On Dancehall Nostalgia, Dinner at Buvette & #Sardinegrams
Writing this post in the throes of some Drake-infused nostalgia. The latest mixtape is kinda doing it for me right now - equal parts faux dancehall, quick-n-dirty samples and borrowed recollections. Listening to this ting, I feel like I'm walking down the halls of someone else's crumbling Jamaican mansion, or maybe that's just my Tuesday state of mind. Lovin' the island life vibes it's bringing out; I'm ready for an umbrella cocktail and magenta parrots and Gabriel Garcia Marquez afternoon siestas where the breeze is gold-glinted and the passion fruit soda is chilling on ice. Basically, I'm ready to live inside a Gucci ad but y'all already knew that.
But let's return to the food which this is (sort of) all about. I'm obsessed with sardines, and oily, tiny fishes in tiny tins. I went into one of my local haunts last week for lunch and was seduced by the sardine. Said lunch nook is Despana on Broome -- if you haven't been yet, hit it up. The samples alone are heavenly (envision a 1pm flirtation with little morsels of sourdough and silky olive oil, bloody bits of sausage and Spanish cheeses you've never heard of) and there's an animal head above the cashier, where the family who owns the spot bicker with each other about picante peppers and who is restocking the lime soda. Needless to say, I'm in there a lot.
So there I am, perusing the goods when I notice some very sumptuous looking lil fish bodies, basking in little pools of oil. I speared one, stuck it on a corner of floury sourdough, and was pretty instantly transported to the cliffs of Sardinia. Super tasty. Now, credit where credit is due. Two of my friends -- @allgoodnews and @whelanandealin have been posting #sardinegrams for ages, drawing me in with their beautiful little snapshots of cheese, late afternoon cocktails and half opened tins resting on perfect cutting boards. Needless to say, the #sardinegram has been lurking in the back of my brain and I was only too eager to try.
The texture of the sardine is v pleasing -- olive-oily, sexy, salty -- and the aesthetic experience is joyous too. The tins have that Popeyes-esque tab which is just begging to be peeled back, and once you're in that tin, it's all phat, plump fishes which are a delightful break from more quotidian grocery options, and best accompanied with some cornichon, a Peroni, and some hunks of cheese. I cracked open my first tin on Sunday night and threw all the contents (including every last dreg of oil) in a bowl with charred spinach + red onion, radish, arugula, blistered potatoes, and buttery toast. One of the best things about adulthood: eating what you want, when you want. And hey, if you end up with a buttery, green, semi-springy meal that you feel Van Gogh would have been happy to enjoy in a straw hat, after a long day of oil painting in the wheat fields, so be it.
Enjoyed those lusty lil sardines on Sunday and took my omega-3 obsession into the heart of the West Village for dinner at Frenchie bistro Buvette with my new friend, Susanna (hi lady!). A little backstory on Miss Horsey.
Our mothers -- Margot and Wendy -- grew up together and their friendship is nothing short of mythic. From skipping gym and sun bathing on the roof to trouncing through the open fields of New Jersey (where apparently cows roamed free) and smoking hash pipes so feverishly that they actually singed their eyelashes off...to British-y dinners with mismatched silver platters and ridiculously underage martinis..those two got into some shiiiiit. In the last few months, over bone marrow and coconut cake at Minetta Tavern and gossip-y texting, Susanna and I have become pals and I'm very happy about it.
We had dinner last night at Buvette which was every bit as darkly lit and inviting as I hoped it would be. The menu felt like a little booklet you'd find in your grandmother's attic with beautiful woven pop outs and faded crimson font, and told exactly the tales you want to hear: of tartinettes and legumes and poissons so delish as to be unreal. Susanna was virtuous but I ate a plate of beautiful bread with foamy butter and oily anchovies and I was just like 'daaaaaamn girl, this is so good!'. The bottle of Sancerre and cod didn't hurt either. And Susanna's coq au vin was a crowd pleaser too - I loved the tiny clay pot it was in and the duck was falling off the bone, floating in a sea of fava beans and baked carrots. Stewed to perfection. Extra family detail: my mother once wrote a letter at summer camp that said "we had a stew - it was divine." If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know. Well.
Susanna and I polished off the evening with a bottle of Pinot Noir in her chic apartment (the girl hand wallpapered her bathroom, how could I not love her?) and then I took the F home, jazzed about Spring and frutta di mare and new friends and hand painted fabric and the Jerry Butler + Thelma Houston record I bought for $2.00 over the weekend.
Let your life be a pastiche of everything beautiful and inspiring and oily. That's where my head's at.
Hermes link, ice blue mink.