Genius. Bravo, HBO.
Reading almost any fantasy book makes me hungry, but A Song of Ice and Fire has made my mouth water. GRRM describes the feasts with just the right amount of detail, and they usually sound delightful. I say usually because the horse hearts don't so much appeal to me. The rest of it. Wow. If you're curious, Westeros.org has made an exhaustive list of the food and drink mentioned in the series. I am guessing Chef Tom Colicchio perused a similar list when he created the menu for the Taste of Westeros food truck.
The truck started in Manhattan and ended in Los Angeles. I tracked it down with my superpowers (aka using Twitter) on two days. I had read about the various menus – each day's menu was inspired by a specific location in Westeros. I was hoping I would get the trout with almond butter, one of the entrees for the King's Landing menu. On the first day that I could go, Wednesday 4/6, it was The Wall. Black seafood stew with dragon peppers or beet and pickled egg with horseradish accompanied by the always present lemon cakes. HBO minions passed out a copy of the menu to each of us. I opted for the stew as my main course. The dishes were served in small wooden plates shaped like boats. The napkins were printed with sigils of the major houses and their mottoes. The seafood stew was spicy and rich. I might have tipped the plate to indelicately slurp every last bit of the sauce. I'm classy like that. The lemon cakes were divine. They were sweet and spongy like angel food cake and topped with a sort of glaze that reminded me of lemon curd. So delicious. Tom Colicchio generously posted the lemon cake. It was so worth the wait in line with my pals.
For the final appearance of the food truck, I ditched work early to visit the truck in Venice. My priorities are straight. I frantically parked and walked towards friends already in line. They asked, “Did you see George R.R. Martin?” I thought they were kidding, but I looked back. I had buzzed right past him. Soon he started his walk down the entire line of fans. We were near the beginning, but it looked like people stretched around the corner. He took the time to chat and to take photos with anyone that asked. I heard him reassure a few people that A Dance with Dragons is indeed almost finished. He asked our group if we lived nearby, and most of us live in the Valley so that's what we said. He said something like, “I'm guessing the food truck didn't make it to the Valley.” Definitely not. He talked to us about spending time there while he worked on Beauty and the Beast while the crew was stuck shooting in Vernon. He took pictures with a couple of people in my group. I held in the nerd flailing until he was out of hearing distance. It was such an awesome surprise. I almost forgot that we were there for food.
|GRRM with me, @snoopshan, and @tarynoneill|
Photo by David Nett
Again, well done, HBO for an experience that really immerses fans into the world of the Seven Kingdoms. I hope the food truck inspires a cookbook with all the foods of Westeros.