NoTakeOut Contributor!

I'm very excited to be a recipe contributor to NoTakeOut.com! A website focused on healthy, organic, and easy at-home-recipes for everyone. Check out the site for great recipes and food styling done by yours truly =)



After some research, I compiled an accessible recipe for the fantastically addicting Georgian cheese-bread specialty. This gooey bread is traditionally made with suluguni cheese, however, my limited access to Georgian grocers allowed me to improvise with readily available cheeses [below is my adaptation from various research and the Gourmet, May 2008 issue]:
2 1/4 t dry yeast
7 T warm water
1 2/3 cups flour (plus extra for dusting)
3/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t oregano
1 t smoked paprika
2 large eggs
1 T olive oil
1.5 T melted butter
1/4 lb smoked Gouda cheese-shredded
1/4 lb swiss cheese-shredded
1 T heavy cream
1. Combine the yeast with the with the warm water and add 1 T flour. Let the mixture stand in a warm place until it becomes slightly foamy (10 minutes).
2. Combine the rest of the flour with the salt, nutmeg, oregano, and paprika. Beat 1 egg and add it to the flour mixture.
3. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture to form a sticky dough. Using a stand mixer (or your hands), kneed the dough for approximately 5 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic (if using your hands, be sure to kneed on a well flowered surface). Form the dough into a ball and lightly dust 1 T flour all over the dough. Brush a bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough to it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to slowly rise in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 F and bring the dough to room temperature. Punch the dough down. 
5. Brush the melted butter onto a sheet pan; turn the dough out onto the buttered sheet pan.
6. Using your fingertips, spread the dough out into a round, ~1/4 in thick and ~14 in wide.
7. Combine the cheeses and place them in the center of the dough round. Gather the dough up and over the cheese and make a knot on top. Using your fingertips, gently press the dough out once more, (pushing the cheese down and out) into a round ~7 in wide.
8. Beat one egg with heavy cream and brush this mixture on top of the bread. 
9. Transfer the dough to the oven and bake for 16-18 min, or until the top is golden.
10. Slice an serve warm.


Cool October Luncheon

A recent catered luncheon left the executives' bellies full and their minds contemplating future delicious goodies. On the menu:

Watercress Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette

Apple and Goat Cheese Melange with Roasted Almonds

Red Quinoa Salad with Seasonal Veggies and a Lemon Dressing

Multi Grain Baguette with Honey Butter

Truffled Parsnips with Mushrooms and Herbs

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Baked Tangy Snapper with Caramelized Onions

Sesame Chicken with Coconut

Mixed Berries with Sweet Ricotta and Shortbread


Catering-Baby Shower

I recently catered a baby shower with a colorful spread. The menu I presented consisted of: fennel cucumber salad in a lime vinaigrette; black quinoa with summer vegetables; pesto shrimp with a spicy peach salsa and tender guacamole with fresh corn; mini lamb sliders with a spicy mayo; seared sesame chicken with a creamy coconut pan sauce; fresh herb baked sweet and new potatoes with Parmesan; mini orange-infused cheese cakes with orange supremes; and an upside down plum cake with a creative baby-shower topper (made with molds and rolled fondant). Having so much fun with creation of the dishes and the event itself can lead to missing menu items from a photo album! I'll be more diligent next time =)

Fennel cucumber salad in a lime vinaigrette, with walnuts and cranberries.

Mini lamb sliders.

Quinoa with summer vegetables.

Spicy peach salsa.

Tender guac with fresh summer corn.

Upside down plum cake with baby-shower topper.


Review: Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Ultimate indulgence, for some, is found in Vegas, Disney World, or various unmentionable arenas. I found mine at Blue Hill, Stone Barnes. The working farm boasts two locations of its infamous, no-menu dining adventure: one in Manhattan and one just north of the city, in Pocantico Hills, NY.  Upon arrival, two friendly valets whisk your carriage away  (should you happen to arrive via one) and direct you to the fairytale-like castle to meet the host. As you walk through the tall, brick passage you can't help but note the vast farmland surrounding the fortress. With various growing greens, sheep herds, and pastures (where your soon-to-be-dinner grazes), an unusual calm takes over. Am I really just 30 miles away from the city? The overly friendly host, ever so peacefully and extremely breathlessly inquires your name and the time of the reservation. "We're so glad to have you here! Would you like to be seated early? This is no problem at all! I'll take you to your table right away!" And just like that, we were swept away to a cozy booth, set just for us (a calmly, smiley twilight zone-ish atmosphere, but we went with it).

