My mom talks a lot about the whole salty-sweet thing. Like, if you have too many chocolate chip cookies, you need to follow them up with a bag of potato chips. Or vice versa. I don't know what it is, anatomically or physiologically, about the human tongue that makes this true, but I have to agree with her.
A while back, a house & home type magazine ran an article about the best chocolate chip cookies in, say, America. Forgive me for not remembering which of the many magazines in that category it was, or what month and year, or which chefs, recipes, chocolate chips, etc. I can't remember everything. Deal with it.
I was fascinated by this article, forgetfulness to the contrary, because one of the chocolate chip cookie makers claimed that their cookies were the best because they sprinkled rock salt on the tops prior to slipping them in the oven.
Now, I do not like salt in general. I have always considered salt to be rather gross. As with all of my arbitrary, particular opinions, I hold to this with a certain arrogance and disdain for anyone who disagrees. Salt is nasty. Very salty things are even nastier. Take capers, for example. Who would willingly step out into the Dead Sea and swallow a mouthful of the saltiest water on earth? Yet that would be preferable to capers. Salt, bad. Ew. Yeuch.
Despite my rigid opinion on the matter, the idea of chocolate chip cookies with salt stuck with me. I think about it sometimes. I even want to try it out, though I hesitate to ruin a good batch of cookies by doing this salt thing wrong.
Then there was the Stroll & Savor in Belmont Shore this summer. Twice, the shopping avenue of 2nd street came out with bells and whistles...and food. Nearly every local restaurant on the street set up sample tables along the sidewalk for passersby to grab - in exchange for prepaid tickets. This event I actually have pictures of. Hold on while I upload them....
Okay, below you have the remains of our first stop, a Mexican food place whose name I can't remember, but which was so amazing we just had to sample everything they were serving.
And below...oh geez, that pasta was good. If you're ever in town, look up Domenico's. I'm serious. Everything they served was delicious. Which was a good thing, because by the time we got there, we were already stuffed to the brim.
Okay, what we have below is the reason I bring this up at all. Remember my lesson in salty-sweet from the beginning? The plate below features two desserts from the cupcake shop 'Frosted'.
The darker one is a red velvet cake thing with lovely cream cheese frosting in the center. It was good, but not the best. We only got two of the lighter one, because it sounded odd: salted caramel frosting with white cake.
Now for some of you, the thought of salted caramel is, like, duh. But I've never really heard about this thing, this taste sensation. Oh. It. Was. Good. Ever since then, every time I drive past this little cupcake shop (which is pretty frequently), I have this nearly uncontrollable urge to park the car and taste some more. It is salty. It is sweet. It is wonderful.
On a very different note (or so you might think), I spend a great deal of my days at Starbucks. It's a good place to work from because there's free wireless, I get free coffee refills, and the people there know me. (Hi Bree!) Yesterday, I heard a customer utter a beautiful phrase, one I've come to know and love since my foray along Stroll & Savor. "Salted Caramel...," he said.
I nearly bolted from my seat. "What is that??" I asked Bree.
"Oh, it's good," she said. And proceeded to regale me concerning the new and carefully crafted ingredients of the salted caramel hot chocolate beverage which they carried about a year ago, then dropped, then recreated, then brought back to their menu. I got a sample. I bought a cup. I am in love.
(If you were waiting for this post to have some sort of inspirational message, life lesson, or call to arms as the last one maybe sort of did, I apologize. Because this is, in fact, the end.)