Those of you who regularly read my posts may have noticed that food has been showing up less and less frequently around here. In fact, I think there has only been one post about something I'd cooked myself since last October, almost a full year ago. The truth is, food and I have had something of a falling out.
That's not to say that I stopped eating or anything like that, it's just that somewhere along the way food stopped being special to me. It's hard to put a finger on when or why it happened, but I just lost the will to put effort into it anymore. I stopped cooking for others and I stopped doing any more than scrape together dinner for myself, even on weekends. I was hardly even went exploring new restaurants, even on the occasions I did go out to eat. I was in a real food slump.
Generally speaking, things haven't been going so great lately and I found myself staring down a three day weekend with absolutely no plans. Feeling a little desperate, I decided something had to be done about this. And so, on that Monday, I tried to kick start my love affair with food again.
It started with breakfast. I tend to neglect breakfast as a proper meal and just throw together a bowl of cereal or yogurt, so I decided to go a bit further and settled on making pancakes. Pancakes are one of those things that seem really easy to make, but tend not to be. For me, the problem always has been ending up with thin floppy pancakes. The obvious answer is to make thicker batter, but no matter what I try they always end up like sad little frisbees. A quick review of my last attempt will illustrate my problem.
To be honest, my mission almost failed before it even started. Despite having made sure I had enough flour and eggs, I neglected to buy milk and almost abandoned the project on the spot. However, I happened to have some yogurt chilling in my fridge and a few minutes on google confirmed that this was indeed an acceptable substitute! Into the mix went the yogurt and I was back in the game. I'm not big on being exact with measurements, so I took rough amounts for everything in true tekito fashion and hoped for the best.
Success! From the minute I poured the first batch into the pan, I know these bad boys were going to rock and sure enough: fatty thick, fluffy pancakes! I had lunch plans (more on that later) but I snarfed down my wonderful mountain of breakfast goodness anyways. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
The pancakes were a step in the right direction, but it was going to take more than just a good breakfast to get me and food back together again. So on to lunch, where I had plans to eat at Cicada, which I visited waaaaaay back in September '09. I have to say, it probably would have been good to look back on original post in advance as I reminder what I had or hadn't eaten, but oh well. This time I made sure to have my camera!
Last time, the the star of the show was the little stuffed squid appetizer (there was no forgetting that one!), so that was a must have. I have to say, it was every bit as delicious as I remembered and it completely blew me away once again. That's the kind of food I want to learn how to make.
For the second appetizer, we got roast piquillo peppers stuffed with tuna, beans, and some other goodies. Though not on the same level as the squid, this was definitely another success.
The main dishes is where the reminder of last time would have been most helpful. Once again, the other side of the table went with the grilled snapper and, though delightfully tender and skillfully prepared, it was nothing stunning.
I opted to try the swordfish steak, which was nice and meaty and tasted good enough but, again, was not a dish that will live long in memory. The couscous(?) salad that came with it was kind of weird...
For dessert I went with a "Marsala" creme brulee, expecting some sort of cool twist on your standard creme brulee. It ended up tasting more or less like plain creme brulee with maybe a little bit of a whiskey flavor. I'd say it was just ok.
On the other side of the table was the tiramisu. A lot of places in Tokyo offer up little tiny servings of dessert with course lunches, but not Cicada. This was a freakin slab and it was delicious. Tiramisu isn't the most difficult dessert to make, but a lot of people manage to screw it up anyways, so it was nice to taste a really quality one for a change.
So was it all enough for me to fall back in love with food again? To be honest, it's hard to say just yet, but it certainly made me want to give it a second shot. Hopefully the coming weeks will see at least a couple of interesting dishes come out of my kitchen!