Monday, September 15, 2008

French Laundry at Home Extra: Continuing the birthday celebration at Per Se...

First, let me thank so many of you for your very sweet comments and emails after my last post. Not a day goes by where I don't think about how lucky I am to have such fantastically awesome and funny people following along and enjoying this blog. You all make this so much more worthwhile than perhaps you'll ever know. So, thank you.

Second, yes I know I'm slightly insane, but I'm also equally excited about the Alinea at Home project. I'll answer all questions related to that blog in a few weeks when I get everything up and running. For now, we're going to stay focused on French Laundry at Home, because....

Third, quite a few people emailed me last week with things like, "I'm so sad it's over" and "Wow, I can't believe you're done with the blog" to which I say, "HEY! WAKE UP, SISTER! I'm not DONE YET. There are still a few more dishes to write about and post about and for you to drool over, not the least of which is when I single-handedly (okay, that's a big, fat lie, but I'm on a roll, people, so work with me here) butchered, dressed, prepared, cooked and ate a whole baby lamb so DON'T YOU WANT TO SEE THAT? OR, SHOULD I JUST QUIT RIGHT NOW? HUH!?!?!?"

So, um yeah. It's not over yet, people. There are a few more dishes to write about, and a few other posts I have in the works, so stick with me. I'll let you know when we're done, and thus, when it's time for you to bookmark my new blogs. Yes, that's blogs with an "s." You already know about one of them. But the other one, you don't. You will, though, soon enough. I promise. Pinky swear.


* * * * *


Picking up where my previous post left off, I flew home from California on Wednesday, August 20th, got in very late at night, slept for about six hours, then drove to the southern Jersey shore where I spent Thursday and Friday with friends. On Saturday morning, I drove up to New York to continue the birthday festivities. The sky was blue ("and all the leaves are green"-- ten points to whomever knows that lyric) and the city skyline teased and beckoned every cotton-pickin' minute I sat waiting in what turned out to be an unnecessary goat rope leading to the Holland Tunnel. Why cars have to slow down to a near-stop to watch construction taking place on a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ROAD, like, nine miles away, I'll never know.

I couldn't WAIT to get into the city... not just because I really love New York and feel energized every time I'm there, but also because joining me for dinner that night at Per Se were Linda, Sean, and Holly, my friends who also happen to be neighbors who have eaten nearly every one of the dishes made for this blog, as well as my friends, Andrea and Todd. I was so happy to be just hours away from sitting down at a table with friends I knew were going to love this experience.

That evening, Holly met Linda, Sean, and me at the hotel, and we walked the half-block from there to the Time Warner Center. It was all I could do not to skip across the street in absolute glee. I probably could have -- 58th Street was a ghost town -- but my shoes were sooo not conducive to that kind of activity. As we went up the escalators in the Time Warner Center, it was, again, all I could do to not leap up the metal escalator steps three at a time to get there even sooner. But I am not a lady who leaps (at least not in those shoes), so I maintained some semblance of patience and decorum.

Upon reaching the fourth floor, we stopped for a moment in the garden, the glass door slid open, we stepped into Per Se, and were greeted with a smile and a lovely "welcome" that set the tone for the evening. Andrea and Todd had gotten there a few moments earlier and were enjoying a cocktail in the bar area, so after saying hello to them and introducing everyone to one another, our service captain, Mike Minnillo, took us to the private dining room where we settled in for what I thought was certain was going to be a really great night. I mean, I'd checked out the tasting menu on the way in so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what might be in store, but when Mike said, "We'll have printed menus for you at the end, but I wanted to let you know that Jonathan is going to cook for you, okay?" I nearly wept. "Jonathan is going to cook for you, okay?" Oh my. It was more than okay. Because when "Jonathan is going to cook for you," I know that means there are going to be some wonderful surprises along the way.

When I sat down, there was a lovely note from Jaclyn, who, along with Célia, had helped coordinate the evening, as well as a note from Chef Keller, which was so unexpected and so cherished.

Mason, our sommelier, helped us make our wine selection for the evening:

* Peter Michael, "La Carrière" 2006
* Shafer, "Red Shoulder Ranch," 2006
* Turley, "Dusi Vineyard," Paso Robles 2006

... after which he brought out some champagne (Schramsberg Reserve, 1999, if I'm remembering correctly; and, sparkling wine, if I want to be technically correct since it's from California not France); we toasted one another, and then the fun began.

