New Year’s Resolutions often are full of restrictive or unpleasant goals. Cut out the carbs, eat less fried food, exercise more and so on.
This year, let’s focus less on your waist line and more on some good ole’ hedonism to feed the soul. Ok maybe not hedonism, but a grand scavenger hunt to make you a better, happier you. And maybe, just maybe you might help a few others out in the process.
Here it is, your top ten 2015 GastroResolutions:
1. Master a dish you’ve always found intimidating
For me: 2013 Paella. 2014 Duck Confit. Pick something you love and want to add to your repertoire. The “ooo’ing” and “ahh-ing” at dinner parties never hurts as a result. 2015 what shall you bring?
2. Create a signature dish
Of course mastering a classic or well established dish is a must, but take it from someone with little to no inherited dishes, it’s nice to create something you can own as yours and then, sigh, pass it down to future generations. It could be a muffin or pasta or whatever you find yourself making all time. It helps to use recipes as references or for inspiration (and it’s not cheating.) For example, in 2014, inspired by Ottolenghi’s “Chicken with Clementines,” I devised my own “Rosemary, Orange & Current Chicken”. Recipe to come…
3. Take advantage of happy hours
Perhaps you already do this. But many of us do not. This is not to say you should be an alcoholic earlier on in the day, but try out new bars and even better restaurants featuring happy hour deals. Often times this is a great way to get a non-committal taste of a restaurant with a delightful cocktail to boot! I went to the well-known Mermaid Inn this week. Shrimp & Avocado sliders and $7 drinks? Yes please.
4. Go to hip craft beer and whisky bars that feature trivia that could end up paying for your tab
This one might sound very specific because it is, but there are lot’s of bars out there with trivia nights and rewarding ones. I went to Fool’s Gold a few weeks ago and my friends and I won trivia and a whopping $50 towards our bill! Not too shabby, no? The point, however, is more that trivia is fun and you should hit some places that feature them more often and if you get to try an array of craft beers and very tasty whisky as well, then you’re just winning all around.
5. Go to more farmer’s markets
I know it’s cold now, but farmers are still setting up shop. Don’t wait till the spring and summer like everyone else, and start supporting your local farmers now! Union Square Market is open all winter long. I got some great horseradish mustard and eggs on Monday. You can too!
6. Bond with a supplier or farmer at a local farmer’s market
This task requires dedication, but when accomplished you become part of a beautifully community. Totally worth it.
7. Throw more dinner parties or potlucks (and feature your newly mastered dish and signature dish)
If you like to cook and are good at it great. If not don’t worry! You don’t have to be a cook to throw a fun dinner party, I’m pretty sure it’s why they invented potlucks. Eating out is fun, but dinner parties are always more intimate and warm. I also find they are becoming a relic of the past, so keep up the tradition! And you can try out your new dishes on your guests…
8. Create a signature cocktail and try to make it a thing
My 2014 was the Lexington Leigh. Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice & simple syrup. Every time I’m out I order it and then refer to it as the Lexington Leigh. I’m pretty sure the name is sticking.
9. Throw a cocktail party and feature your new signature cocktail
Great way to promote that new drink? Have a party and serve it to everyone.
10. Get your GastroNerd on more hard core and join our book club!
Along with all of the above, my GastroResolution is to start a book club featuring enlightening and engaging works about food. You have seen a few reviews in the past. I am always looking for new suggestions and feedback, so let me know! My next read is rereading 97 Orchard. Stay tuned and Happy New Year!