Tuesday, October 23, 2007


As the dying of the warmth of summer progresses and the first cool tinges of fall coolness leak into the area, the FAs season of dreams comes to a close. This morning was a last summer fling with the temperature sufficiently warm that only the most calendar-centric dresser had on any outer garment, whether sweater or coat. The summer fashions were in ripe bloom and this FA was in righteous reverence of the coming end of a season.

The obesity epidemic has become pandemic if you listen to the solons of the media and organized(diet industry supported) medicine. My observations, more empirical than statistical suggest that this is of course an gross expedition in hyperbole and bullshit. Yes, there are many more fat people than there used to be, and many of the fat people are extraordinarily fat. But, the vast majority of the folks on the street(and certainly in Manhattan—New York County and what most people from out of town consider NYC) are not fat. They’re anywhere from anorexically miniscule to skinny to what passes for BMI normal to perhaps a few pounds beyond that.

But, the thing which has changed so dramatically in the last 5-10 years is that the fat people are not invisible. Well, for me they were never invisible, no matter how hard they tried to hide themselves in black and other stealthy clothing. But, I’ve noticed that most of the fat women on the streets are wearing much more attractive and size and curve revealing clothing than they used to. Yes, there are still 450 pound women with enormous butts wearing black polyester pants in the hopes that no one will notice(and they walk gingerly so as to avoid any eye contact with others). But, there are multitudes of women in all sizes of large who are gloriously and sensually clad in ways which highlight their physical charms. Without channeling the creepy side of FA adoration of sexy fat women, there were women wearing snug light colored pants which hugged their ample, curvy hips and delightfully demispherical derrieres, bountifully bellied beauties proudly presenting primely pulchritudinous paunches, magically mountainous mams worn proudly and without minimization enhanced in softly gathered tops which made these women’s electric endowments entirely examinable. All of the shapes we FAs find desirable, from hourglass to pear shaped, apple shaped to triangular, thighcentric to bellyrific, armtastic, breastmagorical and chinsational, are out on display.

The biggest difference.. no, it’s not the clothing, and no, it’s not the size(though both of these have improved over the years), it’s the attitudes. The new fat women KNOW they look good. They know that there are many who won’t find them attractive and in fact will be grossed out by them. But, they don’t care about these fatphobes and fathaters.. because they know that there are many men out there(and I suppose women too), who find their fat, fabulous forms to be the things of beauty that they see when they try on that new outfit and find that yeah.. it does make them look fat.. but not just fat, incredibly beautifully fat, amazingly delightfully fat, totally hot fat, simply gloriously and abundantly fat. And that fat.. it’s a good thing. It’s a thing to be displayed and taken pride in, not hidden or covered or made invisible.

And as an FA who takes the greatest pride in watching lovely fat women come into their own and acknowledge, accept and own their own beauty I can't express clearly enough the joy that I get from watching a fat woman really showing off her body with an attitude that says... I know that I'm hot, that I'm beautiful, that men of real discriminating taste find me attractive, arousing and all that. It really makes me feel personally all warm and fuzzy inside.

The biggest change that so many fat women have to deal with is that they have to move from feeling that they’re not objects of derision or hate or ugliness or invisibility, but beauty. Their beauty is not necessarily what they’ll find on the cover of Cosmo or the centerfold of Playboy, but it is a vibrant, sexy beauty that is their own. And there are many of us FAs out there that are living in the golden age for FAs where the fat women we adore are coming to grips with the bullshit that society is laying on them and fighting back to lay claim to their bodies, self images and sense of pride in their shapes and sizes.

And all I can say is Amen.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

FA’s Find Friendship

FA’s Find Friendship

In recent days I had the reprisal of an event which has come to be a very special event for me. The husband of one of my dear internet friends, a ssbbw of great beauty and wisdom and class and charm and lots more neat stuff, came into town. He usually comes into New York twice a year for business and ,being a New Yorker originally, he drools for several months in advance over the thought that he will have a chance to have a “real” tongue or corned beef or pastrami sandwich. On his arrival we usually retire to an old style Kosher Deli where the sandwich thickness is akin to the Manhattan Yellow Pages, digging deep into the culinary timewarp that accompanies this living embodiment of childhood memories.

However, as wonderful as the food and company is, his arrival triggers another event which I’ve truly looked forward to now with even greater anticipation(since I live in NY and can eat the deli whenever the urge grabs me). That other event is related to the fact that my friend, I’ll call him Sting, though as far as I know he doesn’t play bass, sing professionally or have any association with the Police, is a dyed in the wool, card carrying Fat Admirer. While he is faithful and adoring of his lovely wife, in his heart and soul, eyes and loins he feels the pull and attraction of the glories of fat women. Like all of us FAs he wanders through life attuned to the appearance and presence of the mystical, magical and magnificent charms of BBWs and SSBBWs in the wild.

It is an article of faith that when FAs write about their thoughts the concept of “the sighting” is never far from their writings. Many BBWs and SSBBWs seem mystified and/or insulted by this seeming obsession with the way in which FAs seem to share and trade sightings with each other like trading cards or rare stamps or coins. They sense that there is an objectification of the women into some “thing”, having a shape, size, face but devoid of personality or other characteristics of humanity. I think, that in many ways this is an unfair charge because, for the FA, the sighting is as much of as a FA’s being as is breathing, smelling fire to warn one when to run, smelling good food as a sign to eat or a dark shadowy alley alerts some primeval early warning system to prime the fight/flight responses. For an FA, the sighting in some primitive, hardwired way, prepares the FA for the presence of a potential partner. While in our complex society this function is generally not something that can be acted on(in the way it might have been in our distant past when the number of people was so low and the only way to assure procreation was to act on someone interesting to you pretty much immediately), the hardwired system is in place and triggers automatically, much in the way that the smell of fire triggers a bodily reaction or aroma of good food causes the saliva to begin flowing.

The interesting thing for me is that “most people” and even many BBWs and SSBBWs find the whole FA reaction to be gross, repulsive or in some fashion infantile, when, I suspect it is something completely natural, normal(among FAs), and proper. I will, however, agree that acting on that FA reaction without the usual societal restraints and controls would be improper.

The meeting with Sting, the FA, was a seminal event in the continuing evolution of my understanding of my own being(and no fluids were passed apart from mustard and ketchup). The reason is that by nature and probably more by virtue of the ostracism of our preferences, most FAs are loners, at least as to our preferences. While there are some highly evolved FAs who are not only open about their preferences but wear them on their sleeves like a badge of honor, more of us who are open about our preferences feel no need to broadcast our proclivities and taste because it generally isn’t most people’s business what we believe or find attractive. Anyhow, it appears that vast numbers of us(like Nixon’s Silent Majority), are rather lonely and cloistered in our FA’dom in real life. The internet has provided a more comfortable venue for finding other FAs, although again most FAs on the net are looking for BBWs and SSBBWs and see the other FAs more as competition than as comrades in arms(fat arms, naturally). So, even on the Dimensions Boards and Chat there tends to be more of a separation of FAs from other FAs. The women chat with the women, the men chat with the women(and vice versa), but only more rarely do the guys chat with the guys except as a way of besting another to vie for the attention of a woman. I suspect a certain amount of homophobia may be one of a number of reasons for this.

In real life environments where there are fat women and FAs grouped together the dynamics of the environments again tend to disfavor FAs grouping together in a way where they recognize, revel in or explore each other as a way to find out more about themselves or just have a good time. Having attended Naafa conventions over the years I see this playing itself out repeatedly. There are various social groups… all girls, one woman surrounded by a posse of men, one man surrounded by a posse of women(I like this one….) or a group of men and women sharing a space as a group. But only rarely are there groups of male FAs together to hang out and enjoy the time together and revel in the wonders of being an FA in such a beauty rich environment. I wrote about one such FA meeting at a Naafa convention on the dimensions boards many moons ago.

