June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m trying to remember my mozzarella encounters. The pleasant ones.
It definitely wasn’t the time I gasped upon seeing mozzarella-tomato cups at the school cafeteria on 13th street, bought one, and almost spat out the first chunk that was smartass enough to have bribed its way into my mouth.
The first time – the actual first time that the cheese stroke a chord with me, must have been the time we somehow made our way back to Ekin’s apartment at 5 in the morning in Milan. I remember seeing all the cheese and breaksticks we bought from a grocery store earlier in the day on the table – we dove right into it. The mozzarella was just plain, supermarket stuff – I dunked a chunk into pesto and sloppily balanced it on top of a piece of bread-cracker thingy before sending down my throat.
It was so good.
Recently, I came across it at Mercer Kitchen again. It was your usual white lump on a bed of basil, arugula leaves and sliced tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with two slices of thin wheat toasts on the side.
Maybe it was because I was hungry (and I promise, I won’t use this as a reason for the ‘YESSS’es from my tastebuds anymore). Maybe it was because I had a glass or two of red before that, and I just walked 20 blocks from Chelsea Market. Maybe it was because the underground space of MK was designed to be so dark that people couldn’t see the half bottle of olive oil bathing the cheese. I could really, barely see what I was eating. But the semi-liquidy core of the mozarella (cool and lithe like a smiling spring child in a white dress as it rolled across my tongue), the semi-solid exterior wall, the leaves, the tomatoes – you know that movie scene when the heavens open, white light starts pouring down and angels start blaring their trumpets?
It was like that.
The salad was simple, so simple. Goes to show how great ingredients, really really great ingredients, go a long way.
The beef was good too. But that is another story. Some other day, maybe.
Mercer Kitchen, 99 Prince St (between Mercer St & Greene St) New York, NY 10012