients. It was such a special time for me and Hannah. We “ohhh’ed and ahhh’ed” over every bite and soaked it all in.
I imagine some people in the world eat like this all the time. It becomes second nature to blow that kind of money at a restaurant. But for those of us without much money, we choose to spend our resources on things that will stick in our minds. Some people buy TVs and if that’s what they wanna do, then by all means.
We have to be careful though, because it’s easy to turn these things into everything else we consume without thinking. I always want to be aware of that. To know it’s a luxury for us to eat like this. To know it’s special. To recognize its part in celebration.
I will always remember that meal, sitting across from Hannah, processing a year and everything feeling okay.
I love those times;
and for that, I’m thankful beyond what I could have captured on Instagram.