the restaurant

Why I Eat Doughnuts


Right now I feel a rage at college and at the process of "being educated" in general. 
Because I don't know how what I'm currently being taught in my philosophy class about a bunch of dead white men, specifically John Locke, applies to my own strange life of early mornings and late nights and too many Conversations About Everything and The Future. 



I want someone to explain to me why I should care. 

Because I have a job at a restaurant where chefs work fourteen hour days so that people can pay $40 for a a plate of pasta. And at that same restaurant the other night I ate a sea urchin that tasted what the ocean would taste like, if the ocean gave you only the sweetest kiss.




I want someone to explain to me why John Locke matters when you can taste kisses from the ocean, prepared by fat men in white, whose life's work is to make you remember a flavor?

I want someone to explain to me the value of John Locke, when I go to parties and make small talk with people who are determinedly hipper than me, though they are not cleverer or more interesting. But the point is, none of them will be impressed by my knowledge or lack thereof, of John Locke. 



I want someone to explain to me how John Locke will make me a Better person. I want someone to explain how John Locke will make me a wiser, kinder, more joyous, more thoughtful, more industrious, more generous, less judgmental, more loving human being. 

Because at the moment, John Locke and my philosophy class are doing absolutely none of those things. And it is making me lose some faith in the ultimate purpose of education. 

I just wanna be Better y'all. 

However, I do know one thing that always makes me Better:

Doughnuts. 





Always. Every. Single. Time. 




Apple Tarte Tatin

Isn't it strange when you look around at all the people in the world, and realize that every single thing that they're wearing, they chose to put on that day. 
Isn't that insane? 
Clothes are perhaps one of the only things that people have any real control over. 
Dressing up is a way to be empowered. 
This Apple Tarte Tatin is like your Little Black Dress that shows enough cleavage so that you feel voluptuous but not slutty.  
It's perfect and easy going and classy. 
It's simple. 
It's divine. 
It goes with everything. 
And everyone loves it. 

Sophia Loren 

Distressing Facts in Life Part I: Many people do not know what an Apple Tarte Tatin even is. 

 

Basically it's apples that are cooked in butter and caramelized sugar until they almost have the consistency of jam. It's a slice of beauty. 


Do yourself a favor. 
Get classy. 
Get the Little Black Dress out. 
Make Apple Tarte Tatin
Exercise some beautiful control in your life. 

Apple Tarte Tatin
via SmittenKitchen.com

6 medium apples (I used Pink Lady apples and they were oh so good.) 
Juice of half a lemon
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) butter
1 1/3 cup (266 grams) sugar, divided
Puffed pastry, chilled or a single Pie Crust

A 9-inch ovenproof skillet, heavy enough that you fear dropping it on your toes


Peel apples, halve and core apples. Once cored, cut lengthwise into quarters (i.e. four pieces per apple) and cut a bevel along their inner edge, which will help their curved exteriors stay on top as they rest on this edge. (You can see this beveled edge here.) Toss apple chunks with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the sugar. Set aside for 15 minutes; this will help release the apple’s juices, too much of them and the caramel doesn’t thicken enough to cling merrily to the cooked apples.
Melt butter in your skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle in remaining 1 cup sugar and whisk it over the heat until it becomes the palest of caramels. Off the heat, add the apples to the skillet, arranging them rounded sides down in one layer. Lay any additional apple wedges rounded sides down in a second layer, starting from the center.
Return the pan to the stove and cook in the caramel for another 20 to 25 minutes over moderately high heat. With a spoon, regularly press down on the apples and baste them caramel juices from the pan. If it seems that your apples in the center are cooking faster, swap them with ones that are cooking more slowly, and rotate apples that are cooking unevenly 180 degrees. The apples will shrink a bit and by the end of the cooking time, your second layer of apples might end up slipping into the first — this is fine.
Preheat oven to 400. Roll out your puffed pastry to a 9-inch circle and trim if needed. Cut four vents in pastry. Remove skillet from heat again, and arrange pastry round over apples. Tuck it in around the apples for nicer edges later. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Once baked, use potholders to place a plate or serving dish (larger in diameter than the pan, learn from my messes!) over the pasty and with a deep breath and a quick prayer, if you’re into that kind of thing, unmold the pastry and apples at once onto the plate. If any apples stubbornly remain behind in the pan, nudge them out with a spatula.
Eat immediately.


