Chef Talk Dinner at Craft, 1/26/02

Joined May 26, 2001
After our whirwind tour of some of NYC's culinary high spots, the group headed over to Craft for a fabulous dinner. Sadly, KyleW and Linda had to cut out, to attend the festivities for the new name of ICE, but Cape Chef, Shroomgirl, MBrown, Momoreg, Foodnfoto, and Suzanne were joined by Suzanne's s.o., Paul.

For those who don't know, the menu at Craft is sort of do-it-yourself, put together the meal you want. It is divided into Appetizers, Main Courses, and Sides; within each of these, the items are divided into method of cooking, such as Braised, Roasted, Sauteed, and so on. (Sauces are now mercifully decided upon by the kitchen.) The food was placed in the center of the table, and we operated on the principle of "Take some and pass to the right" (just like Thanksgiving, MBrown noted). We all shared, with much oohing, aahing, sighing, and hilarity:


House-cured Duck Ham
Roasted Foie Gras
Roasted Sweetbreads
Gamebird Terrine
Frisee Salad
Nantucket Bay Scallops

Main Courses and Sides:

Braised Guinea Hen
Braised Shortribs
Roasted Skate
Braised Quail
Roasted Loin Lamb chops

Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
Roasted Bluefoot Mushrooms
Braised Salsify
Potatoes Boulangeres
Soft Polenta
Fennel Salad
Celery Root Remoulade

To go with all these, we had a 2000 Pinot Gris from Matakana Estate in New Zealand, and 1999 Pinot Noir, St. Innocent, from Shea Vineyard in the Willamette Valley (Oregon).

After all that, could we eat dessert? Since we had a couple of illustrious pastry chefs in the party, we all felt it was our duty to try. (Here, too, everything is a la carte.) We ordered:

Chocolate Tart, and Coconut Sorbet
Freshly-made Donuts (chocolate, wheat, and Cinnamon) which come with chocolate sauce for dipping
Toffee Sticky Pudding (with its own jug of toffee sauce, and whipped cream)
Roasted Apple Rings
Roasted Quince slices
Espresso Panna Cotta.

This led to the only conflict of the day or evening, when one person at first refused to share! But the problem was short-lived, without anyone having to resort to uncivil behavior.

But wait, there's more! First of all, since the waiter overheard some comments at the table, the chocolate tart came out with "Happy Birthday" on it for MBrown. Then, even MORE desserts were brought, courtesy of the kitchen:

Brioche Pain Perdu, with a side of caramel sauce
Blood Orange, Pear, and Pineapple Sorbets
Rum Raisin, Caramel, and Hazelnut Ice Creams.

WOW! It was a struggle, but we demolished just about everything.

Finally, we received delightful migniardises of caramel popcorn, chocolate-dusted raisins, peanut brittle, and apple jellies. And, oh yes, another little extra of tiny Chocolate/Espresso Ice Cream Sandwiches.

The staff at Craft could not have been more gracious. And on a busy Saturday night, they let us take our time -- 4 hours (!) for our incredibly wonderful meal. But as good as the food was, the company of Chef Talk friends made it extra special.
Joined May 29, 1999
A great time!
Chelsea Market, Union Square Green Market, Institute of Culinary Education, Fishes Eddy, Craft!
I could have danced all night!
Thank you to CC, Momoreg, Shroom, Suzanne, Foodnfoto, Linda, KileW and Paul for a wonderful evening.I had to take home the wine list, too much to read in one sitting.
Craft is well worth the trip to 19 street in NYC! From the leather wall to the doughnuts~ a great pour on the manhattan (with an olive) to sweetbreads and roasted hen of the woods to esoteric wines.....thank you chef!
the taxi driver on the way home said a bunch of chefs get together to laugh at other chefs.... not really we celebrated the other chefs!!!!but still had a lot of laughs!
I hope others can join in on future outings and find the cheftalk chefs in your neighborhood for an evening of food, food and more food!

Now, what am I going to eat tomorrow???
Joined Jul 31, 2000
I just can't begin to tell you all how much I enjoyed meeting all of you. New York once again was the setting for a wonderful day of food, laughs and making new friends. I want to thank Kyle,Suzanne and Linda for being our fantastic tour guides. meeting for the first time Shroomgirl, Foodnfoto & Suzanne was a great treat for me. It was like we were old friends. We had some great conversations. It is so cool to be with people that share your same passions for food, even more fun was that we all were kind of coming from differnt angles, FNF...Is a chef turned food stylist (Beautiful Buisness cards of her work) Both michelles are pastry chefs, My self and Suzanne are chefs and ofcourse shroom is the freind of the earth and a great chef as well. This made for excellent topics and discussion. When I listened to Kyle talk about bread it was like being in school agian (unbelievible knowelage)
Chelsie market was a total blast!!! I haven't eaten so much food in a long time. The smells of breads and chocolate and all things Italian just made the market that much more appieling. Who else but a bunch of chefs and foodies would spend 45 minutes touching and smelling almost every piece of produce in a market and then give a history lesson on it :) FNF told me she is writting about indigines foods to North America, I hope she will share this with all of us. Being in the meat packing district I loved watching a butcher break down a hing 1/4 of beef (Right Momoreg)

