Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tartine Afterhours: Delicious!

Thanks to yoga, Joe and I had such a delicious experience last night: dining at the very special Tartine Afterhours put on by chef Samin Nosrat.  Samin and I met through Anusara, natch -- the source of so many tasty friendships!

Such a treat to attend this small, family-style dinner.  We were seated at a table of 8 -- how fun to slowly break the ice and converse with strangers over dinner and wine.  And really: utterly civilizing to have to make the effort at eye-contact and conversation, all while swooning over the food.

And swoon we did.


The bread in the First Course was seriously the best bread I've ever eaten in my life, sweet and smoky with the taste of the onion, the mie so light in contrast to the crunchy crust.  [Mie is French for the soft, inner part of the bread.  So sad that there is no comparable word in Englarsh.]

And the Shaved summer squash salad?  Ridiculous!  So tasty I swear I could it eat it every day.  I'm so glad to have taken home the menu so that we can remember, when we have the bumper crop of crookneck squash that's on its way, to try our hand at replicating it in our amateur fashion.

At about this point, one of our company pointed out that Michael Pollan was seated at a table across from ours.  Nice!

I am a huge fan of risotto, and the Sweet corn risotto was delighful. I served, conscious with every scoop to ensure that there was enough in our dish for all 8 of us, while Lindsay handled the shrimp and tomato ragu.  I think that was the point at which my conversational skills abandoned me, leaving me with two phrases, "oh my god" and "this is so good."  How grateful we all were when a second dish of each appeared at the table - our mouths were too full of delight to be able to utter big enough Thank You's.

We were eating summer.

Through careful planning, I did manage to leave enough room to comfortably tackle dessert, a delicious roasted peach stuffed with amaretti in a pool of zabaione (yum) with a lovely cherry leaned up against it just-so.  If I could have a little cup of zabaione every day, I think it might work wonders for my constitution and outlook.  Delicious.

Really, at this point, I was reduced to mostly sighing.

It did feel like a distinct privilege to be in that room with that small group of people who jumped at this opportunity, as we did, to eat what Samin cooked for us.  I love this model so much: rather than going to a restaurant and selecting from a wide menu of possibilities, attending a dinner and eating what the chef puts in front of us.  It creates a communal experience, all of us tasting the same squash at the same time, serving each other, passing the butter.

Every mouthful I was conscious that Samin made this food for us with reverence and delight.  It was truly such an honor.  I can't wait til the next one.  It feels like something I don't want to miss, ever.

With so much love and gratitude to Samin and to the good people of Tartine. XX

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