Dinner and a doozy

9 Aug

We missed our friends’ wedding last fall, so we thought, hey, let’s take you two lovebirds out for dinner when we get back. They were kind enough to say “Great!” and not, “But isn’t that really giving yourselves…uh, a gift?” They were also too polite to remind me that the groom isn’t really that much of a foodie and maybe tickets to a Sox game would have been better? So off we went to T.W. Foods, which I’ve been anxious to try ever since I heard reports of inventive, ingredient-driven, oh just say it, California-sounding food.

Ingredient-driven food is exactly what we found, which was lovely. Very clean and uncluttered. Food with a point of view. Not, I’m going to load up this plate with foie gras and truffle oil and call it classy. Or, I’ll sedate you with my deep-fried short ribs until you’re too stupid to know better. Or Look! 30 ingredients on a plate! And I’m on a unicycle! This was more like, Eggs and fresh corn are amazing together, especially if you cook the eggs so they set into little curdles. And Did you ever try chocolate with basil? I did, and it works. See? And since our entire meal was locally sourced, there was a subtext about local agriculture and food with sense of place. It was about paying attention to your sense of taste, playing one flavor against another, experiencing ingredients in a new way. And living in Cambridge, and thinking how nice it is to be named Amy and listen to NPR and muse about your sense of taste and your sense of place, and la-la-la farmer’s markets, and what a sucker Alice Waters has made you.

Anyhoo, this is the sort of restaurant that goes straight to my heart: Young couple, one working the front of the house, the other in the kitchen. Shoestring budget, long, long hours, high ambition, clear inspiration.

Sadly, there was a downside to all that inspiration and vision, which is that ambition requires infrastructure, and with just a hostess and server and two cooks (that I could see) in the kitchen, waits between courses are looong. And service happens sloooowly. And we were getting tiiired before it was all over. Stepping back out onto Walden Street felt a bit too much like liberation.

Also, I’ll take clear flavors over comfort food any day, but what about filling us up just a bit? Bread comes as two very thin slices per person (with good butter). My $30 scallop and lobster entree was pretty much exactly that, with some very demure swirls of sauce here and there and a sprinkle of edible flowers (basil?). It was cooked perfectly, but I would’ve gladly paid $34 for a nice corn puree or some tiny potatoes on the side.

These are kinks to be worked out. But at least the essentials are there, which is more than you can say about many places. And some of my complaints have more to do with the location, which is far enough from Harvard Square to confuse expectations and make the price point seem high. Then again, it’s in Huron Village, so perhaps $30 entrees are everyday fare.

After dinner was over, it was time for me to return my dear friend McPolack‘s car, which she had so kindly lent me while we’re waiting for Dependable Auto Shippers to approve the repair of my car, which, you may remember, Dependable Auto Shippers read-ended with their very own Dependable Auto Shippers truck. On the way to McPolack’s house, I stopped to fill up the tank, left my wallet on top of the car, and drove off. Very bad. Especially since I still have a CA driver’s license and no current identifying information at all in there.

But this morning, there was a message on my cell phone: “Amy? This is Detective Bahnad. Somebody found yuh wallet in Davis Squayah and they brut it here. It’s gut all the money and all yuh credit cahds in it. So give me a call, okay? Bye, Amy.” Oh, I love Boston. I really do.

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