There are at least a half-dozen drafts saved that I’ve been wanting to write, but I’m dissatisfied with all of them because I was trying to write while ignoring a major life change simmering in the next room. To be short and to the point: we’re on the move again, only this time it’s a pretty serious change. No longer will we be a 45-minute train ride into Manhattan; instead, we’re headed just south of the Mason-Dixon line to Baltimore, a city that is far more foreign to us than either Stamford or even Morningside Heights because it’s been an age since either of us has been there.
I am approaching this move with way more mixed emotions than I initially expected, mostly because I’m really sad to leave a group of awesome coworkers I see (or in certain cases did see) every day in addition to losing ready access to Fairway, Dinosaur Barbecue, Barcelona Wine Bar, The Cask Republic, and aforementioned easy access to New York. Michael has reminded me time and time again that if we weren’t going to miss anything it would only prove that we spent the last three-plus years in abject misery, and that certainly wasn’t the case. The thing about Connecticut is that it’s one of those places that it’s very difficult to love as an outsider, save perhaps for New Haven which thrives on its transient student and professor populations, so we always knew that this place was not for us when it came to settling down permanently.
A few weeks ago we went down to Baltimore to find a place, and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about this move. We’re moving to a neighborhood that seems to have a variety of places to eat in addition to a market all within walking distance, and the place we’re going to live in has the potential for being an epic place for amazing dinner parties and Nerf gun fights. There’s so much natural light and it has the most gorgeous kitchen that we saw of all of the places we checked out. The only downside is we won’t have an outdoor balcony, but we don’t want to stay in this particular place forever either; depending on how things go, we’re hoping this is a good place to transition to and then hopefully find something more permanent in a year or two.
In any case, my mind has been filled with all of the details surrounding this move and so I haven’t been able to blog nearly as much as I’d like to—I’m hoping that this post will unblock all of the others that have been festering and that writing will come a little more naturally to me again. I have so many things to write about, and I should probably start with Eric Ripert’s tuna tartare because it is tasty as hell but also completely New York in its creation. Chef Ripert owns to this himself when he explained how the dish came about fifteen years ago:
“The idea to serve a tuna tartare at Le Bernardin came from Eric Ripert, who is now chef and co-owner of the restaurant. ‘When I came to New York 10 years ago, I couldn’t believe how fabulous the tuna was,’ Ripert recounts. ‘And maybe because the first place I had impeccable tuna was at a sushi bar, I came to associate it with Asian flavors.’ These were the flavors he turned to when he created his recipe, a blend of raw-tuna cubes, ginger, wasabi, sesame seeds, cilantro, jalapeños and lemon juice layered between homemade potato chips. ‘I know the jalapeños aren’t Asian; they’re there just because I like them. There’s nothing Asian about the potato chips, either,’ Ripert says. ‘The truth is, this dish isn’t authentic anything. It’s a 100 percent New York invention.’ “
The only way to describe the dish when you dive into it is sublime. Ripert naturally excels in getting any gathering of ingredients to sing in harmony together, but you get an added bonus of saltiness and crunch when you spoon some of this onto a really, really good potato chip. (Stew Leonard’s makes phenomenal ones onsite and they also have the best fish counter in the area so it was a no-brainer to come here to get everything we needed.) I love that Chef Ripert wasn’t trying to replicate anything when he created this and instead just wanted it to be really fucking good—I simply wish they wouldn’t label it as Asian and just let it speak for itself.
The recipe can be found here—I didn’t change anything to merit even a weak “adaptation” credit, because when it comes to Eric Ripert recipes, it’s best to follow them to the letter.
In the meantime, I will be accepting all comments of pity regarding the hells of moving in the comments.