While I was out in California a couple of weeks ago, I received a text from my friend Diane (aka Diaaaahhhne!) back in NYC. Diane said she was really missing me at work, because no one else in the office was interested in “talking about every television program, or every meal they ate.” That text message made me laugh pretty hard, because it is so true: one of the major things that Diane and I have in common as friends is that we both love to eat, talk about food and watch TV shows about food. So it was a big drag that Diane had another obligation and couldn’t accompany me to last night’s kickoff event for Epicurious Dot Com’s Epicurious Entertains NYC, a five night series of gourmet dining events – each one featuring a different celebrity chef! Wednesday’s event featured the cuisine of world famous French chef and restaurateur, Daniel Boulud.
Chef Daniel, How Cute is He?
Between the end of the cocktail hour and being seated for dinner, Chef Daniel came out and spoke to the crowd, and he was very charming and very cute! I have seen Daniel on shows like Top Chef, where he is sometimes a guest judge, but I had never been to one of his restaurants – mostly because dinner for two runs about $400 – so I was really excited to sample his delicious gourmet treats. I was not disappointed. Here is the evening’s menu:
Daniel Boulud Dinner
Fall in Provence
Tuna Niçoise with Boston Lettuce and Haricots Verts
Sardine Escabeche with Fennel
Duck and Foie Gras Cigar
Legumes Farcis: Zucchini, Tomato, Onions with Anchovies
Octopus Salad with Tomato, Cranberry Beans and Niçoise Olives
Eggplant Babaganoush with Basil Foam
Olive Grissini (Grissini = Bread Stick)
Second Course: Tai Snapper and Cucumber Ceviche
Third Course: Rack of Lamb, Summer Vegetable Tian, Ricotta and Panisse
Dessert: Port Roasted Black Mission Figs with Caramelized Walnuts and Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Sorbet,
Shortcake with Orange Crème Fraiche
Aside from an escargot canapé that I ate on a dare during the cocktail hour, the surprisingly heinous Tai Snapper and Cucumber Ceviche – which nearly everyone at my table agreed was the texture of a phlegm ball and thus thoroughly inedible – and the sardines, which are just not my thing, each course was either very good or out-of-control delicious. In fact, if you look at the menus from the other night’s events, you can see that I clearly chose the best night to attend. The flavor and texture of the lamb chop alone is something that I will be talking about for the rest of my life (“I once had a lamb chop that was so succulent…”). Each course was accompanied by a compatible wine selection, so with all of that primo vino on top of the two insanely delicious White Cosmopolitans I had before dinner, I got pretty hammered. Fortunately, one of the prime advantages of living in NYC is being able to get drunk and then take a cab home. Also, while I had quite a righteous hangover this morning, I did not throw up.
A portion of the proceeds for these Epicurious Entertains events (tickets were $125 each) go to the worthwhile charities Feeding America and The NYC Food Bank, and a variety of sponsors such as Intel, Lindt Chocolates, Calphalon, Stella Artois and Ziploc provided a pretty neat gift bag full of goodies that each attendee got to take home upon leaving the event. Win-win! For information about other upcoming events sponsored by Epicurious Dot Com, sign up for one of their newsletters at this link.