I didn't take photos, because I just can't bring myself to do that in restaurants, and I hope I can do the menu justice with my descriptions of each dish. Are you ready to go along for the ride? I hope so, because this was such a special night, and I'm so excited to be writing about it. Here we go:

* As is tradition at The French Laundry and Per Se, we started the evening with Gougères, which were followed by Salmon Tartare Cornets with Red Onion Crème Fraîche. Perfect.

* Chilled Hass Avocado Soup; Honeydew Melon and Garden Mint with Espelette Pepper Mousse. Cool, creamy, fresh, light, clean, aromatic, crisp, sharp, gorgeous, flavorful, and elicited the first of what would become a multitude of moans, sighs, and giddy smiles.

* Basil Sorbet; Picholine Olive Tapenade and Thyme Tuile. Fresh, fragrant, solid, smooth, pointed, well rounded, made me want to lick the plate, and the basil sorbet reminded me of my dinner at Alinea, which was an unexpected pleasant surprise.

* "Oysters and Pearls;" "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar. I feel so incredibly spoiled and luxurious when I eat this. It may just be one of my favorite things in the whole world. Creamy, warm, salty, poppy, bursting with flavor, didn't want it to end.

* Atlantic Fluke; Ginger Gelée and Citrus Vinaigrette. Beautifully plated and the flavors and textures complemented one another so perfectly, it made me want more. I never make fluke at home, but now I have to... and if I only get it a mere 0.000003% close to being this good, I'll have succeeded. I'm often hesitant to order anything in a restaurant that has ginger listed as an ingredient, because far too often it overpowers the dish. This ginger gelée was so subtle, and yet it brought the dish to life so beautifully. A total homerun, and one I didn't expect.

* Mediterranean Sardine; Confit Eggplant and Spanish Caper Emulsion. When I was in elementary school, there was this kid who brought a tin of sardines for lunch every Friday, and they (and that kid) totally grossed me out. Since then, I've come to appreciate sardines when I'm cooking and using them in their various preparations, but I honestly don't think I've ever eaten or enjoyed a small fillet (if that's even an accurate term) of sardine, let alone with eggplant and caper to complement it so perfectly. This is a flavor combination I'm going to experiment with here at home because it was divine.

* White Truffle Oil-Infused Custard; "Ragoût of Black Winter Truffles." This was the fourth time I'd eaten this canapé, and as always, I could have eaten twenty of them. Makes me want to spend a few hours (okay, weeks) in my kitchen perfecting my chive-potato chip so that I can make and serve them with dignity, unlike the first time I made them.

* "Smoke;" All-Day Braised Hobbs Shore's Pork Belly, Heirloom Beets, and Burgundy Mustard. I knew what type of preparation was coming when I saw the crystal spheres being so gently and carefully carried into the room, but I had no idea I was in for the single best piece of pork belly I've eaten in my life. This dish, if you'll indulge me in a rather nerdy confession, almost made me cry, it was so good. The reveal that takes place when the top of the sphere is removed and the smoke rises up and into and onto your palate is such a wonderful tease, and to be able to feast on even that small morsel of pork belly that has spent a day braising to absolute perfection (along with beets and mustard that more than held their own) is nirvana.

Upon taking that final bite of what was sheer bliss and having had our plates cleared, we began to look at one another and whisper, "Wait... how many things have we eaten? What course are we on? Was the fluke our fish course?" A few minutes later, Mike came in to check on us, have our water and wine needs attended to, and said, "Your first course is next."

Your. First. Course. Is. Next.

::: cue the nervous giggling because we thought we were already on our fifth course, at least :::

So, yeah. Now that I have a menu to refer to... Nine canapes, then those magical, magical words.

Your. First. Course. Is. Next.

Happy birthday to me, indeed.

* "Salad of Big Island Hearts of Palm;" Compressed Summer Melons, Salted Pine Nuts, and Red Ribbon Sorrel with Lemon Verbena "Aigre-Doux." So, here's the point in the evening when I totally geeked out and regaled my friends (complete with really bad sound effects and some sort of interpretive hand gestures that, looking back, made absolutely no sense) with the process of how you compress melon in the Cryovac machine (as I'd seen Chef Keller and Rory Herrmann do earlier that summer, so of course, now I'm, like a TOTAL expert on the subject; and my friends were kind enough to indulge my demonstration which is why I love them), and how it intensifies the flavor, and how it is just oh-so-awesome, and if they really loved me they'd just buy me a Cryovac and I'd make them compressed melon every day. Astoundingly, a red-ribboned Cryovac has not shown up yet on my doorstep, but I'm still holding out hope. This "salad" was absolutely delicious -- thin slices of heart of palm, the sweet melon, the salty pine nuts... all so beautifully composed texture- and taste-wise, and I really could have slathered myself in the lemon verbena aigre-doux and been quite a happy camper.

