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I probably get as excited in anticipation of a really nice dining experience as most people get about seeing a Broadway show or a concert at Madison Square Garden. Because, seriously, food is my thing. Last night, I was very fortunate to be able to attend a special gourmet meal event featuring the culinary skills of Chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich (of Lidia’s Italy) – which was sponsored by the gourmet food website, Epicurious as part of its annual Epicurious Entertains NYC events series. Tickets for these events are pricey but well worth it, as not only is the food amazing, but the proceeds also benefit several charities and local food banks that help feed people, so it is for a good cause as well as being a fun evening.
Prior to dinner being served, my mystery date and I enjoyed a relaxing cocktail hour on the outdoor deck of the evening’s venue, The Soho Mansion, while we snacked on passed appetizers that included oysters on the half shell, caviar with whipped ricotta cheese, peanut butter and jelly foie gras (not a typo) and detectible bruschetta. For dinner service, we were seated at communal banquette tables impeccably decorated with pristine white cloths dotted with beautiful miniature flower arrangements and tiny potted shrubberies. Elegant, yet very modern. The meal’s four courses, each prepared by a different chef from one of Lidia’s many restaurants, arrived paired with an appropriate wine selection and everything was just superb.
Here’s what we ate:
Antipasto: Crudo Del Mercato. Swordfish Crudo with Citrus Infused Olive Oil and Toasted Almonds. Wine: Martin Códax Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain. I am not normally a raw fish kind of gal, but this was excellent.
Pasta: Ravioli con Cacio e Pere. Ravioli stuffed with Fresh Pear and Pecorino cheese in a butter sauce with fresh black pepper. Wine: Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand. This delicate ravioli dish was the most delicious thing I can recall eating in, well, forever maybe, and the wine was my favorite of the evening.
Secondo: Costine di Manzo Brasate con Risotto di Orzo. Braised Short Ribs with Fall Vegetable Barley Risotto. Wine: William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California. This course was insanely delicious: hearty but not overpowering.
A very lovely evening wrapped up shortly after 10:00 PM and we were sent on our way with a souvenir Epicurious canvas tote containing a few sweet treats and assorted cooking swag. Many thanks to Epicurious and Chef Lidia! I can’t wait for next year’s events!