Without a card reader to upload photos (all my stuff breaks. I’m cursed.) I can’t post photos of what I’m about to talk about. Nonetheless, this night was magical and damn near perfect and it’s still fresh in my mind, so I’ll write about it now.
Two nights ago my good friend (the aforementioned good-looking coworker… we’ll call him C for the sake of convenience) invited me to his friend’s house down Mt. Baker highway a bit, just on the town outskirts, where the nights are darker and calmer. His friends had poked around Pike Place Market all day and driven back with tons of loot. As an impoverished cook and foodwhore I tend to jump at any chance to eat with style, and HOLY SHIT did we eat in style. I had now idea what C had in store for me when he suggested we skip the bad horror movie our friend had recommended, but instead just told me, “When these guys invite you to eat, well, we should really go.” Over white wine I watched them prepare cioppino, an Italian fish soup, while I nearly died just from the insane amounts of onion and tomatoes alone. LITTLE DID I KNOW that the line-up of ingredients could pretty much stop any food lover’s heart. Swimming in the chunky tomato broth were mussells, clams, cod and crawdads. Just as we were about to tear into the stuff like sharks on fucking Shark Week, one of them was all, “oh, hey, we forgot the crab!” And I was all,
NO ONE PUTS BABY IN A CORNER.
Ok, maybe that quote doesn’t apply everywhere like I initially thought. But I was like, EVERYONE GO ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS WHILE I EAT THIS CRAB LIKE A LUNATIC IN HELL. By then a few other friends of friends had arrived, and while they ladled up their bowls and went at it with hefty sourdough slices, C and I hovered over the sink, half drunk and prying the steamed crab claws apart with forks whose tines were crimping under our exertion. Between mouthfuls of crab meat we’d exchange pained and euphoric glances. We were HIGH off that crab. I was on the moon. I was somewhere in heaven. We did this until we’d nearly demolished the crab, just the two of us, and I was starting to feel full.
Then we ate the stew.
Or really, we slurped the stew, we DESTROYED the stew since we couldn’t be bothered with manners or breathing properly while we did so. It was just too good. It had to be visceral. And it was divine. The mussels were velvety, the clams soft and just a tad chewy, the crab we dropped in last minute was flavorful and buttery, the cod was flaky and fresh, and the crawdads were THRILLING to pull the heads off of between slurps of broth. Because really, no meal is complete without tearing the head off a creature that still looks very much like it should be on a seventh grader’s science room taxonomy poster.
Afterwards we all gathered outside around a citronella candle and admired the sky, the heavy smell of the newly August air, and pressed our noses in the face of the visiting Great Dane, Atticus (my favorite name, coincidence? Fate?).
This is why I love great food. I can’t get it off my mind. Maybe it was the company, maybe it was the food, most likely they’re hand in hand, but it was by far the best night I remember having in a long, long, long, long time.