Funny thing the bucket list. I've read other people's, but never sat down and formulated my own. I've done yearly memes and made resolutions, but never really put too much thought to my own big checklist...until now.
My list looks very different. My list involved food. I'm so passionate about food. It's the biggest thing in my life and what drives me, and gets me up in the morning. So instead of owning a Rolex or jumping out of an airplane, all my "must do's" revolve around eating. And I'm blessed enough to have already done some of them.
I've toured a distillery on Islay, and eaten oysters grown in a Scottish loch. They tasted like a spring meadow, grassy and fresh. I've cooked and eaten a tuna I caught while deep sea fishing, and sipped cider at Giverny. I've learned to bake bread, and found a tequila I can call my own (Don Alvaro Anejo). I've enjoyed dinner in a 3-Michelin-star restaurant, and decided while nice, it's really not my favorite way to dine.
And there's still so much to see, do, and experience. Like:
- Ordering sushi "Omakase" (Chef's choice) in Tokyo. I saw Tony Bourdain do this on his show "No Reservations" and have been obsessed ever since. The chef was 80, and had been making sushi since he was 8. Over 20 courses of sushi created and consumed in less than 1/2 an hour. Bites of heaven. The stuff of which foodie dreams are made.
- Touring breweries in Belgium. As a beer lover, this is Mecca for me.
- Lodging and eating in a fattoria in Tuscany. "Il dolce far niente." Enjoying life on a working Italian farm. Could there be anything better?
- Eating lardo, or cured fatback. It melts in your mouth like butter and is the *essence* of pork. I'm drooling just thinking about it!
- Making homemade pie crust. I'm determined to accomplish this feat.
- Eating margherita pizza in Naples. Thin crust. The kind of pizza dreams are made of.
- Hosting a successful dinner party for six (because that's how many chairs we have :).
- Learning to brew beer. As a rabid fan of the stuff, I figure the least I can do is try.
- Eating street food in Singapore. Chicken and rice. So simple in name, but so complex I've heard entire families don't speak because they can't agree on who makes the best.
- Eating pho in Vietnam. My death row dish at its source.
- Opening a diner. When I'm lying in my recliner immobile, I furnish the space, design the menu, create the signage, and it passes the time quite nicely.
- Visiting Chateau Montelena in Calistoga (Napa Valley), the winery that beat the French in the 70's and inspired the movie "Bottle Shock".
- Eating at Per Se. Thomas Keller's restaurant, Bouchon, is my favorite place to eat in the world. I'm sure Per Se would be beyond incredible.
- Eating at La Bernadin. For its fabulous seafood, and in the hopes of glimpsing that sexy silver fox Eric Ripert.
- Eating at Alinea. Just for the chance to shake Grant Achatz's hand. Any chef who survives tongue cancer to cook another day is a foodie superhero in my book.
- Meeting Jacques Pepin. He cooks so simply and beautifully, and has had such an extraordinary life. His autobiography is my favorite piece of food writing.
- Staying at Jacques Pepin's beach condo in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. He rents out his condo! Can you imagine cooking in *that* kitchen? Using *those* pots and pans? Wow.
- Opening a Penzey's spice store. They smell so good and we really need one here in Charlottesville. Richmond is too far to go for cardamom and fancy salt.
- Learning way more about wine. I'm a food writer. I shouldn't be so ignorant when it comes to vino.
- Learning more about port. I've recently acquired a taste for the stuff and would like to know what's good, and what is Harvey's Bristol Cream (which come to think of it, is sherry).
- Making conchinita pibil (Mexican slow-roasted pork). Wrapped in banana leaves and cooked for hours and hours, this stuff is tender, smoky, awesome porky goodness.
- Enjoying tapas in Spain. Just 'cause.
- Drinking a bellini in Venice at Harry's Bar. Because it sounds glamorous.
- Getting a favorable review from Michael Ruhlman for my first book (hey, a girl can dream :)