* "Peach Melba;" Terrine of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras, Frog Hollow Farm's Peaches, Peach Jelly, Pickled Red Onion, Cilantro Shoots (mine came sans), "Melba Toast," and Puffed Carolina Rice. This foie course was accompanied by six different kinds of salt, and was one of my favorite dishes of the night. I haven't made foie gras in what feels like a really long time, and I didn't realize how much I missed it until I had this dish. I know that might, to some, sound like an incredibly snotty thing to say, but deveining a foie gras was one of my biggest fears when I started the blog (I obviously was in denial about the pig's head and the whole baby lamb), and knowing that it's something that's actually pretty easy to do, now, feels good, so this dish gave me a little surprise boost of pride for what I've been able to learn.

* "Pavé" of Kindai Bluefin Tuna "À La Plancha;" "Haricots Verts," Globe Artichokes, Niçoise Olive Petals with Greenmarket Radishes and "Barigoule" Emulsion. In addition to this being one of the most spectacular things I've ever eaten, I was so excited to have my very first (and probably only) taste of kindai, because it's so rare. It was perfectly cooked and everything in this dish was so flavorful, you couldn't help but smile with every bite.

* Butter-Poached Nova Scotia Lobster; Long Island Gold Corn Kernels with Chanterelle Mushrooms and Fig-Chocolate Sauce. Lobster + Corn = duh, of course THAT was gonna be good. Add the chanterelles? Sure. Even better. A sauce composed of chocolate and figs to go along with it? Really? Huh. Well, I don't kn.... ::: taste ::: ::: stunned silence ::: For the next few minutes, I pretty much muttered to myself like a crazy bag lady about the sauce and how great it was and what the ratio of chocolate to fig might be and who knew it would be this good, let alone with the core elements of this dish, and I could've been hit by a bus right then and died incredibly happy, sated, and content.

At this point in the evening, we took a break to stretch our legs, take a stroll, and generally let those 13 dishes settle in before we started up again. The private dining room at Per Se is all windows on two sides -- one on the restaurant side (with a privacy curtain if we needed it), and the other overlooking Columbus Circle and the southwest corner of Central Park. The moon was full and bright in the sky, the skyline flecked with light on a weekend when many had fled the city for a final jaunt upstate or at the beach. We spent some time talking to Mike, who I'd met before and just think the world of. And, we enjoyed our wine as we talked about everything under the sun -- politics, high school antics, who could pull up IMDB fastest on their iPhone to settle a bet on a character's name in Carrie, work, our dogs, whether or not Swoosie Kurtz was still working and who could name all the female lead cast members of Sisters (which naturally led to speculation about the actual dollar value of Julianne Phillips' divorce settlement), and the merits of seeing Prince live on tour (which we all highly recommend, FYI).

After some time had gone by, we sat down, ready to find out what was coming our way next. As we settled into our chairs, fresh napkins on our laps, I looked around the table and felt so incredibly lucky to be surrounded for the second Saturday night in a row by amazing friends and people I care about so much. My friend, Todd, is my oldest friend -- we've known one another since we were four years old and used to rig up those little green, plastic army men with homemade parachutes made out of baggies and rubber bands... and he was my guest the first time I ate at Per Se, so it was really special to have him there with me that night. My friend, Andrea, and I met fifteen years ago when we worked together at MCI. She lives in southern California, and had to be at a family wedding the weekend prior so she wasn't able to go to The French Laundry. Lucky for me, she planned a business trip to New York that week so she could be at Per Se, and I'm so glad she was there. And, having Linda, Sean and Holly at the table with me was incredibly important, because they not only have tasted nearly every dish I've made as part of this blog, they've become like family to me in the eleven years we've lived next to and across from one another. This was the first time many of them were meeting one another, and everyone clicked so easily, it made for a warm and laughter-filled evening.

