Fast forward to my life now in Toronto, as food-obsessed a city as I've ever eaten in (a list that includes NYC, San Francisco, Sydney, Barcelona, Paris, Lyon, Bologna...) and his remark seems rather naive. Well, that is until Rob and nodrog go at it in the kitchen...
The purported premise of the evening was "a celebration of our wives" which I'm not sure I deserved but I happily played along as if I did! Weeks in the planning and days in the making, it was truly a labour of love that paid off beautifully in an homage to Jean-George and Thomas Keller. When you tally up the number of bottles of wine we went through, you'll see there's no way I could have recounted each dish here were it not for the printed menu we were given to take home as a souvenir! Following in the tradition started by Craig Claiborne, we signed each other's menus with reflections on the dinner. Marg summed it up best when she wrote, "I'm thinking that the chefs need to give up their day jobs."
Smoked wild salmon with creme frache and caviar (a tiny wedge of lemon burst onto the scene as a surprise ingredient - the first hint of the whimsical delights to come) & Louis Rodere Brut 2000.
Foie gras on brioche with roasted strawberry and balsamic fig glaze(blow-torching the glaze on top into a brulee was a genius maneuver!) & Chateau d'Yquem, 1983 (yeah, you read that right...all I can say is that urologists have way more grateful and gift-giving patients than critical care docs do)
Pan-seared wild Alaskan black cod in Asian-style consomme (the smooth & succulent fish swimming in crystal clear broth made in a most unconvential manner: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/dining/05curi.html?emc=eta1) & Zind-Humbrecht, Pinot Gris, 2005 (a pleasant budget surprise from the LCBO)
Braised lamb shank served with baby spinach and cannellini bean puree with roasted garlic and black truffle (savouring every bite, my mind wanders...how can lamb possibly be this tender? how can I rent a villa in Italy during truffle season and write it off as a business expense?) & Chateau Margaux, 1983 (ditto my comment above about urologists...tonight's wine pairing is just over the top!)
Goat cheese panna cotta with roasted beet marmalade and pistachios (served in a glass in horizontal layers, one spoonful down and up reveals a heavenly mix of flavours and textures - how does nodrog do it without a recipe, relying only on a "taste memory"?).
Coffee and assorted SOMA chocolates (because it's not dessert without chocolate).
And yes, even the new puppy is pampered tonight. For Miles, a course of Purina Pro-Plan Kibble paired with the finest tap water in the GTA, vintage 2008!