A cheeky start to the year

For me, 2013 didn’t officially start until sometime in the early afternoon of January 4th. That’s precisely when, on my first day off of the new calendar year, I walked over to Perla, the Greenwich Village restaurant I had been food-lusting over since opening last year, and ate one of the most outrageously delicious sandwiches I’ve had… possibly ever.

BAM! just like that, 2013 was suddenly off to a phenomenal start and I could feel it in my bones that everything was going to be ok this year. It would all be more than ok. It would be delicious and amazing.

This will probably remain one of the top meals of 2013, you wait and see

My edible omen came in the form of Perla’s open-faced beef cheek sandwich, a mountain of tender, braised meat on thick toasted bread with porcini mustard, all topped with two eggs, of the glorious, sunny side up variety, and a heap of crispy shoestring fries to go with it.

Beef cheek, which apparently tends to be tough, is braised or slow-cooked to really tenderize it. This particular beef cheek went through that and then some. It was some of the juiciest, softest meat I can remember eating, almost just falling apart in the best way as I shoveled it in my mouth. Add rich, thick egg yolk and a slight, but spicy, kick from the mustard and you’re looking at a serious foodgasm waiting to happen. (No really, think the “I’ll-have-what-she’s-having” scene from When Harry Met Sally. No faking.)

It was one of those meals where I walked out of the restaurant with a little pep in my step and a smile on my face. If I could whistle, I would have. This year’s gonna be good, I thought to myself. My full, happy stomach was telling me so.

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