Among the hundreds of people dancing at our feet and panting with anticipation to serve us, was our beaming waitress. She approached us with two menus and began to illustrate the process of the experience to come. Blue Hill has no set menu. Each day boasts a new harvest and intricate creations based on availability of produce. The only choice you must make is the five or eight course menus-hey, if you're going to party, might as well do it right. This was a no brainer for us...bring it on! Six of the courses were to be savory and two sweet, however, this does not account for the multitude of small bites prior to and following the feast. 

As the waiters glided across the dining room floor, whisking away the empty plates as soon as the last bite disappeared, providing new silverware with each course, folding napkins, pouring water, tidying the table, and making sure that every detail was perfect, the smile did not leave our faces. Pure indulgence and pampering!
Aside from the impeccable, unpretentious, kind, and attentive service, the food was indescribable (which I shall attempt to describe). With each foretaste, course, and sauce your taste buds squeal with excitement and surprise. 
The perfect start to an amazing evening was the fresh garden vegetable display. Impeccably aromatic veggies, skewered onto a wooden vessel, tasted as if picked just minutes before. Baby zucchini with flowers, carrots, broccolini, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Simply tossed in a bit of salt and very mild olive oil-which enhanced the richness of the flavors. Next, fresh baby squash, wrapped with house-made prosciutto and sesame seeds. Each component distinctly separate on the tongue as the combination tied the flavors together. Fresh and extremely tender. Flash fried green beans from the garden were crunchy and perfectly seasoned. House-made charcuterie with a baked crisp bread followed, boasting a gently salty flavor.

As the starters flowed, the anticipation grew with every bite. Mini burgers (with sesame seeds), corn dogs (skewered baby corn, flash fried and seasoned to perfection), peppered melon (three varieties), bone marrow with American caviar (in an incredibly authentic presentation-in the actual bone!)

Each new silverware placing provided clues to what was to follow. An oddly shaped spoon-perhaps we'll be scooping up a sauce? A fillet knife-what type of meat will we be carving? In addition to the above clues, we were presented with various other leads. A freshly polished silver platter supported two gritty, long-stemmed greens, which seemed to be picked that morning. Our waitress explained the origin of Celtuce, as she sliced open the dirty stem and allowed us to take a whiff of the nutty, fresh aroma. She [thankfully] explained that we were not to eat the grimy Chinese lettuce in front of us, and that this was a simple demonstration of what was to follow. As we parted with the sample presentation, our prepared Celtuce made its appearance. Lightly grilled, with equidistant grill marks so perfect, they appeared drawn-on. The green was accompanied by a pine nut sauce and was as crisp and fresh as its demo (minus the dirt).

Our next tip emerged as a platter of coals. We were informed that the farm participates in a program where any organic matter is used as the heating source. As we zeroed in, bones, sticks, and other organic variables were dispersed among the familiar charcoal. The following course was submerged in the coals, overnight, for 24 hours, resulting in an incredibly moist, sweet, and tender onion! The presentation, as immaculate as others, was on two wooden planks, served with a slew of sauces: jicama cream, poached blueberries, olive tapenade, and avocado sauce. Although the star of this course slightly resembled a bit of the female anatomy, it appropriately melted in your mouth with each bite.

As our stomachs began to expand, some freshly baked, piping hot bread made its way over. Presented with a mild organic butter and a trio of salts (tomato, shiitake, and red pepper). Each subsequent course attempted to outdo its predecessor. A gentle white fish, quickly seared, sat atop a slightly sweet tomato coulis. The morning's poached egg with a white bean-vegetable broth, sported pickled yolk shavings atop. The pig parts included stomach, blood sausage, and snout, among others and were supported by a crisp grilled eggplant square.

As the final savory course arrived, we were in shear bliss. The braised beef rib, presented with an eggplant tapenade, was moist and delicious. While we attempted to remove every ounce of meat from the bone with our silverware, our waitress was in the process of reading our minds. She appeared with two rectangular plates, each holding one napkin, a small bowl with chilled water, a lemon wedge, and an aromatic herb. As she sat the new tools in front of our stuffed faces, she calmly offered, "Please feel free to use your hands". We were in shock. How can this place get any better? They require you wear jacket and tie, yet you can eat with your hands!

