As I sit here, gauze jammed into my left cheek after oral surgery, my thoughts turn to all the solid food that I won’t be eating for the next few days and all the delectable goodies that I consumed over the weekend. This year Valentine’s Day — and my impending trip to the oral surgeon — served as the ideal reason to go out and indulge.
The gorging began on Friday the 13th with dinner at the organic, seasonal, artisanal restaurant Telepan. I jumped headlong into the feasting with an appetizer of house-smoked brook trout on a buckwheat-potato blini while Sean sensibly began his meal with a winter salad. For entrees there was polenta souffle with wild mushrooms and corn hominy for me and roasted chicken with chicken liver dumplings and Brussels sprouts for Sean. The best part of any meal, and particularly this meal, was dessert — sticky toffee cake with creme fraiche ice cream and candied cranberries. Wow!
Sweets stayed on the menu for Saturday. After a healthful breakfast of yogurt, granola, bananas and berries Sean and I eventually made our way down to the Village and Jack’s for cups of organic, fair-trade, stir brewed coffee. I’d travel miles for coffee good in both flavor and intentions but this wasn’t the only thing drawing me to one of the 10 best coffee bars in the U.S. I was lured by the cookies, especially the homemade chocolate chip and Oreos. These, along with a toasted sesame bagel, represented phase one of lunch.
Phase two came a few hours later, a few blocks east in SoHo. Tired from walking around Three Lives, the Union Square Greenmarket and Chinatown, we dropped by Puck Fair in SoHo and noshed on a farmhouse cheese platter with Irish soda bread, Branston pickle, apple slivers and pecans.
The binging didn’t end in SoHo. Back in the Village Sean, his co-worker Miguel and I stopped by another beloved coffee shop, Joe, on the corner of Gay and Waverly. Outside the crowded shop Miguel and Sean sipped their lattes and mugged for their snap-happy coffee companion.
By this point I felt as stuffed as an oreo from Jack’s. Nonetheless, Sean and I headed back uptown for dinner at the French bistro Metisse. Neither of us had realized that the restaurant was serving a special, 4-course, prix fixe menu on Valentine’s night. We persevered through the soup course but by the time my escargot appetizer arrived, I knew that I would never make it to the chocolate mousse dessert. While today I would kill to crunch on a crisp aspargus spear, on Saturday night I relegated all the delicious, artfully prepared food to a doggy bag.
Now that the gluttony has ended, I offer a recipe for all those embarking on a weekend of greedy eating. Healthful yet quite tasty, this granola provides a good start to any day.
Cranberry-Raisin Granola or “Granola for the Gluttonous”
2 ½ c. rolled oats
½ c. wheat germ
½ c. flaxseed meal
1 c. chopped almond slivers
½ c. raisins
½ c. cranberries (dried)
Preheat the oven to 300˚ Fahrenheit. Toast the rolled oats on a large baking sheet for 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 325˚ Fahrenheit. Add the wheat germ, flaxseed meal and almonds to the oats and toss together. Bake until “toasty” looking, at least 10 minutes.
Drizzle honey over the mix, return the pan to oven and toast for slightly longer.
Remove the pan and add raisins and cranberries. Mix to combine. Pat down the granola and pour more honey over the mix. Allow to cool then break up and store in an airtight container. Keeps for about 2 weeks.