So, my FA friend’s visits to my town provide us a time to hang out, catch up on people we know in common, see how each of us is doing, and our families, and break bread together(preferably rye). And this has always been a source of enjoyment, but the FA side of us has in some way been tacitly accepted but not really discussed as some embarrassing wart or birthmark that we know the other knows we have, but isn’t to be discussed or compared. Usually, in the past we have danced around the subject and shared a rushed sighting of some extraordinary nature or the like. But, no real discussions as to what we really have happen inside as we wander the world locking in on flabulous fat women in the wild have surfaced.

Until the last time.

For the first time we somehow had a little extra time together and had a meal at a place more conducive to sitting and hanging out and lingering over a very pleasant dinner and talking. And, finally, our talk slowly, and initially scarily trespassed on the forbidden fruit of FA’dom. And, rather than a lightning bolt striking each of us down as we sat, or the other looking on in horror or disgust, the gates began to open and decades long private thoughts passed our lips and crackled off our tongues. And there was no horror or disgust, but amusement, knowing nods and serious belly laughs. The amazing secret that we discovered…. Inside we’re almost totally the same. We play the same private mental games, perform the same FA activities and enjoy the same internal debates about a woman’s size, shape, dimensions, weight and beauty. We each have elaborate mental constructs to calculate what a woman weighs, what her dimensions are, from height, to bust, to waist, hips and thighs. And, not wedded to a single estimation, as we continue to observe a fat woman we often tweak the initial calculation based on the way she moves, observations from different angles and other visual and sensory inputs.

As a game, and because it allowed us to spend more time together until I had to take my train home, he walked with me to Grand Central Terminal and we situated ourselves on the mid step landing at the Western end of the main room of the terminal, the one with the high ceiling with the stars of the Zodiac laid out on it. But rather than observe the stars on the ceiling we talked and followed the female stars below and in front of us. The area is so vast you can’t immediately see everyone across the whole expanse of the big space. Yet, we each would see all of the fat women within seconds of each other and then would share our estimates of their sizes if they were sufficiently interesting and ther weren’t too many at one time to focus on. My methods of calculation, honed over decades of FA’dom are empirical and subjective, not based on any formulaic approach. Sting’s approach is more highly mathematical, based on an evaluation of the basic three dimensions with some “weighting” factors, such as relative proportions and others. Yet, our guesses were usually quite closely linked together. Usually less than a ten percent variation, which in such a setting is quite small would divide our guesses.

We also discussed the way in which our bodies, eyes, brains are set up so that we need do nothing for a fat woman to trigger our attention .It is clearly some system from the dim past that continues to function and aid us in our search for the perfect mate. However, it is an acute sense like those of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Whether it’s a jungle sense that dates to the early sense of whether the sound you hear is prey or predator or friend or foe, I know that my FA sense of an approaching fat woman is as much a part of me as is my ability to distinguish the smell of frying bacon from burning rubber. One arouses my taste buds and salivary glands to action. The other alerts the cough reflex and eyes to churn out tears to fight the oncoming horrid stench and acrid smoke. In the same way the locking onto an attractive fat woman causes my heart to beat faster and some shrunken bony woman’s appearance devoid of any secondary signs of womanhood, breasts, hips, butts triggers no reaction apart from a slight uneasy agita, distaste or pity.

In many ways I wonder about non-FAs and if they experience the same sort of independent below consciousness tracking system for hunting out the women who appeal to them on some visceral level. And, of course, whether women have a similar sort of early warning system in place.

It’s funny, I started out intending to write about how wonderful it is as a FA to have another FA who is your friend, but moved beyond that to what I see as a core FA issue, which has never received much play in the discussion boards apart from some creepy sounding thing that sleezy FAs do when they leer and drool at fat women, making them at least uncomfortable and at worst totally skeevish and frightened/angry.

However, I believe, and put it out there for others to weigh in, that the FA’s BBW early warning system is an inherent element of the FA makeup and something that is just hardwired into our systems. Neither good nor evil, merely a part of us like arms and legs and bellies and a penis.

I’d be interested in other comments from FAs, whether men or women, about their relationships with other FAs and comments about this FA sixth sense I’ve tried to get a handle on.

But, to come full circle on the original thought, my friend is coming back into town this weekend and I’ll be able to revisit this subject and go into it in greater depth and perhaps to share inner FA thoughts openly with another connoiseur of curvy charms We have plans to attend a glorious food based event which he attends as part of his vocation and for me as part of my avocation. However, based on his prior visits he assures me that the ratio of bbws and ssbbws to the pool of women is much higher than that of the population in general. I stand prepared to be convinced, stupefied and delighted.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007



I’ve been on hiatus for quite some time and I sense that there is a continuing malaise which pervades me preventing me from adding more to the blog. Perhaps it’s a matter of not wanting to repeat myself. Or perhaps it’s more a matter of not having anything to say. Or, perhaps it’s more of a sense that the time required to craft posts which rise to the level that I insist on is greater than I want to dedicate at this time. Or, perhaps I don’t want to limit the blog to a recitation of sightings of glorious fat women or similar such simple daily travelogue stuff.

My life has muddled on since the last times I’ve posted without a whole lot of substantive change. Of course things have happened, people have done things, I’ve reacted, emoted, responded, etc. But none of that has been related to the core vision or voice of this blog. So, in the absence of profundity I have preferred to be mute.

My reading of others blogs is relatively limited. I have found as time has progressed how frequently blogging seems to follow an arc from early excitement to blossoming maturity of purpose to exasperation and extinction. So many bloggers gush, as I did in the early days of their blogs, clearing the pipes, so to speak, of the pent up thoughts yearning to be free. With apologies to Emma Lazarus, having viewed the blogger’s statue of liberty, the passion, excitement and urgency of the early days fades. Perhaps this is very much like personal relationships which erupt in the early bloom of exploration, lust, passion and newness, but must then transition to a deeper and more mature stage, setting down roots, or dying on the vine without growing to adulthood and bearing fruit.

So many of the promising blogs that I read before I started mine and then read after mine came into being have come into being, flowered and now lay fallow. Few of these even gave notice of their passing or had a proper burial. Most just exist in the state of being as of the last post or comment, forever in anticipation of the next words. One ponders whether the bloggers are deceased, dying, decrepit, dillydallying on other things in real life or the net, or perhaps just lost their passwords(or had them hacked and then changed) and are prevented from even accessing their own blogs. This last one was new to me until I spoke with someone with a Yahoo site with their name and pictures attached who advised that they had no further control over the site because someone had hacked their password and now they couldn’t “get in” to change the site and Yahoo wouldn’t do anything about it. C’est la internet vie.

As I look at those bloggers I’ve read who have sustained themselves and their blogs over extended periods of time, and there aren’t many of them that I read, I often see the bloggers feeling a burden in putting the electrons to screen at times, but through force of will and perhaps just stubborness extend themselves to get something down, no matter how brief or banal in the hopes that the regular posting will serve some useful purpose in their lives.

I wonder, for these wonderful folks who persevere, whether they go back on occasion to review the posts they’ve made, either to see how their states of mind and being have changed or just to revisit some old friends. Some of these folks seem to blog as a way of keeping track of their journey. Others seem to blog to keep touch with the world and vent what seems to infuriate, excite or depress them. Others seem to blog because they have a physical need to keep expressing themselves.

