Dish 27: Diver Sea Scallops at Rose Tattoo Café, 18th and Callowhill, http://www.rosetattoocafe.com/intro.html
It is amazing to me how quickly the extraordinary becomes the everyday. Two months ago, sea scallops were the most fabulous dish I could imagine, my go-to date dish, and now—okay, they’re still my favorite, but they aren’t the once in a while treat they used to be. I eat fabulous food every day! And last week, lunch with Justin Pahl was more exciting than seeing a shooting star in the daytime—meeting a real writer for Philly Mag, imagine! And now we’re just chilling, having lunch. Just like anyone else, having lunch.
When you start to think about it, we choose how ordinary or fabulous our lives are. It’s not a matter of expense—Colleen and I discussed this last night, how we never thought it would be possible to keep up this mission, but it really hasn’t been difficult to stay on schedule and stay on budget. (How, you ask? Well, I like coffee for breakfast. And it so happens that my office provides me with coffee every morning. So that brings me to lunch, when I like a Nature Valley granola bar, or the dish of the day. And then I have leftovers for dinner. So my weekly groceries consist of a box of Nature Valley bars, and a 12-pack of Fresca if I’m feeling indulgent. That also explains why this project is not causing me to gain weight.)
So here I am, today, at the Rose Tattoo Café, eating my favorite dish in the world, and having a lively intellectual conversation with my new homeboy. And this is perfectly ordinary. And it occurs to me that I should have been doing this all along. Ordinary is what we make of it; ordinary can mean that we never venture beyond the dining hall and the dorm room or ordinary can mean that we go out with someone new every day and try to find meaning in life. And I think of so many other examples: Tracy wearing the dry clean only sweater that I would have left for a special occasion; Dani spearheading a trip to Chadds Ford winery because I was saying how I wanted to go—why isn’t every day a special occasion? What are we saving “it” for?
Twentysomethings tend to have a “live for today” attitude, somewhat ironic considering that most of us have long lives ahead of us—but maybe we aren’t so crazy. Why live if life isn’t special? What is so great about being safe and following the same routine day in and day out—and why is it called safe? What are we protecting ourselves from? Why not take on some silly goal, like trying 239 dishes in one year—what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe you’ll find yourself having scallops with your new buddy on an average Tuesday at lunch.