Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Resurrection

I am one of those blue cheese haters (and no, "hate" is not too strong of a word here!). Yep. When the wings are coming, I am one of the wimps that says “Extra ranch, please!”. I hate everything about blue cheese: the looks, the smell, the taste, I am officially a blue cheese hater.
I am a pumpkin-anything hater too, but while I think anything pumpkin needs to be fed to pigs, not humans, I find no purpose at all for blue cheese. If I’d find it in my fridge, I’d probably chuck it, considering it spoiled food! To me, it tastes like good cheese that’s been soaked in water along with some sweaty, dirty, smelly, man-socks for days!!! It’s foul and evil!
Or I thought so, till the other night, when I decided to give it a chance! It was a big step! Trust me. HUGE step. Like moving to the States from a Third World country big step!! Like deciding overnight you want to give it all up to move in a tree and live there forever like a monkey. Huge. The dish I ordered came on a bed of “blue cheese coleslaw” – very plainly stated in English on the menu. No surprises. And I said, what the heck… And let me, the blue cheese hater, tell you: when you know what you’re doing in the kitchen and you know how to mix tastes and textures, you can send your customers straight to Heaven!
If you ever go to Revival Grill, please order the crispy, fried oysters!!! Oh, boy, is that heaven or what, to utter “the” understatement of the year?! It is a feast for all senses!
It’s fried oysters served with a garlic and chili red transparent sauce, on a bed of green and red cabbage slaw, mixed with chunks of blue cheese and roasted, sweet-glazed walnuts!
The textures of soft oyster, liquid garlic and chilies, crispy cabbage, even crispier walnuts, and semi-soft chunks of cheese, and the combination of all tastes: sweet, and hot, and bitter, and woodsy, and garlic-y, and sea-y make you think you died and ended up on the shores of France or some other Mediterranean culinary Eden. Just like a great orchestra, every ingredient was a standalone talented player, which also made for a great-sounding, in this case tasting, whole.
Did I mention the colors?! The subdued shades of green of the cabbage, along with the purple of red cabbage (that’s funny: “purple red cabbage”… ), the light brown of the oysters, the white of the cheese and brown of the walnuts, almost floating in this bright red, transparent sauce – it’s a beautiful food, too!
Yes, you still taste the blue cheese – very much so, but to me, it was not repugnant this time! It was the perfect complement to everything else on the plate! And I will say: the blue cheese was needed there, for the whole taste to come together. It was definitely not dispensable!
Makes my mouth water as I think of it. Should I think of myself now as a blue cheese convert?!? Hhhmmm… Probably too soon. I’ll still have my wings with ranch, but I’ll be looking for the next blue cheese mixer favorite. I finally found a redemption for the poor food! And surprisingly enough, it doesn’t involve swine!

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