April 21, 2011

There is an inherent difficulty in accurately rating experiences which are subject to individual taste, such as art, movies, or music (see:

Our meal opened with the waiter depositing in the middle of our table what looked to be the most perfect mandarin orange ever (seriously, it looked like it was plucked right out of a 17th-century Dutch master or the Garden of Eden). It was simply situated unadorned on a little wooden cutting board accompanied by a few pieces of grilled baguette. Of course, it’s not just an orange. It’s a rich, unctuous chicken liver parfait encapsulated in the thinnest of orange jelly membranes. And its executed to perfection. And I don’t just mean that it’s yummy (which, of course, it is). Meat/Fruit simultaneously evokes so much of what can transform food from “sustenance” into “experience.” It is at once elegant and simple, rooted in the past but inarguably modern. It’s obviously borne of a very sophisticated technique, but presented without any of the artifice or showiness that can accompany “molecular gastronomy.” Meat/Fruit is a whimsical, austere, delicious, and just flat-out perfect morsel. No matter the situation or context.

Now it probably doesn’t hurt if you work your way up to eating at Dinner By Heston by waxing rhapsodic with your dining-partner/wife about the previous night’s chicken parfait course at The Fat Duck (Blumenthal’s other restaurant in Bray), or spending a couple of hours at the National Gallery looking at actual Dutch still-lifes, or just being a fan in general of poultry liver. Or, heck, it also couldn’t hurt to be an unapologetic, anglophile fanboy of Heston Blumenthal and just about everything he does. But you don’t have to be. Meat/Fruit is, in point of fact, empirically the “best plate of food in the world.” In my opinion.


Check out some bloggers who have also been amazed at the Meat/Fruit dish: Family Styles, eatatarian, and gourmet traveller.

*Yes, I know that it is a badge-of-honor for Tuscaloosa “foodies” to declare the lesser-known Archibald’s to be far superior to the more renowned Dreamland. And while I might generally agree with that assertion, the ribs I had that night were my personal top BBQ experience.

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