Hanging Out in Gare de l’Est Train Station in Paris

Hanging Out in Gare de l’Est Train Station in Paris

Normally, I would not want to hang out in a train station for long.  And truth be told, we wouldn’t have stayed in Gare de l’Est for even an hour if things had gone our way (more on that later).  But circumstances dictated that our wisest cause of action was to stay there for a few hours before boarding our train to Strasbourg, where our trip was meant to take place (for the most part – we did have some Paris time planned, but that was on the back end of the trip).

So yes, here is how it all went.  We arrived in Paris early in the morning, and even after spending a couple hours going through customs (man, the line for non-Europeans moves slowly…), and a long taxi ride from the airport to the train station through the most intense rainstorm I have ever seen in France (if this had been Charleston, that storm would have been average), we still had a chance to maybe take an earlier train to Strasbourg.  You see, I had made a reservation for a 12:30ish train, but there was also a 9:30ish train.

So as soon as we got our bearings in Gare de l’Est, I made my way to a self-service machine to print out our tickets.  These are usually yellow, but for some reason, the new machines are white – they thought they could confuse me by changing the color, but I managed to find the machine anyway!  Haha!

SNCF Self-service Machines

To now exchange our tickets for an earlier train, we would have to speak to a human being, and here is where Therese’s firm grasp of the French language came in handy.  It took talking to a couple people, but we finally found the train ticket office, and once there, we were directed to the line where we could do exchanges.  But sorry to say, the man listened to our request, and told us the earlier train was sold out.  Quel dommage!

Now that we had a few hours to kill, the first thing we thought of was having a proper breakfast.  I was willing to settle for some cold cuts on a baguette, but Therese insisted we find the station’s restaurant.  Which we did, and for sure, it was a good thing to really sit and eat something substantial.

Breakfast at Brasserie Flo Gare de l’Est in Paris

Once again, after eating my lovely breakfast of a plain omelet with ham (what I would call prosciutto but the French call “bacon”) and a simple salad of greens with dressing.  Man, how is it possible that something so simple could be so delicious and satisfying?  That is French cooking for you in a nutshell.

That was also the first decent food we had had in many hours (I will talk about the dinner on the plane the previous night elsewhere).  With that in my belly, in spite of the fact that I had not slept in nearly 24 hours, I felt pretty stable.

How to kill the rest of our 3 free hours?  We explored, took a nap, explored some more.  There is a lovely huge painting commemorating World War One – supposedly the only such painting in France (I guess all the other WWI commemorations are statues and the like).

Le Départ des Poilus by Albert Herter

We also thought about getting lunch for the train.  I found some sort of sandwich, while Therese was thrilled to discover that Marks & Spencer, her favorite chain of English delis, has a branch in Gare de l’Est.  She found meat pies in the refrigerator section, an English specialty that can be eaten cold (and whaddaya know, those things were dairy free!  Cool, huh?  But I never did try one…)

Main Entrance to Gare de l’Est from the Interior

After that, we killed some more time by finding a place to sit and taking another nap, and then before you know it, our train was in the station, and we validated our tickets, and boarded the train for Strasbourg.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t take another nap on the train, but before long we would have the chance to get ourselves oriented to France-time.

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Overview of Week in Strasbourg and Colmar France

Overview of Week in Strasbourg and Colmar France

While Therese and I continue to work on our new house in our new home in Charleston, South Carolina, there are the occasional respites from all that hard work.  For example, Therese had to go to Strasbourg, France for business for a few days, and she invited me to come along.  We extended the trip a couple of days so that we could enjoy some of it together, and over all, it was a great week.  Yes, I did feel a little guilty about having so much fun without her, but I took lots of pictures (many of which I will share with you as well), and I made it up to her by taking her to great dinners on the days she had to work, and planning some fun days for the time she didn’t.

Not sure how often I will have time to write, since we are still in the midst of getting the house in shape (unpacking still, painting our bedroom, etc.).  But come back here from time to time and I will insert hyperlinks to the adventures of Strasbourg that I manage to get written.

1. Sunday and Monday, July 9 and 10.  Traveling to France and Training from Paris to Strasbourg – whew what a long day!

2. Tuesday, July 11.  The Cathedral and Its Museum.

3. Wednesday, July 12.  Musee des Beaux Arts of Strasbourg, Lots of Walking, and Schnockeloch Restaurant.

4. Thursday, July 13.  The “Petite France” district of Strasbourg, Dinner at Tante Liesel Cafe.

5. Friday, July 14.  A Day in Colmar – the Unterlinden Museum and Its Famous Isenheim Altarpiece, a Boat Ride, Afternoon Ice Cream and Exploring the Town.

