My husband and I had one of the best meals of our lives, by chance. Our odds were probably good, as we were walking through the Jardin du Palias Royale in Paris when we happened upon the dimly-lit, gorgeous and cozy restaurant with low, vaulted, brick ceilings. Casa Luna is the name. A fine mix of Corsican and French cuisine. Seriously interesting use of tomato, cucumber and eggplant in the dishes to create startlingly complex and unexpected flavors.
We started with a grilled squid tower layered with creamy, roasted eggplant, tomato and heaven. Husband had duck that was to die for and I had lamb (a cut i’ve never seen…like a steak) with figs and a base of tomato (treated in a way that was so simple yet so different). When we thought we could be stunned no more, the hazlenut pudding with hazlenut gelato, hazlenut cream, and roasted & candied hazlenuts put us into a coma. We were pleasantly awoken by the classic Corsican aperitif, Mirto—known for its strong herbal flavor—which is made from the myrtle plant through the maceration of the berries berries and leaves.
I went to a dinner last night at City Grit, a new membership-based supper club for the underground foody world, located in the rear of a church on Prince Street in Soho. It’s a fabulous antiques and furniture shop by day and an uber-cool supper club by night. The chef there, Sarah Simmons (who was running the club out of her apartment for many years before they found this space) put together a 5-course dining experience to go hand in hand with the launch of My Last Supper, The Next Course by Melanie Daneu (author and photographer). Melanie has spent the last few years traveling around the globe to interview and shoot every world-class chef. The book—second after My Last Supper—showcases stunning portraits of each chef, along with their last meal and even the recipes! Melanie is a very well-known portrait photographer, as is her husband Nigel Parry. She also has a food/photography blog worth checking out mylastsupper.com.
Sarah Simmons’ of City Grit pulled the following 5 courses together from My Last Supper, The Next Course to give us a ridiculously tasty intro to the gorgeous book:
1. Eric Ripert‘s truffled country bread with Gabrielle Hamilton‘s soft scrambled eggs
2. Micael Symons little pork meatballs with mint and cracked pepper pasta
3. Dan Barber‘s braised pig salad
4. Daniel Humm‘s herb roasted lamb with parmesan cream grits and Suzane Groin‘s italian brocoli with shallots, garlic and red pepper
5. April Bloomfield‘s banotee pie
I made orange-zest silver dollar pancakes this morning. I topped them off with homemade whipped cream, a raspberry & mint coulis, and a little real VT maple syrup. Plated on Alberto Pinto Chinoiserie dessert plates. Great way to blow weekend guests away or (in this case) start a rainy day.
The best drink on a hot day? The Shandy (short for shandygaff), of British origin, is a beer mixed with citrus-flavored soda. I make a Shandy with homemade sparkling lemonade and chilled pale ale, normally half-and-half proportions. Add mint and lemon zest if you want to dress is up, but if you’re hanging out in the yard, playing bocce, solo cups are fare game.