Columbia pays us to eat

Musings

Summer in the South

The first thing my roommate, Susan, and I bonded over was food. Literally. Our families met up at City Bakery a couple days before the beginning of the semester to get acquainted and work out some last minute who’s bringing the mirror kind of stuff. Susan was nice. I was extremely awkward. In between talking way too much and telling embarrassing stories in a desperate attempt to get a chuckle, I noticed Susan’s plate. She had some fish, salmon if I remember correctly, on a bed of lettuce and kale salad with a pesto like dressing drizzled on top. It was beautiful.

One day during NSOP we found ourselves caught in the rain after having half-heartedly raced through Madame Tussaud’s. We were hungry. So when, as we sped back toward the subway, I noticed a Dean and Deluca’s, I dragged Susan in. We sat for quite a while, munching on salads and making meaningless chitchat until somehow the topic of Brussels sprouts came up. We both fervently plunged into rants about how it was the most misunderstood, underrated vegetable on the planet. I mean really! All you have to do is roast it! Or sauté it! Of course it tastes bad boiled! What doesn’t? After a few minutes we exhausted our long list of reasons why everyone should love Brussels sprouts and, perhaps a bit more calmly, moved onto discussing the merits of roasting cauliflower. I think Susan and I would both agree that that was the start of our friendship. We clearly were both foodies. We would be friends.

Needless to say, we are friends and we spent most of our free time last school year going out to eat, drooling over food blogs, and reading the menus of all sorts of restaurants, some of which were halfway across the country and we knew we would never go to. For my birthday Susan arranged a Hewitt free day for me, complete with two different kinds of cake (best birthday present ever.) So, this summer, when I went down to Dallas to visit her, I had some very high expectations on the food front. And I was not disappointed.

I learned what “Tex-mex” really means, that Pillsbury biscuit mix is not the same as a real homemade crumbly, buttery biscuit, that yes, fried pie is a thing, and yes, it is as good as it sounds. I had griddled buttermilk drops, brisket enchiladas, and a lot of salsa. Susan’s father, the meat whisperer, made spatchcock chicken and steak packed with so much flavor I was at first unclear as to what I was eating. We went to Susan’s favorite Dallas restaurant, Fearing’s, where I was treated to the most beautiful barbequed shrimp taco I will ever have the pleasure of eating, a delightfully tangy cast iron seared tilapia, and a downright orgasmic banana pudding. I got the best burger, ham, and hot dog of my life in one day. I ate and ate and then ate some more and right about now, I think I’m ready to go for round two.

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