Seven course tasting menus do.
And actually, I’m certain that only a cigarette can save you after a meal like that. Two things you straight and narrow types will never understand: 1) the sensuality overload that comes from eating seven really well-put-together courses without giving a half a shit about the calories, only the experience; and 2) the sensuality of finishing a meal like that with a damned good cigarette (Organic American Spirits are the ones I chose at the time).
While we all fucking know that cigarettes will kill us, we also know that cholesterol will do the same. The point here is that every day might be a little too often for intense indulgence…but to live without it completely? Just shut up and walk away. We can’t be friends if that’s the thought process you live with.
And so came dishes of beef tartare with fried oysters and smoked oyster mayo, uni (sea urchin) with tapioca pearls,trout roe, and grapefruit brûlée; squab with spaghetti squash, bacon, and chanterelles; chicken sous vide with shiitakes, sweet potato, and cashew conserva; braised beef cheek, and a cheese course.
And then dessert, but first, a riesling that smelled of cardamom and tasted like creamy lemon balm and a locally made apple brandy. This is where I started, internally, giving thanks for the fact my blood alcohol content was rising: because it took the focus off my stomach, which was feeling…well…six courses deep.
I think I said, “I hate you right now, you gluten-eater” when the server plunked down the foie gras profiterole in front of my dining companion, and then I took it back when I had a bite of my maple pot de creme with candied bacon. But then I un-took it back when my dinner guest said the profiterole was one of the best things ever…how could that shit not be one of the best things you’ve ever had? There’s foie gras “ice cream” in the center for god’s sake. And so I gracefully stuck my finger pinky finger in and tried to avoid the delicious and perfect-looking pastry and let me tell you, that foie gras ice cream….psssht…I could get so fat on that.
And, so, stuffed, delighted, and in a painfully euphoric state, I waddled my fatter self (beef cheek leftovers and chocolate covered marshmallows in hand) out of Le Pigeon and lit up a cigarette in the cool night air speckled with tiny drizzles of rain, which was like finding a life raft after swimming too long in tropical waters: you’ve enjoyed yourself immensely, but your tired body, and over-extended limbs just need some reprieve. Isn’t nicotine a digestive aid? I’m voting yes on that one.
Le Pigeon, you dirty dog, you won. You were fantastic. And I can’t wait to return.