Baltimore, Maryland

That’s an image from my friend Em’s dinner party on Bastille Day. She and her husband Rob, ardent Francophiles both, threw a grand dinner party for the French national holiday. Emily writes, of the image above:

Dessert: buckwheat crepes, blackberry coulis and ice cream made from Dogfish Head Fort.  The ice cream was a little disappointing; good flavor, but an odd, grainy texture that I couldn’t figure out.  We served it with Chambord (pictured) or Chartreuse or Mandarine Napoleon, a more flavorful version of Grand Marnier.

We talked a little about the ostensible reason for our get-together: truthfully, we don’t have much attachment to the French Republic, and certainly not to the bloody uprising that brought it about.  What we love about France is the way friendship, conversation and dinner have almost-sacramental status, and if we can bring a little of that to our friends, what better use is there of a long, hot summer evening?

Anyway, for my last night on earth, if I get a choice, I’d like to throw that party all over again.

Ahhh. Look at this menu from their party. They served California wines (wine and liqueur choices in brackets) because that’s what they had:


[Artesa Sauvignon Blanc (2010) et creme de cassis]

Soupe de concombre avec crevettes et caviar

[Artesa Reserve Chardonnay (2009)]

Petite salade Nicoise

[Artesa Pinot Noir (2008)]

Filet mignon de porc avec confit des fruits, ratatouille et polenta crèmeuse

[Artesa Pinnacle (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot; 2008)]

Sorbet griotte

Assiette de fromages

[Guy Charlemagne Reserve Blanc]

Crepes avec glace a la framboise et coulis aux mures

[Mandarine Napoleon, Chambord, Chartreuse]


Absinthe, chocolat Francais

By the way, if you’re thinking, “Rod sure does have rich, fancy friends,” you’ll be interested to learn that Em teaches high school, and Rob teaches at a community college. I’ve put more pix from the dinner below the jump. They aren’t technically VFYT pix, but they are snapshots of what seems to me to be the ultimate home VFYT event.

The little Nicoise salads




Cucumber soup with caviar, shrimp, lemon and creme fraiche

Em writes:

This soup was stunning.  The creme fraiche, caviar and sauteed shrimp complimented each other so well, and the chilled cucumber base really brought out the lemony flavor of the dill.  I could eat this every day.  You could, too.

I have more pix, but I’m a moron at figuring out how to resize them.