6. Saturday, July 15.  A Day in Paris – the Church of Saint-Germain des Prez, Jardin du Luxembourg, Lunch at Deux Magots, Shopping, and the Paris Opera Hilton Hotel.

7. Sunday, July 16.  Morning Visit to the Marche aux Puces.

So again, check back often.  Whenever I can steal an hour away from house-work, I will capture another of our fun French adventures.  I miss sharing our adventures with you, so trust me, I will slip in some more posts very soon!

Posted in Airplane flights, Airplane food, Airports, Cafes, Churches, Colmar, Countries, Dairy Free, Dessert, Dinner, Food, France, French Food, Lunch, Museums, Paris, Restaurants, Strasbourg, Strasbourg Hilton Hotel, Train & Train Station Food, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chihuly Nights Show at New York Botanical Garden

Chihuly Nights Show at New York Botanical Garden

The first day of our anniversary celebration weekend was taken up with an evening visit to the New York Botanical Garden, to see the first exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s glass extravaganza in ten years.  We thought it would be especially fun to attend one of the Chihuly Nights, the after-dark show where all the glass is lit up.  And wow, was it ever fantastic!

Metro North Track at Grand Central

If you are going to the Botanical Garden from Manhattan, I recommend taking the Metro North from Grand Central Station.  It lets you off literally across the street from the entrances to the gardens.  There is a subway stop that supposedly goes to the gardens, but after you leave the train, you have to walk about a mile to get to the gardens.  No bueno.

Sapphire Star

The first Chihuly we encountered after entering the park was the brilliant Sapphire Star.  As you can see, the sun had not yet set – but that didn’t really matter – it is so brilliant that even in the late afternoon sun, it still sparkled.

Red Reeds on Logs

We headed to the visitor center to have a bite to eat (killing time while we waited for it to get dark), and along the way, we encountered the Red Reeds on Logs.  We would pass by these again after dark (stay tuned).

Alice Farley Dance Theater

Just past the Red Reeds, we encountered some of the evening’s entertainment, the Alice Farley Dance Theater – two costumed dancers walking on stilts and generally perplexing and delighting everyone nearby.

At the visitors center, three of Chihuly’s works, the Chandeliers, were positioned overhead.  I love these kinds of pieces – they look like rainbow candy and flowers and some sort of snakes all at the same time.

The food available was the one disappointment of the event.  I had a hot dog and Therese waited in a very long line to get a couple of tacos that were ok.  Actually there were long lines to get anything, and early in the evening, many of the things listed on the menus were already sold out – but you didn’t know that until you got to the cashier to place your order.  Poorly planned.

The Mandingo Ambassadors

Luckily, while you were waiting in line to order your food, the Mandingo Ambassadors were playing nearby, entertaining the crowd with their energetic African-tinged jazz.

Red Reeds on Logs at Night

By the time we finished eating, darkness had begun to fall.  As you can see, the Red Reeds were much more magical after dark.  We passed by them on our way to the Float Boat.  This boat full of colorful huge glass balls was part of the exhibit ten years ago, but then it was on display near the conservatory.  This time it had a lake and section of the park pretty much all to itself.  Definitely one of the highlights of the collection for me.

After the Float Boat, we headed to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, which is the heart of the garden, and the center of the greatest number of pieces in this exhibit.

Out in front of the conservatory, it all started in splendid fashion with the Citron Sun.  Wow!

Just inside the conservatory lay the Persian Pond and Fiori.  The blue and white ‘fiori’ reminded me so much of flamingos.

Next were the White Belugas, which reminded me of large Japanese daikon radishes.

White Belugas

A whole room of the conservatory was dedicated to the Macchia Forest.  I would love to have one of these incredible ‘macchia’ (shrubs) to put on a coffee table.  Not that I could afford it…

From there we stepped into the courtyard-like outdoor area near the conservatory.  Here were several incredible pieces.  First was the Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower.

Next was another highlight of the exhibit for me, the Neon 206.  It was next to one of the conservatory buildings and a lake, so its many colors were reflected in the lake, where some ducks were swimming.

Back inside the conservastory, in the next building we encountered the White Tower, to me a more subtle (or humble) relative to the spectacular Yellow and Scarlet tower.

White Tower

Finally, there was another long slender building with ‘Fiori’ (flowers) along each side of its walkway.  These were not my favorite pieces, but I do admit that they are probably the most successful in terms of blending in with the conservatory’s plants.

