Saturday, November 24, 2007

Secret is better

Last week we popped our secret diner cherries with our first Gypsy dinner. I'm not including any links because it is supposed to be on the down-low, but honestly it's easy enough to get "in" and you can google it just fine. I was really looking forward to this one, not only because it was our first of what will prove to be many forays into this clandestine culinary community, but also because it was my last chance to eat real food for awhile as I got the second half of my braces on the following morning. I am currently on a semi-solid diet and it is killing me, but I'll try to stay focused on the food.

For dinner we were presented with a tasting menu of 9 courses with paired wines. Naturally who wouldn't be over the moon about this kind of thing? Well as much as we are avid food lovers, we are just as prone to be impressed as we are to criticize. Without referring to the menu, here's what stood out: an oyster starter with grapefruit foam and champagne gelee was absolutely perfect, I could have eaten a bowl of those. Sablefish seared with an asian glaze over a quinoa hotcake had me quivering all over. It was served with braised burdock, a veg I'm never too sure of but was fabulous in this, and an onion currant relish. They paired this with a delicate Pinot Noir I'm sure I can't afford on my own, and it was the perfect fish with red wine combo. Then there was lamb with candied tamarind - this was posed as a secret ingredient and the challenge was out to identify it. Later I slobbered all over the poor chef, desperately trying to say "dragonfruit", but it kept coming out "dragonfish!" She looked at me the way I look at people with babies, as if to say, "would you please mind existing somewhere else thank you??" Well what can I say, by that time I had 4 or 5 1/3 glass servings of wine, and no matter how much you draw that out over time it's still a lot of booze.

We finished with a salad of frisee, quail eggs, and seared matsutakes, a local cheese board and the richest salted truffles I've ever come across. It was, in a word, divine. Dinner lasted over 4 hours, my favorite way to eat. We chatted with our fellow diners, oohed and aahed, gripped each other's knees in excitement, and came down off that rush with full but not stuffed bellies and taste buds that begged for a break. I couldn't bring myself to eat again until late afternoon the next day. I'm not sure how often we'll make the very deep fiscal plunge that is a Gypsy dinner, but it will certainly be worth it every time.

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