As for Craft, It was the perfect spot for us to dine. We met Paul (Suzannes hubby) there. Putting together our dishes and discussion the flow and flavors was a great deal of fun. I think we maximized the "Craft Concept" We missed Athenaeus who was going to try to join us, But it is a long swim from Greece to the east coast. So we all look forward to a future gathering.
I think we all really had a great time. I totally am looking forward to many more cheftalk gatherings. BTW...I'll let Shroom comment on our return trip to CT with Momoreg:eek:
Thanks all
Joined May 26, 2001
Cape Chef said:I have to make one small correction to that: We already ARE old friends, because we've gotten to know each other through Chef Talk! (Although I could never have imagined what fun it is to WATCH M Brown talk, as well as listen to her!) At one point at dinner, I overheard Foodnfoto telling CC how important the site is to her, how connected it makes her feel -- is that ever true for me, too! And, I'm sure, for many others.

Which gets me to my wish: I hope that other "Chef Talkers" throughout the world can find a way to get together to share times like the one we had! Nicko is quite right in his warning -- but once you get to know each other online and can get a group together (safety in numbers -- I mean, for all I knew Cape Chef could have been some kind of madman ;) [well he is, but only when it comes to food!]), you might have as fantastic a time! This kind of friendship is life-saving.

And, of course, you'll be able to share the BEST food!!! :lips: :beer: :D

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!
Joined Mar 13, 2001
If that was the only problem I guess the evening went quite well!

I'm looking forward to the Montreal Cheftalk Reunion! :rolleyes:
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Me Jealous? Noooo!!! How did you think of that!

I wish I was there for dinner , then jump on my bewitched carpet (Sorry I come from the East we have flying carpets here, not brooms ) and come back to Athens :)

I hope I will have the opportunity to meet you soon and exchange some bread recipes with Kylie.



Joined Apr 4, 2000
Sounds like a wonderful day, not to mention that meal. Any crumbs left? :lips:
Joined Aug 14, 2000
It was, for the second time, amazing. "Virtual Strangers" from all over the place can meet and have a blast. While Linda and I had met Brad, Michele and Michelle, we had not met Julie nor Suzanne nor Lynne. Didn't matter! ChefTalk remains the most remarkable of communities. Its most amazing trait is that it flows seamlessly between the Cyber and 3D realms. This is no mean feat! Sitting around that table in the Italian food store, each having contributed to the bounty before us, passing plates and food "like Thanksgiving" and as if we had been eating together for 100 years. Quite amazing :)
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Shroom and I are both online at the same time here at my house. I will probably post more on this topic tomorrow, but I just want to say for now that, yes, Isa,there are crumbs left, and they are in the form of pictures. I will send them to Nicko (probably tomorrow), and maybe he'll have time to post them.:bounce:
Joined Mar 4, 2000
It's been an amazing weekend!! Today we had lunch in Chinatown (at Big Wong on Mott; where else?), then checked out the Royal Crown Bakery in Brooklyn. Shroom bought out almost all the bread in the place, it seemed. We actually had some of the fig bread with Camembert later on, and it was a life changing experience.

