Why the wagon? A few years ago, I was 15 pounds heavier than I am now. One year ago, I was about 10 pounds lighter than I am now. I'll give you a minute to do the math... It means that I lost a whole bunch of weight and I've started to put it back on. People have all kinds of ideas about how to lose weight. Irritatingly, almost all of them involve eating less. This is frustrating, because of my life-long devotion to food and the eating of it.
How did I lose the weight back in 2007? I usually refer to it as the break-up diet, or nature's way of preparing me for a dip back into the dating pool. When I was heartbroken, I actually couldn't eat. This phenomenon has rarely occurred in my life. I subsisted for several weeks on frozen grapes (side note: delicious if you freeze really crisp, sweet red grapes,) and yogurt, which I forced myself to eat. Once my appetite came back, I was feeling skinnier and sassier, and I wanted to stay that way. I started cutting out dairy, carbs and sugar and eating more protein and whole grains. Yawn.... Oh, sorry I just bored myself to sleep. The thing is, I'm a hedonist at heart and I want to eat delicious food and do things that feel good. My brain says no most of the time, but it's ultimately not the boss of me.
I'm pretty sure this recent happy binge of eating whatever and wherever is because of a dude. See, over the past 8 months or so, I sort of gave up on dating. I had been dabbling in Internet dating and found that aside from some great stories, it was pretty much a waste of my time. I know lots of people have great success with this, but it was not happening for me. I decided to stop trying and see what the universe would throw my way. Dear Universe, I'm sending back all the gays, the married guys and the young'uns.
Back to the dude. One silly night of hand-holding, squeezes, giggling and a few kisses. It wasn't love. It wasn't sex. It just felt good and sort of scandalous - but in a good way. It made me want to feel good all the time. Suddenly I found myself skipping the salad bar in the cafeteria and heading out to Hing Won Express for roast pork noodle soup - salty, fatty and satisfying. The next day I went to the Jamaican Dutchy cart for jerk chicken over peas and rice with cabbage. That weekend, I dined at Motorino with some friends where we had a festival of meat, cheese and bread. It felt good to say yes to what I wanted. Yes, yes, yes.
Some other highlights from the binge:
The Brooklyn Cheese Experiment - I didn't actually make it to the cook-off portion of this event, but I did come to the after party where I ate a large amount of cheese and the best butter ever: Vermont Butter & Cheese Company's salted cultured butter. Amazing and decadent.
Szechuan Gourmet - 242 W. 56th St, NY - the best, BEST Kung Pao Chicken I've ever had! It had a perfect balance of spicy and sweet with an amazing smoky flavor, tender chicken pieces and crisp water chestnuts. The mini steamed pork buns and the shredded beef with spicy Asian green chili leeks were both good, but the Kung Pao, oh my!
Pho V858-8 - 858 8th Ave @ 51st St., NY - bad name, decent pho, overpriced - but, hey, it's pho in midtown!
Buddha Bodai -
5 Mott St, NY - All vegetarian, kosher Chinese food. The General Tso's "chicken" was so good we ordered a second one - crisp, sweet, tangy.
Huaraches at the Brooklyn Flea - Not the sandals, the double-plate tacos, as my friend calls them. They're not tacos, but in the same vein - long oblongs of masa, too big for one plate, topped with your choice of meat, lettuce, onion, salsa and cheese. It was hot that day and I sat on the steps behind all the food vendors, ate every bite and licked my fingers.
Kegs & Cluckers at the Queens County Farm Museum - Tom Mylan, Brooklyn's indie butcher, made 40 beer can chickens slathered in bbq sauce for this camp-out and party event. There was also chorizo cornbread, potato salad, corn on the cob and baked beans. Oh, and pie by Sweet Deliverance!
Joloff Restaurant - 930 Fulton St, Brooklyn - I was excited to try Senegalese food for the first time, but I was disappointed. The food seemed bland and greasy, sort of like the African version of diner fare. It may just be that I need to try it again, so I'm withholding further judgment.
Fonda - 434 7th Ave, Brooklyn - An off the map venture by a well established chef, Roberto Santibañez, the former culinary director of New York's Rosa Mexicana restaurants. I was ready to be blown away, but I was barely blown at all. Granted, my group only ordered entrees and sangria. The guacamole that went to almost every other table looked tasty but who knows?
Of course, you can't say yes all the time, right? Romance failed to bloom for me from that encounter and after almost a month of indulgence the scale is shouting NO! I'm back to salads and fruit and cooking at home. I'm interested in the connection between food and sex and dating, so we'll see what happens next. I'm hoping to find that happy middle ground, but so far it's been peaks and valleys. Stay tuned and I promise to share all the juicy details!