The service team came in with our next course, upon which they heaped the most incredible summer truffles... so, here we go:

* Buckwheat Rigatini with Shaved Summer Truffles. Who knew something so simple and as, dare I say, rustic, could simultaneously melt the heart and pique the palate quite like this dish did?

* Four Story Hills Farm's "Suprême de Poularde;" "Farcie à la Mousse de Truffe d'Été," Wilted Butter Lettuce and Cauliflower Florettes with Sauce Périgourdine. Chicken. Truffles. Lettuce. Cauliflower. Sauce. Magic. Pure magic.

* Snake River Farm's "Calotte de Boeuf Grillée;" Poached Bone Marrow, "Rissolée" of New Crop Potatoes, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Arrowleaf Spinach Purée with "Sauce Bordelaise." Just before this dish was brought out, I was starting to feel full. Like maybe I'd reached my limit and would only be able to do a bite or two of everything else that was to come. Like that was f-in g possible, what with the way this dish smelled as it was placed before me. Wow. Just wow.

* DiBruno Brothers' "Burrata;" Heirloom Tomatoes, Petite Basil, and Tomato "Raisins" with "Croûtons de Pain de Campagne." Three cheers for DiBruno Brothers, a Pennsylvania (my people!) business I know and love. And a kazillion cheers for this perfect take on a caprese salad, which for some people is nooner-inducing. Ahem. This is the second innovative execution around these flavors I've had this summer -- the first one being at Alinea -- and this one was equally amazing and just made me smile and think about why I love the end of summer so much.

* Plum Sorbet; Santa Rosa Plums, Ginger Pudding, Plum Consommé and Gingerbread Crisp. Cold. Fresh. Sweet. Smooth. With ginger-y warmth, if that makes sense. This was absolutely delightful and was leading up to the thing I was pretty sure we were having next, because when asked a month prior what I might want as a special birthday dessert, I was pretty quick to respond by pleading for...

* "Coffee and Doughnuts;" Cinnamon-Sugared Doughnuts with Cappucino Semifreddo. If I had the skillz, I'd write a song about this dessert. Instead, I'll do a haiku:

Yay!, in cup, on plate
O, Per Se pastry team, go
On witcha bad self!

I savored every bite of the doughnuts and every last cold, velvety spoonful of the semifreddo and thought to myself, "this night is just so perfect."

The servers cleared our plates and we had just placed our coffee orders in preparation for the mignardises and other candy treats when the lights in the room dimmed to near-total darkness, the door opened, and in came Mike and the service team with the most elegant cake, candles aglow, and my friends, very quietly, sang "happy birthday" in hushed reverence because this was a most unexpected surprise, and the room was so beautiful in the candlelight, it almost took your breath away. I made a wish, blew out the candles, and grinned from ear to ear. Just when I thought the night was perfect, they went and made it even more perfect.

The final course on the menu read:

* "Birthday Cake;" Bitter Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate and Pear Financier with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream. I think many of you know I've never really been a fan of fruit and chocolate together. But with age comes wisdom, I suppose, and just like "Oysters and Pearls" changed my mind about oysters, this cake changed my mind about fruit and chocolate. I was beyond blown away... not only by the incredible generosity of this most indulgent dessert, but also because it was just so delicious and comforting and celebratory and unexpected, yet most pleasantly and flavorfully harmonious.

After we'd eaten the cake and continued to nurse our coffee, they brought us each a teeny-tiny crème brûlée, a tray of mignardises (the dark chocolate/mocha ones were stunning), and a bowl of caramels -- a few, okay SIX, of which found their way into my clutch so that I could enjoy them a few nights later as I sat on my favorite beach watching the surfers take the waves. Who knew Per Se caramels and the salty evening air would go so well together? Oh yeah, I did. Which is why I snuck a few to go. Hee!

My friends and I sat around the table for a little while longer, just generally enjoying one another's company in a restaurant that has always been special to me, and was now even moreso. Before we left, Mike took us back into the kitchen so that we could see everyone and everything that went into making this night so remarkable. If I could, I would have scooped them all up in the biggest, squeezingest hug imaginable and kissed them all over the face for days on end. But because I was not raised by wolves, I settled on a handshake, an incredibly heartfelt and hopefully-not-too-obviously-choking-back-tears "thank you" to Jonathan Benno, and a big thank you to everyone who was still in the kitchen finishing up service.

