I need things a certain way which is something I sometimes discuss with my therapist. If I invite you to my home and say snacks at 5:00 and dinner at 6:00 then that’s the way I would like it. I plan on things to be that way and I get quite aggravated if things don’t keep on schedule. I’m sure the anxiety stems from years in the restaurant business. If the door will be unlocked at 4:00 then everything must be ready by 4:00. What if a party of six arrives as the key is turning? Those six people will be paying the same price as those that come in at 5:30 so they should have the same experience. That’s just good hospitality. I also have the same rule at home where I practice good hospitality and need my plan adhered to. I also like my food and drink a particular way. Not having it the way I like it can cause mild anxiety to disappointment to deep agitation. My emotional state depends on the violation but it’s generally not too bad.
Obviously I love food and drink. I love to work with food, write about food, read about food, and watch anything food related. I also love to eat good food and enjoy good drinks. Lately my beverages are restricted to a lot of Polar flavored seltzer and as always, coffee. As a chef people often ask me what I like to eat and what restaurants I like. Keep in mind that there is a right way and a wrong way to enjoy the following items. If you want to enjoy things properly then do it the way I like it, you’ll have better life experiences that way and become a happier and more fulfilled person.
These are a few of my favorite things.
Coffee – dark, strong, and a little bitter. A bit of cream and a teaspoon of sugar. I don’t over-spend for coffee. I never go to Starbucks and rarely Dunkin Donuts.
Steak – Tenderloin rare. NY strip mid-rare. Rib eye medium. I like steak seared in a hot cast iron pan, turned every 30-60 seconds until a good crust is formed then finished on a lower heat with butter, garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs until the desired temperature is reached. A great steak needs no sauce, just some flaked salt, freshly ground pepper, good olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon.
Ice Cream – I like anything that’s very chocolately and has caramel or peanut butter. My favorite commercially ice cream made of all-time was Ben and Jerry’s In a Crunch which isn’t made anymore. My favorite home-made is my own chocolate which when eaten causes one to have a sexual experience before the next morning. I don’t make that one as much as I used to. I like to pop my ice cream in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften it up a bit as it improves the flavor.
Pizza – Anchovy and hot peppers for the flavors or sausage and mushroom for the memories. I do however love many kinds and combinations. The crust is vitally important. I rarely get take-out pizza anymore as I make it far better than almost any local pizza joint. While I’m pretty pleased with my dough recipe, I know I can improve it greatly.
Eggs – I love eggs, and I eat a lot of them over very easy, properly poached, or soft and creamy scrambled. On a Sausage McMuffin is also acceptable. At the point you think your scrambled eggs are done you’ve likely gone too far.
Scallops – FRESH! Well seared on one side, barely cooked on the other and finished with butter. Raw with a sprinkle of lime and tabasco.
Bone Marrow – Roasted marrow bone, toast, course sea salt. Also rendered and whipped with butter for finishing risotto.
Cocktails – I like classic cocktails properly made. The bartender that pours you a glass of rye or Bourbon when you ask for a Manhattan is not “hooking you up” or doing you a favor. Just make me a good drink, I’m not in college.
Beer – Cheap beer that’s really cold. Good Beer that’s cold enough. I love beer. I haven’t had beer in three months. Perhaps New Year’s Eve I’ll have one.
Bagels – I don’t like bagels much. I don’t know why I brought them up.
Pasta – Made fresh, properly cooked, and lightly dressed. No goofy concoctions, not swimming in garbage cream sauces, and no mention of Buffalo chicken anything.
Tacos – Every once in a while I get a hankering for very untraditional tacos, so I get hard shells and fill them with seasoned ground beef, Monterey Jack cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream. More often than not however I like regular tacos. Hand-made soft tortillas warmed on a cast iron griddle and filled with slow braised pork, beef, or goat. Add some quick-pickled red onion, a little bit of shredded cabbage and fresh-made hot sauce. Grilled steak or lobster tacos with pico de gallo and a spicy salsa verde also thrill me. It’s also nice to try new things and new combinations. I like to make many kinds of hot sauces, especially when my garden is producing lots of chili peppers, tomatillos, and cilantro.
Pho – Piping hot with flavorful and moderately spicy broth, properly cooked rice noodles and tender shaved beef. Lots of basil doesn’t hurt.
Friends – Honest and comforting to be around. I have many acquaintances but very few friends.
I also like foie gras, fresh truffles, potatoes, wine, mushrooms, choucrute garni, porchetta, good hot dogs, cold milk and Oreo cookies.
The truth is, I like about anything as long as it’s made properly.
What are some of your favorite things, and how do you like them?