We loved the conservatory so much that we went through its buildings a second time.  I had to pause and take another long look at the Neon 206 one more time.  We left the Botanical Gardens that evening with our minds ablaze, so thankful to have once again experienced Mr. Chihuly’s artistry in the incomparable setting of the gardens!

Neon 206 Reflected in the Windows of the Conservatory

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Saturday Culinary Village Charleston Wine & Food Festival

Saturday Culinary Village Charleston Wine & Food Festival

Saturday in our Wine & Food Festival week in Charleston was devoted to that feast of all feast, that sampler of all samplers, the Culinary Village, held in Charleston’s Marion Square.

We started off our day with a very light breakfast (Therese skipped breakfast – I had a little oatmeal).  We wanted to save as much space in our bellies as humanly possible for noshing!

Surprisingly, when we checked in at the admission gate, we only got a wine glass – no lanyard to hang the glass around our necks, no shopping bag to carry that and all the other goodies in.  Luckily, our new friend Joann Susser, who we met earlier in the week at the Dockside Dinner, had gone to the Culinary Village the day before, and she told us: first thing, go to the Le Creuset booth – they are giving out nice sturdy shopping bags.  So we did, and lo and behold, you had to ask for the shopping bag (they had them hiding under a table), so good thing we knew about them.

Le Creuset Deviled Egg Platter in new Marine Color

I am glad we went to the Le Creuset display, because they were showing off one of their newest products, a Deviled Egg Platter, and I instantly fell in love (fast forward to now: Therese bought it for me for my birthday).  Not only is it great for serving deviled eggs and other sorts of things, but it can also go in the oven – we think it will be the perfect dish for baking bacon wrapped dates, one of my favorite Spanish tapas, in.

With our Le Creuset bags over our shoulders, we began the marathon process of visiting every section of the village and sampling all the food (to cut to the chase, I don’t think we sampled every single food, but we came close).  Here’s the map of the village, to help you orient yourself as I describe our adventure:

Culinary Village Map

The first area we visited was the “Third Space”, a large tent you can see in the upper middle of the map.  This tent was divided into four sections, with stations offering samples related to four what I am calling elements: Earth, Land, Sea and Air.  We only visited the Earth and Land sections.  The Earth one as I recall had a vegetarian offering (very nice), while the Land one gave me a chance for my first dairy free moment.

Chef John Ondo from Kairos Mediterranean Kitchen was offering a pita with chicken salad – however, I could see from its description that it featured tzatziki, which usually has yogurt in it.  I asked if I could have one with no tzatziki, and after making a quasi-humorous show of being annoyed that I wanted to something special, he made me one.  It wasn’t bad – it was early, so just tasting our way into things was what we were all about.

From there, we moved to the beer garden area (or if you prefer the German, Biergarten).  We were eager to get some free beer glasses, try the beer and maybe sample some good food.  We were successful in all three of those endeavors.

Baystreet Biergarten Sign

We also visited the “corkyard” which was an area filled with wine offerings.  Therese encountered a new favorite wine, Whispering Angel Rosé, offered by the owner of the winery himself.

From there, we proceeded one quarter turn counter-clockwise, to the area called “The Hub” where most of the food stations were.  I cannot recall every single thing we ate, but I will give you some highlights.

For example, Cuisine Solutions was there, showing off their sous-vide skills.  Their sampler was a brisket that had been “sous-vided” with some au jus over grits.  Yes, grits are everywhere in Charleston, and sometimes, in situations like this, I just have to do my best to eat around them (or go without), since they always have butter and cheese in them.  I did pretty well, and the beef was tender and juicy.

Brisket Over Grits from Cuisine Solutions

I know that for many people, duck is a luxury item.  But my attitude is, if you would spend some bucks to get steaks or what have you, why not spend the same and eat duck every so often?  Anyway, the Tasty Duck folks had a booth, where they were giving away slices of maybe the best duck breast I ever tasted.  Other than seasoning it well, I don’t think they did anything special in cooking it.  That’s the thing about duck – as long as you get a quality duck, it is going to taste good.

Eat More Duck Sign

Among all the beef and pork products, at this Culinary Village, there were lots of very delicious vegetable offerings.  The broccoli over sweet potato puree pictured here was one of my favorite bites of the day.  Regrettably, I don’t remember who was offering that.   But it was not the only memorable vegetable dish of the day!

