The other week George Howell did a tasting at our new Burlington, MA restaurant.
Here’s what stood out to me the most: every drink I handed to him, coffee, tea, he smelled it. And I don’t mean in passing, more that his first stage of tasting, while the drink was hot, was aromatic.
Of course we smell things all the time, but I never made it such a structural part of tasting. And the more I think on this the more I love the idea. I’ve always judged restaurants this way. Most great restaurants smell good. And I rarely enjoy the smell of a so so restaurant.
Smell is a funny sense, isn’t it? There’s something about smell that feels dirty. Even here I’m reaching for the right words to help you understand what a beautiful experience we’re discussing, and smell doesn’t seem to work. Aromatic is a bit nicer. But most of our conversation around smell isn’t that positive. I wonder why. Odor, whiff, smell. Is there even an opposite for stinks? A word that means smells great? There must be some cultural history behind all of this.
In the meantime, enjoy how our food hits your nose. Next time we pour you a coffee or brew you a tea, take a few minutes with it, while it’s hot, inhale and pay attention to that experience before rushing into taste.