For me, this need to express myself in words seems to be the strongest urge. At times this urge is met with my blog posts. At other times its met by email correspondence which can get as lengthy and involved as my blog posts have been. At other times I’ve wandered into the Dimensions Boards and expressed myself at length in that venue. However, I usually lose interest in that forum due to the depressingly overbearing short attention span of that medium and the way in which thoughtful comments are often hijacked, ridiculed or otherwise undermined. While it is the most wonderful environment in the BBW/FA world and one which I’m richly grateful for existing, I find that my natural predilection not to suffer fools would make me a pariah in short order if I spent too much time there. On other occasions I’ve visited the Dimensions Chatboard, but again, find that venue to be very limited both by the nature of the process and by the cattiness of many of the long time denizens. Perhaps it’s more a reflection of my growing impatience, but I find the number of close-minded, relatively uneducated(and I’m not referring to years of study but inherent lack of knowledge and study of life, our world and topics relevant to the BBW/FA world), immature individuals who pop in and out to be tiresome and toxic. Using a term from the field of electrical energy, the signal to noise ratio is way too low. There isn’t enough interesting discourse to justify the filtering out of all the boorish, stupid, repetitive, repeating, duplicative, unoriginal, posturing noise.

So, now I’m back with the blog and hoping that I make the time to ponder things that interest me. Early in my blogging I was more concerned with others reading my blog, commenting and getting some sense of recognition than I am now. I know that there are a few of my friends who read my blog and get some satisfaction from that activity. In this more mature phase of my blogging I find that thought sufficiently rewarding to meet whatever need for acceptance remains. In the early phases of the blogging I was intent on turning people on to my blog, hoping that they’d find something new, useful or interesting in it. This was particularly true with people who seemed to be struggling with similar issues that I’d struggled with and blogged. However, as the blog went on and the volume of the writing continued to grow new people were often overwhelmed by how many words there were and the difficulty of reading the blog in the order it was written. Somehow I find the posts to be more relevant in the order they were written, though most of the posts are independent works. Sometime soon I think I will collect all of the posts in one document, just to see how long it really is. If I do that I’ll share it with the blog. Something self-referential and similar to the photographs of mirrors reflecting into infinity in that.

Well, now that I’ve gotten myself worked up here I need to find a way to end things. In the absence of other inspiration…. That’s all folks…. For now. I do feel the tingle of excitement once again in writing for the blog, so stay tuned.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What is the Perfect Food? Or.. To Hell with Apples

What is the Perfect Food? Or.. To Hell with Apples

Life in the Garden of Eden was incomplete and much less than perfect. How is this so, because it didn’t include nature’s perfect treat. As hard as it is to credit that some omnipotent being created an oasis of such complexity and perfection that it would be a place that no mortal would ever want to leave, we humans found the exit after not too long. It is interesting to consider what the Garden of Eden was and the way it is described in the bible and by commentators ever since. Quite frankly it is a place that only a scholar or religious fanatic would find to be perfect.

Once can read long and hard and fail to find any discussion of the eroticism of the Garden. No clothing was around, so lingerie wasn’t an option. The animals spoke to the humans so there was likely no privacy. There doesn’t appear to have been any living structure, beds, bathing apparatus, places to relieve oneself, toilet paper, internet, other people to talk to. God seems to have been a rather active parent in the process, checking on Adam and Eve(was this before they came out with their line of adult toy products?) telling them what they could do… anything except what he told them not to do. Obviously God wasn’t a very experienced parent as any parent in these days knows that the surest way to have your child do something is to insist and demand that he not do it(and there’s a big punishment if he disobeys).

As a foodie you wonder what they had to eat. One would imagine no meat was served since the animals apparently talked to you. Hard to see Adam sidling up to Elsie the Cow and saying… hey Elsie I’d really like a big juicy ribeye, mind if I slaughter you and barbecue up a piece of you? And, even if they did, how wasteful.. how much of a side of beef could two folks eat before it went bad. And, I didn’t see anything about Viking Stoves or SubZero Refrigerators or even Fisher & Paykel dishwashers, not to mention Cuisinarts or even decent knives and pots and pans. And a decent Weber grill.. I’ve read and reread the relevant parts of Genesis and I can tell you they just don’t mention it. I don’t even recall fire being part of the deal.

So, Adam and Eve were probably non-cooking Vegans eating raw veggies and fruit to their heart’s delight(apart from that apple tree) and were almost certainly completely regular. I don’t see any mention of salt and pepper or chili peppers or even garlic. I can tell you that given that ultra-bland tableaux I’d have followed old Adam and Eve out of that Garden as fast as I could. Come on, even if they had grapes and did up some wine how good could the local Cabernet Eden Vintage Year 1 have been? Was 1 a good year for Cabs, Pinot Noir, Merlot? And it doesn’t sound like they even had any glass for the bottles or glasses.

But yet, the religionists proclaim the perfection of the Garden of Eden and consider all these points to be irrelevant because there was total happiness in the Garden of Eden. Seems to me that Adam and Eve were just ignorant of all the good stuff they were missing out on, like kids who go to Kindergarten and discover that other kids watch cartoons, have PS2 games and can stay up past 7:30pm.

So, having moved beyond this fake theological arena of perfection I pondered whether there was or is a perfect food. And, one need not look much further in the Bible to find God’s second effort at perfection in the culinary areas. Manna from heaven. Massaging the old grey cells a bit drags the memories of what it was from the old memory banks. It fell every night and in the morning one went out and collected a day’s worth of the stuff and brought it back to tents.

You’ll recall that this was during that rather bizarre interlude in Exodus(the original, and not the Leon Uris remake which must have included a midnight ship’s buffet), where the Jews leave Egypt with the Egyptians hot on their tails until the Red Sea grabs the Egyptians and drowns them. Then the Jews, some million or so folks, wander aimlessly about the Sinai Peninsula, a very small desert surrounded by water, for 40 years waiting for all the brave souls who left Egypt to die off before finding the one spot in the Middle East with no oil. Now either God or whoever made up this story had a problem, a desert won’t feed 1,000 people for one year, that desert certainly won’t feed a million people for 40 years. So, a miracle(or deus ex machina, or some other literary device) is necessary to sustain these literally wandering Jews while cooling their heels in the hot desert sun.

So, bada bing bada boom … manna. It’s the latest greatest thing from the god almighty. No work, no cooking, no cleaning, just grab and serve. Rice a Roni wishes it thought of this. But what did this stuff look like? Did it come in colors, sizes, different shapes, textures? Not a lot of discussion of what this stuff was other than that you were supposed to get up in the morning and take an omer’s worth. If you took more than you needed of it by the next morning it was gone and you had to get more. Ahh, but the key was the taste… it tasted, supposedly like whatever you wanted it to taste like. Perhaps the exquisite sushi and sashimi of Masa’s or the incredibly redolent aroma of a crispy turkey skin guarding the mother lode of stuffing, or even the amazingly sweet taste of midsummer watermelon? It doesn’t say. But, what were these folks used to eating.. well, all we know is they had been slaves in dusty Egypt, had this thing for lamb and had eaten the unleavened bread in their haste to flee Egypt. For those of you who do the Matzoh thing, imagine 40 years of eating the stuff. And lamb is cool, but there has to be more to life than that… and there’s no reason to believe that people were that creative in what they wanted to eat if they weren’t creative enough to walk out of this little desert that contained them for 40 years. It’s not like the manna came with a card that described the specials tastes of the day.. a lovely pan fried sea bass with black bean sauce and a porcini risotto.

