This is kind of a weird Throwback Thursday for me because I’m not actually reposting anything, but finally posting something for the first time that has been mildewing in my drafts folder for almost a year.
Last April 15th, I went to a vegetarian dinner thingie with Janna, Kara and Chris. Usually, I would get around to writing about it within a week. But that happened to be the same day as the Boston Marathon bombing. And it just didn’t feel right to be all, “Yay, this is what I did several hours after a devastating situation rocked the nation!” I was so caught up in reading and watching everything I could about it for the next several weeks, obsessing over the whole boat situation (SERIOUSLY THAT WAS ALL SO FISHY TO ME) that I just quit caring about this dumb blog entry.
Does that make sense?
And then so much time passed that I started to forget a lot of what I wanted to say, and I lost the menu so then I was forgetting what I had even eaten. But I don’t like leaving things unfinished, so I went back and tried to fill in the blanks to the best of my ability.
It’s not that I’m some sort of epicurious, wannabe gourmand or even some pretentious food blogger who uses the words “epicurious” and “gourmand” (too many sex analogies), but ever since I attended one of Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa’s vegetarian dinners at Alchemy in 2007, that tattooed food whisperer has been on my radar.
Chef Kevin’s newest venture, Harvard and Highland, presents a vegetarian table once a month and seats only eight people.
At the same table.
JUST LIKE THE AMISH.
I really liked the intimacy of this, though I still chose a seat on the end, forcing Janna to sit next to a strange lady. However, I wasn’t interested in what the other two couples were talking about (running, running, running, marathons, running). That is, not until I overheard an older woman at the opposite end of the table talking about dragonfruit and it was all DUMBO EARS: ACTIVATE. Usually my skin burns at the mere idea of small talk, but I had to interject. I just had to, because that very day, do you know what I ate? FIRE DRAGON. You guys, it’s dragonfruit that is bright fuschia and utterly amazing. It’s like art fruit. So I had to tell the rest of the table this and they were like, “Ok” followed by a silent but implied “who cares?” and then the token Pan Asian at our table started bragging about all the exotic fruit he grew up on since his parents are from Thailand or somewhere else that I can’t locate on a map, and he went on to talk about durian while I quietly vomited in my mouth at the thought of that horrid fruit, and he was all, “But you can’t find that anywhere in the States” and I was like, “OMG you ignorant fruit fan, yes you can” and automatically counted off at least three places in Pittsburgh alone.
Except this part of the conversation happened inside my head because I hated that guy and didn’t want to waste my breath on him.
This was my least favorite. It was too salty. But it came with a flower, so I ate that.
To my delight, our plates were paired with craft cocktails instead of disgusting beer like the last vegetarian thing I went to. Every single cocktail was amazing and because of them, I forgot everything I wanted to write by the time I staggered back to Janna’s car. If I were a real food blogger, I’d have brought my dichtophone and notepad (and inflated sense of entitlement) with me.
Since Kara is pregnant, she only allowed herself petite sips of each cocktail and then Chris got to chug the rest of hers on top of his own. Lucky son of a bitch.
Men — find a way to make your semen taste like this creamy puddle of molten feta and you will have to knock people off your jocks all day long.
OMG I think this was the breakfast plate? It had fake egg things (nettle scramble, whatever the fuck) and some kind of French toast impersonator and more foam stuff because that must be really fun for Kevin to make so he just puts flavorful foam on everything. (Kind of like how I put wonky eyes on all of my paintings.) We all basically ate this in the fashion of having our wrists tied behind our backs.
Halfway through the night, I realized that the Durian Dick was friends (or maybe just in his own mind) with Chef Sousa and kept hinting around about wanting to go pick mushrooms with him or something and I wished I had a durian or two and the sock of a giant. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
(If you don’t, I mean that I wanted to fill the giant’s sock with the durians and beat the smugness out of him. But now you ruined it.)
And Kevin himself served every goddamn plate to Mrs. Durian Dick. Every single time! I kept hoping that the waitstaff would switch it up and maybe we would each get our turn with Kevin, but no. He catered specifically to her every time and that is how I know they’re having an affair.
A pond of molten Christ on wood, with mushrooms and stuff on top. It was such a religious experience that my tongue was involuntarily spelling out the rosary. Janna didn’t eat all of hers because it didn’t come with preservatives.
I was trying to get a photo of my chef crush but JANNA moved her stupid head. GOD, JANNA.
Ahhhhhh desssssert! It was stuff that tasted amazing in a truncated Mason jar! And there were more flowers to eat! It was paired with some creamy (the theme of the night, obvi) sarsparilla drink that I will be requesting by the jugfull if I ever go back.
The loud lady at the end of the table (next to Durian Dick) had a vegan version of the dessert and asked EVERYONE BUT ME AND CHRIS if they wanted a taste. Everyone said no and I actually really did want to taste it but I’m too proud to beg. (Sorry, TLC.)
After dinner, we all kind of sat around waiting for the go-ahead to leave and everyone seemed OK with continuing the strange act of Conversing with Strangers, but I wasn’t interested. I was becoming increasingly annoyed and anxious, because I lack the social wherewithal to successfully survive an evening of eating food and, as my friend Alyson would say, “expelling air” with people I do not know.
However, we didn’t eat until 9PM and I had gone there straight from dumb work, plus I’m on a diet and subsisting on leaves and carrots for the most part, so I was pretty irritable and ready to masticate the FU-HAHAHAHA-UCK out of some meatless spreads.
Or I’m just a people-hating asshole. Take your pick.
My favorite part of the night was how they filled us up with liquor and then made us walk down a dangerously steep staircase afterward. Surprisingly, there were no casualities.
What is an acceptable way to show a chef that you are in total appreciation and awe of the edible gifts he bestowed upon you that evening? Because I’m not above asking him to autograph my tongue.