I fell in love with coconut butter this weekend, and I want you to know about it. It seems silly to write a post about how I fell in love with coconut butter on toast – literally, a thick slice of dark toast, with an even thicker slab of coconut infused butter layered on top. There may have been granules of sugar crystals mixed in the butter to give each bite a satisfying crunch, but I can’t seem to remember anything except loving it, and feeling rather silly that I did.
It’s like that time Naina and I decided to drive down El Camino Real in a fit of adventurous curiosity, hungry but unwilling to be dictated to by yelp or zagat, or even recommendations of friends. “Let’s just pull into whatever appeals to us at the time”.
The restaurant we had pulled into – the name eludes me right now – was a rather weathered shack of a place. It surprised me that there were people inside : an elderly man in high waisted jeans and plaid shirt sitting across a snow-haired, frail and fiesty looking lady in a mid-calf length skirt and a wollen cardigan. A young couple on – may be a date?. It was hard to tell because they didn’t really talk to each other. A few others whose faces have melted together so that I can’t recall their features but that there were a quite a few more.
I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. But it was close to Naina’s place. And it had the worst spaghetti and meatballs I’ve ever had. I don’t even know how to describe the strands of pasta that swam in old oil, the tomato sauce having separated into slimy orange slimy chunks. And the meatballs. Oh those meatballs. I’d rather not describe them at all. I don’t think Naina’s entree was any better.
But will you think it weird if I say it’s one of my fondest memories? You see, it’s because I remember laughing. Laughing at how our plan to just “discover” a new place backfired. Laughing at how bad food can actually get. Laughing at the fact that it still had patrons – what if they were regulars? Or worse, what if they don’t KNOW there are better Italian restaurants out there?
I also remember feeling that in Naina, and later, in Banding who moved to California soon after, I’d found a kindred spirit who gets it. That’s it’s not always about the zagat ratings, the $75 tastings, the CIA trained 3 star chefs. It’s not always about the perfect service, or that work of art on a plate. It’s not about the palate either – the sensation of that perfect bite, or being the first to discover the best place for midnight cravings for sushi.
Anyway, the reminiscing is due to the fact, that this place with the toast that I’ve raving about, the coconut butter that owned my soul for the past couple of days, Eskimo Bar, reminded me of that dinner somehow. Because my friends and I came across it randomly, as we walked by on Easter Friday looking for a dessert option. Because it was crowded, we were seated next to 3 university sophomores who were discussing their grandmothers at one point, and service took over 40 minutes. Because the menu was full of crudely sliced “brick toasts” that come with a slab of butter or a chocolate spread. For $4.99. Add a tea or coffee for another $1.50.
That I loved the coconut butter was a bonus. All I know is, it’ll become another one of those places where it was about laughing with my friends.