Well, I think you get the point. This manna stuff sounds like the creation of someone to whom food wasn’t a big thing. They were more interested in trumpets and praying and stone tablets and wandering around for 40 years in a sand box. Or, it was the work of someone looking back on the story of the 40 years in the desert and having told the story kept getting the response.. so Mr. Smart Guy, what did they all eat for 40 years, sand? Manna, a magical food from god, could be whatever you wanted it to be.

Hmmmm, sounds like a copout to me. Did it just taste like the food, or did also have its aroma, texture, mouthfeel, and did it look like the food you wanted(or just a mound of mush). And, since all these folks who left Egypt died off in the desert, how were the people born in the dessert supposed to know what they liked in real life if they’d never eaten anything but this manna stuff. Not a very good thing, I think. Faith is a great smoother over, but frankly the story has always struck me as a weak one.

So, where am I going with this.

Good question.

The answer is that as December rolled around and turned into January one of my favorite times of the year for eating a food began. That food, one definitely not found in the Garden of Eden(or available as a taste of Manna), was coming into the beginning of its season.

Whereas many foods require extensive preparation, treatment, handling, cooking, cleaning and pampering to tease the most out of it, this treat is truly Nature’s perfect food. It comes with its own container, needs no refrigeration or cooking and doesn’t need to be kept clean or washed. Once the container is opened the food is designed for easy service and even sharing. One can eat at one’s own pace, not being concerned that the food will cool or warm up or spoil as it sits there. If you want to eat it over time or even eat a portion of it and come back to it later(if you have the willpower to do so), it’s not a problem. No cutlery or plates are needed to eat it. And, once you’re done, there’s no garbage that you can’t just drop outside wherever you are. It has a delightful odor and eating it with your fingers will lightly scent your hands in a pleasant fashion. While not a beverage it is both filling and refreshing.

The food, you’ve probably guessed is not an apple. No, it is a Navel Orange. Not just any orange, but a navel orange. Unlike Eve in the Garden this Orange has a navel. In this case, the navel is actually a second orange(usually not edible, though in some cases you can see and eat a miniature second orange within the first) which has any seeds, so that you need not worry about any pits or seeds when you eat the orange. The Navel Orange has a smooth protective skin which with a little effort can be pierced with your nails and then peeled back easily with your fingers so that the completely edible innards are yours for eating.

Looking at the peeled Navel Orange one sees that the tightly clustered segments are individually wrapped and can usually be separated without damaging the segment walls. Inside the segment walls(which are quite edible unlike the grapefruit’s segment walls which are much hardier and less enjoyable. If one carefully opens up the segment walls you will see within it a tightly clustered collection of little juice tubes which again keep the juice from oozing out. All in all as perfect a food as Nature with man’s assistance has been able to produce.

So, anyone else have another candidate for the most perfect food?

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

Heading home after a long day at work, obsessed with the thoughts of lovely fat women, pretty of face, ample of body and sharp and witty of mind, my path takes me through Grand Central Terminal and the thousands of people coming, going and at this time of year, seemingly just hanging out and watching the displayed holiday images on the ceiling and walls of the main room. The regular high powered, high speed zigzag used to reach my train platform, usually diagonally placed from the corner I enter GCT won’t work at this time of year. There are easily half again and perhaps twice as many people in the terminal, many of them milling around eyeing the visual display or, exhausted from a day of shopping or awaiting the appearance of friends and family stand like statues. To make matters worse from a FAs perspective they’re all wearing overcoats as winter, for some reason not in a hurry to stay, has made one of its cold feints into the Northeast. So, all these people, many of them bbws and ssbbws, are essentially hidden from view by the billowing coats and outerwear. Also, the shear volume of people tend to hide individuals from view as my attention as a faster moving pedestrian needs to be focused on the ten or twenty feet of space in front of me to navigate around slower moving folks, milling obstacles, people with abundant suitcases and the like. Clearly not for beginners.

But as I make my way finally to my platform the logjam is broken and the number of people is manageably reduced. On a slightly earlier train than usual to deal with something on the home front I hope to see a different crop of commuters and some infrequent visitors to the city on the train. My hopes are met as I swing into my usual car and look for an open seat. From the outside, looking in the windows I see at least three women who are bbws and one who appears to be a ssbbw. In fact, the woman entering the car in front of me has a swinging wide rear atop a lovely set of graceful full legs. That poetic pliability of flesh and fabric which follows a woman with thighs wider than the space between the two legs is working and my outlook has improved immediately. I’m also looking for a suitable seat, the aisle seat on a three seater row with no one in the middle. If the passenger sitting on the window seat is a bbw or ssbbw that would be even better. I pass the three bbws sitting in the car but no empty seats next to them. As I continue down the aisle and the open seats I know are there, I follow the gal with the mesmerizing meaty mambo and watch as she heads for the second open seat, so I head for the first one, in the row behind her.

As I approach my seat I look at the couple sitting together in the row behind the one I’ll be in. They are actually quite huge, surprisingly so. The man looks like you’d expect Santa Claus to look like if he stopped climbing in the sleigh so much and let himself really enjoy the food at the North Pole. I can’t tell how tall he is, but I’m guessing under 5’8” and the weight somewhere in the 400s with a very ample belly to go with his wide full face ringed by a white beard and wispy white hair. Sitting next to him is his wife, they both have their wedding bands in view, a ssbbw of similar vintage… probably early to mid 50s. My first impression is that she has one of the huge black and white cookies sold in the terminal resting on her bosom as if it were a table or shelf. They’re discussing some book the fella is reading and the woman keeps absently touching the cookie, almost stroking it, until I notice that she’s flipped it over so the black and white frosting is now pointed down and the baked bottom of the cookie is facing up. As I slowly take off my overcoat, scarf and suit jacket, stowing them on the overhead rack and letting people walk by(it’s easier to do this stuff while standing in the aisle then when in the row of seats(not enough room for this big fellow to maneuver gracefully there) I have an opportunity to observe the woman. She is sitting in the middle seat, tight up against her hubby, rather than the more roomy aisle seat which would give them some space. While not a spring chicken she has that smooth,unlined facial skin common among women of size who haven’t spent a lot of time losing and gaining weight. Her body shape seemed to be that of a pear shaped woman with a relatively smaller top spreading to a much wider base. I would consider her an ssbbw of middle size. My initial interest in why she elected to sit in the middle seat(sort of, since her husband extended somewhat into that seat) rather than the end seat which would have given them both more room, was answered about ten minutes after the train took off and I heard gentle snoring from both of them periodically. Of course, had someone wanted to sit in the same row(with three seats, nominally), the space between the aisle and the woman’s left hip was probably under a foot. How sweet it was to see the two of them together, growing older as a loving fat couple, the woman having eaten the black and white cookie before going to sleep.

After sitting for a few minutes and just before the train headed off, another bbw came up the aisle. A shortish, about 5’3” dirty blond with shoulder length hair and thick arms, smallish bust and slightly bigger belly but ample derriere. A tasty confection, if not a meal sized treat. And then, after she was settled she took out Tattoo Magazine. I spent the rest of the ride trying to imagine how many tattooes she must have and where they are located. None were apparent and she was dressed conservatively in a pair of black dockers and a purple wool sweater which seemed just a bit snug. I hoped that it would creep up exposing her back above her waistband and show a tattoo. Alas, when it was my stop she was still fully covered and apparently tattoo free.

And off I went….

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Le Bernardin Beckons, Part II

Le Bernardin Beckons, Part II

Picking up again at the beginning of the Main course of my luncheon at Le Bernardin, the salmon amuse bouche and the appetizer and bread have taken the edge off my hunger and tittilated my palate enough for me to be ready for the main course with its different elements.

