Gypsy...the Last Dance...

wow...it seems like forever since I last posted anything. I end up having a so many thoughts, yet so little time~ or so it appears. I know I only have as much time as anybody else, as there are only 24 hours in a day, and at times, it seems as if I use all of them for whatever. Over the last couple years or so, I have posted about my experiences of cooking at Gypsy...Seattle's underground cool eatery for the hipster foodies. A clandestine hangout for the sexy. An "atelier" for the insane cooks and chef's to present their craft to the few who come to dine. Well, this time, my reflection is about the dinner from a different point of view...as one of the foodies. The mastermind behind Gypsy(name purposely withheld), invited me to come experience the "Last Dance", or the last feast as it were, as a guest of his. I had never eaten his food and as colleagues and cohorts on several occasions, it was time. What an honor! The evening was amazing and very fun. We sat with another couple who we are friends with and one couple that we just met, which turned out to be quite pleasurable. The dinner started with some hors which were passed around and laid upon the "pass" in front of the dining room, then led into the plated soiree, heavy on Italian influences which were made possible via a very recent trip and which played out like this... A Diver Sea Scallop Tartare, embellished with Caviar, a Champagne Gelee, Nigella Meringue, dried Mango Powder and Umbrian Olive Oil~ a very unique chilled dish with subtle, yet fresh flavors. Next was a Cocoa Nib & Matsutake Consomme, rich with a hint of bitterness and garnished with a nest of ingredients whereas one would dip theirs into the "pho" as they chose. Raw shaved Foie Gras, Sweet Lobster Tail, Apples and Barley all played into the broth~ as one or as a sum of it's parts. Warm and wintery. A Hazelnut & Delicata Squash Fritter arose next with Persimmons, Bacon, Wilted Arugula and a 90 minute Duck Egg, which became a 90 second chicken counterpart as something went awry. Tasty dish nonetheless. Truffled Black Cod, or Sablefish followed with Duck Confit & Turnip Rosti (crisp potato cake), Mustard Cuisson, Chervil and some Italian Truffles. MMMMMM! Then, as somewhat of a tribute to some previous food conversations of he and I, was the Fire Roasted Foie Gras from the Brick Oven outside! Although as a lover of the fat, I wanted more, but a slice of the lobe was adorned with Garam Masala spices, Quince Mostarda, Thyme and toasted Country Bread. An intermezzo popped up as Green Olive Cotton Candy with Olive Oil Sorbet and Herb d' Provence Shortbread Wafer. I unfortunately did not receive a substantial portion of the candy, yet enough to taste the olive, albeit quite subtle. I wanted more! The sorbet was nice and the shortbread tasty as hell. Good times. Heading into round 2, we started with Fried Bone Marrow over toasted Brioche, with Parsnip and White Chocolate Puree, Aged Balsamic Condiment and Gremolata. Next was pure unctuousness...Maple Braised Pork Belly with wilted Escarole(a bitter green), grilled Mackerel, Raisins and Pedro Ximenez Vinegar. Rich yes, tasty yes, my kind of dish...for sure. By now many are feeling like they had had enough. The portions were a bit too big in my humble opinion. I always try to down-size the portions when serving over 8 courses, especially when exploring into the double digit realms. Onward. Local Seared Lamb Chop "crepinette", stuffed with braised Offal(innards) and wrapped with Caul Fat and served with Chanterelle-Farro Risotto, or Farrotto, Roasted Beets, Prunes and crispy Guanciale from Hector, or some such name of hog he had put under the blade. The stinker cometh! Washed Rind Talleggio, a richly tasting cow's milk cheese from Piedmont with White Truffle , Apples, Walnuts and Chestnut Honey. Tasty, yet not everyone's bag. Guess we'll keep the Epoisse under wraps for now. The next dish was a dessert taste of Honey-Olive Oil Sponge and Black Olive Caramel, Roasted Pear Sorbet, Porcini Streusel, and Chestnut Bubble Tea...a nice segue into the last bite of Ricotta, Espresso and Zabaglione Parfait, or somewhat of a alternative to Tiramisu...absolutely tasty! Caramel & Fleur de Sel topped the sweetness for a fab finish. Some mignardise were laid out before us we sipped and savored teas and coffees and consisted of pumpkin pates de fruits, lemon marshmallows, caramels and foie gras chocolates.

All in all...fantastic dinner. As a guest, I try to leave my critical hat and mind behind. As a chef, I can not. As I mentioned earlier, it was an honor to be a guest and to experience the dinner by eating it, rather than cooking, although I am not sure which I like better. That's insane. The meal fostered ideas and thoughts about my own cooking and food. It helped me to appreciate the Gypsy experience even more and more thoroughly understand what he was driving after. It made me re-analyze my portioning and flavor profiles and combinations. Sitting next to the guests in a communal fashion allowed me the opportunity to hear comments, see reactions and realize consumptions, something that being in the kitchen is not always accomplished. This was inspirational on many levels. My favorite dish...not sure, and although many flavors and tastes stood out along the journey, the dessert always has my heart. I look forward to the next page and chapter in the Gypsy book and look forward to cooking at them!


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