Friday, October 28, 2011

Food Hall of Fame

Today was Celebration Dinner with my EP Challenge group - Kyla, Laurence, Cullen, and Radek.

You all know I love food. Like...a lot. But I can't even begin to describe the pure elation and joy I experienced while dining at L'Espalier. This meal has got to be in my Top 3 Best Meals of All Time. Ok Top 2. The pictures say it all...

We started out with these little nibbles brought to us on a stone slate. On the left is a cheese puff...but not just any cheese puff. This cheese puff was golden and flaky... This cheese puff was fresh from the oven but not so hot that it burned your mouth. This cheese puff was filled with a crumbly goat cheese (if that texture is possible to create - it was done here). On the right is a dehydrated bagel (had no idea you could do this) with amazing flavors on top (couldn't tell you what they were to save my'll discover that throughout the rest of the post).

The restaurant was on the 2nd floor of the building, so you can see out the background the view of Boylston Street. We ordered a lovely Spanish Zinfandel and in the little bulb glass is fresh apple cider that accompanied the nibbles shown above. Real candles, too - not those fake electric ones that are made to seem like candles. 

Lobster bisque shooter with a piece of lobster on a crisp came next...

And then my first course. Official menu description:

Coddled Farmer’s egg with Prosciutto di Parma, broccoli 
puree, Apple Street Farm pickled peppers; Vermont 

A close up of the foam and broccoli and flower (sigh of happiness here)

Main course. Official description: 

Pineland Farms prime beef sirloin with potato gratin, 
bone marrow and feuille de brick envelope; parsley root 

We decided to share all 5 desserts...good choice. 

Green apple soft mousse sphere with saffron 
coconut, coconut cake, calvados caviar,                    
and tarragon ice cream

I couldn't try this one because of the banana, but it looked delicious. It was brought to the table with the chocolate cylinder intact and once the waiter described the dish, he took a knife to break the shell and let the flavors spill out onto the plate. Description: 

Chocolate banana macadamia bread pudding with 
crème anglaise, and milk chocolate sorbet

My second favorite dessert. The foam on top of the cake was spectacular!

Carrot cake with pumpkin mousse, black currant 
mascarpone, and ricotta ice cream 

My absolute *favorite*:

Milk chocolate caramel soufflé with caramel 
financier, and Gianduja ice cream

The most whimsical: 

Compressed Asian pear with white chocolate,           
tonka bean meringue, bergamot custard,            
and Earl Grey ice cream 

And to complete the night, as we walked out the door, they gave us each a parting gift....attached to a coupon for 20% off my next lunch visit! And you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be taking advantage of that...

The service was phenomenal - where do I begin to describe the minute details of the service I experienced??? The waiters helped seat us by pulling out our chairs and pushing them in under us. When someone left the table a waiter came to fold their napkin and place it back on the table. Our wine glasses were constantly refilled (but not overly so) until the bottle was finished. I was escorted to the ladies room. Cullen had table side service to assemble his main course of Wild Scottish Partridge. They noticed that Radek didn't like the lobster bisque shooter and so they brought him a substitute without being asked. In between courses a server came out to scoop the crumbs off the table using what looked like a silver serving dish that had been cut in half. All of the dishes were described flawlessly... The bread kept coming (the pretzel roll was delicious!)....

I really couldn't ask for a better celebratory dinner with my EPC group. What a spectacular way to end this Quarterly Challenge!

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