We paused for a moment to reflect on the fantastic feast as our dessert courses made way. Poached cherries in their own broth were served with house-made mint sorbet. A corn bread cake along with fresh sugared berries and lemon ice cream. And to complete the meal a board with a multitude of sweets: sugared fresh red currants, chocolate covered almonds, fresh picked strawberries, and real honey comb!

Three and a half hours later, comfortably satiated, baring huge grins, we thanked our gracious hosts and parted with this fairytale farm. On our way out we waived good-bye to a flock of sheep, being herded by an overly zealous dog and were still in an excited daze. Were we drugged? Is this place real? There is no doubt that the Blue Hill adventure never ends and we'll be back again and again (funds permitting) for new perceptions of ecstasy.
630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, NY 10591


Review: Chimu Peruvian Steak House

This Peruvian steak house is conveniently located in Williamsburg/Greenpoint Brooklyn. Having passed its black awning and colorful windows numerous times, we decided to give it a go.

Upon entering the cave like nook, we were instantly greeted by two eager employees, questioning our seating preference. Considering the pleasantly warm environment we'd just escaped (approximately 101F), we chose to stay indoors.

As our eyes adjusted from the blaring sun, we were able to begin appreciating the cozy den. With gently flowing water gardens, dimly lit candles, and low hanging mini lights above each table, the romanticism is undeniable. Small, neatly set tables, a humble bar, and our equally sized waitress were no indication of the portions we were about to ingest.

Our dining experience commenced with a complimentary bowl of popped corn kernels. These tiny, crunchy, addictive, poppers were slightly salted and accompanied by a small bowl of spicy cream sauce. We weren't sure as to the purpose of this accessory, but gladly topped our kernels with the creamy concoction. Later, we'd learn to dab a bit of it atop our entrees as well.

We chose to start with fried sweet plantains-a favorite-and Chimu nailed it. Tender and piping hot, the generous portion arrived in an ordinary, round white plate. No garnish. No fancy layout. Simple and delicious. The moist, luscious bites disappeared within minutes. With the extremely attentive and speedy service, our main dishes were not too far behind. Picande de Mariscos, a diced potato stew with seafood, was cradled in a massive square bowl. Is there a bottom to this thing (I thought to myself while whiffing the flavorful aroma)? Aside from potatoes, the gigantic portion carried shrimp, baby octopus, calamari, soft shell crab, clams, mussels, Peruvian cheese, and veggies. Unlike any 'mixed seafood' entree I've seen. This dish was loaded with seafood! The flavorful broth, with its hints of red peppers, tomatoes, and coconut, was extremely flavorful and made me crave dipping bread (for soaking up the goodies).

My companion's entree of choice was Milanesa de Carne, Peruvian style basil spaghetti with flank steak. The green pasta came out, supporting an extremely generous portion of steak (overall, four friends could have enjoyed splitting our entire meal). With refreshing hints of fresh basil, the pasta lacked flavor (a bit of salt would have helped), however the steak's profile was the opposite. Draped in a sweet and buttery red wine sauce, the endless piece of meat was a success.

We'll be back Chimu, we'll be back. Especially for the famous Papa Rellena (mashed potato stuffed with beef, black olives, and egg), as well as a multitude of other authentic favorites we couldnt cram into our stomachs this time.
482 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11211


Frozen Chocolaty Banana Slices

This is by far the easiest and one of the most delicious ice-cream alternatives in the summer (or any season for that matter), makes 4 sliced bananas:
4 bananas-pealed, sliced on a diagonal into 1/2 inch ovals
12 oz walnuts
12 oz bittersweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger makes a great one)
1 T Grand Marnier
Optional-1 t cinnamon
1. Lay bananas on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, in one layer; place into the freezer and freeze for one hour.
2. Place walnuts into a blender and grind until fine; transfer into a wide bowl.
3. After the bananas have frozen, using a double boiler, melt the chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring constantly; add Grand Marnier and mix well (add optional cinnamon here).
4. Working in thirds, take the bananas out of the freezer; quickly dip each piece into the chocolate, then into the ground nuts; place dipped bananas back onto the parchment paper and back into the freezer. Wait 15-20 minutes and enjoy!


