what little i know about the slow-food movement can be captured in fewer words than it has taken to write this sentence. it’s italian in origin. it’s good for you.
and now i know it makes some damn fine eats.
it’s not hard to guess at that last piece, since almost anything that any sentient person makes at home, from something reasonably close to “scratch,” will beat the taste buds off of anything purchased quickly and made industrially. and since i’m a girl who loves to grow her own food, and eat food that other local folks have grown in their own back acres, i know — and love love love — the difference between that sun-ripened tomato just picked off the vine and eaten while still warm and the hydroponically-grown tom that’s been warming on my kitchen window sill. but i didn’t know how much i didn’t know.
and the truth is, i’m not usually a girl for movements of any sort — i’m the kid who is always left out of the clique. but i have a brand new appreciation for … hell, devotion to the slow food movement. thanks to slim’s.
as a token of love for a much-missed child whose nickname was slim, we were given a gift certificate to this über-everything restaurant nestled on the corner of hamilton and blue rock in northside. i was in love the moment i realized it is right next door to shoetopia and directly underneath yoga ah!, and i had a brief existential crisis when i remembered that we chose to live in a different neighborhood. (what were we thinking?) slim’s is super-hip but also totally genuine — leave your snobbery and ‘tude at the door (or in the next-door alley), thank you very much. it’s laid out like an art gallery but lined with group-friendly tables. it’s the kind of place where happy people enjoy being happy and find themselves getting happier the longer they stay.
but my real love affair didn’t begin until i’d been seated and was on my way to ordering.
it took me a while to work my way through the prix fixe menu (just what is mofongo, anyway, and why is it only pequeño?) and it took a while for our menus, our water, and our server to all be present, simultaneously, at our table. but this was good, because it gave me time to settle in to the rhythm of the night: a three-hour long gastronomic tour through slow food, puerto rican style.
yes, that’s right. it took us three hours to eat dinner. and i wouldn’t ask for a single minute of it back.
some might complain that the pace of dinner is attributable to slow service. they’re not entirely wrong in that observation, but perhaps wrong to make that complaint. slow is the point. slow is so the point that slim’s grows its own greens — lettuces, watercress, etc. — just across the street. i had happy visions of my easy-going server strolling across the street to pick the watercress that arrived on my plate. i know he didn’t — i know because i watched for it — but he could have. it was all that delightfully happening-in-the-moment, so wonderfully slow.
for the first time in, oh, maybe my life, i ate a salad slowly, amazed at how different a variety of organic greens taste — different from each other, i mean — when they have been picked recently and haven’t traveled 1500 miles in an air-conditioned truck. i thought i knew how good fresh food tasted. but good food, good fresh food, served so slowly that you’d be a fool not to pause between bites simply to relish the pure deliciousness of all — well, that i knew nothing about. now i know. it is heaven. heaven, i say. pure heaven.
so head to slim’s. byob — several nearby tables had planned well and had brought coolers of wine and beer — and plan to relax. relax and enjoy. slow-food style.
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