11.5.2022 – then ate flavors so

then ate flavors so
direct every annoyance
just melted away

when you are eating
something like that, then there
are no bad tables

Adapted from the restaurant review, Claud, a Basement Dining Room With Much Higher Aims, by Pete Wells who wrote:

Then I ate. The flavors were so direct, the point of each dish so lucid, that every minor annoyance melted away.

The dish listed on the menu as “Red shrimp, garlic, olive oil” turned out to be a version of Spanish gambas al ajillo that cooked itself. The shrimp had been raw moments earlier, and they hissed in the hot oil that came halfway to the lip of a small cast-iron skillet as their creamy pink flesh turned to bright coral. Once they were gone, I had pieces of good sourdough to dip into the oil, which now tasted of the garlic clove and dried chile that had been shimmying in there all along. When you’re eating something like that, there are no bad tables. And “something like that” applies to almost everything Claud serves.

I want to write:

Then I read. The words were so direct that the flavors were so direct, the point of each dish so lucid, that every minor annoyance melted away.

The words described a dish listed on the menu as “Red shrimp, garlic, olive oil” turned out to be a version of Spanish gambas al ajillo that cooked itself.

The words described shrimp had been raw moments earlier, and they hissed in the hot oil that came halfway to the lip of a small cast-iron skillet as their creamy pink flesh turned to bright coral.

Once the words were gone, I had pieces of good sourdough in my brain to dip into the oil, which now tasted of the garlic clove and dried chile that had been shimmying in there all along in my thoughts.

When you’re reading something like that, there are no bad tables.

And “something like that” applies to almost everything Claud serves as described by Mr. Wells.

Mr. Hemingway wrote something once along the lines that if you could write in such a way that what you wrote about became a part of the conscious memory of the reader, then you were, indeed, a writer.

Most likely I will never eat at Claud.

But I can recall the dish on the menu named Red shrimp, garlic, olive oil as if I ate there yesterday.

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