Zucchini Salad with Brie and a Grand Marnier Sherry Vinegar Reduction

This salad has great savory/sweet flavors. I really like enjoying it with a hearty, toasted multi grain baguette (topped with a bit of parm). The light dressing really brings out the flavor of the fresh veggies. Ttry topping it with grilled chicken breast for your non-vegetarian friends (serves 2):
1, 6 oz zucchini
3/4 cups sherry vinegar
2 T Grand Marnier
1 packed cup fresh arugula
1.5 oz red onion-thinly sliced
3 oz brie cheese-cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 T dried cranberries
2 T toasted walnuts
salt-to taste
freshly ground pepper-to taste
3 T the best olive oil you can get your hands on
1. Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut it in half; using a mandolin, thinly slice the zucchini halves; stack the zucchini slices on top of each other and thinly cut them lengthwise.
2. Pour vinegar and Grand Marnier into a small sauce pan; reduce, over medium-low heat, until the mixture thickens (and reduces by a bit more than half).
3. Lay arugula into a salad bowl.
4. Top with zucchini, red onion, cheese, cranberries, walnuts, salt, and pepper.
5. Drizzle the sherry vinegar reduction and olive oil over the salad.


Doubly Cheesy Apple Panini

Since cheese and apples are best friends with my fridge-no matter the season-this triple decker seems to be a quick, recurring, home-alone meal (serves 2, in case you have company):
3 T fresh goat cheese
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
6 slices multi-grain bread
1 Granny Smith apple-sliced into 1/4 in - 1/2 in wedges
1 shallot-cut in half, pealed, and thinly sliced
5 slices sharp cheddar cheese
1. Turn on your panini maker (alternatively, grill the sandwiches on the stove top in a grill pan).
2. In a small bowl, mix goat cheese with nutmeg, paprika, and pepper.
3. On a work surface divide the goat cheese, equally, between two slices of bread and spread evenly to the edges.
4. Top each slice with 4 apple wedges; then top apples with a second slice of bread.
5. Top each stack with shallots (divided equally between the two) and 2.5 slices of cheddar.
6. Place the last piece of bread on top of each stack.
7. Place the sandwiches into the panini maker (or on an oiled, pre-heated grill pan) and grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is brown and crispy.


Honey Honeydew Smoothie

Enjoy this sweet cool smoothie in the extreme heat of the summer! To adjust it for 'adult consumption', add one shot of light rum per person. Chef's note: Like men, some honeydews are sweeter than others; be sure to adjust the amount of honey you're using, depending on the sweetness of your honeydew. If you've happened upon a very sweet and ripe one, cut down on honey (to 1/4 cup), if your honeydew is lacking flavor, add honey gradually, until you reach the sweetness you crave (serves 4):
4 heaping cups ripe honeydew chunks (~ 1.5 to 2 lbs, ~2 to 3 inches each) plus 4, 1/4 inch wedges for garnish
1 cup Granny Smith apple wedges-skin and core removed (approximately one small apple)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup honey
2 t cinnamon
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (depending on the size of your blender, you may need to work in two batches).
2. Refrigerate for ~30 minutes, garnish with honeydew wedges, and serve. Alternatively, add ice to the blender and blend until all ice is crushed; garnish with honeydew wedges and serve immediately.


Cherry Reduction Spiked Ricotta Crepes

Crepes are my go-to, quick fill when I'm craving carbs. They can be filled with anything and everything-savory, sweet, your mind is your limit (as one of my favorite instructors used to say). Cherries remind me of going to the summer lake in Russia, when I was very young. This was an annual tradition with family and friends. All the girls used to make cherry earrings-by searching for two cherries which were attached at the stem, and hanging them over our ears! This is a great summer treat-try substituting buckwheat flour for half of the AP flour. Alternatively, use whole wheat flour, in which case you'll need to add a bit more milk (or water) to make the batter the right consistency (makes 8 crepes):
2 eggs
1 cup low fat milk
1 cup AP flour
1.5 t salt
1 t cinnamon (plus 1.5 t for the filling)
1 t nutmeg (plus 1 t for the filling)
cooking spray
2 cups fresh cherries (~12 oz)
1 cup sherry vinegar
1 T + 2 t sugar
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1. In a bowl, whisk eggs and milk.
2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, 1 t cinnamon, and 1 t nutmeg.
3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well (the batter should be the consistency of eggnog).
4. Heat a small, non-stick pan (~7.5 in) over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray.


