love

orecchiette

You know the days, when you try to walk away from yourself? 
Rome let me do that. 
Rome let me pound the pavement until I was just tired bones encased in tired skin, with only a hungry stomach and nothing more. 

So I ordered orecchiette. 
Orecchiette in broccoli sauce, with flakes of sausage. 
"It's good?" I asked. 
"It's ok." The waiter smiled down at me. 

So I said that's fine, and some kind of white wine please, whatever is the best. 
And the waiter smiled down at me, and brought olive bread that was pretty but dry, and wine that was good, and then pasta that was better. 

The pasta. 


Hot and fresh and simple. 

I melted. 

Lately, my soul has been in need of melting. 

Something about traveling, and constantly moving, is that I'm constantly adjusting and readjusting to fresh places and fresh people. It's fascinating and lovely, but extraordinarily intense, and often a little drunk. These spontaneous and fleeting connections-- some of which last for no more than a few hours, often leave me gasping for air. 
Like a punch of personality to the gut.

I vascillate between vulnerability and abrasiveness: constantly being aware of strangers eyes crawling down my legs, hair, the small of my back, and the fear of being whistled at or followed. 
And then also letting people in-- tell me your story, let me tell you mine, do you want a bite of this? Sharing sharing sharing in the limited time frame that being in a place for only 48 hours allows you to share. 


But every now and then, something undoes me-- and I find myself forgetting about the fear, and forgetting about how much I'm telling, and the protective shell around my heart softens. 

Have you ever had a song that leaves you seeping and weeping everytime you listen to it in the car? Or a person who leaves you joyous and raw? Or an experience that left you empty and whole at the same time? 

This is what the food of Italy does to me-- like it's so good nothing can really be better, which is, really, quite tragic. 

And that orecchiette-- oh lover. 
It undid me. 

And despite all my tired bones and tired skin--

I melted. 



Midnight Cheese


There's a line from the Joni Mitchell song "My Old Man" that I love, it goes "The bed is too big, the frying pan is too wide."


Baby, that's where I'm at.
Lately, when I can't sleep, I roll out of bed and stand in cold light of the refrigerator and eat hummus and chocolate and cheese in an attempt to fill up the night and the hollow spaces inside me.
Because at night, I easily get lost in the past and overwhelmed by the future, and food is so tactile and so real that something as simple as a snack brings me back to the present, which is also intimidating, but better, because there is chocolate to be had in the present. 
And chocolate is comforting. 
The famous food writer Ruth Reichl wrote a beautiful memoir called Comfort Me With Apples, which is a mostly perfect title, but if I were to write that food memoir right now it would be called Comfort Me With Chocolate. Or, Comfort Me With Cheese


Baby, if we're being totally honest, I just can't bring myself to really cook meals these days. 
The frying pan is too wide. 
So mostly I am eating eggs, hummus, beans out of a can and apples and coffee and beer. 
Which is simple and small and just fine. 


But this is really to say, I think about you all the time and I have a lot to say, I'm just figuring out how to say it right. 
I don't know. 
I'll bake you a cake soon and we can talk about that. 
But right now my frying pan is too wide, and I really just want to eat two kinds of cheese until I'm full enough and then go laugh and drink beer with my people. 
Because right now that feels nice and sweet and good. 

So. 
Cake soon. 
Meals again soon. 
But for now. 
I love you I love you I love you. 

xoxo
mary 



Excellent Midnight Cheeses:
Tillamook Sharp Cheddar: http://www.tillamook.com/
Cabot: http://www.cabotcheese.coop/
Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar: http://www.barbers1833.co.uk/



The Best Breakfast Taco in Austin, Texas.


I ask people questions. 
It's like a bad party trick. 





I ask people questions like:

Do you believe in God?
And how do you pray?
And what does it feel like to be young?
And have you been in love?
And what does that feel like?
And how many people have you kissed?
And where do you find the best breakfast taco in Austin?

Because I have wanted to know the answers.


I wanted someone to explain God to me.

