Friday, June 22, 2007

California Gastronomy

From Alice Waters to Thomas Keller, California is at the forefront of culinary innovation. Now, maybe NYC has more stellar restaurants per square mile than any other place in the world, but there is something completely unique about the west coast approach to food. Maybe because it feels like the magic is more than just the cuisine - it's an entire lifestyle. Healthy eating and healthy living just seem to go hand in hand. Above, are two perfect examples of what the California lifestyle produces. Right - happy, good looking, relaxed people.

Is it the food? The air? The water?

This has been my fourth trip to the Bay Area, and every time, I come back marvelling at how amazing everything tastes out there. The fruit seems more luscious, the salads more creative. Even staples like pastas and veggies seem more interesting out west.

And everyone eats! A lot. But they're skinny!! And not in a NYC scary- skinny kind of way. Everyone is healthy! I couldn't walk out the door without being blindsided by someone jogging, or rollerblading, or walking their dog at top speed. Now, exercise is common enough on the east coast, but these people looked happy doing it. Maybe it's all the sunshine and fresh air. Maybe it's the fog coming in from the Bay in the mornings. Maybe it's the three hour time difference.

I dunno. Whatever it is, I want to bottle it and drink five glasses of that every day instead of the poland spring carp I have in my fridge. That just seems to make me grumpy.

Now, where am I going with this? Right here, patient readers.

Look at my child eating corn on the cob, all by himself, as though this is the most natural occurance in the world. I'm telling you, something about the California vibe got into him. He ate well the whole week.

We were all quietly shocked and awed.

Snacking al fresco.

A little appetizer before dinner.

We even caught the monkey engaging in some polite dinner conversation for a change.

I'm embarassed to say that our influence on our hosts was not as healthy. In anticipation of Monkey's food issues, we stocked poor Audrey and Richard's cupboards with all manner of calorie-packed nonsense, the likes of which they have never seen. And, unfortunately, it was too much of a temptation for some of the other little ones.

Frozen pizza, Ashley? I'm so sorry! Monkey grins in the background. His corrupting influence extends near and far.

A close up of what processed carbohydrates and refined sugar - the backbone of Monkey's diet, produces in otherwise well adjusted children.

Miss Mina would like to know what all the fuss is about. Her food tastes good no matter what coast it's on.

And no matter what time of day.
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