Turkey Bacon Wrapped Seared Brussels Sprouts with a Red Wine Reduction

With all the brussels sprouts critics out there, this one is great for converting the doubters (serves 2):
6 slices of turkey bacon
3 oz olive oil (divided into 1 oz and 2 oz)
6 Brussels sprouts (stem trimmed and cut in half)
2.5 t honey
1.5 cup green tea (steeped)
1/2 t cayenne pepper
3/4 cup red wine
2/3 cup chicken stock
1.5 T butter
salt-to taste
pepper-to taste
parsley-for garnish
1. Brown the turkey bacon in 1 oz olive oil until just cooked, but not crispy; remove and reserve.
2. Add brussels sprouts to the pan and cook on low heat; add honey, 2 oz olive oil, 2/3rds of the green tea, cayenne, salt, and pepper; cook until tender (approximately 15 min), adding more green tea as needed.


Simple Whole Wheat Roti

Over the years, my best friend and I inhaled an exorbitant amount of her mom's delicious roti (an Indian bread, very common in Trinidad, as well as various other parts of the world). Because my cravings for the flaky, soft, wheat bread have never faded, I decided to do a bit of research and make my own twist on this lifetime favorite. Since roti forms an inside pocket (after cooking), it's a great place for stuffing...stuff! Our most popular accompaniment to roti has always been a great cheese. Alternatively, try vanilla yogurt, jam, salsa, and [of course] picking up meat/curries with it (after all, that's the most frequent use of roti in its originating countries)! Although roti is traditionally made on a tawa (a flat iron pan), I've improvised here to accommodate those of us who are not in its possession. Makes 5 roti:
1 cup and 2 T whole wheat flour (plus extra for rolling out roti)
2.5 t salt
1.5 t paprika
1 t nutmeg
1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 T canola oil (plus extra for pan)
1. In a food processor, mix flour, salt, paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne.
2. Using two tablespoons at a time, add water to the dry mixture, allowing it to be absorbed after each addition; repeat for remaining water. You've now formed a dough, which is only slightly sticky (if your dough is too watery, add a bit more flour; if it's too dry, add a tiny bit more water, being careful not to make the dough too wet).


Cilantro Shrimp with Mango Salsa

A recent taco inspired lunch provided for a creative alternative to a simple dish. Set the table with bowls of the shrimp and salsa, in addition to sour cream, grated cheese, various lettuce (radicchio/romaine), and lime wedges for a fun, do-it-yourself, shrimp taco meal! (serves 4):

For the shrimp: 3 lbs jumbo shrimp-shelled and deveined
1.5 T garlic-minced
2 lemons-juiced and zested
2 T olive oil
1.5 T oregano
1 T paprika
2 t cayenne pepper
2 t nutmeg
1.5 T salt
black pepper-to taste
3 T cilantro-roughly chopped
For the salsa: 2 ripe mangos
1 red onion-minced
1.5 jalapenos-minced
1 plum tomato-pealed, seeds and membranes removed
2 limes-juiced and zested
1/2 cup cilantro-minced
1.5 T salt


Slow Cooked Salmon Fillets with Savory-Sweet Pea Shoot Soy Sauce

This recipe was inspired by a dinner I had at The James Beard House. I was amazed at the melt-in-your-mouth feel of the salmon and just had to figure out how this texture and look was created. It appears raw, but it's completely cooked! The key is to cook it at a very low temperature for approximately 20 minutes (however, each oven is different). Just make sure it feels a tad more firm to the touch than raw salmon. I thought a salty/sweet sauce would be perfect. It may appear to be a small amount of sauce, but when only lightly sprinkled on, it doesn't overpower and enhances the flavor of the salmon; it's also a great component to the pea shoots (serves 4):
4, 6 oz salmon fillets-preferably wild
freshly ground black pepper-to taste
2.5 t soy sauce
1.5 t lemon juice
1.5 t brown sugar
1 t honey
1 t toasted sesame seeds
2 t pea shoots-minced
1 cup pea shoots-rough chop into bite size pieces
1. Turn the oven to 145F.
2. Place salmon fillets onto a foil lined baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with pepper; bake fillets until they are just cooked through, yet still retain their shiny outside and are not flaking apart (approximately 20 minutes; there should be no albumin and the fish should still have a 'raw' appearance...even-though it's cooked!).
3. Mix the soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, honey, sesame seeds, and minced pea shoots in a bowl.
4. Very lightly drizzle the sauce over the fish fillets.
5. Serve the left over sauce with the pea shoots-as a side.


