Le Pop Up
In June of 2013, I was finishing up a two week, European work trip in Paris (rough job, I know,) and Adam had decided to meet me there so we could travel together. Food obsessed as we both are, and Paris obsessed as I am, we had started researching the trip months before our departures. Not surprisingly, the list of restaurants we wanted to try far exceeded the actual number of meals that we would be in Paris for, so we had to seriously whittle down the list. We knew that we wanted to treat ourselves to at least one Parisian fine dining experience, but with the weak dollar and the price of upscale dining in Paris, we also knew that it was not going to be cheap…and that is how our first pop up dinner, Le Pop Up, came to be.
Outpost India Basin had been used for a few events by that point, but Adam and I had yet to do a dinner of our own. It was the perfect opportunity to do our first dinner together and to use the proceeds to help pay for our fancy-pants dinner in Paris. Giving the dinner a French theme was the obvious choice, so we combined that with local, seasonal produce, and this is what we came up with:
The amuse, a chilled, glazed Marin Miyagi oyster, was a play on a similar dish I had eaten at Guy Savoy restaurant, in Paris, many years before. A freshly shucked oyster is placed on a bed of oyster puree and then dotted with chive flowers, lemon zest and scallion rings and covered with an oyster liquor gelée.
Next, we served a mushroom-asparagus galette that we cooked in Adam’s wood fired oven, and topped it off with locally foraged, homemade fennel ice cream.
The next course was a chilled spring vegetable soup topped with blanched vegetables, micro-greens and dots of fresh buttermilk.
Our entree was a lush coq au vin, served with a perfect, runny yolked poached egg, wilted escarole, roasted baby carrots, pickled ramps and a vibrant fresh herb sauce.
Our cheese course, just a nibble really, was a slice of Rondin de Brebis, a lovely semi-firm, sheep’s milk cheese from Aveyron, France. The delicate, slightly nutty flavor of the cheese paired beautifully with toasted walnuts and a bright, tart rhubarb compote.
The first dessert course was a bite-sized, fresh Brooks cherry clafoutis with toasted almonds and a shot of fragrant, rose geranium soda (made from the leaves of my downstairs neighbor’s rose geranium plant.)
The next dessert was a tarte tatin sundae. For this, we soaked toasted croissants in crème anglaise to make a luscious ice cream that tasted just like the buttery pastry used in a traditional tarte tatin. We layered the ice cream in a bowl with caramelized apples and crumbled, baked pâte brisée and topped it all of with a dollop of whipped crème fraîche.
And last, but not least, came the mignardises. Since we had glaringly omitted chocolate from the first two dessert courses, we felt it imperative that we do an all-chocolate finale. Salted chocolate caramels, chocolate covered coconut crisps and a dense, chocolate orange terrine with a mint, Eiffel Tower pastille.
Oh, and the fabulous meal that we dined on in Paris thanks to the proceeds from Le Pop Up? We chose to have a decadent lunch at yam’Tcha, a lovely, dainty restaurant, tucked down a narrow alley, not far from The Louvre. Yam’Tcha is run by a husband and wife team– she the French chef and he, the Chinese tea master. Together they put together an unforgettable dining experience, comprised of multiple, delicate and flavorful dishes, that were paired brilliantly with alternating courses of wine and tea.