Broccoli Over Sweet Potato Puree with Pistachios

After we had worked our way around most of the Hub area, it was time to find a spot to sit down and relax.  Therese went to the Rosé Garden, way off in the northwest corner of the park (to sample some more Whispering Angel), while I went to check out who was doing a demo at the Main Stage, which was between the Biergarten and Corkyard.  It was none other than Vivian Howard, whose show on PBS, A Chef’s Life, we have watched many times.

At this point, there were just two areas we had not visited: the Fire Pit, next to the Third Space where we had started our day, and the Artisan Market, where people are offering things for sale (including things like ice cream and jarred sauces and that sort of thing).  The lines in the Fire Pit were long, but we waited patiently – I think one of the things there was a rib eye or something.  All the eating was starting to dull my senses, including my mind, by that point.

We did get some ice cream (by which I mean sorbet, of course) in the Artisan Market.  I also found about a line of vegan (really allergy free) snack bars that are sold in the area that I will definitely try out once we move down in June (yes, we will soon be Charleston residents).  The other thing we were interested to explore was Bulls Bay Sea Salt.  These folks make salt the old fashioned way, from the bay’s salt water, retaining the more mineral-rich profile that we usually associate with kosher salt.  Another vendor we will definitely frequent when we are neighbors (actually we took a sample back to New York with us, and ordered more on line which I have happily been using in my cooking).

Culinary Village Wristband Sign

What a day!  And what a week!  We still had one more day to go (if we could manage to manufacture any appetite after all the eating we had already done).  But for that day at least, we were done.  We settled into our hotel room for the evening, enjoying the sunset and eventually suppering on some leftovers from our hotel room refrigerator.

Susnset from the HIlton Garden Inn

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Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs Over Egg Noodles

Dairy Free Swedish Meatballs Over Egg Noodles

Several nights ago, I was feeling like a simple hearty, comfort-y dinner, so I followed through on a plan of mine to make a dairy free version of an old favorite, Swedish meatballs, over egg noodles (with peas as well).  And let me tell you, it really did the trick – Therese and I both loved it.

What was this plan of which I speak?  Well, on one of my recent lunch visits to my mom, we were talking food, and she got our her ancient Betty Crocker cookbook, which was the source for pretty much all the recipes she cooked for our family growing up.  One of the things she pulled out of the cookbook was this piece of paper, about 3 by 5 inches, with the following recipe for Swedish meatballs on it.

Swedish Meatball Recipe

I assumed it was a Betty Crocker recipe (and since it is virtually identical to the one on the Betty Crocker website, that seems like a solid assumption).  The thing you have to know is that my dad, while not a wizard in the kitchen, did make some mean Swedish meatballs, such that whenever there was a potluck at our church, they would always ask him to make them.  I would bet you anything that this is the recipe that he followed.

I on the other hand have never made Swedish meatballs!  So when I saw this I had to capture it and give it a try.  And while I know that this is usually a finger food/snack food, I thought that if I made lots of gravy, it would go nicely over egg noodles (I used half a pound of Whole Foods brand).  To make it even a little more dinner-y, I also threw 2 cups of frozen peas into the meatball/gravy while it was cooking.

I do have to say that I feel there are some crucial instructions missing from this recipe.  I guess if you are a knowledgeable cook, you will have the common sense to make these adjustments automatically.  But let me just point out a couple things which I think make the whole process go smoothly.

First, I rolled out all my meatballs before turning the heat on under my skillet. I made mine about double the size the recipe suggests, and it yielded 37 meatballs.  Since 10 fit into my pan comfortably, that means I had to brown them in four batches.  Luckily, they brown pretty quickly, just about a minute to each side – still, when you put it all together, making the meatballs and browning them takes about a half hour.  By the way, if you’re wondering what I used for milk, it is Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original (make sure you use unsweetened, and never never use vanilla almond milk in a savory application (yuck)).

After mixing my flour, paprika, etc. into the fat, I took my pan off the burner and let it cool a bit before adding my boiling water.  Hot grease and water can be a dangerous combination, so I wanted to make sure nothing went amiss.  Sure enough, when I first poured the water in, it sizzled violently before settling down to a simmer.  Then I added my Tofutti Sour Supreme, whisked it all together, and returned it to the heat.  I let it bubble and thicken for a minute before adding the meatballs back in and the frozen peas.  Then I put the lid on, turned it down and let it cook for about 15 minutes.

Swedish Meatballs Finishing in Gravy

Once again, a very satisfying comfort food dinner.  And a great way to remember my dad.  Thanks for the recipe, Mom!