The James Beard House-An Incredible Culinary Adventure

An incredible opportunity landed me at the James Beard House, for a five course palate roller coaster. Chef Jason Franey, of Canlis Restaurant in Seattle Washington, honored the dining room with an array of incredibly fresh, flavorful, and innovative cuisine, while the servers kept the glasses full with amazing course wine pairings.

The James Beard house recognizes outstanding chefs for their achievements in the culinary world and invites them to NY to host an upscale dining evening unlike any other.

As we walked through the open kitchen, where the chef and his crew were neck deep in their creations, a sense of excitement and celebration set in. The tree lined outdoor patio welcomed us, on the mild and sunny evening, with a glass of Grand Cru champagne as the passed hors d'oeuvres made their rounds. A crisp pearl onion housed a shredded, sweet, tender oxtail. The delicate foie gras was topped with an apple gelee and sat atop a baked crust (cleverly tagged Foie Gras Apple Pie). The oysters, brought in fresh from Washington State, slid into our mouths with grace, as the tiny morsels of salty caviar exploded with a gentle pop.

Once all the guests had a short introduction to the evening's forthcoming bounty, we were called to take our seats in the dining room. The beautifully set tables were dimly lit with enough silverware and glasses to run 5 restaurants. The women of each table were served first (a sign of tradition and extra bonus for me), as the first course emerged: ceviched scallop and geoduck. Although the geoduck was rested atop the scallop, it was difficult to differentiate the flavor of the two. The scallop, extremely fresh, with almost a pudding consistency, overpowered any chance the geoduck may have had. The shellfish was accompanied by a savory tarragon sauce, served with a light riesling; a perfect partner for the start of the meal.

The micro-greens with asparagus, nasturtium flower, and fava beans followed, with an aromatic Chaleur Estate Blanc (dry and nutty flavored white from the Columbia Valley vineyard). The greens, simple and elegant, sat atop a bibb lettuce vinaigrette and offered various fresh flavors, all of which were equally distinguishable on the tongue.

As the wine flowed, the dining room roared with laughter and exuded a vibe of ultimate indulgence and relaxation. After discussing each bite, we eagerly awaited the next course: Pacific king salmon.
A flavorful and perfectly seasoned portion of fish resembled the consistency and mouth-feel of sushi-however, fully cooked! It was one of the best cuts of salmon I've experienced-cooked at a low 145F until the achieved perfection. Topped with pea shoots and accompanied by the best Pinot Noir I've tasted (2007 Soter North Valley, from Willamette Valley OR). Can you tell this was a hit?

The innovation of flavor and presentation continued with bone marrow and beef tenderloin wrapped in stinging nettles (a flowering plant which, when touched, resembles the feel of stinging needles and irritates the skin for a few days; when cooked, it has a spinach flavor, rich with vitamins). The grass fed, medium-rare beef cylinders were extremely flavorful and lightly seasoned. The bone marrow was actually no bone at all! A new potato, shaped and baked to resemble the bone, was stuffed with marrow inside-an fanciful presentation. The accompanying Syrah had notes of blackberry and strong tanins, perfect for the cut of meat.

How does such an extravagant, natural, fresh, and mouthwatering evening conclude? A chocolate mille-feuille (bananas and caramel) of course! Transparent chocolate-almond disks separated sweet caramel, nut layered mini cakes, with a banana ice cream and chewy macaroon. The mild 20 year Tawny Port (Oporto PGL), was not overly sweet and concluded the evening with much grace, whether the guests still had any left or not.

The consistent pouring of the night, the abundance of flavors, and the shear indulgence left us giddy. As the chef and his team made their appearance, grand applause filled the room. Daniel Humm (executive chef at Eleven Madison Park and Chef Franey's mentor), had an extremely proud smile from ear to ear, as he embraced Chef Franey and congratulated him on this achievement. A heavenly culinary evening with great company and flavorful twists and turns in every bite!