Thursday, July 13, 2006

One for the Cook (and for Mom)

While Margy was basking in lobster bliss, I still had to eat.

Tonight I joined my parents for a meal to celebrate Mom's birthday. We went to a place called Pierre's, and everything was delicious. Well, almost everything -- the profiteroles were lazy and uninspired. But all the savory stuff was great. We started with an eggplant and goat cheese tart that was flaky and tasty. And my dad and I both ordered sautéed soft shell crabs for our entree.

I knew I wanted the crabs immediately, and I announced my intentions. This, according to my father's unofficial rule, meant he couldn't order them and had to get something else, so he could taste my crabs and I could taste whatever he got. But I could tell he was bummed. After a few more minutes of scrutinizing the menu, he said, "The halibut sounds good."

"I'm going to have that," my mom said without hesitation. Dad let out a little rush of air through his nose. After a while he said, most unconvincingly, "Maybe I'll get the chicken."

"The chicken?" my mother asked, as she and I then pleaded, in unison, "Get the crabs." He considered it once more.

Seconds later you could feel the weight lift off his shoulders as he finally committed to ordering the thing he truly wanted, even if it meant we were selfishly and hedonistically doubling up.

I have to say, it was a wise decision. This might have been the best soft shell crab dish I've ever had in a restaurant. The legs and claws were beautifully crisp, the crab plump and juicy. And the herbs, garlic, and garlic scapes on top were a bright, fresh touch. I ate slowly and quickly at the same time, finally easing almost to a halt for those last few wonderful bites.

Happy birthday, Mama! And, Dad -- nice work.

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