April 16, 2008

The Fifth Taste

Edith's and my interests are starting to get so niche, we're going to just have to throw our own events just for the two of us. Last Friday we decided to participate in the Umami Festival celebrating the fifth taste, though oddly attending an event celebrating one of the four tastes, salty.

I didn't know there was such a thing as a salt tasting (having already missed the Umami Festival's water tasting, which is even more bizarre to me) but I was really curious to try it. I'd already experienced the subtle differences between table salt, sea salt and fleur de sel, so I was hoping for some really bizarre stuff.

When we got to the venue, we were the first to arrive and we were certain we'd be the only ones. We faced a room full of folding chairs with paper plates set on the seat, replete with a sampler of five salts and cucumber palate cleansers. In the end, some other people did show up, but boy was it a weird crowd.

Turns out salt can be pink and can be smoky. I really liked the Salish smoked salt from Washington State, which reminded me of smoked fish and really made me want to drink some tequila.

After the tasting we got to "enjoy" a performance art piece that was essentially a musical installation featuring a guy playing various kitchen utensils, appliances and cookware in a one-man symphony of cacophony. The sound of the blenders and the hot air popcorn popper were cool, but all the banging eventually got to me and I had to get out of there.

Fortunately we were able to get a relatively normal dinner at new restaurant Smith's, featuring some of the best devilled eggs I've had and some really delicious brussel sprouts. And a bartender that didn't buy back anything and charged us a million dollars for our wine. Not cool.

Still, a good Friday night out, especially in an era when I'm normally too tired to even go out on a Friday.

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