We collected our menus, along with little packages of Florentine cookies, gave hugs goodbye, and set out into the warm New York night. It was well past 1 a.m. -- we'd started around 7 -- and the city was strangely quiet for a Saturday night. Todd walked Andrea back to her hotel before getting himself home, Holly made her way back to where she was staying, and the rest of us walked back to the hotel. I changed into something more casual, washed my face, and went back out for a walk. I wasn't ready to go to sleep, and I really wanted some time to think and savor the night for as long as I could. When I finally crawled into bed, I dozed off knowing that I'd had the most wonderful birthday, if not one of the most wonderful nights, of my life.

I'm not usually this gushy or smooshy, but there's just something so very special about Per Se. Not only was it my first Keller restaurant experience as well as the place where I first met Chef Keller, there's also something just so welcoming that's boosted and enhanced by the energy of being in New York. Every touch of service is comfortable, inviting, and welcoming -- from the initial phone call to book the room, to the follow-up notes I received once I got home -- and the graciousness with which our evening was handled was truly outstanding. For instance, one of my friends has a wheat and gluten intolerance, and they made accommodations every step of the way -- from swapping out the foie gras terrine to a hot preparation because it didn't involve the melba toast and serving risotto instead of pasta, to offering gluten-free bread while the rest of us ate the multitude of bread choices (along with what I know to be the best butter in the country) throughout the evening. Another friend had an aversion to foie of any sort, so instead, they served her a little confit byaldi, or, ratatouille. It's touches like these that make Per Se an even more special place to me, because they didn't just take care of me and the things I am allergic to, they also took care of my friends. Every single one of us at that table was treated with respect and great care, and in such a friendly, yet professional manner... it's really like stepping into another dimension altogether.

For that and so many reasons, Per Se is a restaurant I hope to return to time and time again (yay for being a short train ride away), and I could not be more grateful for everyone who contributed to this amazing night, including my clients who provided those little extra projects here and there so I could afford it all. Talk about labor of love.... every time I got frustrated with work this year, I just kept thinking about how those billable hours were the means to a very delicious end.

So many moving parts still in the works, so many changes, so many good things, so many great people, so many dear friends, such a loving family (including a new baby nephew this summer!).... this past year has been incredible, and chock full of so many unexpected pleasures I never could have imagined or known I'd wanted or needed. But here it all is... and to be able to celebrate a milestone birthday with family and great friends at both The French Laundry and Per Se was an absolute joy. They truly are the most special places.

* * * * *

Up Next: Baby Lamb -- Five Cuts Served with Provençal Vegetables, Braised Cipollini Onions, and Thyme Oil (Part 1)

Read My Previous Post: French Laundry at Home Extra -- Eating my way through Yountville, CA

31 comments:

Gavin said...

You did not just quote "Cannibal: The Musical" did you? Because if you did, that's amazingly awesome. Just saying.

Victoria said...

How absolutely wonderful, and I hope with all my heart the start of an even more perfect year.

Laurel Williams said...

Do you have food allergies? I only ask because I am curious about the way food allergies totally put some people off food while it makes others (like myself) dive in and become complete foodies and amateur chefs....is that part of your story?

RT said...

So. Insanely. Jealous. "Jonathan is going to cook for you..." But I can't think of anyone who is more deserving of special treatment from the various Keller teams. Thank you for finding another project and belated Happy Birthday. I am now have to talk to the tech people about getting the drool out of my keyboard.

Wayne said...

This meal could only have tasted better if I had been there with you. As long as your writing, I'm reading.

Anonymous said...

I just... and then.... and you.... but..... wow. What a fantastic menu -- I'll be thinking about this all week, thankyouverymuch!

robert s. said...

WOW! Now that's a dinner! As always, a great read from the best combination pop culture/food writer; it's going to be fun following the travails of the baby lamb.

And, sorry for stealing the premise, but in honor of you...

French Laundry at Home's
Gourmand, witty, uber babe
Carol Blymire

Jocelyn said...

I teared up when I got to the birthday cake! What an evening. You are indeed very fortunate.

KBO said...

I'm totally living vicariously through you. What an amazing, memorable experience. Thanks for sharing it with us.

JoP in Omaha said...

Wow. Beautiful. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

I have tears running down my cheeks from this post...I think it must be because I was lucky enough to stumble across your blog almost at the begining, when I was sick and a little scared....your posts led me out to a different world, and I had so much fun following you as you grew not only as a chef, but as a person. I grew also; in to health and hapiness, and I credit your blog for helping me through some really hard times. I have learned, through you, that trying something new can change your life completely in many different ways...that following your heart and your passion leads to friendship and opportunities never even hoped for...how funny that picking up a cookbook in Washington could have that effect on a woman in Chicago. I thank you for everything, and I look forward to the new lessons you have left to discover, even for yourself.

