Considering I spent New Year's Eve watching colors blur together inside Madison Square Garden at the last of four nights of Phish's year-end run, I'm not really starting out this year on any sort of healthy, new-agey, "this is how i will change into the young woman i want to be" hooey self-improvement kick.
Sure, I'd love to have more structure in my life this year and update this cavern of bizarro behavior once a day, but if I don't give two shits about these lofty ideas next week and wind up watching old movies on the couch in my spare time and chowing on guacamole like I'm my own dip-loving food parasite all winter long, then fine.
I don't set goals unless I intend to meet them, which is why, this year, I'm only setting one New Year's resolution: to eat my way through Adam Platt's entire list of the Top 101 Restaurants in New York.
Am I sick? Probably. Am I haplessly shooing myself into the poorhouse? Most likely. Am I inevitably going to cry myself to sleep no less than four times by April over how lardenous I've become? Ugh, certainly. (Occupational goal hazard, I suppose.)
My boyfriend will be joining me on this completely mindless mouth journey, which, to my own surprise, has already begun. We've only set out three rules:
1. If we don't document it, it didn't happen. (A fail-safe, since I'll find any excuse to pretend I went to Bushwick in order to avoid battling those mid-winter warehouse winds.)
2. Try to get the full experience of the restaurant. If the place is known for dessert, we'll do our best to leave room. If their specialty is Sunday Brunch, that's when we'll go. If I have to dress like a lady so I don't get seated outside the main dining room (ugh, Le Cirque), I'll do it.
3. Places we've had full sit-down meals at within the past four weeks (The Little Owl, Blue Hill, Takashi) are encouraged, but not required. Same for places we've already been to together in the past six months (Balaboosta, ABC Kitchen, Peter Luger, The Spotted Pig, Commerce, The Dutch, Ma Peche and Lupa), though those will remain higher on the priority list. Anything outside of that time frame, or restaurants only one of us have been to (Masa, Gordon Ramsay at The London, Robertas, Prune, Le Cirque) are fair game.
"Can we please stop doing this to ourselves?"
When my boyfriend said those non-rhetorical words a few months ago after I scheduled Monday, Wednesday and Friday dinners at restaurants I wanted to try on the big ol' list, I knew it was over. Going out to eat for the first couple of months this year became a race, a challenge as to how quickly I could stuff these enjoyable, mind-opening experiences into my schedule as possible, and as soon as it became even slightly unfun, it had to stop.
I still wish, hope and intend to eat at all of these restaurants, but will no longer be trying to do it within the twelve month constraint I ambitiously (and foolishly) set for myself. I still use the list as a jumping off point and as a wish list of sorts, but with so many new places popping up each week and a lot less money coming in through my newly freelance job status, my dining priorities have changed, even if the tasty dreams remain the same.
For anyone who happens to be curious, and since I can't help but keep track, the current roster is at 26. I've managed to enjoy two of the best meals of my life at Momofuku Ko and Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare since this weird thing began and even discovered some new favorites in my neighborhood, but while I do hope to one day cross all of those off my list (except L'Atelier, RIP), I just think I'll be taking a couple extra years to do it this time around.