New York Times: Pirate Restaurants

Today’s NYT Dining section “got me where I live”, to quote a former friend of mine. This article wiggled itself down to my core and just took up residence there…and I don’t think it’s leaving anytime soon.

The theme of the article: underground restaurants*.

The idea is that people – however many you can realistically feed in your own home – pay you a “donation”, they come to your place, and you make them dinner. The article calls it the “anti-restaurant.” People bring wine so then you aren’t selling them any. The idea, of course, is to have the cozy, intimate, community-based experience that a restaurant rarely, if ever, gives you. The concept is like a bed-and-breakfast…only you don’t let people spend the night after the meal.

I’m so passionately, insanely in love with this idea. I love cooking for people, I love trying new recipes, I love planning menus, I love scouring cookbooks and I even love cleaning dishes (it brings the whole dinner experience full-circle for me). I love having people laughing, drinking, eating in my home. I love my dinner table and I love my Crate and Barrel linens. Shopping for ingredients is sensual (All the eye candy! All the touching of things! So many choices!) and strategic (get the heaviest items last, make sure nothing goes bad between store and home, substitute ingredients on-the-fly if something you want isn’t available). I want to have great conversations and cook creatively without the Kiddo telling me she sees a speck of green or a visiting relative wanting their meat cooked well-done.

So I want to have an underground restaurant. That’s ultimately what it boils down to. I have enough good music, good books, good wine, and good food in my house to make this really enjoyable. I want to be part of a community of people who enjoy home-cooked meals as much as I do. I want to meet interesting people who have interesting jobs who love interesting food. I know they exist in this city…I just haven’t met them yet. Maybe an anti-restaurant is the solution for me... If not having one in my house - like I have the time! - then certainly going to one in someone else's home.

See? I told you: the article “got me where I live.”

Eat, drink, and never dismiss your crazy ideas too quickly…

* Photo at left courtesy of Gabriele Stabile of the New York Times

NOTE: The article mentions one of the cooks wears a t-shirt that says “Meat is Murder – Tasty, Tasty Murder.” While I’m not ballsy enough to actually wear that shirt, I sure wish I was…


Andrea V.J. said...

Edible Brooklyn did a story on this recently! www.ediblebrooklyn.net/content/pages/issues/winter2008/eaterAtLarge.pdf

I love the idea, too. Well, the idea of attending! If you have one, let me know.

Andrea V.J. said...

Here it is again:

www.ediblebrooklyn.net/ content/pages/issues/winter2008/ eaterAtLarge.pdf