Written by Anton Zuiker since July 2000
Why mistersugar? Why a pig?
So, last night’s food blogging dinner with Michael Ruhlman and Piedmont Restaurant. It was a blast, and all seemed to enjoy the balcony setting, special guest, food and wine, and conversation with old friends and new acquaintances.
As I mentioned a few times during the evening, I’m grateful that Michael took time from his busy schedule to visit Durham, and grateful that chefs Drew Brown and Andy Magowan took an interest in the event, and delighted that 28 others agreed to pay $65 to share evening with us. (We also made sure to thank the excellent waitstaff at Piedmont).
As I had hoped, Michael and Drew were able to tie together our themes of eating locally grown food — the menu was mostly derived from a single pig raised by Eliza McLean of Cane Creek Farm, with cheeses from Chapel Hill Creamery — and supporting local chefs, as well as learning to talk and write about good food.
What did we eat? Here’s the menu:
housemade charcuterie and local cheeses: pate, lomo, rillette, head cheese, new moon, chevre camembert and accompaniments
Le Colture Fagher Prosecco
white sweet potato puree with pancetta
Pierre Henri Chardonnay 2006
arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, pickled oak-grown shiitakes and herbs
pork loin with butternut squash polenta, braised chard and jus
La Gironnere Cotes do Bordeaux 2003
scupernong granita with moscato d’asti, cookies
It was delicious from first bite to last. My highlights included the pate and head cheese — firsts for me — and the intense iced grape juice. The pork was full of flavor, the soup smooth and topped with crunchy pork, and the wine just perfect.
I hope the other guests will share their thoughts about the meal, either on their own blogs or here in the comments.
And who were the lucky diners? Brian Russell, Ruby Sinreich, Bora Zivkovic, Melissa and Jeff King, Anna Kushnir, Rob and Elizabeth Everett, Luke Everett and Sherry Honeycutt, Ross Grady and two friends (help me with their names, please), Erika and Rob Zelt, Dean McCord, Alice Lin and Chris Lin (same last name, and to be married to each other next month), Meg Ryan O’Donnell, Mark and Morgan Lamphere, Jennifer Curry, Gary Gartner and his wife (help me with her name, please), Fleming and Kirk Samuels, Erin Zuiker, me and Michael Ruhlman.
Some tidbits picked up during the night: Brian celebrated his birthday last night. Alice is a pediatric ophthalmologist who worked with Erin’s brother, an eye surgeon in Cleveland. Ross’s friend grew up in Berlin Heights, Ohio and knew Erin’s Sandusky cousins. Dean is a lawyer who leads the cooking for a big summer dinner party for the summer associates who work at his firm. Luke and Sherry are soon to open a wine bar near Duke University. Jeff and Melissa are also getting married soon. Chef Drew worked at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Las Vegas, and made his way back to Durham to open Piedmont with Chef Andy. Lantern chef Andrew Reusing (lauded in the Oct07 issue of Gourmet for her own use of local ingredients) was dining at Piedmont with her family, including a newborn son.
See pictures of the dinner. Turns out I didn’t snap many food shots, mostly because I was savoring every bite and spoonful. If others took pictures, I’ll link to their images.
All in all, a perfect night … well, when I find my checkbook, then I’ll declare perfection. But from Piedmont and Michael and my fellow dinner guests, everything I expected.
UPDATE: The food blogging event on other blogs: