The Dinner Party

Underground dinner parties are all the rage these days, and last weekend, I was fortunate enough to have an exclusive invitation to dine at a friend’s house.  The occasion was the use of my friend’s set of china, a lovely gold-trim Limoges that had belonged to her grandmother’s stepmother, after at least 50 years of nonuse. 

table

To the right of our place setting were finger bowls.  None of the guests knew the proper etiquette for the use of finger bowls.  So ironically, we used the hostess’s iPad to google finger bowls and found a finger bowl etiquette article from the New York Times dated 1903.  It was still unclear, after reading the article, as to how to use the finger bowls, but it served as an entertaining conundrum for us guests.

place setting

My friend’s friend, a talented ICE-trained chef, prepared our meal, a meal which was one of the best I have had recently in New York. 

To start, light, cheesy gougeres:

Gougeres

First course:  Fresh spring pea soup with mint

Fresh spring pea soup with mint

This soup was perfect for spring with a hint of mint and light texture.   The French bread croutons were a nice addition.  I loved when they softened, soaking up the flavorful soup.
 
Main course:  Seared wild salmon with shitakes and corn, balsamic butter sauce

Seared wild salmon with shitakes and corn, balsamic butter sauce

This dish was the showstopper.  Many people had seconds.  The balsamic butter sauce was wonderful.  I love the way it looked on my plate.

beautiful color

Dessert:  assorted cheeses and flourless chocolate cake with creme anglaise and raspberries

Flourless chocolate cake with creme anglaise and raspberries

A rich ending to a delightful meal.  The chef explained that a creme anglaise is easy to make, but when the food is this good, it’s hard to believe it was easy. 

What are the elements of a perfect dinner party?  An incredible meal–check, interesting conversation–check, gracious hosts–check, friendly guests–check, warm atmosphere–check.  All of the elements were present at this dinner party, and a good time was had by all.

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