Yesterday I think Husband and I had what could be considered the best lunch of all time at Le Comptoir du Relais. For starters, it was a Monday. Thank you Mr. Columbus for getting yourself a national holiday celebrated by U.S. government workers around the world!
On top of that, it was the most gorgeous fall day here, one with that electric blue sky and special sunlight that gives everything a golden glow. Which, let me tell you, is all the more enjoyable when viewed from a cozy café table set with a meal that looks like this:
Yes, that was my lunch. Well, part of it, anyway – because before I engaged in a love affair with that belle pièce de boeuf, I dallied with a warm bowl of bisque de homard and a nice glass of rosé. It was lobster soup like I’ve never experienced before, velvety smooth yet somehow still light; intensely lobster-flavored without one single chunk of lobster meat. And at the bottom? Something that I can only describe as lobster tapioca balls, which you wouldn’t even know were there unless you really dug down to the bottom. Like a reward for scraping your bowl clean!
But back to the boeuf – a supremely cooked piece of steak, bathed in an earthy mushroom sauce. Perfect on its own, but raised to a level of ungodly pleasure when dabbed with a bit of tangy-sweet champagne mustard. And it was this combination, my friends, that I deemed the Master Bite.
You heard me. The Master Bite. The most perfect combination of ingredients, balanced in harmonious wonder at the end of your fork. And it doesn’t just happen, people. One must take great care to ensure that every bite reaches its fullest taste potential. That means a forkful here and there of just mushrooms or just beef is fine, but only if it’s part of a larger inquiry into the best taste ratios when eaten together.
The Master Bite doesn’t just apply to fancy french food, either. I use it regularly when hunting and pecking for the fully fluffed piece of popcorn, enrobed in salty butter but not drenched. Or searching for the ever-elusive crispy-but-not crunchy french fry. And let’s not forget the daunting task of balancing the icing-to-cake ratio in an oversize cupcake (which should have rich, creamy, not-too-sweet icing and dense, moist cake).
Obsessive? Sure. But why waste valuable stomach space on a less than worthy morsel of food?
I am such a firm believer in optimized food enjoyment that I’ve been known to spy a Master Bite across the table on Husband’s plate, and, unable to resist its siren call, go in for the kill. That’s usually about when I get stabbed in the hand with his fork. Which brings up a very important tenet in the religion of extraordinary eating: Thou shalt not steal thy partner’s Master Bite.
Unless he’s not looking.