Conspicuous Consumption

May 5th, 2007

My friend Chris checked in from Boston over the weekend. Apparently, the recent cold snap up there left him with more time on his hands than usual. He wrote to tell me about the $55.00 Macaroni & Cheese appetizer at the Waverly Inn in Manhattan. Of course I’m certain it was great Mac ‘n Cheese. I must say, in the interest of full disclosure, when St. Peter and I have that little chat about the five or ten greatest meals I’ve ever had, Tagliatelle ai Tartufi Bianchi will be among them. It involved no more than homemade pasta, butter, and the aforementioned tartufi bianchi. But I got to eat it—on someone else’s tab—at Castel Grinsane Cavour, Don Camillo Cavour’s old homestead in Piemonte.

I mentioned above that I thought Chris had some time on his hands, because rather than simply tell me about the $55.00 Mac ‘n Cheese and let it go at that, he sent me a few other superlative dishes floating around on some of the tonier menus these days.

If salad interests you, Florette’s of the U.K. and chef Raymond Blanc have gotten together to create this salad. The accompanying press release mentions, among other details:

– In just over a decade, Florette has become the UK and Europe’s fastest growing brand of prepared salads.

– Florette is the number one brand in the UK ready-to-eat salad market.

– The total Florette salad range consists of further delicious salads, ready-to-cook vegetables and fresh salad dressing bottles, and is constantly added to with new and innovative products.

This sort of makes me wonder if Rachael Ray has seen the Press Release. It would certainly give new life to her notion of pre-washed veggies.

By this point in the meal—if you’re an omnivore like me—you’re likely to be ready for some red meat. It should come as no surprise that Daniel Boulud has just the thing for you.

Of course if you’re feeling a little peckish for something sweet, Serendipity in Manhattan may have just the ticket with this sundae.

On the other hand, if you’re seeking something more substantial for dessert, this cake should satisfy your most exotic craving.

Naturally, I try to keep up with the fiber in my diet, and we have a couple of productive citrus trees in the backyard, so I’m confident I’m up-to-date with Vitamin C, but between these two recipes, it sounds like an awful lot of gold leaf to eat in one sitting.

Finally, you’ll surely want a glass of wine to accompany some or all of this opulence, so so let the indulgence flow.

After re-reading all of the above, I can’t help but wonder why we haven’t seen this sort of thing here in Sarasota—Sarasotans being no strangers to conspicuous consumption—but Fatima tells me we’re only now getting into high season. We’ll have to wait and see.

Chris, though, was thoughtful enough to create an imaginary tab if the two of us had this meal together.

Tab for Lunch

Not too bad for a burger and salad. But, truth to tell, I’d forgo the whole meal if I could have a small fraction of the server’s tip.

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