"In restaurants we argue over which of us will pay for our funeral though the real question is whether or not I will make you immortal."
- Margaret Atwood
DEC. 28, 2015 - JAN. 2, 2016
I’ve never been much of the “let’s-go-out-dancing-and-pay-cover-charges” kind of person when New Year’s Eve rolls around. December 31st was always about staying at home with a group of cousins and dipping cheap tortilla chips into a massive casserole dish of hot spinach artichoke dip, hampered with sour cream (monterey jack is also a welcome addition). Bags of frozen honey barbecue chicken wings stuck to aluminum sheet pans, a tub of guacamole, and a lineup of junk food sweets including refrigerator cookie dough, bags of oreos, and maybe a carton or two of Haagen Dazs was also a staple. Clearly, we took the idea of getting all your calories in before January 1st to the extreme.
Perhaps New Years Eve to me is as much as an eating holiday as Thanksgiving and Christmas, so to spend the last night of 2015 cooking at the restaurant was my idea of utopia - pork belly braised in tobacco and star anise; salads of pomelo, dungeness crab and coconut milk with lime, peanuts and shaved red onion; warm poached duck egg gently nestled amongst sauteed chanterelles, turnips, and a crumble of crispy prosciutto. Afterwards an intermezzo of a sharply sweet ginger, pear, and raspberry sorbet floating in a lily pond of a particularly dry plum cider. (I’m ashamed to say I took work home with me the night before and churned three batches of sorbet off the clock so we’d be ready for New Year’s Eve.)
Meanwhile, our four burner range became overladen with ribeyes as the main course fire tickets rang in – each plate luxuriously decorated with bone marrow butter, shoestring kennebecs, and demi glace. Dessert tickets return back to me - while pre fixe menus make things easy on a busy night, they do get awfully repetitive. Burnt caramel is smeared with a delicate flick, followed by chocolate cake crumbs soaked in frangelico. Chunks of a torte made with hazelnuts, brown butter, and Callebaut chocolate follow, before being crowned with a quenelle of white chocolate and hazelnut cremeux and candied hazelnuts.
Oh, and definitely a glass of champagne to end of the night… a far cry from Oreos & spinach artichoke dip.