We took a ride to the upper east side (to the former San Ambreous (sp?)), which is now Fauchon. Had some gelati and coffee, then took off to The Vinegar Factory, and since that wasn't enough food shopping for one day, took a ride up to the Fairway in Harlem, where shroom bought some shrooms, and cooked them up for dinner. Our dinnertime feast was a perfect ending to another food adventure.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
NYC!!! Loved the tour, what better way to see the city than through another foodie's eyes......italian lunch family style....marinated artichokes, tuna and anchovy stuffed peppers, rapini, spinach, bread, proscuitto, wonderful wonderful mozz balls!!!!(taking some back to STL)...then on to Fat Witch brownies, Amy's bakerie, and then they took me to Union
Square Farmer's Market....end of the day and it was still glorious. cippione onions, cheeses, lady apples, giant 13# chickens, apple cider, parsnips, salsify, pies, shrooms, opera, bluegrass, country music, maple sugar, maple spread......what a wonderous market. and of course the 60* weather was unbelievable. On to Peter Kumps for a veiw of the it before it officially became ICE. Craft....well it was marvelous, I would not have wanted to eat anywhere else!!!!
Sunday Michele (momoreg adn her so Jordan) took me into "the city" Big Wong was phenominal, the BEST congee with 1000 year old eggs, salt pork and cruellers!!!!!the ribs, pork and duck were great the greens chinese food ever!!! Hole in the wall diner.
Off to Brooklyn for Royal Crown Bakery....their olive bread is incredible adn the fig pinenut bread with Chatham Farms Camebert is one of the better food combos. Off to Fachon...the jellies are YUCKY, the coffee good, the pastries beautiful....really beautiful. Eli's Vinegar....what a shop!!!!they have someone labeling though that had baba ganoush label on the hummos. Cote D'or chocolates, breads...and the rhubarb french yogurt at $2 a container worth every penny, now how to get them in STL.
Final stop Harlem ....amazing!!!totally drooling amazing....
Home to roasted chicken, cheeses....Montgomery cheddar, aged gouda,shropshire, camembert, pickles, carrot green salad (?) good, sauteed hen of the woods and hedgehogs, olive bread, fresh peas, apricot tart, jellies (bleck).....What tourof NYC. I'm heading in for lunch at Home then flying out Mon. afternoon....Thank you guys! thank you Brad for carrying my NY farmer shtuff through the streets of Manhatten. Thank you Michele for hauling me hither and yon to explore the nuggets of NY.....Roayl Crown Bakery!!!!YES! Next time DUMBO....and Torres place.
Falling wine, run away trains, broken phones, late night rescues....Nope I don't remember.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
Ain't the Vinegar Factory cool? Not cheap, but cool! That I live around the corner can be hazardous to my wallet :)
Joined Jan 1, 2001
It was sucha wonderful event to meet all of you, bop around the city, and yackety-yack-yack about great food! The folks here at Chef Talk are truly a wonderful circle of people and professionals. I do so apprecieate counting all of you as my friends.
Craft was quite an event, though to one as indecisive as myself, a daunting challenge to figure out what to order! An Yes! I admit! I was the one who didn't want to share my dessert!:blush: You see, I wanted coffee and I wanted dessert, but not both. So, I ordered the espresso panna cotta to satisfy, you see? I did share anyway, you know.
Thanks to all of you for a very fun-filled day.
PS. I'm glad you made it up to Fairway in Harlem. It's my favorite grocery store in the world! The people who work there are really nice too!
Joined May 26, 2001
Foodnfoto, don't sell yourself short! Your suggestion of the quail was brilliant -- we all agreed that it was one of the real highlights of the meal -- so tender and juicy, not at all dry the way those little guys often end up! And, yes, you DID share, without any threats from the rest of us (well, maybe it was those longing looks we gave your plate...).

To get back to the rave about Craft: it's really a great place to go with a crowd, for 2 reasons. 1. if somebody doesn't like something that gets ordered, there's sure to be something else they'll love, and 2. it's almost impossible to not like almost everything. And the staff was so gracious to us, letting us hang out for so long, even on a busy Saturday night.

Craft is definitely on my best-of list now!
Joined Jul 24, 2001
May the hick from Greece ask a question?

You keep repeating that "they let you stay for 4 hours"

I mean, why not? Is there a rule against that?

In Greece staying for dinner in a restaurant for 4 hours even in Vardis ( 2 Michelin Stars) is the least...
We go at 23:00 we leave at 03:00

Normal things :D
Joined Mar 4, 2000
That's a rarity here. More often than not, if I over stay my welcome in a restaurant, they try to let you know, by delivering the check, or repeatedly asking you if there's anything else you need. There was none of that at Craft, fortunately.

I guess in general, Greece is more laid back about that sort of thing.
Joined May 26, 2001
Oh, Athenaeus, we'll turn you into a New Yorker yet!

Believe it or not, some restaurants here actually operate under the barbaric principle that the table you, the customer, occupy is really theirs, to do with as they please. And since they want to make as much money as they can, they only want you to sit there for what they decide is "enough" time to have your meal. Then they will have another customer in your place, to be rude to in the same way. This tends to happen in new, "trendy" places, and can be as little as 1+1/2 hours. I've heard that they actually tell you that your time is up! Disgusting thought, isn't it?

Well, maybe they are not doing it so much now, if business is down. But they are often the type of place that is very busy when it first opens, and then loses business to the next "hot" place. I cannot speak for the quality of the food in places like that, since I am neither young nor thin enough to be part of that crowd. Athenaeus, you'll have to be our emissary to those places when you get here. (only joking!)
Joined Jul 24, 2001
If you want to have fun, pleaseeeeee take me to a place that they will tell me that my time is up...


No wonder why deipnosophists were a Greek Fruit...


In my first trip to NY we went with my husbands friends to the theater. It was over at 9:00 , so, I asked them in my most natural face : " What's next? Let's go have a drink somewhere"
You see, I didn't have my first "manhattan" coctail yet and I was in Manhattan for 10 days already!!!!

They had a look as if I had offended them....:rolleyes:
Joined Aug 23, 2000
Great posts, wonderful thread.

As moderator, I felt compelled to read through this thread, but it near undid me.

Jealous, but proud of you all, and these things Cheftalk hath wrought.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Any time you have a chance to meet in person someone you've connected with from this board, DO SO. Whether it's two of you meeting in Kamloops, or Santiago, or Athens, you won't regret it! My experience was one of spending time with genuinely good people with warm smiles and big hearts. If there's any chance you can get to Montreal, GO!! That promises to be a phenomenal time, too.

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