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Miyoko’s Vegan Butter Elevates Normandy Apple Cream Tart

Miyoko’s Vegan Butter Elevates Normandy Apple Cream Tart

As part of our anniversary weekend, I thought I would make an apple custard tart.  I love apple pie – a dessert that features fruit so prominently – and putting some light fluffy custard in there gives it an added element to make it even more wonderful and scrumptious.  The recipe I used is one I have done before, namely when I made an apple meringue tart in Rouen last summer – it is based on Emeril’s recipe for an apple cream tart.  Only I left off the meringue…

This time I got to use Miyoko’s Vegan Butter in the crust, which made it all the more awesome.  And once again, I used my big tart pan, the Emile Henry Deep Quiche Pan (Amazon link) I bought from Sur la Table right after we got back from France at the end of the summer.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
14 tablespoons vegan butter, cut into pats and chilled
6-8 tablespoons ice water

1 pastry shell, blind baked (see below)
4 honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
½ cup sugar, plus one tablespoon
¾ cup Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream (Amazon link)
2 teaspoons Calvados or other apple brandy (I used Laird’s Apple Brandy)

Prepare the crust ahead of time (it will need to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you use it).  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the chilled butter and incorporate using a pastry blender, until the flour and butter resemble large bread crumbs.  Sprinkle the ice water over it (start with a smaller amount – you can always add more if you need it) and using a spatula, gently mix it together until it starts to stick to the spatula.  Using your hands, form the dough into a ball.  Flatten it out into a large disk, cover with cellophane and put into refrigerator for at least half an hour.

When you are ready to use the pastry, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for 5 or 10 minutes.  Flour your surface and rolling pin.  Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch.  Butter the tart pan, and carefully arrange the dough in the tart pan, using your fingers to even out the edges of the crust.  The butter should keep the dough from sticking, but if you want to be extra cautious (as I always am), prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork.

Blind bake the tart shell at 375 degrees convection setting (i.e., my oven, when I press convection and then enter 400, immediately adjusts that to 375), or 400 conventional setting.  Bake it for 10 minutes, check to make sure the sides of the shell haven’t fallen in (mine often do, and I have to take a spatula and set them back up again).  Then bake for another 5 minutes.

Toss the apples with one tablespoon of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of melted butter.

In a mixing bowl, cream the rest of the sugar with your eggs until pale, beating for about 5 minutes.  Add coconut cream and apple brandy and beat for another minute or two.

Overlap the apple slices over each other in the bottom of the tart shell, starting from the edge and moving in a counter-clockwise direction.  Then do a second layer in the center of the tart, using up as many of the apple slices as you can.  I always prepare too many apples (six instead of four) and then have lots of apple left over – but that is no problem, since they can be used in making oatmeal or pork chops.

Pour the custard over the apples evenly, moving around the tart as you do so.  Bake in a 375 degree oven (convection setting, or 400 degree conventional setting) for around 50 minutes, until custard is set and the edges of the apples are getting browned.  If you notice that the crust is getting too brown, you can cover it with aluminum foil.

Let it cool on a rack or trivet for up to an hour – but if you have been smelling this for an hour of baking time, you may be impatient and want to slice it up after only 15 or 20 minutes.  If you do, just be aware that (a) it will still be hot and (b) it may start to fall apart, so you will have to be gentle with it to get it to hold together.

If you are patient and let it cool completely, putting some So Delicious Cocowhip or your own home-made coconut whipped cream over a slice of tart will make it even more fun.  Or you can just sprinkle some powdered sugar over it.  Either way, enjoy!

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Indaco Wine Lunch and Descendants of Daniel Panel Event

Indaco Wine Lunch and Descendants of Daniel Panel Event

Excellent Italian lunch WITH wine, a chance to hear legendary chef Daniel Boulud chatting with some of his favorite former employees who are now well-known celebrity chefs in their own right, and dinner at a cozy up-town tavern.  Also known as Friday in Charleston Wine & Food Festival week.  Or continuing an awesome week of mixed pleasure and business.  Any way you want to slice it, we were having a fabulous time in Charleston, and this day continued this trend, and then some!

Originally, we didn’t have anything planned for lunch on Friday.  If anything, I think I was planning we would eat somewhere on upper King, not far from the Woolfe Street Playhouse, where our afternoon event was taking place.  But a funny thing happened.  One morning earlier in the week, two housekeepers at our hotel followed up a loud verbal fight with actual punching and wrestling, including one them getting slammed into our hotel room door by the other.  We were horrified, called the front desk, and as part of handling the situation, the hotel offered us some free tickets, namely, to this Wine Lunch at Indaco.