Beans and Rice


In the end, I always return to beans and rice. 
There is no food in the fridge. 
Except beans and rice. 
I don’t know what to eat. 
Eat Beans and rice. 
I am too tired to think. 
Beans and rice. 

I have eaten lots of beans and rice lately. I eat them in tacos, I eat them with omelets, I eat them in fat bowls filled with lettuce and homemade salsa and rich avocado and a grind of pepper. Beans and rice bring me home. Beans and rice are home. 
I keep trying to bring myself home. Home to myself. I tell me the stories I’ve accumulated over the past year, the stories of  where I’ve been and what I’ve done and how I felt. And people have told me so many stories.  I’ve told these stories to myself, and to so many others. I have told these stories too many times, until now, I almost feel like the meaning that they originally had for me has perhaps begun to fade. 

This summer has been so strange. 
I have had the blues. Too much feeling. Too much thinking. 

I am lucky in my friends, lucky in my family, but there are some times and some days where growing up feels so impossibly difficult. 
Right now it is raining, a dreary, humid summer rain, and I can hear the dripping though my window, over the hum of the air conditioner. 
I eat beans and rice. 

I’ve spent this summer writing endless letters I don’t send, to myself and to the people I love. My friend once told me that the “only letters she had ever sent were love letters” and I think that is just excruciatingly beautiful. 
Because it is true. 
Every letter I have ever written has been a love letter. 
So this is a love letter to beans and rice. 
This is a love letter to growing up.
This is a love letter to summer, no matter how strange, no matter how blue. 
This is a love letter to myself, a fierce reminder that I will always be worthy of love letters, even if I have to send them to myself. 
This is a love letter to my mother, who listens, who made the beans and rice. 
This is a love letter to the people I work with at the restaurant, from whom I am learning so much. 
This is a love letter to the beautiful friends I have, to the friends I have yet to make, to the friends who have disappointed me, whom I will love anyways. 
This is a love letter to the kind strangers. 
This is a love letter to all the stories I've been told. 
This is a love letter to real talk. 
To air conditioning. 
To the internet.  
To walking. 
To Joni Mitchell. 
To shopping. 
To the future. 
To coffee. 
To sleeping. 
To hope. 
To writing. 
To the radio. 
To summer rain. 

But mostly, it’s a love letter to beans and rice. 

Deviled Eggs

A pointless story: my manager at the restaurant I work at was talking about wine, and he said to me, "Don't judge me for drinking rose." And I had to laugh to myself, because honestly, I know nothing about nothing, and I know especially nothing about wine, least of all rose, which I only know I like because it is pink, and I like basically everything that is pink. 





There is one thing that I know though. 


I know that I want to give you the truest thank you. 


How do you say the truest thank you?

This is a question that has been puzzling me for a while. 

Because you are so kind, and somehow you keep returning and reading about my pies and my dinners and my issues and my delights. 

I mean, 





WHAT? 

I don't even have the words. 

If I knew who you were, I would give a present. This present would be wrapped in the comics section of the newspaper, and tied with some kind of satiny ribbon. Because I believe in attractive presents. Though I actually give them mostly infrequently. 

You inspire me. 





And I am not just saying that. 

At the restaurant I work at they make these ridiculously divine looking deviled eggs with truffle oil whipped into the yolk part, but I've never actually gotten to eat one.  Which just kills me. 


I spend a lot of time thinking about those eggs. 





I actually made some deviled eggs the other day because I had such a craving, but the pictures I took of them were so decidedly unfortunate that I painted a picture of them instead. 


Beloveds, if I could, I would give you all the truffled deviled eggs of the world. But I can't. Because I don't know who you are. 


So I say you make them yourself. And you can pretend that they're from me, a symbol of my truest thank you. 


I'm going to say it one more time. 


Thank you. 


xoxo


Deviled Eggs
Gourmet 2002, via epicurious.com


Also, I have a THING for mustard, so I added more of it. A lot more. Also, I didn't really even follow the recipe. I just guesstimated the proportions. But I love you a lot. So I'm telling you, follow the recipe. If you want. You can also add truffle oil, if you have it and are feeling decadent. In fact, you can do whatever you want. 



  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • Special equipment: a pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch star tip (optional) <--- Totally did not do this 
  • Garnishes: paprika; chopped fresh chives; whatever strikes your fancy 

Cover eggs with cold water by 1 1/2 inches in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, partially covered. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking and let stand 5 minutes.
Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks and mash in a bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, and cayenne and stir with fork until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Fill pastry bag with yolk mixture and pipe into egg whites.