31 December 2008

The Best Cookie of My Life

It really was.

And it was so unassuming, almost lost amid an army of neon macaroons, fluffy pastel marshmallows, lime mousse cakes, buche de noels and chocolate-dipped candy canes (festooned with impossibly small gingerbread-men sprinkles, of course) at the Taj Boston's (15 Arlington St.) annual Christmas brunch buffet.

But this almond thumbprint cookie, filled with raspberry jam, is what put the other sweets to shame.

It was everything a dry, crumbly, packaged Pepperidge Farm cookie dreams of being: tender, moist and sweetly flavored from the almond, with a burst of bright berry sunshine in the middle. One bite, and it made me gasp.

(The four plates of savory food beforehand might have had something to do with feeling unable to breathe, but it was just all so good- sushi, seaweed-sesame noodles, aged goat cheese, sauteed salmon, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and baby beets, pumpkin-cheese tortellini, the best mattar paneer ever to pass my lips- how could I resist?)

I'm a seasoned buffet glutton, but it was actually verging on painful to cram in any dessert at all. I did need something to go with the tea I ordered, however, since I had already made short work of the almond thumbprint cookie.

So I loaded up a few more small plates, brought them back to the table and started food styling for the photos while I waited for the tea to arrive.

"Don't you dare talk trash on your blog about this tea, just because it's bagged," my sister whispered to me as the waiter arrived and started pouring it from a tall silver pitcher.

I assured her I wouldn't. And I really won't, because as I explained, where- and with whom- you have a cup of tea is what makes it pleasurable (or not). The strong, black English breakfast blend that we sipped from the ivory china cups was surprisingly well brewed, but even more important, it was capping off the best meal of the year, enjoyed alongside those I love most dearly.

It was a welcome reminder of what, in the end, is all that matters.

May your 2009 be filled with tea in good company. And cookies.


s said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
s said...

These pictures and menu recap are making me salivate a little bit... the degree to which I was uncomfortably full is long forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Now you're making me hungry--and I''m glad to know I'm not the only one who drives my friends crazy setting up photo shoots on the table when we go out, even just to the diner. Happy new year!

Camille said...

I'm a buffet glutton, too. It is so hard to not have a bite of everything. Your photos are wonderful. I hope you had a marvelous holiday and my wishes for a happy, healthy new year!

Snow-globe said...

Oh tiny gingerbread men! And I'm glad you gave the tea it's due. Christmas buffet, why have you gone away?

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