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.
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.
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:
First course: Fresh spring pea soup with mint
This dish was the showstopper. Many people had seconds. The balsamic butter sauce was wonderful. I love the way it looked on my plate.
Dessert: assorted cheeses and 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.