I swear that I’ve been cooking – I really have. And there will be some nice Spring recipes up soon. But on a beautiful sunny day last week I decide that it was time for a “mental health” day and played a little work hookie. I love to just wander downtown, stopping in at old favorites for little things (charcoal pellets at Verde and black pepper soap at Duross & Langel), lusting after things I can’t afford at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and Williams Sonoma, and picking up little snacks along the way. Varga Bar has been on my “to-eat” list since it opened, mostly due to my great love of Varga the pin-up artists. While I’d heard so much about their black truffle mac & cheese, it seemed a little heavy for such a warm afternoon. Instead I had the pickle pot, pictured above. I have to say, the pickles were a little too sweet for me, and many of the vegetables came out overly limp, but the fiddlehead ferns were a revelation – the perfect texture with just a little snap and sour. Varga Bar makes a decent bloody mary, but a few of these fronds would up the stakes!
My waitress promised me a light and healthy veggie burger, and if you skip the dense white bun, that’s about what you get. Homemade (thank goodness) with big chunks of corn and veggies, the heirloom tomato, English cucumber, cheddar and truffled ailo got me excited. I should have gone with the original house greens, but you can see I had a hankering for fries. As served, this burger is big enough to make two meals – certainly not a snack, and has nice, fresh flavor.
Here’s to playing hookie. Where do you go when you’re sneaking off for the day?