I’ve been a fan of monkfish for quite some time and have enjoyed it at many restaurants and even in my own home but have never been able to get the texture as perfectly done as they achieve at Le Bernardin. When I first heard of Monkfish I had been told it was known as poor man’s lobster because of the texture and mouthfeel, if not taste of the fish. It does have a similar feel to it, not flaky like a flounder or steak-like as tuna or swordfish can be. The tender near white flesh resists the bite and maintains its shape and integrity as you chomp down on it, much in the way that lobster has an almost rubbery feel. The monkfish generally isn’t quite as elastic as the lobster, but also has a slightly less strident a flavor, making it more suitable to flavoring.

The menu called the Monkfish entrée a tribute to Gaudí: pan roasted Monkfish; confit peppers and fiery “patatas bravas”; Chorizo Albariño emulsion. The pan roasted monkfish appears on the plate as a series of slices fanned into a gently curved line in the middle of the plate. The finely diced peppers sit in a vertical orientation below the fish. The potatoes are smaller versions of the bar food known as potato logs, potatoes split lengthwise into narrow sections above the fish. The potato sections are drizzled with two narrow parallel zigzags in bright contrasting colors. Once the plate is firmly situated in front of you, the server gently pours a happy smile of the Chorizo Albariño emulsion at the bottom of the plate facing you. The chorizo is the spanish or Portuguese sausage and Albariño is a grape used in a dry Spanish wine. The orange/red sauce is relatively thin, but coherent presenting a lovely support to balance the monkfish and potatoes above it. Finally, with the smile of the sauce, the confit peppers, sitting above the sauce and below the monkfish appear like a bright red soul patch. Preliminary review finds the potatoes to be small but prior experience counsels cutting the potatoes into smaller pieces for eating to enjoy them more fully. The two zigzagged sauces have different but complementary flavors with a bit of spice. As a chili head and a disciple of the capsaicin cult I didn’t find the sauces to be fiery. For those who don’t like spicy foods fiery might be only a slight stretch. In any event they were piquant and tasty. The monkfish as recalled was ethereally delicious, with a mild flavor and a rich mouthfeel even before dipping in the emulsion. I tend to be no fan of overly complicated names for things, and in this case I think the name for the emulsion is a bit wordy, but…. It was amazingly good. I’m a big lover of chorizo the Iberian sausage so frequently used in Spanish and Portuguese cooking and I was dubious of getting the big bold flavors of the chorizo into a relatively thin sauce. But, surprisingly, the bright sauce held both the flavor and rich aroma of the chorizo without the bulk or even flecks of the sausage. The wine flavor was mostly overcome by the bigger sausage flavor. Somehow, I realized I was having another dish with a pork contribution.. very odd at Le Bernardin. I hadn’t thought of that when I’d ordered the Monkfish but its impact was felt on each dipped bite of the monkfish adding another dimension of heartiness to the delicious fish beyond the flavor and texture.

When I’d eaten the entrée into a mere memory and only the emulsion remained on my plate, in the interest of not lowering my tongue to the plate or lifting it to my mouth to get the last drops of that liquid gold I used the remaining bread to sop it up. In some way I was a bit embarrased that my plate looked so clean that it could almost be used for the next diner without cleansing, but in another I was so pleased with the deep glow that was growing across my face as my lips fought mightily against a permanent grin spreading across my mouth. And, the anticipation that I would be presented with a new menu with the series of mouthwatering desserts detailed.

The remnants of the main course were removed and the linen returned to its pristine purity with a quick sweep and twist of the crumb removal tool. Again, the drinks were refreshed and after we’d had a few moments to continue our conversation and begin to compose paeans to the first courses, we were each presented with the dessert menu. Each of the desserts is a special combination of elements inducing pleasure through the vitality of flavors and variations in taste, temperature and textures.

Invariably this is the toughest part of the meal at Le Bernardin, the selection of only a single dessert from among the wide variety of choices. And, as if that weren’t hard enough, they throw in the possibility of having a selection of cheeses in lieu of the dessert. I will confess that being a gourmet cheesehead(no On Wisconsin in this guy) that I’ve succumbed on occasion to this option, particularly if I’m with others who share what they’ve picked so I can tickle my sweet sensors. Their selections of cheeses are not only so deliciously decadent and delightful, but presented at room temperature so the full flavor of the curds are released, the runny cheeses are in full sprint and the aromatic elements are arrestingly aroused. But, alas, that day we weren’t sharing and I couldn’t imagine not having some succulently sweet specialty to trigger unstimulated parts of my brain.

So, the look at the choices began. Like a whirling dervish entering his music and movement enhanced trance, I began to commune with the dessert menu. The lovely room, the hushed conversation at other tables, the constant sussuration of passing waitstaff and even conversation at our table passed into the background as I focused my attentions on the important selection. Even though I knew that there would be no bad choices, I was expecting a transcendent experience and would be brutally disappointed with a merely very good choice. I quickly eliminated the simple dishes, like a dish of ice cream(though I’m a huge fan of a simple dish of chocolate ice cream sans whipped cream-even the real stuff and not the “shaving cream” from the can or Cool Whip), and focused on the specialties.

As a confirmed chocoholic I always first look to the chocolate themed desserts. My eyes immediately focused in on the Chocolate-Peanut dessert, described as Dark Chocolate, Peanut and Caramel Tart, Meyer Lemon Purée, Peanut Powder, Praline-Citrus Sorbet. I could already sense the rich deep dark chocolate paired with two textures of peanuts and then a variety of palate cleansing acidic citrus ingredients… but, I refuse to choose so quickly.

I quickly scan the titles of the main desserts that follow: Chocolate-Corn; Honey; Sweet Potato; Pear; Passion Fruit; Apple and Yuzu-Green Tea. The ice creams and sorbets that follow are all delicious, but I sense that I would be missing out on something fabulous by going for these more mundane choices. At the end is a kicker, that cheese course in lieu of the dessert. Savory instead of sweet. For me this is always a tough choice as I truly love cheese and they tend to put together a very nice plate with four or five selections and some small fruit pieces, crackers and delectable breads.

The ice cream choices are Vanilla and Malted Rum Milk Chocolate. The sorbets: apple-lychee; raspberry-ginger; coconut; and Mandarin.

I have to reduce the fifteen possibilities: eight main desserts, two ice creams, four sorbets and one cheese plate to a single choice. With my clients who aren’t sharing people(and there’s nothing better than going with a bigger group and getting to try all the choices) I know that if I don’t order it the closest I’ll get to it will be to see it up close and watch the reaction of its owner as he eats it. So, I operate by the process of elimination, throwing out those things which don’t make the cut. First to go are the four sorbets. They are somewhat interesting, but with all those other choices, not in the running. Next is the Vanilla Ice Cream. I’m sure the vanilla ice cream is heavenly, and made from fresh vanilla beans and the perfect temperature, etc. etc. etc… but, hey, it’s only Vanilla Ice Cream and I’m a chocolate fiend, so it’s gone. Ordinarily all the ice creams would go but the thought of Malted Rum Milk Chocolate flavor has my tastebuds circling to know more. So, I put that on the list, but hanging on precariously. The cheese plate I put aside, knowing that the ultimate choice will be between the selected dessert and the cheese plate.

