Posts Tagged ‘foodie’

James Beard Foundation sign
A little research–and an exchange of voicemails with a very nice woman at the James Beard Foundation–resulted in a bit of extremely useful information. So after a quick look around our new digs, we headed back down to Chelsea Market to visit the JBF LTD pop up. It was, to quote the Foundation, “the most exciting pop-up food pavilion and restaurant New York has seen.” It existed for 27 days. We were there on day…


They crossed out the table numbers at the end of each day.

A food pavilion is kind of like a mini-fair for foodies. There was a “steak of the day”
Steak of the day

Filet mignon? Why yes, thank you very much.

brownies from the Food Network kitchen . . . Food Network booth some lovely crepes . . . an actual restaurant . . . pop up restaurant where we got delicious flavored tea.
Assorted iced teas

I had the white peach. Delightfully refreshing!

Vikki got on TV with James Beard himself . . .
Vikki & James on TV

Who knew Vikki was an early TV star?

and Rosemary found the rear end of a cow.
Rosemary with cow

Rosemary--pointing out her favorite cut?

But, lovely as it was, that was just a warm up for the main event. We were there to see this: “Experts of the Food Network Kitchens—Katherine Alford, vice president of the test kitchens at Food Network and Cooking Channel, and Food Network executive chef Rob Bleifer will be on hand to talk about and sample their favorite Food Network dishes for everyone to see, smell, and taste.” And see them we did. Interview in progress
They even brought snacks: Sample girl Snack Note: As of this writing I’m hunkered in the closet during a tornado warning so I can’t remember what it was…but it was yummy. The green sauce is pea-based.

Naturally, our little group snagged prime seats front and center, which was a good thing for everyone. No, really. We were a fantastic audience: engaged, making eye contact, nodding & laughing at the appropriate times. Which could explain why when the interviewer opened the floor for questions he said, “Does anybody have any questions?” and immediately stuck the microphone in my face.

Yes, of course I had a question ready. Of the three questions asked, our group was responsible for two. (Told you we were a good audience.) After it was over we basked in a little reflected glory and noticed that Chef Rob was still hanging around. So we went over to chat with him and realized this was a golden opportunity. “You know that Food Network logo on the wall that we see on TV,” I said, with all the charm I could muster. “Is that somewhere we could get to to take a picture?”

Chef Rob pondered that a moment. “Well . . . no. But . . . I can sneak you up there.”

O. M. G.

“They’re working in the kitchen so I can’t take you in there, but I can get you to the logo.”

I love that man. We oh-so-casually followed him out the door and through the halls of Chelsea Market down an unobtrusive hall to an unmarked elevator. A seriously cool metallic unmarked elevator, btw, as befitting one leading to the foodie holy of holies. Then the doors opened and…

Chef Rob Bleifer, me, Vikki, inside the foodie holy of holies

Rosemary took the picture; she and Beverly were also there!

Now THAT’S what I call a successful trip to New York!

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Cream Puffs & Cookbook

Dedicated food nerd that I am, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of the new movie Julie & Julia for months. Being of a social disposition, I thought it only right that my personal premiere should include food—and not just any food, but dishes from Julia Child’s seminal work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

After scaling back my original party vision (handmade invitations, houseful of people, 5 course meal, Julia Child impression contest, fabulous prizes…) due to budget constraints, I ended up inviting a few friends over for a Julie Child pot-luck and trip to the movie.

My guest list included two of my Dallas Symphony Chorus foodie group friends. We’ve been singing together for 15 years, give or take, and for something like 8 of those years we’ve held several dinner parties each season, all themed around the music we were performing. Menus have included everything from schnitzel and spaetzle (we sing a lot of German music) to New York-style pizza (Bernstein) and borscht (Tchaikovsky). With all this experience (literally) under our belts, we felt pretty confident tackling The French Chef.

Unfortunately, only one of us actually owned the cookbook—and that someone was not me. On the plus side, the fabulous McKinney library does own a copy, and it was even on the shelf when I went to look for it. Considering this was the week before J-Day (August 7, the day Julie & Julia released), I took that as a sign of divine favor and left the library rejoicing.

After several phone calls, we had our menu. Rosemary would make vichyssoise, which while not actually in Mastering the Art… was a JC recipe. Vikki, who does have the book, offered to make coq au vin. Holly, who is not a foodie, brought a wonderful whole-grain baguette.

I—surprise, surprise—tackled dessert. But which dessert? I bake cakes all the time, so I didn’t want to go there. The apple tart sounded delicious but. . . I eventually decided on cream puffs. I really wanted to make a croquenbouche—it’s kind of a Christmas tree-shaped tower of cream puffs decorated with lacy sugar garland—but apparently one has to have a special form, along the lines of a metal traffic cone, to pull that off. So plain old cream puffs—filled with Cream St. Honore flavored with crème de cacao and topped with homemade caramel—would have to do. Cream puffs are ridiculously simple, btw, so if you’re thinking of trying to make them: do.

While I would have preferred opening night, we couldn’t give proper attention to both a gourmet dinner AND a movie after work on Friday. Saturday, August 8, it was, then. And what a fabulous evening. Vikki came in costume with a vintage apron over her dress and pearls; the rest of us made do with wearing my collection of bridesmaid pearls to the movie. And the food? Oh. My.



Here’s the vichyssoise, which Rosemary informed us was created by happy accident. Apparently it was meant to be hot potato-leek soup, but someone forgot to reheat it before it went out to the customers. Nobody complained, and a new dish was born.

Coq au vin

Coq au vin

Next course, coq au vin. As Vikki said, “I knew it was going to be good when the first step was ‘Brown the bacon in butter.’” The (almost) two bottles of wine that went in it didn’t hurt either. If you’ve never tried coq au vin, run, don’t walk, to the nearest grocery store for ingredients and make it tonight. It was lick-the-plate good. Those potatoes are roasted garlic and shallot mashed potatoes left over from an earlier dinner, btw.

Roused from a food-induced coma by the sight of the clock, we dashed to the movie. Fortunately the theater is just 5 minutes from my house. It was delightful—but we were SO glad we’d eaten before we got there. It’s a rare and beautiful thing to find a film that has very little bad language, no nudity—except for a couple of chickens—happily married couples, and a satisfying ending. Not to mention the food porn…which is why we were so glad to be well-fed.

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs

Afterwards we went back to my house, resolved to make that boned duck in the not-too-distant future, and stuffed ourselves with cream puffs. And they all lived happily ever after. Amen.

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