I have discovered new flatware.
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be included in a lunch with Janet Trefethen at Charlie Trotter's. I have eaten there four times, always as a guest of a winemaker, and everytime I get a litttle nervous. "Will I wear the right thing?, Will I use the wrong fork?, Will I trip in the entryway?" etc. Not because the restaurant is overly stuffy or intimidating or anything, its just my luck. If someone is going to walk out the restroom with her skirt tucked in her nylons, its me. Probably in front of Michael Sneed.
So. One of the courses is this parsley foam/ celery root soup with a nice chunk of Tasmanian salmon and some smoked salmon roe in it. As we are admiring the curvy bowls, Janet Trefethen mentioned they looked a bit like a shaving basin. She gamely picked one up and mimed a shaving brush to demonstrate. This is why I never miss an opportunity to eat with Janet. Not only are her wines terrific, but she's not above playing with her food at the fanciest of places. Plus it made everyone a bit more at ease staring down the army of flatware before us.
Having learned my lesson at other ritzy joints, I go looking for a fish fork of some kind. If you've never seen one, they're actually quite handy. Its a regular looking fork with a knife- like edge on the side of the far right tine. Ideally you can simply turn your fork on its side to sever a little piece of Mr. Salmon and skewer it with the same tool. No grabbing the knife or extra work of any kind. Nifty, huh? But I didn't see one, and everyone else seemed to be using their knives, so I just copied.
But lo! I spied a sleek and curvy tool I had never seen before. It was a very shallow spoon-type thing with a straight thin edge on the right side. Could this be a piece of flatware designed solely for the purpose of slurping soups that included large-ish chunks of fish?! I think so! I tried it. Sectioned off a chunk of my Tasmanian devil, scooped some soup and foam, and shoved it in. Follwed by a generous sip of Trefethen's 04 Estate Chardonnay, it was delish. (I normally hate California Chardonnay with fancy food, but hers was pleasingly balanced with great acidity and more of a mineral-type aroma like Chablis.)
I really wanted to share my discovery with someone, but I thought better of it since my instinct would be something like,"Hey! A fish spoon! Did anyone else check this out? Cool!". Probably not the right crowd. But I bet Janet would have liked it.