My friend Caroline is ... particular. If she’s staying at your house for the weekend, you must procure the following for her breakfast: organic eggs, black tea, fruit and almond milk. You must make sure she gets three large, healthy meals per day, plus snacks—good cheese works, and don’t forget a few chocolate bars, at least 80 percent cacao.
Caroline is slender, she is lovely, and she eats all day long. The first time my husband got the chance to observe her, he whispered to me out of her earshot, almost alarmed: “She just keeps eating! I’ve never seen anything like it!”
The girl is such a force that when you’re hanging out with her, you sort of bend to her—you end up eating what she eats, doing what she does. It’s always been this way. So each morning during her recent visit to Houston, I too did the Beachbody video she’d brought in her suitcase, had eggs, and then immediately turned my attention to lunch.
It could be annoying, but it isn’t. Hanging out with Caroline, I discover things, like that I enjoy her workout routine, that her favorite cookbook (Dinner) really does contain some awesome, as she describes them “accidentally healthy,” recipes, and that I should order both immediately, not to mention those great sheets she mentioned, and what was that novel she liked? In my universe, Caroline’s a lifestyle guru—the Gwyneth Paltrow of our friend group, without the jade vagina eggs.
Not that having your own personal Gwyneth doesn’t come with a few stresses. Like this one: Where do you take such an opinionated creature to dinner? Ahead of her visit, I thought and thought about it, and still hadn’t made a decision when I was editing Alice Levitt’s tremendous “Best New Restaurants” cover story and landed on the entry on Presidio on 11th Street. It sounded … accidentally healthy. I’d found the place.
Our group got there early-ish on a Friday night and waited a while—standard, as the place is super-popular—sipping wine on the patio. Then, after some debate, we ordered blistered shishito peppers, big piles of greens, melon, figs, and snapper cooked in butter, scattered with herbs straight from the restaurant’s garden.
It was all fresh, all interesting, all delicious, crave-worthy and … just … the kind of food that sticks in your mind, beckoning you back. And, reader, guess what? I am extremely gratified to report that my old friend, the hardest-to-please customer I know, loved every single dish that landed on the table.