Good food makes life look simple. That's where its magic is. The moment your palette realises what you have fed your mouth with, the body follows, all complicated thoughts, entangled problems, detailed fears and obnoxious suspicions straighten up and evacuate. Evacuate rather orderly and swiftly. Letting the space for the world to step in. Like the awakening of Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire, the beast in oneself awakens and its "Hello World!" scares all the shadows of the tiny human self.
Last time this happened to me was in Naples, where I spent an entire week in the so described bestial state. Very awake, even alert, devouring with equal appetite food, monuments, people and sea. A good pasta cozze e eco the Mediterranean is Mare Nostrum knee deep.
Before that it was the dome of sheep cheese finely wrapped on the tomatoes, grilled peppers and cucumber of the Skopska salad in the garden of a truck-drivers' restaurant somewhere in Macedonia. A white summit between the blue Balkan mountains.
Before that it was the sheer madness and glee of 19th century cuisine au beurre juxtaposed with the delights of Caspian kitchen at Monet Cafe. This little cafe with its two-table balcony overlooking the river Mt'k'vari just at the edge of Tbilisi Old Town. Chicken with nuts - Georgian or Iranian of origin? and next to it the pork medallion with mushroom sauce, more mushroomy and creamy than my childhood memory of a mushroom sauce (as even my mother's grandmother must have used a more a contemporary receipt than this one, learned by the Moscovites from Napoleon's own captured chef in 1812, untainted by the perversions of time and ideology, preserved in its orthodox form through all the red decades and transmitted as an old saint's relic to the People of the Caspian Republic). Yes, as complex and complicated as a national cuisine might be, when the food is good it makes life looks simple, even if there are no traffic regulations and half of the cars are 40 years old Russian-made Ladas, spacious and reliable as tanks, driving wheel on the left, while the other half are 35 year old Toyotas, imported from Japan with a driving wheel on the right.
Where food is a bridge among cultures and nations, so the country is; thus Tbilisi is the Las Vegas of Eurasia where couples of different nationalities can marry in one working day with only personal documents, in a legitimate, world recognised marriage (Georgia is visa free for 94 nations. If you intend a speedy marriage with an escapee Saudi princess or already triple married Emirati prince check Georgia out).
So yes, the theme might be developed: Where food and wine are good life not just looks, but is made administratively simple (you can equally open a company and get a Georgian passport in one working day). Whereas of the Georgian wine, it requires an essey on itself.
...where was I... Ah, all this just to say that I had a surprisingly similar effect dining last night at Sea Containers, Southbank. "Who eats here?" I asked, but won't quote A's answer. Half an hour later a handsome, tall and out-of-this-worldly polite (that's why North America freaks me out: a whole continent of intensive, Neuveau Mondly politeness) Jordan presents himself, with a business card, and explains that he is a sport cars driver participating in a 300 something event, which means that he will drive his latest model Porsche in 300 places around the world. That's as to who eats there.
Now were was I again...hmmm I don't know why but I still hesitate to say 'Go eat there’, therefore I will just say the food at Sea Containers last night made my life looks simple.
Also, if the Skookum Festival in Canada looks anywhere like its president + ringmaster (Jordan's business card quoted), we should all be there for its next edition, and who knows, eat grizzly palm? Buffalo rib? See if that makes Canadian forests look waist high.