can you recreate a memorable dish?

Rosemary and sea salt crusted breadWe’ve all had an amazing meal at a restaurant, friends house, grandmas house, and we can never ever seem to recreate the magic of a favorite dish from one of those experiences.

Why is that?

Let me count the ways?

When living in London for two years we found the most epic fish & chips at Tom Aikens ‘Tom’s Place’ in Chelsea. These were mind blowingly awesome and we’ve looked for them ever since in London, Seattle and everywhere in between…

What made them so special?

Was it London? Of course, living in a new city had an effect.

Was it a four star chef? Yes – Tom Aikens (http://www.tomaikens.co.uk/) who is simply amazing. And, he wears my absolute favorite watch of all time – Tag Heuer Monaco 69.

Was it something special with the food? Yep – Tom’s Place (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/reviews/toms-place-cale-street-london-795547.html) offered a selection of fish second to none, a ridiculously crispy and lush crust and these multiple times fried chips that were worthy of a cab ride across town in the middle of an evening (so sad it closed).

Is this repeatable? Highly unlikely… The food may be repeatable if Tom opens another fish & chip shop or if he passed down the recipe to his brother Robert Aikens at the Dandelion Pub in Philly, but Robert has gone on to other adventures (http://mobile.philly.com/blogs/?wss=/philly/blogs/the-insider/&id=215609091).

What to do? Keep hunting for amazing fish & chips, since it is a fun adventure and we’ll create many more memories of great meals in great situations.

Is it possible to have a dish better than a restaurant? Well, tonight I think I may have pulled that off, so what perfect timing to finish this post.

We’ve had some amazing bread from the Essential Baking company. And our favorite is rosemary + sea salt that just is perfectly crusty and the rosemary is just strong enough and the salt lends a nice bite to the crust and goes perfectly with some soft butter. Nothing else… No need to mess with perfection.

I have tried to recreate this at home with other loaves and even baked a frozen loaf of this bread from Essential Baking company to no avail.

Until tonight…

What did I do different?

I started baking the frozen loaf before the oven reached 425 and let it cook for 20+ minutes. Then once out of the oven I brushed the bread with olive oil and sprinkled it sea salt and let it sit. I didn’t fuss with it… I just let it sit and soak up all of the olive oil and sea salted goodness.

After serving up dinner of sliced a few pieces and it was absolute perfection. It beat my recollection of the loaf fresh from Essential Baking company – which is a big deal as I’ve been trying for a few years.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that there will be meals and dishes you can never recreate, but don’t fear – enjoy the memory of that amazing dish or meal. It will live on in your tastebuds and brain bank forever…

And there will be surprises where you can surpass those memories and be filled with pride and sense of self accomplishment that will spur you (or at least me) on to try other dishes and recipes and keep expanding your tastebuds and brain break…

Go out there and make great food memories and try to recreate those, but don’t lose fear if you can’t…

Up next – simple fajitas for a week night…

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