tannaz: So, are you rich now?
dileep: Um, definitely not.
tannaz: But, like, you're doing ok, right?
dileep: Yeah, I've got money in the bank.
tannaz: So... can we go to dinner?
Now, this wasn't me gold-digging. Quite the opposite, actually. It's just that, on that particular night, I had been stewing around in the sad feeling that there were all these fancy dinners to be had, and all these other young angelenos were having them, and for some reason or another, I was not. The intention is always there in the back of my head, but somehow we always end up at Pho Cafe (not that there is anything wrong with Pho Cafe).
Dileep was kind enough to oblige my hankering for poshness that very night. To top off an evening of bizarro ice cream and cracking up uncontrollably over Nick's punny ways with gay horse jokes, we went to AOC for a glass of wine. Despite this place sitting less than half a block from my apartment, it was the first time I'd set foot inside. It was pretty delightful. We sat at the bar, tasted several delicious wines between the three of us, chatted up the bartender, and snickered as our future movie star got double-team-chatted-up by the redhead sitting next to him and her genteel southern mother.
And we ate cheese.
We chose three, but the only one that mattered was the robiola. Evidently it's an Italian cheese, a blend of goat's, sheep's, and cow's milk. I've had a lot of cheese (hoo boy, a lot of cheese), but this robiola has singlehandedly crystallized what makes, for me, the perfect cheese: light bloomy rind (not crazy thick and impenetrable like brie), heavy stink (in the best way), and so rich that as it sits at room temperature, it gets oozy enough to be sopped up with a little crust of bread. Good lord, people, this is the stuff.
The little bite that night was not nearly enough, and so in the past few days, I went to Whole Foods and picked up a little tub of La Tur. From the robiola family, it's a little tangier than what we had at AOC, but a small puddle of the stuff, along with a big bunch of grapes and a bit of bread, has made me many decadent, simple, dinners. And with all that available on my very own couch, who even needs fancy restaurants? (Well, maybe I do a little.)