It was another whirl-wind weekend in Diva land ... and none of it was spent in my kitchen.
On Friday night we took in a magnificent performance of Terry Riley's "In C" at Carnegie Hall. Written in 1964, "In C" is one of the most influential and interesting pieces of modern classical music ever written. I lack the expertise to properly offer tribute to it here, but I can tell you it was one of the greatest musical performances I've ever seen.
Saturday night, we once again had the pleasure of dining at eighty one, a local modern American restaurant who's kitchen is commanded by Chef Ed Brown. Eighty One was recently awarded a Michelin Star and it is well deserved. The seasonal menu celebrates the best of both locally grown and global ingredients, from small, artisinal farms and fisheries, etc.
Sadly, the Diva was dining sans camera that night ... we were hosting one of the husband's clients and while I was dying to blog the meal ... well, it might have seemed odd. So ... no pictures. Boo. Next time - and there will be a next time. Unlike last weekend's dining disappointments, this meal was everything I'd hoped it would be and more.
While eighty one is known for their attention to seafood ... I am not. I began the meal with the most luscious early pea and ramp risotto. It was spectacular. Seductive, creamy, redolent with the subtle oniony flavor of fresh ramps and bursting with crisp-tender peas, it was so good I had to stop myself from licking the plate. Needless to say, I chose the slow-roasted chicken as my second course and, happily, it came a top a bed of perfectly cooked chickpeas and wilted greens that had been cleverly spiked with a hint of harissa. Wow. The spicy harissa was a brilliant and altogether welcome addition - turning what could have been an ordinary dish into something quite extraordinary.
My dining companions did indeed sample the seafood wares and I'm told the dishes were magnificent. The husband began the meal with tuna carpacchio , garnished with a delicate little nicoise salad that included a gorgeous quail egg. The plate was a thing of beauty. He followed with the golden snapper, garnished with morels, gnocchi and ice spinach ... whatever that is?! He, too, almost licked the plate.
Desserts at eighty one are not to be missed. I still remember the sweet corn ice cream I had there at the end of last summer - and my bittersweet chocolate mousse on Saturday night was equally memorable. It arrived paired with a caramel cashew pot de creme that was topped with dark chocolate sorbet. A more stunning combination I cannot imagine. The flavors were so delicate, so perfectly balanced, and the texture so light and creamy, it was like nothing I've ever tasted. I would order this again and again, were it not for the fact that eighty one's menu changes often. I should probably book another table now before this amazing dessert disappears.
If you find yourself on the upper west side of Manhattan and desirous of an exquisite meal in a beautifully appointed setting, I highly recommend a visit to eighty one. It is an extraordinary restaurant.
So there you have a brief, sadly picture-less, re-cap of my weekend. Lovely indeed, yet utterly devoid of my own culinary creations. Happily, I'm about to remedy that this very minute. Away to the kitchen I must flee ... so I'll have something to post tomorrow! ;)
On the menu this week: savory chicken burgers and an exploration of Mark Bittman's curried cauliflower flat bread. Stay tuned!
So, what did you eat this weekend? Curious Diva wants to know.