And I wanted to be shown how to pray because praying confuses me. 
And I wanted to know what people thought youth was, so that I would understand my own lack of comprehension. 
And I wanted to know love like it was a fact.
And I wanted to know how many people you kissed because it's a fun question to ask.
And I wanted to know where to find the best breakfast taco because really that's the most important question of all.



I don't feel like asking these questions so much right now. 

Because here is the thing.
I have been learning how to love the question itself.
Because these are blessed unknowns: God and prayer and youth and inexperience and love, it is all just a perpetual question mark.
There is no definite answer.
No finite conclusion to come to.
Maybe time is the only real answer.
I don't know.

That said.
There is one conclusion that I have come to.
One unalterable, finite, perfect truth: Austin, Texas is the best place in the world to eat a breakfast taco.
Without doubt.
Without question.
Below are some of my favorite tacos in this gorgeous city. 
When it comes to this, there are no question marks.
Only full stops.

All my love,

m


Tamale House
5003 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
Phone number(512) 453-9842


Tacodeli 
4200 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78756
Phone number(512) 419-1900

Bouldin Creek Coffee House & Cafe


1900 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
Phone number(512) 416-1601


Counter Cafe

626 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
Phone number(512) 708-8800

Maria's Taco Xpress
2529 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
Phone number(512) 444-0261

Papalote Taco House
2803 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
Phone number(512) 804-2474


Torchy's Tacos
1311 S 1st St
Austin, TX 78704
Phone number(512) 366-0537

Dan's Hamburgers



5602 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
Phone number(512) 459-3239

New York City, I want to hold your hand.


New York City. I love you. 

If I could be your lover I would. 
I would take your hands in my hands. 
And I just wouldn't let go. 

Because only in precious Queens will perfect boys take you to eat Indian/Chinese food in restaurants with disco balls. And to eat Thai food in gardens. The train to get there is so long. 


And only in Brooklyn will you go to random Hawaiian themed parties, and talk to boys with sad eyes, while eating sugary frozen pie from the Momofuku Milk Bar at 3am. Or go to Roberta's pizza with Olivia, 



and eat green covered pizzas, and poppy seeded gelato that tastes like sparkles. 



Or make your way through a cheese plate with a kind stranger/friend who tells you that she has "never fallen in love slowly." And get drunk on nice beer and brazilian music in your friend's basement kitchen. 



Because only in Manhattan will you eat dollar slices of pizza, and cheeseburgers and drink stella and talk about where it is you are/aren't, and get lost in plates of cold spicy noodles, and soup dumplings, and puerto rican ham sandwiches and perogies and cups of coffee and mango lassi, and drink more beer and eat two kinds of cheesecake in one sitting, and just love it all. 



However, there are no breakfast tacos in New York. 
So I'm back in Texas. 
So full, and also so hungry. 
A friend once told me, that maybe it's love when "you want to hold someone's hands, but they are already holding yours." 



New York City, you held my hand before I even tried to reach out. 

So blessed and so grateful. 




*****

Artichoke Basille's Pizza
328 E 14th St
New York, NY
(212) 228-2004

Mission Chinese Food
154 Orchard St  New York, NY 10002
(212) 529-8800

La Taza de Oro
96 8th Ave  New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-9946


Roberta's
261 Moore St  Brooklyn, NY 11206
(718) 417-1118

Xian Foods
67 Bayard Street
New York, NY 10013 


SriPraPhai 
64-13 39th Ave
Woodside, NY
(718) 899-9599

The Corner Bistro
331 W 4th St  New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-9502

Veniero's Italian Bakery
342 E 11th St  New York, NY 10003
(212) 674-7070

Caracas Arepa Bar
93 1/2 E 7th St  New York, NY 10003
(212) 529-2314

Diner
85 Broadway
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
11249

Smourgasburg

East River State Park
(90 Kent Ave at N. 7 St)

Blue Ribbon Sushi
119 Sullivan St
New York
(212) 343-0404

Madman Espresso
319 

E 14th St  New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-2233

Velselka
144 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-9682

BaoHaus
238 E 14th St  New York, NY 10003
(646) 669-8889

The Gray Dog90 University Pl
New York, NY
(212) 414-4739


Station166 N 7th St  Brooklyn, NY 11211(718) 599-1596