Still Full from Last Night

November 13, 2009

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What a meal!! Yesterday evening I attended the James Beard Foundation Gala Dinner and Auction. It was in New York at the legendary Four Seasons Restaurant on 52nd street. The Four Seasons just celebrated their 50th anniversary. It is, and always has been, the classiest place without being stuffy. It is very 50’s but at the same time it is timeless. I am surprised they haven’t filmed an episode of Mad Men there. The first time I went to The Four Seasons I was about 19 and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was my first New York City fine dining experience. I couldn’t believe one could have such a fine level of food and service. If you have never had the opportunity to see The Four Seasons, the next time you are in New York you have to go.  It is fabulous the restaurant has endured all these years both in terms of food and décor. It is memorable just to have drinks at the bar if you can’t go for lunch or dinner.

It was fitting to have the Beard Foundation dinner there as James Beard was a consultant in its early days. The auction is the annual fundraiser for The James Beard Foundation. There is a silent auction and a live auction. I was “auctioned off” with my friend Michael Lomonaco, the chef and co-owner of Porterhouse at The Time Warner Center. I am going to give a hands on baking class for 6 people at the Beard House and Michael will cook a steak dinner with all the trimmings for 12 afterwards. It’s a perfect combination. After all that sugar you crave a big piece of prime meat! And if it is cooked by Michael it will be perfection.

The evening was called The American Icons Dinner. Here’s the menu.

Reception Cocktails

Dale DeGroff

Flame of Love Martini -Absolut Vodka, Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, and Flamed Orange Peel
Absinthe #2 -Plymouth Gin, Pernod Ricard Absinthe, and Regan’s Orange Bitters
Irish Blond- Jameson, El Maestro Sierra Oloroso Sherry, Lustau Pedro Ximénez, and Angostura Bitters
Chandon Reserve Pinot Noir Brut NV
Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, and Leffe Blonde

Hors d’oeuvres

Fabio Trabocchi, The Four Seasons Restaurant, NYC

Otoro with Fennel Pollen
Kumamoto Oysters with Cauliflower and Lobster Aspic
Parsnip Cappuccino with Périgord Black Truffles

Foie Gras Sandwiches on Pain d’Epice
Nantucket Bay Scallops with Parsley and Piment d’Espelette


Dan Barber- Blue Hill, NYC and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
This Morning’s Farm Egg
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Larry Forgione-  An American Place, Saint Louis, MO, & Monkey Bar, NYC
Butter-Poached Maine Lobster with White Asparagus, Fresh Hearts of Palm, and Roasted Parsnips
Heitz Cellar Chardonnay 2007

Alfred Portale-Gotham Bar & Grill– NYC
Braised Artichoke Ravioli with Shaved Black Truffle, Wild Mushroom Broth, and Pecorino Romano
Oakville Ranch Vineyards Robert’s Blend Cabernet Franc 2005

Charlie Palmer and Christopher Lee- Aureole, NYC
Niman Ranch Pork Loin with Pork Belly Cannelloni, Mostarda, Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Mustard Seeds, and Tarragon
Staglin Family Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Gale Gand-Tru, Chicago
Butterscotch Pudding with Molasses Crisps and Black Pepper Whipped Cream
Beringer Vineyards Nightingale 2005

Breads provided by Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bread, NYC

The chefs are individuals who have each made amazing contributions to American cuisine. Each course was as good as the last. Thankfully, Amy supplied her delicious bread so I could soak up every bit of sauce on every dish. Since you weren’t able to enjoy the chefs’ food last night take my word for it that these are exceptional chefs and visit them at their restaurants.

Last night The James Beard Association was selling raffle tickets for a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans hosted by Dickie and Leslie Brennan.


Whoever wins will get a VIP Mardi Gras experience plus you will get to hang out with Dickie and Leslie, two of the finest and most fun people I know. Check out the website for more details. Tickets are on sale until November 30th.

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