So, I’m now down to 9 choices for the dessert. And I focus on the eight main dessert choices and see that there’s another chocolate option. I give myself a moment to breathe and pass some fresh air over my palate as my brain cogitates on the Chocolate-Corn selection, described as Soft Chocolate Ganache and Sweet Corn in Three Textures: Crunchy Corn and Hazelnut Base, Corn Sorbet, and Corn Tuile. I can taste in my mind the soft chocolate ganache, its richness and smoothness egging me on but the sweet corn in three textures causes me to consider this oddly. I’m imagining that this will be a single dish with all the ingredients assembled in a logical fashion. So, I figure that the CrunchyCorn and Hazelnut Base will be on the bottom, forming the base with the soft chocolate ganache pooled on top, capped by the Corn Tuile(presumably a thin, curved cookie) making a tasty roof and with an orb of the corn sorbet on the side to liven the whole group. Sounds interesting, even good, but Corn? Not even with the chocolate. I just can’t rally to the cause of Corn as a dessert item. So, much as I hate to kill off a chocolate dish so early in the process.. it’s gone.

The next dish, the Honey is described as Citrus-Strawberry Salad, Honey Parfait, and Charentais Melon Purée. Interesting, even unusual, and I have no idea what a Charentais Melon is, but… somehow, it just won’t beat out a chocolate dish with dark chocolate and a sidecar of a sorbet. It’s gone.

Later research shows that a Charentais Melon is actually a true European cantaloupe. That was a good call at the table by me.

I must confess that when I scanned the menu the first time I was looking to find a souffle, having had two before here and enjoying them completely. One was a fruit flavored souffle, I believe a lemon with a chocolate cream cloud mixed in. The other a chocolate sorbet of such divine complexity that there are still times that my taste buds go through withdrawal from that amazing experience. But, alas, no souffle. Perhaps those times were dinners, but I don’t really recall, it was some time ago.

So, onto the next main dessert, Sweet Potato. This one is close to being eliminated early in the process… Sweet potato just isn’t what you think of as a dessert food, but I read on and decide to keep it in the first pass. The dessert is described as Spiced Sweet Potato Tart, Red Wine Caramel, Maple Whipped Cream, Pistachio, Vanilla Salt. Again, I try to recreate what this will look like and I imagine it as low tart filled with a cinnamon and clove flavored sweet potato with veins of red wine caramel topped by the richest of whipped creams, larded with rich meaty pistachio meats topped by vanilla flavored large crystal sea salt. Okay, I’m getting excited as I read this now, so you can only imagine how it felt then.

I recall at this point looking up and making some conversation to break the internal mood and asking what the others were looking at. They hadn’t decided and while the Boss was carefully reviewing the options the other fellow was considering going without dessert. His boss and I talked him out of this. Heathen, philistine(even Phyllis Stein), idiot… thoughts that went through my mind at the thought he wouldn’t have dessert, until it occurred to me that if he didn’t want to order a dessert I might order a second one “for him” so I could taste it since the fixed price includes a dessert. But, this thought came a millisecond too late as he said he would have some dessert and began to look.

Next on my hit list was the Pear: Warm Pear "Charlotte", Ginger Caramel, Pineapple Buttermilk-Sorbet, Lauria Alpine Cream Liqueur. Now, I happen to really enjoy pears and the thought of a delicious cooked pear charlotte with ginger caramel and a dollop of pineapple buttermilk-sorbet doused in some Lauria Alpine Cream Liquer sounded pretty darn good. No way this was getting cut on the first pass. I was starting to lean toward something that had a main portion and a secondary frozen confection like sorbet on the side.
On with the show, the next choice was Passion Fruit. Now, I’m usually not a huge fan of passion fruit, finding it usually too sweet and missing in complexity of flavor, but I read on. It’s described as Passion Fruit Cream Enrobed in White Chocolate, Ginger Caramel, Mandarin Sorbet. Mmmm enrobed in white chocolate. Now that’s an expression I can wrap my tongue around. More of the Ginger caramel, something which doesn’t really excite me, but, with the Mandarin sorbet. It meets the two part standard so, despite the passion fruit its still in the running.

The next choice is Apple. Described as Slow-Baked Apple Confit, Poached Dates, Yogurt Sorbet, Quince and Ras el Hanout Coulis. Very interesting sounding, including dates which are a favorite, and it has the yogurt sorbet(interesting concept) and a coulis(not a huge fan of sweet thin jams). Somehow this one just doesn’t make the grade of the others, and its gone. Thank goodness I’ve eliminated something.

One more, Yuzu-Green Tea. A Japanese inflected dessert. Interesting, though yuzu is not my idea of a dessert as its so bitter, generally. It’s described as:Yuzu Cream, Caramelized Rice, Grapefruit, Green Tea Ice Cream, Crisp Meringue. While interesting, somehow I’ve never found green tea ice cream to be flavored in a way that is sufficiently interesting to my palate. I enjoy drinking green tea, hot and even cold, but as ice cream it isn’t bold enough to stand up to the ice cream challenge. Whew, another one whittled away.
That’s the end of round one. So, what do I still have left for the second pass to go up against the cheese plate in the finals? The Malted Rum Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate-Peanut, Sweet Potato, Pear and Passion Fruit. Five choices, each a interesting one. At this point the ice cream melts under the pressure and is quickly gone and I’m down to the four main desserts. Then, the other two diners are heard from. The Boss has decided that he’s going with the Passion Fruit because he’s taken by the “enrobed in white chocolate” language. He confirms that he’s a white chocolate addict. I smile solicitiously and feel sorry for him that he doesn’t enjoy the full richness of high cacao percentage dark chocolate. His junior immediately agrees that he will have the same. Just because I’m feeling ornery I drop the Passion Fruit from my list, down to three choices.
On reviewing the Chocolate-Peanut my lips commence smacking in anticipation, always a good sign, if a bit gauche. My predisposition against sweet potato shines through and I ditch this choice wistfully. Down to the last two, the Chocolate against the Pear. This is a really tough choice and I sense that I’ll need to decide quickly since the other two have reached their choice. The chocolate wins out, if only because it’s a dark chocolate and hell, I love chocolate, and can’t imagine how a ginger caramel will taste anyhow.
Whew, done it selected the dessert. But wait.. what about the cheese plate. So, I temporize and signal the Captain over and ask him what’s on the cheese plate. He says that the cheeses haven’t yet reached the right temperature and the chef has indicated that he would prefer not to serve them. Saved by the bell. I thank him and order the Chocolate-Peanut dessert.

As the Captain retreats with our orders I hope that the dessert will live up to all that touch choosing.
The conversation continues and the ambience in the dining room is one of excitement, civility and a bit of celebration, with a larger round table near ours with about 8 people drinking from 4 different bottles of wine. At this point my hunger has been sated, but I’m not so full that I’m not still aching for more to eat and not looking forward to a toothsome delight for dessert.

Three servers arrive like a well drilled marching band carefully setting down the dessert plates from the left and then quickly retreating without pause. I look at the plate in front of me and sense that my choice was a good one. That sense will soon be confirmed. I glance at the passion fruit desserts in front of my colleagues, comparing it to my own and see that the enrobing is sufficiently ample to be satisfying, but otherwise I’m confident that my own choice will be wonderful and was a much better choice for me.
Sitting in the middle of a wide, but narrow plate is a small round tart filled with a bottom layer of caramel and an abundantly dark but soft chocolate and peanut mixture. Heavier than a mousse, thicker than a ganache, but not solid, it fills the tart with a domed shape. Drizzled on this and trailing off the side is the Meyer Lemon Purée which is exquisitely citrus in intensity. Sitting on the left is a small patch of the peanut powder, peanuts ground to a very fine, almost pastry dough ingredient size, on the dry plate. On the right is a perfect sphere of the Praline-Citrus Sorbet, barely touching the end tendril of the drizzled purée.
Eating this will be a self conducted tour of the components. My first bite is of the tart itself with a bit of the purée on top. The mouthfeel and depth of flavor of the dark chocolate, contrasted with the peanuty flavor, the crunchiness of the tart’s pastry dough and the citrine acidity of the purée is breathakingly delicious. Now, I taste a bite of the praline-Citrus Sorbet which is just glistening as it is softened but still cold enough to not melt. Wow, the burst of flavor, not sure whether it’s a grapefruit, lemon or some other citrus fruit is clear and fresh, but with the rich crunchiness of the pralines.

