Thursday, February 03, 2011

An Eastern Winter

Last week was very eventful for my friend Chef Anahita Naderi, as she put out an exquisite meal for those of us lucky to be at her Pop-Up Restaurant, which she aptly named, "Hidden Dinner".

Chef Anahita and her assistants had to improvise and turn a break room into a professional kitchen to create this delicious and visually appealing meal. My table mates were Aimee and Scott, a lovely couple whom I sat with for this special dinner. We were allowed to bring our own wine or beer, so I brought the Claude Carre et Fils Champagne... Light yellow with persistent bubbles, a nose of marzipan and dough, and taste of lemon curd, ginger, very crisp and citrusy.

The evening started with farfar, a dish I was not familiar with, but easily came to love. Crunchy, with pink, green and yellow rice bent into whimsical shapes. It was served with honey and Pop Rocks Candy. There was a "Snap, Krackle, Pop!" with the emphasis on Pop! Pop Rocks and Champagne? Who knew that could be so good! The course was also served with a Spiced Chai Tea shooter... warm and soothing.

The next course was a crispy potato latke, smoked salmon, chilled Creme Fraiche served with a dab of caviar on the top. The crunch, soft latke meshed with the salmon and savory Creme Fraiche. The caviar gave it an extra "Pop" at the end. Wonderful.

Why, HELLO Darling!

From there, we had a waffle with date spread, and on it sat a lovely Tamarind Shrimp... served with a side sip of Coconut Curry Soup. This all interwove.. the brine from the shrimp, the sweetness of the date, the comforting waffle and the savory curry soup.


Cold Beef Noodle Salad. I think this dish was overlooked by many because it was served in such a simple manner. But it was incredibly delicious and I could have just had that all night. Simply presented... yes, but with great flavor and texture.

The entree:

Seared Duck Breast with Pomegranate Walnut Emulsion, and (get this!) Savory Saffron Krispies. OMG... the Saffron Rice Krispies were heavenly. Again, more of the "Pop" in your mouth sensation, but the flavor of the saffron was very refined. So very good. To put such a sophisticated flavor profile on Rice Krispies was profound and totally unexpected.

Just when you thought it couldn't get better...

Almond Cake with Marscapone, and Beet Ice Cream. WHAT?? Beet Ice Cream? Amazing.
The almond cake was like eating marzipan straight from the tube, and with a flaky crust. Anahita got the recipe for the Beet Ice Cream from Thomas Keller of The French Laundry. Instant love.
And to think I have absolutely hated beets for most of my life (until this year). But never would guess Beet Ice Cream to be the end of this meal.

A great dinner made by a good friend, and made other friends on the way. So good!