A very fine Italian restaurant on upper King Street, Indaco on this occasion was doing even better than usual.  The restaurant’s usual chef, Elliot Cusher, was being joined in the kitchen by Portland, Oregon Chef Joshua McFadden.  And the wine to go with the lunch’s courses was curated by local Adam Verona, representing the wines of Italian Michele Chiarlo Winery.

The antipasto plate that I pieced together from the large plates of fresh well-treated ingredients offered at the front of the restaurant can be seen at the head of this post.  Therese and I were a little late, though; so no sooner had we had a bite or two, but we were ushered into the terrace room, on this occasion with the windows closed and the overhead heaters on (this was, after all, March, with a bit of a chill).

The one challenge I had with the food allergy-wise was the radiotori pasta, which came sprinkled with goat cheese crumbles and bread crumbs.  My attitude was goat cheese, bad, bread crumbs, good, so I tried to pick off the one but leave the other.  I did pretty well, and there was so much other food to enjoy that I didn’t fret over it.  The saffron tagliatelle that accompanied the other pasta as first course was wonderful, and the main course of suckling pig, beans, and sauteed vegetables was just as hearty and filling as you might imagine it would be (oh and this suckling pig was the leanest, with the most meat, of any I have seen).  The wines were quite nice, although that is not really my area of expertise – if pressed to name a favorite, I would go for the Moscato d’Asti “Nivole” that accompanied dessert.  The wine was the focus of my dessert anyway, since I could only nibble at a strawberry or two and a tiny piece of brioche.

After such a lovely and extensive lunch, I could’ve gone for a nap.  Sadly, that was not in the cards.  On the contrary, in less than two hours, we would be attending a panel talk, not the kind of thing to be snoring through.  So I brought up a stop I had planned for us to make, for coffee at Five Loaves Diner, just two blocks west of King Street on Cannon Street.  The coffee was decent, the atmosphere relaxing, and I love the way the tables are decorated with whimsical sayings from famous folks.

Five Loaves Tabletop

Perked up, we made our way to our next event, the “Descendants of Daniel” panel talk put on at the cozy Woolfe Street Playhouse.  The talk was moderated by Gail Simmons – known now as a judge on Top Chef (my least favorite judge, but that’s my problem), she started her career working in the office for Daniel Boulud.  In addition to Chef Daniel (of course he was there – how could he not be?), there was a quartet of some of his most successful proteges – Jean-Francois Bruel, Andrew Carmellini, Gaven Kaysen and Michael Anthony.

What a fun event it was!  For me, it was pure entertainment, hearing about the many lessons learned working for the famous fireball of a chef (I gather Chef Daniel is a bit of a screamer, but also quite the master of the giving people the hairy eyeball when needed).  The person who I found most appealing of the bunch was probably Carmellini.  Though I have lived for years in New York City, I have never eaten at any of his restaurants, and hope soon to fit a visit to Bar Primi or Locanda Verde into our schedule.

Wouldn’t you know, they had food after this event – little single bites, but still yummy things.  Before we left, we unexpectedly ran into Chef Jamie Lynch, who we had seen so recently on Top Chef Charleston.  He was eliminated from the competition due to an act of gallantry on his part, and we talked about that for a minute.  His restaurant, 5Church, was having an event as part of the festival, but we were already spoken for at that time. We agreed to visit his place when we return to Charleston over the summer.

After returning to the hotel for a – y0u guessed it – little nap, we got freshened up and took an Uber a couple miles to the north for dinner at the Tattooed Moose.  I’ll be honest – I picked this restaurant because of the name.  But I also thought, after all the sophisticated meals we had eaten, going for some kicked-up bar food might be a nice change of pace.

And we enjoyed it, but don’t know if we would go back.  Yes, they gave me some mayonnaise to go with my french fries, and the duck club sandwich was not bad.  But kind of a young university crowd – admittedly, a phenomena hard to avoid when school is in session in Charleston, and if you don’t like hanging around students, you might find yourself occasionally wishing you were elsewhere.  I was just looking for something a little less noisy, I guess.

Our Uber driver back to the hotel was helpful, reminding us of some of the more obscure pronunciations of street names in Charleston (Legare is pronounced “luh-GREE”, for example).  Five days of fun in Charleston was already behind us, but ahead of us was still a weekend filled with food and beverages that would leave us with food memories enough to last us until our next time in the Holy City.

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