Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just a tart

Inspired by John Mayer's clever letters to a pear and cherry tomatoes, here's a little love letter to the egg custard tart, another San Francisco treat. It will be nowhere as funny (not even close) or original (though I'm pretty sure JM was not the first to write something like that) but the feelings are sincere.

Dear Egg tart-

I remember the first time I saw you. You weren't my type really- cheap, shiny, jammed in with all these other unsavory characters and you smelled like eggs. I wasn't sure if I was ready for this. I'd heard about you from friends. They raved about how far they would go just to have you, how difficult someone like you was to find in a small town like ours, some had asked me to bring a piece of you back. So I was curious. I thought what the hell- how bad can you be? You were almost too easy to get a hold of, waiting there in that grimy room.  And you know what? I liked it. I like how beneath the flakiness and the slightly salty exterior your sunniness shone through- like a shiny yellow beacon. Even though you were smooth you were accessible and unassuming and just the right amount of sweet. I remember thinking about you for days after, hanging around your neighborhood so I could run into you again, even planning my meals around you. I figured I would get over it. I was surrounded by a lot of other distractions- like genki crepes and green tea icecream. I know, what was I thinking. 

But that afternoon in the shady little place in Chinatown, when I least suspected it, I saw a whole new side to you. I never knew what it was like to meet you early in the day, before the bitterness of the day had gotten you colder and raised your defenses under your glassy front. You were unexpectedly warm, so fresh and bright- and it would never be the same again. 

Now I'm far from where you live - we move in different circles, you're a big city, multi-cultural type. I'm here in a small town where your type are hard to find. I look for you wherever I go to the places you'd hang out but all I find are pale, cold, cloyingly sweet imitations- not you at all. Sometimes I see your name on menus and quickly ask for you, trying to hide my excitement, only to be told "you're not available today". I see how it is. So as I 'settle' and satiate my desires with sesame balls and sticky rice, know that you're in my thoughts. Egg custard tart, I'll never take you for granted again. 


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