If you enjoy the social experience of food and wine tastings,The James Beard Foundation offers a special alternative to yet another night at your favorite restaurant. When I first discovered the place, I thought: what a wonderful place for a first or second date (and then some). Throughout the year the foundation features ongoing chef hosted events. The cost is $100 – $200 per person per tasting event, perhaps a bit pricey I agree (luncheons and workshops are less). However, if you do not find this a big ticket item the overall experience could serve as inspiration for your next home cooked Seduction Meal.
I experienced my first James Beard event– The Annual Soft Shell Crab Experience. What a night! First, it was completely booked when I called to RSVP. Happily someone canceled so they dialed the waiting list…I was thrilled when the call came through. This year’s event was orchestrated by Michael Sullivan of Brouwers restaurant in New York City.
The Menu: Hor d’Oeuvre / Cocktail Reception
Salmon & Spinach Strudel
Main Crab Cakes with Chipotle Tarter Sauce
Mini Crab Cake Quiche
Tuna and Mango Tartare
Open-faced Grilled Brie Sandwich with Bacon and Tomato
Nino Franco Prosecco NV
The cocktail reception begins at 7PM, dinner is served at 8. The reception was held outside in the back garden. I was able to taste everything but the Salmon Spinach Strudel. Everything was delicious. The simplicity of the grilled Brie, tomato and bacon served on a thinly sliced baguette, deliciously complimented by the Nino Franco Prosecco NV, was a great way to start the evening. The crab cakes were divine, as was the tuna and mango tartare. One thing you should know, there are a limited number of hors d’oeuvres prepared based on the number of people who RSVP, so groups that hover around the garden’s entrance are sure to taste every morsel served, whereas those in the back at times were left without. I met some nice, fun people including Sean, an investment analyst who was on his first date. I’m dying to hear how this went…
At 8:00 we moved from the urban garden to the second floor dining room.
The Menu: Dinner
Softshell Crabs with Strawberry Chutney and Summer Greens
Softshell Crabs Smothered in Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Onion Compote with Apple Stock Reduction
Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Softshell Crabs with Hummus, Tabbouleh, Baba Ghanoush, Roasted Garlic, and Mint Sauce
Solo Ross Sangiovese Rose 2005
Jumbo Softshell Crabs with Summer Corn Cream Sauce, Heirloom Tomato Confit, and Spinach
Flowers, Sonoma Coasts, Pinot Noir 2005
Summer Berry Napoleon with Mascarpone Cream
Bonny Doon Muscat Vin de Glaciere NV
I sat at table no. 6 with three couples–very nice, entertaining, interesting people; all members of the foundation. It was clear from the start; they appreciated good food, good wine, and the overall cooking/dining experience. World traveling foodies I was happy to be part of this group. I thoroughly enjoyed each dish served. My favorite dish was the last; Jumbo Softshell Crabs with Corn, Spinach and Heirloom Tomato Confit served with Pinot Noir–a great pairing. Desert was delicious! Michael and his team lovingly hand whipped the Mascarpone cream served ontop of fresh berries and a crisp, light pastry, topped with powdered sugar. I am happy to share a few photos of Micheal Sullivan’s kitchen. It was great to watch him and his team in action–they did a great job. I look forward to sharing the next event and highly suggest attending an event for one of your own Seduction Meal experiences.