Monday, February 15, 2010
We found ourselves this week at Margó (on Gustavo Mejia Ricart near Avenida Abraham Lincoln). The description in our Embassy restaurant guide said something like "chic" and "small." It was both. It is certainly one of those places that you walk into thinking it will be good simply by the nature of the trendy, yet simple décor, the valet parking and the attentive wait staff. I am happy to report that Margó did not disappoint. Each course turned out to be not quite what we had expected, but delicious nonetheless.
I'm not going to focus on the details of what we ate - I think it gets tedious and I find that I don't care so much about what specific thing was good, average or bad as much as I care about the why of the whole eating experience in the context of living abroad. But, I do want to devote a couple of sentences to just say that we enjoyed Margó. It was one of the first places, I think, where they didn't look at Jeremy like he was crazy when he asked about getting his dish prepared vegetarian (he had a mushroom risotto). Our wine was delicious and our salads perfectly enjoyable; although next time I will ask for mine with the dressing on the side - in a country where they don't use salad dressing, it seems clear they don't know what to do with it when they do use it. I ordered a seafood tempura appetizer for my meal and it was not in any way what I had expected, but the sauce was very, very nice (a citrus chili pepper glaze) and I could actually see it being even more enjoyable served on a bed of lettuce or even with rice.
I noticed while we were eating at Margó how much the food eating experience affects my mood about our international life. First, let me say, it is practically impossible for me to imagine giving up this life. We worked so long and hard to make this happen. Sometimes I miss some little thing about home and I ask myself, "Do you want to go back?" Never once, not even for a second would I take the convenience and ease of our American life over the life we have in the Foreign Service. Maybe I say this with a rookie's perception, but this life is a dream come true for us. At the same time, there are days when I find myself missing more about home than usual. Almost always these things have to do with needing the familiarity a certain store or restaurant. And, sometimes I experience the exact opposite. A complete lack of missing.
So, as we sat at Margó enjoying our wine and tasty food al fresco, the R&B inspired Spanish-language music drifting (not as loud as usual - thank god!) from the bar out to the patio, Santo Domingo's rich and trendy strolling by on their way to one of the handful of eateries nearby, I was completely in L-O-V-E with our life here. I found myself wanting to savor every single bite of my tempura, sip my wine and close my eyes as my café con leche warmed my belly because above all else in the Foreign Service what you experience is impermanence. We will only be here two years. Two years and then no more bachata, no more merengue, no more world's best rum, no more attitude, dust, guineos on the street, crazy culture mix of colors…