Next, I take a small amount of the sorbet and dip it in the peanut powder which sticks to the ice cream and it adds a peanuty crunchiness to the sorbet. Very nice. Then, another forkful of the tart, dipped chocolate first into the peanut dust, adding a real crunchiness to the bite and enhancing the peanut flavor along with the chocolate and caramel. Reese’s cups include similar elements, but it’s like comparing the drive of a Yugo to a Maserati or Ferrari. It moves, but oh what moves the Ferrari has the Yugo can’t imagine. The differences here are the same. Then, another bite of the sorbet to clean the palate for another dose of dark chocolate richness. Finally a combination of the tart with the ice cream and the peanut dust to get all the flavors working at once. The next few minutes are a whirlwind of overwhelming richness and clarity and smoothness and crunchiness until the only way I could have more would be to lift the plate to my face and lick what remains. Don’t think I didn’t consider it.

Unusually, for me, I ordered a cup of coffee. It’s so good I have another, enjoying the flavor and comforting glow that it puts on my dessert and meal. After that, I deal with the bill and walk my clients back to their office, having visited the Temple of Fish and having received an epic and memorable dining experience of religious proportions.

Le Bernardin Beckons, Part I

Le Bernardin Beckons, Part I

It comes that time of year when I take some of my best clients out to a very nice lunch to thank for them for their patronage during the year and of course to frequent some of the nicer places I enjoy eating. This past Thursday was such a day and I took the big boss at an important client and one of the next tier bosses for a nice meal at one of my all time favorite places Le Bernardin, a temple to the holiness of fish, and a dining experience second to none, even for BHMs, BBWs and SSBBWs.

While the restaurant is one of the few in the city requiring a jacket for the gentlemen, it is one of the most beautiful rooms, you can see it on their website (http://www.le-bernardin.com/) , and, well, I tend to wear a suit and tie to work anyhow, so it’s no big deal for me. As a BHM myself, I would find their wooden armchairs, though sufficiently sturdy, to be a bit tight on my legs and hips. However, each time I’ve come, without asking, between the time I am greeted by the maitre’d or other guardian of the podium near the door and the time we are sent to our table some signal or appraisal is silently and without fanfare, so that I have been sent to one of the tables with chairs without arms(which look the same apart from the arms) or a table with at least two of the four chairs having no arms.

As soon as you are comfortably seated a low level server puts a beautifully curved white serving porcelain bowl on the table filled with a salmon spread and a plate with ultra crisp toasted bread sufficiently thinly sliced so that it is more like a cracker in texture, though not taste. The portion of salmon spread is so ample as to allow you to pile heaps of the ambrosial mixture onto the bread, the plate holding two slices of bread for each guest. Of course, the serving bowl includes a fish spreading knife suitable to the task.

While this delicious amuse bouche is warming your palate to the piscine task and delights ahead, the waiter asks what you would like to drink. Unfortunately my guests are not wine drinkers at lunch(sadly rarely am I either), so we got a large bottle of sparkling water and I also got iced tea. With the graceful service so rarely encountered, the water was carefully poured into a large curved glass and the remainder placed on a silver serving caddy on the table out of the reach of the three of us, but which was carefully tended by a serving staff member as soon as the level in one of the glasses dipped beneath some magical invisible line on the glasses.

The iced tea was a wonderful riff on the usual service protocol. The iced tea came out in a tall curved glass with a healthy dollop of ice on a small doilied plate with a tiny spoon and a separate plate with a broad selection of sugars and artificial sweetners. As is my habit I emptied one sweet ‘n low into the glass and used the small spoon provided to stir it. As soon as it was apparent that I was satisfied with the sweetening process a skilled server slipped in moving the glass to the white linen tablecloth, removing the doilied plate, the spoon, the empty sweet n’ low packet and the sweeteners plate. When I got refills of the iced tea they appeared again on a doilied plate with a spoon, though with only a single sweet ‘n low. What amazing attention to detail.

One of my clients ordered a regular coke without ice. The captain(the highest ranking of the servers), brought his glass, which seemed to be chilled and then carefully and skillfully poured the entire bottle of coke into his glass without causing it to foam up. He then retired with the bottle in a graceful fashion.

We were then offered a selection of breads from a wide silver tray. As a regular customer I know that many of the usually 4 or 5 options will be of interest so I always select at least two. In this case there were thin olive studded saltsticks which were as good as I had hoped and a fruit nut bread which they gave me three very slender slices in one maneuver. Both were amazingly delicious and were used to sop up some of the remaining sauces . The other choices were different types of rolls, both crispy and soft. Butter was served on a silver dish with a class insert on which were precut and overlapped pats of rich butter.

At this point we were provided the menus, which are substantial solid covers with the paper menus inside on facing pages providing the choices which must be made. Both for lunch and dinner the meals are prix fixe(a/k/a fixed price) and include an appetizer an entrée and a dessert. On the appetizer side of the menu, on the left page are the “simply raw” choices on the top and the “lightly cooked” choices on the bottom. The entrees are not separated and include a wide variety of choices describing both the fish which forms the main part of the entrée along with the preparation and the accoutrements and sauces. For those who simply need more time to consider the choices than is allowed in the restaurant you can check out the menu online in advance. For a dedicated foodie who’s enjoyed the simply magnificent preparations and swooned on numerous occasions in this incredible restaurant I know there are no bad choices, but regret colors any decision because of all the other options foregone. Like a man met by St. Peter at the gates to Heaven and told there is not one heaven but twenty and only a few minutes to decide which one he will spend eternity in, the choices are wrought with heavy implications.

The three of us poured over the twenty choices for the appetizers and the twelve for the main course(not including the three non-fish choices offered at the bottom of the menu as “on request”). Among the 240 possible combinations we each picked three. I will describe my choices in greater detail as I actually tasted them. The portions aren’t huge, well, they’re not even really big, but the flavor more than makes up for it. However, if you cannot be satisfied without a substantial volume of food or need to eat very quickly this restaurant will be sorely disappointing. While I usually cross-taste with my restaurant companions, this wasn’t on the agenda with this group. However I did get their impressions and the big boss and I have dined together many times over the last 5 years and he has an appreciative palate and enjoyes Le Bernardin as much as I.

My choice for an appetizer. It's called Pork Belly-Calamari on the menu and is described as Crisp Braised Pork Belly and Baby Calamari Basquaise. The basquaise sauce was a very dark looking sauce like squid ink, but redolent with flavor and aroma and not the single note of squid ink(or even it’s flavor, merely sharing it’s color). It had garlic and onion and pepper and butter, very rich. The dish came out in a smallish flat bottomed soup type round dish with a flared rim. The bottom layer was pieces of baby squid each of which was not enough for a full mouthful, so that you needed two or three on your fork for appropriate mouth feel. Camped on top of this was a perfectly shaped cube of braised pork belly which was about one and a half inches on the edge. As is the case for pork belly it is a study in contrasts, with the upper level a perfectly crispy skin layer, with two layers of fragrant and juicy fat underneath it, a crepey upper section connecting the crunchy skin to the more solid layer of pungently piquant fat underneath it and at the bottom a supremely braised layer of fall off the bone tender meat(though no bone, of course). The dish was presented dry and then as it lay in front of me on the starched linen tablecloth, with a small porcelain creamer type container the server carefully poured the Basquaise sauce on the calamari, around the pork belly but not touching it; the porcine pillar sitting on top, dominating the plate like the black monolith in Kubrick’s 2001.

