|birthday dinner at The Plaza Food Hall|
Friday night, in honor of my 33rd birthday, I gathered a few close friends for a catered celebration at The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English (whose expansion was recently written about in The New York Times). The seated dinner began at 8 p. m. and as much as I would have liked to have invited several more, I could only invite--the tab being on me--so many. I opted to invite the dear friends that I don't get to see as often as I'd like to…
|cabrales stuffed medjool dates wrapped in serrano ham|
I worked closely with the Food Hall's catering manager, Emily Kripitz, who executed a wonderful menu for the occasion (keeping in mind, my one vegetarian guest). Ms. Kripitz suggested the brilliant idea of a family-style dinner, sending out dishes which would be shared amongst the guests. The first course consisted of: medjool dates, stuffed with cabrales cheese and wrapped in serrano ham; boquerones (fresh anchovies) with toasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil and crostini; butternut squash ravioli flavored with crushed amaretti cookies, with brown butter and garnished with fried sage; and simple salads of mixed baby greens with heirloom cherry tomatoes, shaved red onion and a shallot vinaigrette dressing.
|boquerones with toasted garlic|
|butternut squash ravioli with parmesan and fried sage|
Our main course(s) consisted of two different kinds of sliders--crab salad rolls, with scallion and New Bay aioli; and classic "TE" sliders with fried onion and sweet mustard relish--and two different kinds of flatbread pizzas--crispy eggplant, with taleggio cheese and baby spinach; and "classic" margherita (mozzarella, tomato and basil) pizzas. And for sides: risotto "tater tots" with fontina cheese and black truffle aioli. It was Thanksgiving all over again...
|Todd English signature sliders|
|smorgasbord at The Food Hall|
One guest, who had originally had to cancel, rang me to announce that she'd be able to attend after all and was on her way. We used this as an opportunity to "rest" our stomachs before making way for the third and final course. Throughout our meal, the majority of us enjoyed the Food Hall's house "Valdo" sparkling--so much, in fact, that we drank them out of stock and had to switch to the sweeter Zonin prosecco.
|"chef's selection" artisanal cheese plate|
Minutes before Cynthia's arrival, I'd told our (wonderfully accommodating) server, Israel, that he may send out the final course--a chef's selection of five different artisanal cheeses (accompanied with olives and preserved fruits). Our bill arrived--for the beverages only--which was split evenly amongst my guests (I requested no gifts be brought to dinner, but I did allow gifts of the drinking variety). From there, we headed west to the library bar at The Hudson Hotel to meet with a few friends that I just couldn't let this birthday pass without seeing… I must say, it was my best birthday yet.