Food Porn: Watermelons & Jellyfish

Still from Israeli artist Sigalit Landau's video installation "DeadSee" currently at New York MoMA.

I'm posting from New York City this week, on a determined binge, ready to inhale my way across Manhattan and swallow everything in my path, from art installations to fancy martinis. I've already had a dozen ice-cold littleneck clams at the cozy, century-old saloon P.J. Clarke's; a poached egg "in a jar" with Maine lobster and asparagus at the beautiful cafe at The Modern (along with a rose petal martini); and seen Israeli artist Sigalit Landau's stunning wall-sized video of herself, nude, whorled inside a gigantic strand of 500 watermelons in the Dead Sea. Slowly, slowly, the spiral unfurls, like a fractal, a fern frond, a sensuous necklace of striped green pearls, until Landau floats semi-free against the water's pale blue backdrop. I can't remember when I've seen fruit used to such beautiful effect in a work of art.

After the jump, another first: cold sichuan jellyfish with scallion oil

above, fried pork dumplings and cold jellyfish salad

At Grand Sichuan Eastern, my favorite Sichuan restaurant in New York (2nd Ave between East 55th and 56th):


just one of the exotics they serve (grilled turtle with baby taro is another). The jellyfish has a slippery, vegetal texture, a little like thick, clear seaweed, and the peppery sauce gives it excellent flavor. There was a weird after-effect -- my palate and lips went numb and tingly, and for a few minutes plain water tasted like it was heavily spiked with salt and lemon.

Anybody know where to get jellyfish in south Fla? Part of my resolution to eat low on the seafood chain is probably going to include a lot of this yummy invertebrate.

Gail Shepherd

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