My New $100/lb Diet I Discovered at Dean and Deluca's #SipAndSavor

I remember being a grad student at Yale and frequenting New York City where a visit to the Dean and Deluca SoHo store was a requirement. Back then, I was on the pasta grad school budget. Fast forward to my life as a career woman, I can still afford little more than a cafecito. Still, it was a treat to indulge in luxury and fantasy at Dean and Deluca's #SipAndSavor event. Hosted by the Georgetown store in Washington, D.C. and Gilt City, guests toting baskets savored tapas at different stations and in the Wine Hall sipped on the preferred drink of Bacchus. Dean and Deluca has a hard sell because, unlike the 90s when I would ogle the goods at the SoHo, more options exist where I can purchase fine foods. I split the difference between the nearby 14th Street Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Even the new Giant and Safeway stores carry artisanal items imported from around the world or handcrafted and locally sourced by local specialists. Today I can afford more than mac and cheese. But I choose not to pay between $15 and $20 for an individual slice of pasta unless it has flecks of gold. And then I'll channel my inner Melquíades from One Hundred Years of Solitude and engage in alchemy to separate the gold flecks from the marinara sauce before making a trip to my bank's safety deposit box.

However, Dean and Deluca's competitive edge is in the fine foods your palate becomes addicted to that can't or are very difficult to find anywhere else. One such delicacy is the pata negra chacuterie. I've lived in Spain and remember savoring jamón ibérico which is ubiquitous on the Iberian Peninsula, hanging inches above your head at corner tapas bars. The pata negra is so sumptuous, it makes the famed jamón ibérico taste like the canned Dak ham always present at the Casa Hurtado from my childhood. Donovan shaved a tiny piece of the pata negra which caressed my tongue like earthy, musky butter. At $100+ a pound, this is a rare treat that I would indulge in for a special occasion. But make no mistake, I'm hooked and now await the perfect moment to infuse my reality with a little bit of this porcine fantasy, although in small quantities to conserve my girly figure and my personal wealth. You may remember that scene in Sex in the City where Carrie realizes her shoe closet full of Manolo Blahniks is the equivalent of a down payment on her apartment? Imagine standing in your water closet, ruefully looking at your American Standard!

Closets and down payments aside, the pata negra was the evening's gold standard. Dean and Deluca is where I'll go the next time I need a tapas that will impress.

Check out the photos below that capture some of the #SipAndSavor fantasy taken on my iPhone and run through my favorite app--Instagram!

Don't forget to tell me about your most decadent indulgence here in comments or on social  media.

xo ~ Viviana

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