Over Labor Day weekend, I met my daughter in New York City—she was in town on business. We ate new foods at restaurants, soaked up inspiration at two art museums, and watched a love-themed show on Broadway. It was an “Eat, Pray, Love” experience, which I’ll explore over the next three weeks.
Jessica and I took a taxi from the hotel to Tapestry Restaurant in the West Village. The restaurant’s design was contemporary and spare. “Handsome expanses of whitewashed brick, refined woodwork, subdued brass, and cool white marble underscore the value of craftsmanship, as well as artistry,” the web site boasted. “An interior governed by rational geometry and a restrained palette of natural materials makes way for ‘tapestries’ of vibrant flavors on every plate emerging from the kitchen.” We would soon concur.
We looked over the menu, made our selections, and Jessica ordered a bottle of Espelt, Granache Spain. As advertized, a tapestry of Indian spices emerged from traditional bruschetta, deviled eggs, fried chicken, and pappardella—large, flat, wide pasta noodles. Jessica schooled me on some of the ingredients in the tiger’s milk ceviche.
During dinner, we rewove the fabric of our relationship. Our Christmastime visit had been less than successful: I found myself distracted, too much the mother, and not a good listener. So I relished the opportunity to see my daughter again. We could really only change our relationship by being alone with one another.
Tapestry’s new smells and tastes filled me up quickly. Unfamiliarity takes time to digest. But for the next evening’s pre-theater meal at Cosme in the Flatiron District, I was ready for adventure.
The guacamole was the only conventional food we ordered at this Mexican-inspired restaurant. I ate Uni (sea bass) for the first time and enjoyed lobster with shiso, ginger mojo, and brown butter. (My family would be shocked—lobster? I refused to eat it when I was growing up.) The most amazing dish was a white fish filleted and grilled then served on a small corn tortilla with pineapple puree and cilantro. Jessica and I are still raving about the pineapple puree.
This visit was Jessica’s birthday gift to me. I had a wonderful time trying out these new flavors and listening to her. The foods mirrored the relationship change from traditional Mother-daughter to Daughter-mother, as I’d prayed it would.
Years ago, when I taught in the Humanities program at Ursuline Academy in Dallas, I asked my art history students, do you know what you like or like what you know? The more I taste, the more I like; the more I listen, the more I know.