I've been eating for a long time. But not just eating.. I'm not the steamed white meat sort. I grew up in restaurants. Literally. My family had one. I passed hor d'oeuvres at parties and I mixed my first drink (for an adult of legal age) when I was twelve. My family valued a good meal and a good time. From my Dad I learned the skill of finding the perfect diner. My Mom provided a healthy balance to offset the decadence I was inclined to gravitate towards and taught me to create the perfect salad. And my grandparents..... Well, my grandparents, they created a monster. They took my brothers and me to fine dining restaurants all over the Southern Seaboard. As a result I am chaser. I am a craver. I will go out of my way for the perfect bite. I will risk tummy ache and tears for a good Mac and Cheese (after of course, I've turned a perfectly good box of unsuspecting Lactaids into a shredded pile of it's former self). So, what's the problem? I'm beginning to fear that the trill is in jeopardy of being gone.
There have always been the rumors. Rumors of a difficult chef or rude waitstaff in the culinary haven you've unwaveringly sought, even though it takes a month and a last name much heavier than your own to drop, in order to claw your way in the door. But there's been a change in the whispers. There's something more cynical on the tips of tongues and fingers that graze keyboards all around the city that I've been trying to ignore until this week. It reached a breaking point when my roommate was having difficulty trying to decide what she wanted to order in a new favorite restaurant of ours that is good at everything they do. This restaurant is amazing but sometimes having so many great choices can render an enthusiast paralyzed when trying to find just one or three (if you're me) ways to meander down their menu. But, a flush took hold of her cheeks when in place of a confident reccomendation she was told, "I have a girlfriend.".
ERRReeRRRR!!, said the needle to the record. Say WHAT?! Mostly she was just wondering, chicken salad or ham and cheese but instead was reduced to a .... a.. ... a groupie. A Food Groupie. A less then charming nickname I was introduced to recently by a gentleman I have shared a few meals with as of late. Apparently, there is a new breed of groupie in town and this one isn't camping outside The Roxy. The Food Groupie follows chefs, bartenders, bloggers and all things food. But what, I ask you, is the point of all of this deliciousness popping up in every corner of L.A. if not to fall completely and totally, head over heels IN LOVE with what turns up on the end of your fork? Isn't it the point to keep showing up for more? And in an age of Twitter and Facebook, Blogging and Yelp, isn't following along exactly what we're supposed to do? What is it about dining culture right now that is making us all so full- of ourselves?
What if I want to go back for seconds or thirds?
Should I wait a few days in between so I don't look desperate?
Do I let on that I've read the blog of a girl whose perspective I find fascinating or will she just think I'm weird and tweet that I'm a stalker?
Why am I so worried anyway?
Food is supposed to be fun isn't it? Isn't it the trill of waking up extra early on a sunny Sunday morning to stroll through the farmers market to find the perfect mushroom that you'll turn into a LACMA worthy work of art in your kitchen at sundown? Isn't it the excitement you feel when you look at an otherwise plain chalkboard that displays a few seemingly simple choices although you know that the offering laid out in front of you will be so beautiful and thoughtfully prepared that you won't want to disturb it, only take pictures to show your fellow food lovers later? Except instead, it's turning into competitions and feuds fueled by tweet-tacking, blog-battling and the overweening ego of an accessible chef. Aren't we all in this for the same reason? Aren't we all here, showing up again and again table-side, truck-side, saddling up to the counter, waiting 25 minutes for the short seat at the end of the bar because we love food just that much? What is the point of days, nights and holidays spent laboring in the kitchen if it's not to make people fall in love with your food? And I am. I am in love. I'm in love with your food. I am in love with the way you write about it and I am in love with the pictures that put the my meal in danger of getting cold because guess what? I want to remember this moment just the way it was. When I fell in love.