ONCE of Whimsy to Take Us Away…

Last Friday (a long long time ago, now), we sauntered down to Union Square for a loverly ONCE event with JJ of Cuisine en Locale fame, and ONCE of Whimsy and fun to get our minds off of a rather trying day.  We didn’t take our monstrosity of a camera, but we do have iPhones now, so you get some dark and mediocre pictures of a fabulous dinner.  No pictures could really capture the glory anyway, so no worries on my end.

We were the first to arrive (naturally), and got our pick of seats.  We ended up with a lovely couple who loved very close and happened to work with the Boston Workman’s Circle.  Also a treat, we sat with JJ’s mum who is an absolute doll.  With a cold bottle of Pretty Things beer, we were all set for a marathon of food and good times.

Appetizer plate of glory

So, if I remember correctly, this plate has (starting at the fiddleheads and going clockwise) pickled fiddleheads, cold elderberry cured mackeral (Laura’s favorite), rabbit pate butter (my favorite), pickled green strawberries (a really good idea, actually), a fab mustard and chopped red onions.  Unseen is a bread basket with oatcakes, rye hardtack and a local white bread.  Five people decimate this before everyone arrived for dinner, and every bite was great.

This was delicious rabbit/barnyard rillette with rabbit meat, pork fat and chicken stock.  Really damn good (I still liked the rabbit liver and butter paste better, as far as rabbit dishes go)

Fried oysters, sunflower aioli and apple slices with sunflower sprouts

I think we decided to go simply for these: crispy fried Peter Point oysters, small tender and briny, with sunflower sprouts, a sunflower apple aioli and apple slices.  Fried. Oysters. Feed me just this, rabbit liver butter and the dish that follows, and I would be happy happy happy.

This sadly fuzzy image shows the best damn dried apples ever. EVER. And the dip was genious. A sweet yellow bean maple dip that I will be trying to, without success most likely, to replicate at home. Dinner dessert like thing at its finest. Yes please more.

A remarkably dark image of a parsnip bisque with lamb confit.  It made me crave parsnips again.  Amazing woman, that JJ, to make me crave something we’ve been eating bloody tons of for a while.

Three colors of beet, red, yellow and white (where the pink? we could have totally hit four with Chioggia) and the most intense blue cheese experience in my recent life.  A warm Bayley Hazen pepita cake that just blew me away.  So much strength and taste in such a small bundle.  And to make it even better, we now have a source for pepitas (pumpkin seeds) if I can remember the name of the farm.  Score!

Turkey breast with pear butter, kale and cranberries.  The pear butter was good, and the turkey was tender, but this was not my favorite dish of the evening.  Maybe because I felt like the Thanksgiving on a plate was missing stuffing.  Or I like my turkey to be dry as sawdust (no joke), adn this was a leetle too tender for me.  Good, but not super fantabulous.  So, I finished the rabbit liver butter on the pickle plate.

This is about the time you start going ‘whaaaaattt, there is moooorrrreeee food coming. And it’s meat and grain and heavy stuff?  Oh man, I’m going to roll my way home.”  But you can’t. stop. eating.  Lamb chop, with yogurt pan sauce and barley cake?  I find space for it, really I will.  Can’t let such a good piece of lamb get away from me like that.

Ah, a light and refreshing sorbet.A maple ginger mead frozen and topped with maple sugar and grated fresh ginger.  It was delicious, and very very very alcoholy.  Mmmm.  The ginger, maple and honey-mead flavors worked really well together, and I can see making a really good warm cocktail with mead, ginger and maple syrup.  Nom.

Light and refreshing, and then BAM dark turkey tetrazini with celeriac.  The tetrazini sauce was awesome (I am running out of words that mean “good” “great” or “fabulous” here).  I see a casserole or two in our future with this sauce.

And lastly, dessert.  JJ received a very special award for her pickled peaches and graced us with the last bit of them for dessert.

Sophia’s yogurt with pickled peaches and ‘Blood of the Gods’ berry sauce. Om a nom a nom.  definitely not a ‘light’ ending to dinner, but a special one to be sure.  Knowing that JJ was able to go the California and meet some food greats, talk to new farmers and generally be the most kick-ass food representative from the east coast made the whole dinner that much more special.

Thank you JJ! for being you and for giving such a lovely evening of food and fun and more food.  Its always a treat!

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2 Responses to ONCE of Whimsy to Take Us Away…

  1. Thank you so much for dining and writing, I love to feed you and eat with you!! xxJJ

  2. Alt-Mama says:

    Damn, what a dinner! That dessert, in particular, has me drooling. So jealous!

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