No matter what’s going on in my life, there are two activities that make me happiest: spending quality time with my friends and family and eating cheese. Like my friends and family, cheese has been a very important part of my life ever since I can remember. It’s always been there for me in times of need and continuously fills my life with love and happiness.
Because I naturally want to be a happy person, I always look for new, exciting ways to incorporate cheese-eating into my life. The other day I needed a cheese boost, so I did some research and discovered Raclette— a newly opened hidden gem in the East Village serving croques, tartines…and a dish called raclette, which is essentially a ton of melted cheese, boiled potatoes, pickles and dried meat. I had never eaten raclette before, nor had I known what it was, so I did some in depth research.
So then I got out of bed and walked to Raclette on Ave A. and 10th St. to indulge in my own raclette experience. Like many east village cafés, Raclette is a tiny room with a counter, a few tables, an overly skinny bar that barely fits a plate and lots of character. There were no other customers, but the room didn’t feel empty as the relaxing French music and sensual smell of melting cheese were enough to make me feel cozy and maybe even slightly turned on.
I mean how could I not be turned on a little? There was a giant piece of cheese slowly melting in front of me producing a heavenly scent. It felt as though I was eating it. Eating cheese increases dopamine production, so imagine this tiny room filled with a bunch of people. The happiest place on earth. Where dreams come true. The Magic Kingdom. Basically any slogan that you’ve heard in Disney World commercials.
After I processed my emotions I decided to order. The croques and tartines had a lot of French influence with the exception of a cauliflower curry naan “tartine” and the Havana croque with pork, dijon mustard, bread and butter pickles and Emmentaler cheese. Then of course, there were three options of raclette — two of them being classically Swiss with raclette cheese, boiled potatoes, pickles and onions and then a third “Mediterranean” raclette with feta crumble instead of melted cheese.
Because 2 is better than 1 and curvier is better, I ordered a tartine and of course I ordered a raclette.
While I wanted a piece of all the tartines, I chose the fig with Brillat Savarin cheese, figs, prosciutto, toasted hazelnuts, mache, and balsamic reduction on a toasted baguette. I didn’t know what Brillat Savarin cheese was, so I once again did some research while I waited.
I got my tartine and realized the 75% fat minimum was well worth it. The cheese really held all the flavors of this tartine together and because the baguette was narrow, I could take a bite and get all the ingredients in at once. It was a party.
Now it was time for my raclette!!!!!! I ordered the classic Suisse with gruyere, Viande Sechee, tricolored potatoes, cornichons, pickled onions and white pearl onions. For some reason, eating raclette off of a paper plate didn’t seem to suit the situation (I feel like I should have been seated at a throne with a silver plater) but I went with it anyway. The cheesy potatoes stole the show but the raclette was very interesting and most certainly rich —definitely a nice meal to eat while it’s still freezing cold.
Both dishes I tried were awesomely cheesy and got me feeling lots of emotions. However, if there was one thing I would change about my Raclette experience (I don’t know why this matters at all, probably because cheese is so precious to me) I would have liked to eat off a physical plate, possibly a platter. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but I do believe that would have made the experience that much better. But Raclette is so new that they probably will make these advancements soon enough. At the end of the day, cheese is cheese is cheese is cheese.