Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 755 : Recap of Taste of Home

Taste of Home is the third annual Housing Works culinary themed benefit and tasting designed to raise money and awareness for Housing Works's outstanding efforts and services specifically geared towards homeless and low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. Hosted by Ruth Reichl and Alex Guarnaschelli in the fabulous Housing Works Bookstore on Crosby Street, the tasting boasted bites from Michael White, Bill Dorrier (Osteria Morini), Gabe Thompson (L'Artusi, dell'anima & Anfora), Josh Capon (Lure Fishbar, B&B Winepub), Brendan McHale (Tasting Table), Ivy Stark (Dos Caminos), Paul Buese (The Works Catering) along with cheese from Murray's.

Housing Works expected over the course of the evening at least three hundred people in the space, thankfully we had the pleasure of going before the crowds descended on the somewhat intimate room.

View of the stairwell and interior of the bookshop

Walking into the warm and inviting old school bookshop with shelves from floor to ceiling, your first stop was the drinks table. There were cocktails curated by Tasting Table, Red & White Wines by Broadbent Selections and Beer from Whole Foods. I decided I had to taste their "Vero Beach" cocktail -- Gin, Tonic, Lemon, Dry Vermouth, Simple Sugar, Mandarin Liqueur, and Angostura Bitters. Right up my alley in terms of flavor profile but maybe a little much for me on a Monday evening before 7pm -- this cocktail surely packed a punch, definitely in a good way though. Glad I tried it, but perhaps a glass of Malbec was a better decision.

Moving right along, the next stop was the Murray's Cheese table. They offered three different cheeses : Hittisau, an Austrian aged raw cow's milk Alpine style cheese; Fleur du Maquis, a Corsican pasteurized sheep's milk delight that is rubbed with herbs (rosemary, savory, chili peppers, and juniper berries during its aging process; and Cabot's Clothbound Cheddar. A nice assortment of cheese styles and flavors designed to delight the amateur and the developed cheese palates alike. I especially loved Hittisau with its sweet nutty notes and its rustic barnyardy roundness as it is not a cheese I have had as often as the Fleur du Maquis and the Cabot -- both of which are equally fantastic and staples in my fridge. 

Next stop, the Tasting Table bite entitled "The L.E.S." -- Smoked trout, an everything bagel crisp, herb gelee and pickles. This was totally the elegantly dressed up hors d'oeuvres version of your full out bagel sandwich equivalent that you might pick up on a Saturday morning at Russ and Daughters. Savory and fresh, the perfect mouthful if you ask me.

Right next to the LES bite, it was time to go Mexican with Ivy Stark's and Dos Caminos' Guacamole and Chips. Delish, fresh, and creamy guacamole served with crispy yet not greasy chips were on offer here. A safe and straight-forward choice done well! 

Moving right along to Michael White and Bill Dorrier (Altamarea Group: Marea, Osteria Morini, Ai Fiori, Due Terre, Due Mari, and Al Moro) and their polpettine di Mortadella -- decadent and rich meatballs everyone said were delectable. Not eating meat however, it would be hard for me to contribute to the conversation.

Next stop was at Josh Capon's table (Lure Fishbar, B&B Winepub) which was sparsely adorned with homemade deviled eggs with American Paddlefish Caviar. Retro-inspired with a contemporary twist, these simple and straight forward morsels were designed to be smooth, sleek and approachable. 

Last stop was Gabe Thompson's table with a fish ceviche topped with fruit and chili dressing and a pancetta, scallion aioli, and greens crostini. The ceviche just melted in your mouth -- aromatic with a fantastic depth of flavor profile, this was a morsel that was meant to awaken your senses and boy did it!

Overall a really fun evening in a great space with excellent hosts and for a good cause -- what more could you ask for on a Monday night? Thank you Housing Works for a great beginning to the week!

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