Each year we are invited as major donors to a special Celebrity Chef Dinner in the kitchens of FOOD & FRIENDS, one of our favorite charities here in DC. You can join us next time should you make a major donation this year!!
It's a great event and last night may have been the best dinner ever.
Chef CEDRIC MAUPILLIER of Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan wowed us from the first bits of hor's d'oevres:
Guerande Sea Salt Buttered Radishes were amazing. The radishes must have been slightly par-boiled then smothered with a buttery compound with Guerande Sea Salt (fleur de sel). They were on sticks and looked like mini lollipops and were oh so delectable. The Deviled Eggs with Pickled onion on top and Pickled Beet below were yummy, but it was the PISSALADIERE that absolutely blew me away. I had FOUR of these amazing pastry leaves which had sauteed onion confit on them and a marinated fresh Italian anchovy and olive atop each pizza-like creation. OMG!!
We sat down to dinner in the Food & Friends kitchen and more magic appeared.
BURRATA, Deep Fried Red Russian KALE, Hazelnuts, Apple and Tamarind was one of the most exciting "salads" ever and while I am not a fan of Pinot Grigio-the Pradio 2011 from Friuli Para's floral tones were completely hidden by the ingredients on the plate making it an ingenious pairing.
Lightly smoked SALMON was LEEK Crusted and served atop Chestnut Puree, Cocoa Nibs and Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil. I really felt this dish was true French cuisine at its best. Not a person to order salmon that often, here the fish took on new meaning and a completely different taste with the sauteed leek encasement and the rich chestnut puree was superb. Domaine Alary Cotes due Rhone-Villages Cairanne "La Font d'Estevans" Blanc 2010 was a perfect Rhone white pairing again.
Braised Shenandoah Valley LAMB NECK NAVARIN was a wonderful creation as well and came with a potato puree and a rosemary skewered with carrot, onion and mini-potato. This dish was not a typical stew, but a roulade of lamb meat with a bacon wrap that was sublime. Only the Domaine L'Oustal Blanc Minervois Giocoso 2009 was too light for the meat's intensity. I was also a bit confused with a French wine with the Italian label "giocoso" or happy.
Dessert was OPERA CAKE and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream atop a crumble. The cake was made with both milk chocolate and a crunchy wafer with a dark chocolate ganache top and a small piece of edible gilded gold flake.
We went home feeling very special and knowing that Mintwood Place is on our list.