B is for Branzini
Tonight I dragged my fan from my landing and plugged it into the outlet in my living room. As I clicked it on and heard that familiar whirrrrrrr, I realized that summer, without my invitation, is back.
Summer - for a Remy girl - means a few things. It means cold baths, sleeping on friends' couches, rooftop Aperol Spritzes, and exploring feminist literature that makes my heart grow or shrivel (depending on the night) like a forgotten cotton sock. Last summer it was "The Golden Notebook" and tonight it's Rupi Kaur's "Milk and Honey".
i am not a hotel room i am home - i am not the whiskey you want - i am the water you need - don't come here with expectations - and try to make a vacation out of me.
I mean really, so good.
But anyway: I had dinner with Emma tonight (hi darling Emma) and she ate a beautiful half roasted chicken and I worked through a whole roasted trout, its little head and beady eyes staring off into space, probably envisioning and re-envisioning its own murky demise. You were tasty, my friend. I enjoyed you greatly.
Emma and I had a little gems salad and sparkling orange wine and plowed through 5 years of memories -- her love for a certain video store purveyor in Baltimore, my love for a certain Shakespeare TA who was the recipient of some unfortunate bad (and drunken) "Othello" analysis that I wrote between beer pong rounds. Whoops.
After dinner, I took myself on a walk to Barnes & Noble (I miss you, Book Court) and picked up Roxanne Gay's "Difficult Women" and "Milk and Honey" -- savoring the weight of the books in my bag. I didn't even realize how parched I was for a story till I had two to look forward to. The same feels as seeing a water fountain at the edge of the park; a realization of just how fucking thirsty you are.
And now I'm on my couch, with the twinkle lights buzzing, and the Jeremih track in the background, thinking back to the branzino I made with S & Z a few weeks ago. I've been going through a fish thing, ever since I bought this antique postcard with an embroidered fisherman on it from Porto. I think he conjured up something, some innate aquatic ish, and now I'm all about exploring le pesce.
So I called Z & S and asked them if we could fire up their grill (hello Brooklyn roof deck), to which they obliged. I went to my fish market and asked my guy to debone 3 full branzini, watching him diligently slice open the fish and remove the microscope bones and sew them back up like a patient surgeon. At the grill, I rubbed the fishes with salt and pepper, painted them with olive oil, sliced fennel and lemon, and stuck the slices into the fish cavities, marveling that for once in my gdamn life my creation looked like the beautiful photography in my "Prune" cookbook. We cooked the bad boys for a few minutes (till the grill marks were singed in there) and then feasted with homemade bread (let the record show that Z makes the best bread!), grilled onions, homemade pickled peppers, and negronis. Needless to say, I was in heaven and overstayed my welcome at their apartment, way past the insane chai ice cream + grilled pineapple makeshift sundaes.
I guess this is all coming full circle because Emma, like the sweet friend she is, cried "we're having a Yum Yum Fun night!" when we sat down to dinner, which made me smile. Because y'all are getting it. This is about you, and the joy you give me through your indulgence of my little habits, your contributions to my palette, your Sunday dinners and menu planning and adventurous spirits.
So anyway. B is for branzino - s is for summer. Here's to hoping I don't melt into my couch.