Posted on: August 24, 2011 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 0

Months ago I mentioned to Neb that it would be so nice to have a proper dinner party – to take a day off and spend it crafting a five course meal. Today was that day.

On Monday at muster I announced that it would be taking place. I asked for a six-dollar contribution, which everyone but Straus was prepared to chip in.

“Six dollars… for food?” he said, aghast.

“Six bucks for a gourmet meal?” said Cap, “I’m in. I’ll even give you 60 towards wine!”

I love that Neb came in and helped me for most of the day. At first I wanted to focus, and have time alone, but it was great to have an assistant, and company in the kitchen. He made the potato-crab cakes, and the rub for the filets, and the welcome drink! (Gosh, what did I do?) Later, Eve helped between courses with running plates to the table and back. And everyone helped clean up at the end of the night.

Since we’ve talked about sharing this type of meal together for months, you might think I had it all planned out. You might assume that every dish was carefully crafted with either a memory or someone’s special ingredient in mind. I wish I had put that much forethought into it. But it all came off smashingly regardless. (Though I did get a little fast and loose with the avocado cream when it came time to plate the main course!)

It turned out to be one of those rare perfect evenings, when the world shrinks to the size of a dining room (or a salon, in this instance) and time seems to slow down.

Afterwards, Neb gave me a big hug and kisses on both cheeks. Harrison nearly toppled me in a hug as well. Buttons was teary-eyed. So was Eve, but I think that was mainly caused by the fact that she tried a bite of my steak. Her first meat in something like eight years…. and she liked it!

I wish I could say I did it on six dollars per person. That was part of the original idea. But then I decided I really wanted to treat us. I wanted filet mingon, damnit. And tuna tartar. And Cap wanted good wine! All in all, I’m sure the meal cost more like $20 a person. Still, that’s not bad for a meal like this.

Tuesday’s Menu
A sandwich at a place called American Spoon in Petoskey. We got to taste their gelatos, and now I’m itching to go back and get a cone with the burnt caramel flavor. It was divine
Welcome drink: lemoncello and club soda rimmed with sugar and dehydrated lemon and grapefruit zest (the trick that got me on the Saveur 100 list one year)
Starter salad: Watermelon, feta, mint and sweet chili sauce
Tuna tartar: tuna, grapefruit, candied ginger, jalepeno salt, pepper, and cilantro
Main: Crab-potato cake, topped with a seared filet mingon that had been sitting in a little soy sauce and a rub of four peppers: black, white, rose, and ancho chilli pepper, topped with an avocado cream and a raspberry-chipotle reduction

Cheese course: Morbier in a black current reduction with freshly ground black pepper and red grapes
Dessert: Chocolate mousse and strawberry granite, with grated chocolate on top

Wines: A dry Spanish white; a Temperanillo; a Barbera D’Asta; a Shiraz; and a Gewurtztraminer.