Examining the dish and knowing that the top crispy skin layer would be incredible I started with that and found it to be a perfect exemplar of all that is holy about crispy skins, the crunch, the mouthfeel of the unctuous crackling and eruption of flavor. The two distinct layers of fat underneath it presented both a contrast between the skin’s rigidity and the fat’s softly accomodating texture and a prelude to the exquisitely tasteful braised meat underneath it all. The arpeggio of flavors triggered sparks of excitement in my tongue, nose and brain. And, my brain was struggling to register that here in the temple of fish I was enjoying a meat dish so far from fish and hadn’t found my way yet to the wee calamari or Basquaise sauce so liberally dispersed in the dish. Pressing on I speared a pair of pieces of the calamari, dragging them gently through the dark sauce before gently dipping it in my mouth. The contrast in flavors from the abundantly rich pork belly to the freshly briny squid and pungent sauce was simply delicious and I paused for a moment to soak in the aromas and burn the flavors into my memory banks for later pleasure. Clearing my palate as well as possible with the iced tea I began to play with the different layers of the pork belly and the abundantly tender calamari and its aromatic sauce. Unlike some who like to finish their food in series, first one item and only then another, I revel in the ability to sample each of the flavors on my plate and attempt to spread out the eating so that the ending will be one last bite of each of the things I’ve been eating. Of course, trying desperately to maintain my status as the host of this repast I maintained the conversation and inquired if the others were enjoying their appetizers as much as I was enjoying mine. I wasn’t terribly surprised to discover that they were.

The big boss was having a dish I’d been eyeballing on the menu and had been considering seriously as I’d had a similar dish there some time ago with a different fish. He had ordered the fluke. It was described as a progressive tasting of marinated fluke: four different ceviches; from simple to complex combination. The fluke was served on a long and narrow plate with four small glass dishes spaced from left to right. The waiter said, “the chef suggests that you eat the dish from left to right”. We each looked at the four dishes which seemed to hold similar amounts of small slices of the fish, but which seemed to be sitting in a nearly colorless first liquid in the leftmost dish with increasing color, add-ins and viscosity as the dishes moved to the right. The rightmost dish seemed alive with flecks of red and green and white and yellow colors and a creamy texture. He started as suggested from the left and as I happened to look up periodically from own private right of passage through my appetizer saw him experiencing a similar sense of bewildered overwhelming pleasure. He tried to explain how the first ceviche was a simple, vinegary flavor that highlighted the fish’s relatively simple taste and the second added an oil based flavoring which mellowed the vinegar. The third added a complexity of additional flavorings and the fourth added in a deeper sense of richness from a creaminess. With each of the flavors the pristine flavor of the fish came through undulled by the flavors of the ceviche. I’ve had a similar dish with a different fish before and know the feeling that is amazing, like additional layers of flavor being added as one moves from one tasting to the next. Simply magnificent.

The third fellow, who is more of a meat and potatoes type eater had ordered the “crab cakes” as the menu called them. The menu calls it Crab: Warm Peekytoe-Maryland Lump “Crab Cake”, shaved Cauliflower; Dijon Mustard Emulsion. His description of the food was, good, very good. Not very helpful, but of course he was shocked by what he saw as there was no breading in the dish as a traditional crab cake has, and no browning of the surface of the cake. He had a nearly white dish which seemed to include a layering of the lump crab meat and shaved cauliflower gently baked and then finished with a loving application of the mustardy sauce.

Several minutes passed after the appetizers had been cleared to allow us to relish the appetizers, have several drinks of our beverages and talk before the main courses appeared. This allowed us to do our “business” and to talk about various things until the main course appeared. Also, the servers made sure that we each had fresh beverages before the next course.

The big boss had ordered the Cod selection, as he’d talked about how growing up he’d loved Codfish and was looking forward to a particularly good version of it. The other fellow ordered the same thing that I had selected. When the main courses appeared all conversation seemed to die away as we looked at our main courses.

The codfish is described as baked codfish in salt crust; stuffed baby artichokes with romesco; red wine-olive and preserved tomato stew. This was a small, but nice piece of the white codfish with a skin on top of salt crust with two baby artichokes with a garlicky, romesco sauce filling it and extending out of it like with an overstuffed mushroom or pepper. The red wine-olive and preserved tomato stew was between the two and had a stewlike quality even though the dice on the olives and tomato seemed to be tiny. The only commentary I got out of the big boss between the start and finish of his main course was “very very good” as he finished it without much commentary, obviously enjoying himself.

I ordered the monkfish. I happen to love monkfish and have had the same dish before and enjoyed it so much that I ordered it over the other choices which seemed so good. The other fellow also ordered the Monkfish.

But, I think since this entry is long enough for now I’ll end Part I and save my main course and the desserts for Part II is there is interest.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Directions

As I've thought about ways to take the blog in new directions now that I've gotten out the things that had to get out, I've been doing a variety of things. One, I convinced myself that I could satisfy myself with shorter pieces without affecting the esthetic of the blog. One of my friends said something which rang true. It's your blog and you have to be happy with it. While I aim to please and am pleased to make others happy, I try to make it pleasurable for me too. So, I've got a couple of new things coming up in the short term.

First, one of my joys is eating and attempting to recreate the intense and fabulous pleasure of eating in a textual fashion. By now, anyone who's read a few of the posts knows that my prose tends to avoid Hemingway like spareness or simplicity for the rubenesque abundance of poshly padded parlance. In simpler terms, I like to babble in multi-syllabic, multi-phrase sentences. Some have gone so far as to suggest that some of my food related writing might be called food porn since it is so sensorily oriented. If it is, so be it.

On occasion I've posted a few of these pieces on the Dimchat Foodie Board, and recently have done so with a long form piece that I split into two sections. Typed in Word these two pieces are each about 6 pages long. But, with the power of the blog I have considered putting it together as a single piece. But, I think it would be too much in one session to read and have decided to put it in here as two separate pieces, like on the Boards to allow you a chance to read the first part, get all hot and sweaty and hungry and then cool yourself off a bit before moving on the climax of the story. So, that will follow, with the captions Le Bernardin Beckons I and II.

For those of you not from NY or dedicated foodies, Le Bernardin http://www.le-bernardin.com/ has been a four star New York Times rated restaurant since its opening more than a decade ago. In the most recent Zagat's it has the highest overall rating of any restaurant in New York City, a pretty lofty perch. It also happens to be one of my favorite restaurants both because of the food and the service and the way in which fat people are treated to comfortable seating in a discreet and inviting way.

Second, I've been formulating a post that will be related to some of the other X-Fat folks that I've conversed with over the years, without providing too much information which might identify them, since there seems to be a general fascination with people who are so much larger than the "average" person and several times bigger than even the larger ssbbws and bhm's. Of the various areas that the commenting readers have pointed to this is clearly the most popular one. I've asked our contributing X-Fat friend to join in but she's been kinda slow in responding with something bloggable due to a move of her abode and the resultant activity. However, I can report that she's doing fine and even appears to have gained more weight.

So, in the next day or so, to allow some of you to read this first, I'll post the two Le Bernardin pieces and then, hopefully shortly the X-Fat Chronicles.