June 11th, 2008

I know, as I write this, that all of you who will receive it are successful professionals. This is a mailing list comprised entirely of people who do not need the tip I am about to give. So I guess what I will have to ask you all to do is to step back into the shoes of your former selves for a few minutes. Go back to your college days, maybe, or to the time you spent taking LSD and following The Grateful Dead. Whatever. All I’m asking for is a recollection of a time when money was not so plentiful and scheming for freebies was a way of life. The restaurant I want to tell you about would have been quite the little gem to pass on to that version of you. It’s called Negeen Restaurant, it’s Persian, and, following Persian custom, I guess, when you sit down the table is laid with lavash bread, raw onion, fresh mint and feta cheese. You do not order it and you do not pay for it. They give you a lot and it feels very generous and a few years ago I probably would have started going three times a week, just for the satisfaction of getting something for free.

Time has passed, though, my sense of myself in the world has changed, and I have this adult guilt that compelled me to order “real” food as well. And so I was served grilled meat that arrived looking so dismal and heavy that I packed the entire plate of it up and took it home. Because the thing about the mint, onion, cheese combo is that once I started eating it, I had this revelation that I could eat nothing else for the rest of my life and be totally happy and healthy. What a wonderful, refreshing combination of flavors it is! The meat was great for breakfast the next day, but when I go back I vow to order only hummus and wine. And I will not feel guilty. I will channel the version of me that used to relish whatever was given to me without question and I will feel grateful. How about you?

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