The antipasto at Venda, best I've had anywhere (and I grew up in NJ).
The best strawberry shortcake I've ever had, at the Tea House in Santa Fe.
For starters, I now take lots of photos of food. I do this at home when D has cooked an amazing meal, I do it if I'm out to eat without him and want to show him what I had, and I do it under the direction of D (or just pass him the camera) if he was struck with inspiration. Looking back through photos later, I'm really glad I picked up this habit. A photo of a meal in Costa Rica brings me right back to the fun and happy night I had it. The many (many) photos of dinner cooked right here at home reminds me of just how lucky I am that D likes to cook.
Another habit I've picked up is talking to my food. A meal used to be put down in front of me and I'd . . . you know, start eating it and keep right on chatting. Now I stop and look at it, smell it, often take a photo, and after the first bite find myself saying things like "You taste good."
I also am much more in tune with flavors. Whether it's tasting a wine, or tasting some slowly cooked pork (yum) I've gotten a lot better at being able to articulate what I taste, what I like and find myself making comments like "These gnocchi are like little pillows of heaven." (Those would be at Gracie's, if you're interested.)
I also find myself in a lot of markets and wine stores. In Portland I couldn't help but ask "Do you think other people go grocery shopping while on vacation?" Granted, I'm often known to wait outside, or when the stars line up, go to the used book store two doors down, but I do have a new appreciation for the freshness of a good market. The colors and smells of the produce, free samples in the cheese area, and the different local items that I don't see in Rhode Island are all good things. (Yes, we travel with a small cooler, just in case we can't pass up something.)
I used to consider myself a boring eater, I just didn't know how good food could be, it just didn't excite me. I never knew the genius of slowly cooked pork, morrel mushrooms, or a crisp Sancerre. Of course, I used to be a pant size smaller, but if that's the price I pay for this great appreciation, I'll take it.
I can't help but wonder if D sits around being thankful he knows things like: what a warp is, why handmade letterpress cards are superior to Hallmark, or why polypropylene on a couch is just gross. I can only hope.
I'll leave you with a silly video of us enjoying Kalua pig. Really, do other people get this excited about slowly cooked pork?