Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Study of Drizzology

Jon took me out to Pican, a restaurant that serves Southern cuisine in Oakland.

(Jon and I are seated. Jon orders the Southern Fried Chicken and me the NOLA Jambalaya. Soon, a Man serves the entrees.)

Man: (placing plates on table) Okay, here's the NOLA Jambalaya Risotto for you and the Southern Fried Chicken for you.

Jon: Wow, that looks so good.

Man: It's one of my favorites. Now, would you like honey drizzled on it?

Jon: Oh yes!

(Man pulls out a small ceramic pot of honey with a wooden combed honey stick poking out. He swirls the stick around in the pot a few times, raises the stick, covered in honey, high above his head, directly over the fried chicken. With flicks of his wrist, ribbons of honey fall from the stick and ooze over the fried chicken skin. Jon leans back in his seat. I look on in amazement at this display.)

Me: You're good at that.

Man: Well, I'm a drizzle artist with a Masters in Drizzology!

Me: Really? Have you ever gotten honey on someone?

Man: Oh no. They would never let me work here if I did that.

Me: I see.

Man: One time I was at a party and a man asked me about my honey drizzling skills. So he leaned his head back and I drizzled honey in his mouth. Just like I'm doing now. I didn't get any on his face, his shirt--just in the mouth.

Me: You're that good?

Man: (finishes with the honey show) I am. Enjoy your meal.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Mom Dines in Oakland, Forgets Glasses

In Oakland, where brunch is a sport, Jonathan and I take my mom and dad out for breakfast. We choose Aunt Mary's Cafe for its Southern inspired dishes, something I believe hits close to the mark of country-cooking of which they are accustomed. That said, my dad will eat most anything, my mother only fuss-free foods.   

(Early morning, Aunt Mary's Cafe in Oakland, mostly empty. The restaurant is rustic, decorated with country-style fixings; old church pews for seating, non-working Wedgwood stove in the corner with flowers arranged in an enameled pitcher, floral window treatments, etc. On the walls hang 20-30 paintings of mugs, just mugs, by Denise Deleray. Jonathan, Mom, Dad and I sit down at a table. Our thoroughly tattooed waiter drops off menus.)

Mom: (holding up menu to face, squinting) Great, I forgot my glasses. Ryan, can you read this to me?

Me: Why don't you have your glasses?

Mom: I forgot them in my bag. Just read me what's on the menu.

Me: What do you want?

Mom: Well, what do they have?

Me: There's Pain Perdue.

Mom: What?

Me: (again, reading) Pain Perdue. Cajun-style french toast made with baguettes soaked in a whiskey--

Mom: Whiskey?! For breakfast? That's not what it says.

Me: Yes, it's a whiskey laced custard, baked to order, served with red and white wine compote.

Mom: Be serious.

Me: I am!

Mom: That must be a joke. I don't want that. This is breakfast. What else?

Me: Okay, Huevos Benedictos--

Mom: Are you reading what it says?

Me: Yes! Huevos Benedictos. Cheddar masa cakes with poachers and mole negro--

Mom: Next! Where are the eggs?

Me: (looking through menu) Um, let's see..

Mom: (noticing paintings on wall, each with a large 'Denise' signature) Looks like Denise really likes to paint mugs.

Me: Pay attention. Here's a Farm Egg with--.

Mom: What's a farm egg?

Me: It's an egg from a farm.

Mom: That's just an egg.

(Waiter comes by, sets down jars filled with water.)

Waiter: Do you need some more time?

Me: Yes.

(Mom looks at jars filled with water.)

Mom: What? This is a jar!