|Dinner at EAT, Brooklyn.|
In one of our efforts to "de-stress," J. and I have decided to spend one night a week devoted to "creative pursuits." We both have several projects that are half-done or pending, with "no time" to do them -- something that has been frustrating us. (Weekends are already stuffed with activities, from greenmarket shopping and prepping food for the week, to bike rides and other fun excursions.)
So, we have launched "Creative Night," one evening a week dedicated to our individual projects. No housework or cooking allowed (unless "cooking" is one of the creative activities that night). I'll document my Creative Nights here, as it's part of my de-stressing plan.
Last night's activities involved a trip to the library, writing a note to J.'s parents, and dinner at a restaurant I've wanted to try for months.
I am thrilled our library is open late on some weeknights. I marched in and checked out:
- Tea: History Terroirs Variety, an oversize book on tea harvesting and enjoyment by a noted tea house.
- When Did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green & 101 Other Questions About New York City, a compilation of interesting questions (and answers) by the New York Historical Society Library.
- The Art of Flourishing: A New East West Approach to Staying Sane and Finding Love in an Insane World, a "how-to" style book fusing Western lifestyles with zen, mindfulness, and other Eastern concepts…not sure how long I'll last reading this one, but there may be a few takeaway points here.
Then, I took myself to dinner at Eat, a restaurant epitomizing the "farm to table" approach. Eating out is always a challenge for my cranky gut and picky palate. Usually, I find that the vegetarian -- and especially vegan -- dishes served at restaurants are far too spiced. Cumin, chipotle, black pepper, and other bold flavors muffle the clean vegetable taste I am hoping for. Even the Whole Foods hot/cold bars are loaded with extraneous spices, wrecking the dish for me (I do not need red pepper flakes on all my vegetables, thank you). Elsewhere, the one vegan soup is "Spicy Black Bean."
Eat's cooking philosophy matches mine -- that when you have terrific produce, you don't need much more, that recipes should bring out the flavors of the vegetables -- not drown them in counter-flavors, rendering them undetectable. Nothing ruins a dish for me more than it being too spicy-hot, making my mouth scorched and unable to taste anything other than the "heat." That's my personal taste preference; I know many people prefer hot spices on their food, and think complex flavors make a dish, but a more mild approach is what works for me. Note: GERD-wise, spicy foods can be a trigger for many people, though as I noted before, my gut isn't bothered by them.
So, I was in bliss with Eat's "greens and beans" dish, composed of sauteed kale (with all stems trimmed -- bravo! -- something restaurants do NOT usually do), a creamy brown rice, and expertly prepared pinto beans -- all from the local greenmarket. I was going to read while I ate, but decided to take a completely mindful approach, slowly savoring each forkful, chewing well, and taking moments to just breathe and relax between bites. The portion was also pleasing -- perhaps a tiny bit more than I'd have at home, but not that much more, so I felt just right afterwards. No GERD symptoms!
I could not leave without grabbing some desserts to go -- a gluten-free brownie, and chocolate chip/nib cookie. Both not vegan, but with locally-sourced ingredients…
Eat's Twitter feed
Eat's Facebook page
Eat on Yelp - Four Stars