Marisol & Mauricio: Once an Egg Slut

Marisol and Mauricio Montenegro finally entered familiar territory. Of all the things amiss between them, the love of food was not one of them. During their separation, Mauricio become an even better chef than he had been. He was a foodie before moving into their loft but had learned so much from the farm-to-table movement that had taken L.A.’s downtown culinary scene by storm. 

Manny always made mental notes during the couple’s many fine dining experiences and reimagined the recipes at home for an enthusiastic Mari—none more memorable than the Egg Slut meal at Grand Central Market. Mauricio was a sucker for anything eggy—the runnier the better.

The first course was placed in front of the diners, but for Mauricio the room disappeared and there was only Marisol, “Holy-Incredible-Dish-Batman!” He turned to his wife.

Marisol had not heard her husband’s favorite expression in weeks and didn’t expect something that trivial to make her explode with emotion. Mari was thankful Cassandra had organized the seating. She wasn’t prepared to vie for her husband’s attention all night the way she had at brunch. Marisol smiled a big wide smile—a comfort smile, a familiar smile—and she agreed with Mauricio. The first course was delicious. “Wow, twice-baked bone marrow with caramelized shallots, capers and parsley in a lemon-olive oil reduction topped with a perfectly poached egg. They got your number, you egg slut!”

“Guilty as charged! Look at this,” he grabbed the spoon and dove in to scoop the rich fattiness of the marrow. “I love playing with my food. And now, I get to pop the egg…” he popped the poached egg, “…then when it’s all drenched in the yellow goodness, I can smear my crostini with a mound of…umm…” he put the little handful in his mouth and closed his eyes to concentrate on savoring the perfect bite. 

“Should I leave you two alone,” Mari joked about Mauricio’s sensual relationship with food then enjoyed her own bite of marrow. But hers was right off the spoon. No crostini needed. Marisol liked her food to pack the natural punch of the main ingredient. Sides, toppings, and drizzles didn’t interest her. 

The Blakes slobbered and bonded over the second course: sweet lobster claws in a roasted bell pepper and cranberry puree for acidity with baby potato rounds stuffed with whipped fennel-asparagus and crème fraichè. All topped with $4,000 a pound Beluga caviar from the Adriatic Sea. They had two glasses of wine—the chef’s pairing recommendation was a Chardonnay because its sweet vanilla notes made it an excellent complement to the lobster.

The waiter announced as he poured, “This 2002 Sonoma Chardonnay is sensational and opulent. This year produced a complex and balanced near-perfect harvest in Sonoma and a pretty strong harvest in Napa as well. Please enjoy.” Mark, like his nametag suggested, stood there and waited for the couple to give the wine a go. Marisol and Mauricio sniffed and twirled it and sipped and swished it in their mouths before giving Mark two thumbs-up.

“2002 was a good year,” Mauricio put his hand over Marisol’s. He feared mixing beers, the earlier drinks in his suite and this full-bodied wine might start to impair his good judgment but he charged on anyway, “That summer, Manny Jr. finished his first year of kindergarten and was taking swimming lessons with Miss…what was her name? And baby Ally was four and still at home with you. You guys took trips to the park and had finger-painting sessions and planted that garden outside the window, remember? What a time?” Mauricio got a chance to caress her hand before she pulled away.  

“You have a very selective memory, Dad.” Her tone lost all tenderness and the edge in her voice returned. “You were working like sixty-hour weeks back then. You’d get home well past dinner after the kids had gone to bed and I would tell you horror stories about Manny Jr. catching who-knows-what at school and Ally throwing epic tantrums asking for you all day, tossing all the finger paint on the kitchen floor because she wanted the peanut butter instead and not napping after not eating her lunch. I would complain about how neither kid ate the dinner I cooked them and refused to sleep after I read them seven stories.” Mari took her last bites of the marrow and downed her entire glass of wine. 

A speed-talking Marisol always meant trouble, so Mauricio changed the subject, sorry to have taken her down a not-so-happy memory lane, “Let me get Mark to get you another glass of—”

Marisol dismissed his attempt to refill her drink and continued her tirade, “The parks, the garden and the swimming lessons all happened on the weekends. You always got the weekends. The good stuff. I got shit duty, literally. I got the after-breakfast-cleanups, the after-lunch-cleanups, the exhausting dinnertime, and bedtime, all while you played at being an adult until the late hours of the night with your slutty secretary.”