Monday, December 14, 2009

Year in Review: Best Food

I've always loved beets, but this year I've become obsessed with them.

They. Are. Delicious. I love them red or golden, roasted or boiled, sliced or chopped. I love them in salads, in juice, and in soup.

I even love them in fine literature.
"The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip . . .

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.

In Europe there is grown widely a large beet they call the mangel-wurzel. Perhaps it is mangel-wurzel that we see in Rasputin. Certainly there is mangel-wurzel in the music of Wagner, although it is another composer whose name begins, B-e-e-t—.

Of course, there are white beets, beets that ooze sugar water instead of blood, but it is the red beet with which we are concerned; the variety that blushes and swells like a hemorrhoid, a hemorrhoid for which there is no cure. (Actually, there is one remedy: commission a potter to make you a ceramic asshole—and when you aren't sitting on it, you can use it as a bowl for borscht.)

An old Ukranian proverb warns, "A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil."

That is a risk we have to take."

Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
No one does beets like Tom Robbins does beets.

But some people come close, which brings me to the Best Restaurant portion of tonight's post. The Tin Table took over a portion of Velocity Dance Center's old space in the Oddfellows Building (10th and Pine on Capitol Hill). It is my new favorite restaurant, despite the fact that I'm still bitter about the whole Velocity thing. The food is amazing, the drinks are delectable, the staff are cute and friendly, and they serve dinner until 1:00 am making it the perfect spot for an after show late meal. Plus, there are always interesting salsa types at the bar who've wandered across the hall from Century Ballroom. Even The Man likes it, and he is a hard one to impress.

And yes. They make a fabulous beet salad.

Now. Go read Jitterbug Perfume and eat some beets at The Tin Table. And take a class at Velocity or tango your night away at Century. Seriously, people. How many more excellent recommendations can I give in one post?

(And honestly, if you can only manage to do one of these things, make it Jitterbug Perfume.)


TheWordWire said...

I know I would enjoy your restaurant recommendation, because despite protests when I bring them in the house, I *love* beets. And Jitterbug Perfume is an all-time favorite.

BigSis said...

I have never been a beet person, but you've convinced me to give them a chance.

MindyMom said...

I'm with BigSis. Geez girl, I'm a believer now. You're like Oprah and books - only with beets!

Martini Mom said...

For the record, canned beets don't count. Most people I know who don't like beets have only had them canned. And, you know, ew. A can is a terrible thing to do to a beet.

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