Since we turned 21, Laurel and I have always gotten drunk on wine when we go out to eat with her parents. The Greenfields love to eat out and explore new restaurants just like us, and when the four of us are together the fun is amplified. We always start the night with one bottle of red, which leads to many more.
The most memorable dinner we had all together was at Craigie on Main in Cambridge in January 2014. While everything was great, I cannot recall one dish we had from that tasting menu, however what I can recall with crystal clarity is the extra side of polenta that we ordered for the table. Mmmm the polenta. It was the perfect balance of thick, grainy, creamy, smooth. The sweet corn flavor with the cream and butter hit every right part of our mouths and hearts.
We had quite a buzz on at that point but were so blown away by the perfection of this polenta that we HAD to know who made it. We stared into the open kitchen as focused as we could be under the influence of delicious red wine, trying to pinpoint who was responsible.
When our waitress came over to the table to see how everything was we began raving about the polenta and kindly demanded to know who made it. She pointed to the tall, poised, dark-haired man in the kitchen. And we told her we had to talk to him.
Within minutes the shy line cook was towering over our table in his pristine white chef jacket and his small, black fitted chef cap on his head, blushing. We poured our love over him for his polenta and thanked him for making it. His name was Thad. We didn’t get much more out of him except for a goofy, thankful smile, but now when we think of the best polenta we’ve ever had we remember Thad (that rhyme was not intentional).