Saturday, September 11, 2010

A simple answer

My life had become variations on the same theme. Get up in the morning, go to work, come home. After nearly two years of working in San Leandro, there were no more great culinary adventures to be had during my day. OK. Well maybe I do still need to check out that pupuseria I spotted in San Lorenzo but really? Not much else. My coworkers are creatures of routine for the most part when it comes to food. I mean really routine as in if you know what day of the week it is, you know what they'll be having for lunch. I think I'm about the only person in the office who actually reads books for fun.

So apparently all I needed to do was to get myself out of the rut, however brief a time, to start feeling like me once more. A long weekend in Berkeley. A quick trip to Poulet.

Part of the reason I have not been subjecting you to food photos over the summer is that there have been a lot of salads. Now don't get me wrong. I absolutely love salad -- even if I work with folks who cannot understand how you can have a salad as a meal. But they'd probably approve of this one -- sort of.

Last night after work, I found myself returning to Berkeley. Silly me had left my debit card at the gas station on Wednesday night and they still had it. Lucky me. Especially since I didn't even realize that it was missing until Friday afternoon. I know. I lead a charmed life. Once I knew I would be returning to Berkeley, I started imagining the kind of takeout I could pick up. Gregoire. Angeline's. A high school friend suggested Gather. That's when the surprise hit me. Forget all those places; I was going to go to Berkeley Bowl -- and I was actually going to cook something.

This salad was an afterthought. When I began planning my meal, I remembered the days when meals began with a simple salad -- like a prelude. It's about eating for a reason other than survival. This one? Baby romaine tossed with walnut oil and sherry vinegar and topped with Bartlett pear and manchego cheese. I know not much but wait until you see what followed. Cooking has once more become an adventure of sorts around here.


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