Hear I go again, another food crush. Other people can describe their attraction to different foods as a preference, or a love affair, maybe, or a craving.
Me, I get crushes, of the schoolgirl giddy variety. I become acquainted with a food, say, the smoked crawfish dip at Oodles Uncorked on Market Square. Then I try to eat it at every opportunity, but not just that. I also steer the conversation around to them as often as I can without sacrificing dignity, just to hear a mention of their name, their ingredients, their tantalizing taste. I sigh when we’re passing the place where they’re made—oh to dally, to sample, just for a minute. I think about them when they’re not there, how sweet they are, how perfect.
I stop short of doodling their name on my fifth-period notebook cover, but that’s about all the control I can muster. These do not have to be particularly new foods, or fancy—I can’t explain what sets me off. At some time or another I’ve had a full-blown food crush on each of the following:
-Cheesy tots from Burger King
-Tiny, fresh, organic beet greens from my garden
-Mayfield’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
-Dead End BBQ’s red and blue coleslaw
-Pete’s Coffee Shop tuna melts
Now I’ve got two other crushes going. Ever since attending the pre-opening of Shuck Raw Bar last Friday, I spend way too much time talking about, thinking about, plotting to see, soon, often, the Mediterranean salad. Oh, the oysters I ate were spectacular, a taste like sunning next to the ocean on a warm spring day, and as a native of the Chesapeake Bay area, I don’t give that praise lightly. But it’s actually the salad I’m crushing on, with its succulent shrimp, perfectly blended vinaigrette, thin shards of sweet red onion. And the crowning glory: fried capers. Yep, they’re like the dimples on Steven Matish from my second grade at Catholic School. Oh Shuck salad, until we meet again.
And Dazzo’s grandma’s slice. This is a little Italian eatery down the sidewalk from work, and this slice is sublime, crispy-tender, with a homemade mozzarella and this thick, tangy sauce. It’s part of the $6 lunch special that includes an icy Diet Coke in a boss-size glass and a side salad with roasted pepper and old-style, homemade, cholesterol-be-hanged bleu cheese dressing—at least the way I order it. But oh, that slice. It makes me smile just thinking about it. If someone even says “Daz...,” I’m off in a daydream. I’ll engage anyone who will listen in a dialogue about how it’s really just perfect plain; adding pepperoni is almost blasphemy. Unlike a person-crush, I try to encourage others to form their own crush, so I’ll have company if I want to eat a slice more than, say, once a week.
This slice crush is six months old. I don’t know how long I’ll go on like this—I never know how long a crush will last. One day I just stop caring quite so much (or Burger King stops selling cheesy tots, but that is a different ending), and weeks later, realize the food has moved to the “preference” category.
But I always enjoy my crush, while it lasts.
Grandma’s Slice + No Stacey
Speaking of Dazzo’s, it’s funny. I guess it’s not all that common of knowledge that Martha Boggs, She Who Denied State Senator Stacey Campfield Service at Bistro By the Bijou, also owns the pizza place across Gay Street—has for about a year now. I was in late the other afternoon, like 4 p.m., to get a slice, and asked my favorite server if they’d been wildly busy like the Bistro since the news broke Feb. 1. Steady, yes, she said, but people don’t seem to make the association. “Maybe she should have given us a shout-out, too,” she said, only half-joking. “You know, ‘And Stacey Campfield ain’t allowed to eat at Dazzo’s, either.’”