Sarah said...

Great post, what an awesome birthday you have had :) I am drooling over your menu, can't wait to read the next post.

Anonymous said...

The Mama's and the Papas! "All the leaves were green and the sky was blue.." I win ten points... towards a meal perhaps?

Amy said...

oh.my. I mean, really? my jaw dropped at "jonathan will be cooking for you..." and then I nearly swooned at "your first course...." and then the cake...I was moved to tears. tears of jealousy! no seriously, you have a gift and thank you for sharing it with us! on a sidenote-I saw you had eaten at sheppard mansion this week. we're going in 12 days(not that I'm counting!) and I can't wait! thanks for this blog-and for sharing your wonderful experiences.

Kailee said...

What a magical birthday celebration! Your blog is an absolute treat to read, and I look forward to reading about more of your culinary adventures (and living vicariously, as well).

Anonymous said...

California (Yountville?) Dreamin' --The Mammas and the Pappas.

--Brad

mike said...

I read before that TFL (and I assume Per Se) are careful not to serve you the same menu items during repeat visits. Did you have any issues with that?

It seems like some of the classic Keller recipes (Oysters and Pearls, Coffee and Donuts, etc...) keep popping up in people's reviews. Think they're permanent fixtures on the menu?

Connieinca said...

http://biteclub.pressdemocrat.com/default.asp?item=2262613
French Laundry's Farmers

Shelley said...

The sky is blue, and all the leaves are green. My heart's as warm as a baked pa-tay-tah!

Vince said...

Ok Carol, brilliant post, thanks for sharing your experience, and we all love you etc, yada yada yada...

BUT PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I BEG YOU TO NEVER TRY A HAIKU IN YOUR BLOG EVER AGAIN!!!!1!121!one

My eyes are still bleeding 6 hours after reading that one. ;_;

MrsVJW said...

Damn... they didn't try to sneak some tripe in there on you?

Karen said...

SO happy I wasn't drinking water when I got to "Your first course is next," because the inevitable spit-take would have ruined my laptop.

HEE.

But, seriously, what an AMAZING borthday experience, and thank you SO MUCH for sharing it with us. We have all got to celebrate with you, at least vicariously, and that is YOUR gift to US.

As to our gift to you? Uh, sorry. I can't afford a Cryovac.

Tony said...

What a beautifully moving post. Thank you Carol.

glastonburyrain said...

This post made me cry. What a wonderful birthday! I'm such a fan of yours! ~ nicollette

Carol Blymire said...

Cannibal! The Musical FTW!!!

MEO the LEO said...

Wasn't MCI an excellent place to work 15 years ago (I was a NASC from 1993 to 1997)... I really miss those times at what was then a great company with extraordinary people!! Thanks for your lovely detail - I want to read and re-read your elegant food prose... you serve the food you love well.

amber said...

what a beautiful culmination to your birthday celebrations. awesome job of describing everything. just amazing!

i'm also happy to hear that they do such a great job with food allergies. i have 3 very close friends with celiac disease and eating out can be a real challenge for them. and yet, when they encounter restaurants and kitchens that take that into consideration and bend over backwards for them, it really stands out. i'm sure your friend was as happy as you were to feel so taken care of that night. :)

Nargi said...

dude, I wish I could afford to eat at TFL or Per Se... damn student loans (why is culinary school more expensive than regular college? WHY I SAY?). any way, that night sounds awesome. congrats... and just for good measure... "when I say it's a happy-go-moinkily, lucky, shpadoinkalyyyy daaaaay" i ripped the audio from that movie and made an mp3 if you want it haha

Erin said...

Oh Carol, can I just be you for a day? I so enjoy your style of writing and living vicariously through your extraordinary culinary adventures. Thank you for taking us with you on your journey, and thank G-d for TWO NEW BLOGS for me to read! Huzzah!

Sarah said...

It could just be that I'm Greek, but whole lamb sounds not at all scary and totally all delicious. Also thanks again for your help re: vegetarian books!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Really, just wow. Beautiful dinner. Beautiful writing. What an amazing experience. I wish every food writer could convey their experiences the way you do.