Tomales Bay

Photos: Alanna Hale
Words: Tiffany Chan

What was the last memorable meal you had? Did you enjoy it, or did it end with a bittersweet taste in your mouth? Was it shared with a close circle of friends, or were you at something rather grand – like a wedding banquet – where strangers are less strangers and more like friends? Or was it maybe something simpler? Sitting in a booth at a diner, accompanied by good literature? And that was filling enough for you.

The last memorable meal I had was in my living room. The setting was nothing glamorous: we sat nearly on the floor, cushioned by pillows, since I hadn't gotten a kitchen table yet. I made phat thai but forgot to grab basil when grocery shopping. Despite the missing parts though, everyone felt full; everything was enough.

I was sitting next to my past housemates – people I had known for years – and we talked about everything, anything – like brainstorming dumb Instagram handles for an hour. (We're talking AIM era, here.) I thought about playing music but didn't need to. Every lull in conversation was that comfortable silence that you don't come across often, and it was good.

What would you trade for a lifetime of memorable meals? And would that be defined by the food itself, or the company you share it with? If you're far along enough to tell me, how often can you come across both?

For me and my naiveté, I'd like to believe that I would gladly put in the miles it takes to make it to those meals, those occasions of close communion, however far the drive is. I would gladly do all the dishes before and after, and forever. I would even take the tears shed when cutting onions. I would trade it all, because how else would you feel full? Of course, it wouldn't hurt if it were in Tomales Bay.