I had the absolute pleasure of attending "A Moveable Feast" this past weekend, with Brooklyn Laundry. What is Brooklyn Laundry you ask? It is a fantastic dining club and catering group, based in New York, which focuses on farm-to-table convivial meals and literary-inspired menus. Previous to their venture to Austin, the group meets once a month in different locations all over New York, with Chef Fiore Tedesco leading the culinary trail. Their first dinner outside New York happened to be in my fair city of Austin, and I jumped at the chance to try a dining group other than my own. Two dinners were created over a weekend and focused on Ernest Hemingway's, A Moveable Feast. The memoir is based on Hemingway's life in Paris in the 1920's. The book is a true dive into French wine and cuisine, with no detail left unturned or forgotten. The dinners Brooklyn Laundry created were over two nights, each with a little over 20 people. The first was hosted at a private home, the second at East Side Stages, an Austin office and stage space. I was fortunate enough to attend the second dinner, as I was celebrating the wedding of two wonderful friends the night before. I arrived at the east side location greatly anticipating what I was about to experience. I was graced with candle-lit stairs, a table with chilled beverages, and a warm greeting from Chef Tedesco himself. We briefly talked about the group, my history, and what was to come for the edible evening. As Chef returned to his final prep, I sipped on Lillet and Champagne (a cocktail Hemingway fancied), with the cool spring air as my background and a copy of Edible Austin in my hand. I had the chance to speak with Tedesco's wife, mother, and sister. All whom were incredibly lovely and welcoming. Slowly but surely, more quests continued to arrive. Many knew each other previously, and I was excited to meet others intrigued by the meal ahead. We soon sat down at a perfectly set long table with wildflowers and candles galore. Chef Tedesco welcomed the group and explained that each of the five courses was based on a passage of the book, and meant to mimic a dish Hemingway adored in Paris. The first course began with a re-creation of oysters. We were served Golden Tilefish ceviche with butter lettuce cups and french sorrel salad. A glass of 2009 Bieler Estate Rose accompanied the dish. It was heavenly. The sorrel salad left the palate clean and refreshed, while the ceviche cooled the senses with a salty twist. A perfect way to start the evening. We were next presented with Fried "Goujon" with sweet potatoes and baby turnips in a mint, caper and lemon butter. This served with a 2005 Drouhin Saint Veran. As a Southern girl, I appreciate anyone who serves something fried. Chef Tedesco did not disappoint. The batter was light, and fish moist. The vegetables complimented the fish with hearty ability. Delicious. Next came the Truffled roast quail with venison live pate and pommes a l'huile. The quail was created to showcase Hemingway's love for roast chicken lunch in Lyon. I felt the same love towards the quail. The pate was perfect. I usually have to leave a little behind, but with this one I devoured every bite. Not the least bit heavy or strong. It was served with a 2006 Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence. My absolute favorite of the night. It was spicy and robust, but sipped so easily. The last course before dessert was Seared Siika venison with spring onion and strawberry puree. Yes, your mouth should be watering. The uncommon combination of venison and strawberry thrilled every eater. The berries created a backdrop of suddle sweetness with the venison sweeping its way over the taste buds. We were served a 2007 Terre d'Ardoise Vieilles Vignes Carignan with the dish. To finish the evening off, as we were all smiling and satisfied, came dessert. Chef Tedesco called it 'Opium and Milk', a recreation from a passage in the book where Hemingway is told to give his friend a bit of opium when he needed it, and milk when he'd had enough. The dish was just as addictive, a Chocolate rose tart with poppy seed lavender ice cream. The ice cream was custom made by Amy's Ice Cream in town, and it was phenomenal. Lavender is one of my most favorite ingredients used in cooking, and I was so glad to see it incorporated in the dessert. The chocolate was perfectly dark and sweet. The crust flaky and buttery. The whole thing was exceptional, and I will miss it most of all. The dessert was served with your choice of fruit liqueur. Texas Hills Orange Moscato, Mirabelle Eau-De-Vie, or Framboise Eau-De-Vie. I chose the Mirablle (plum) and many others the Framboise (rasberry). Each could knock your socks off. As the scent punched at your noise, the flavor was surprisingly smooth. A great end to what was an unforgettable meal. Brooklyn Laundry will be returning to Austin sometime in December, and headed to Los Angeles next. It is not to miss. Take part in what should be the way we cook, dine, and enjoy. All ingredients from the dinner came from places in and around the city. Amy's Ice Cream, Boggy Creak Farms, Broken Arrow Ranch, Sweetish Hill Bakery, and Texas Quail Farms. Be sure to stay tuned to what Tedesco continues to achieve. He is a delight to be around, and continues to drape his Italian based passion on the mouths he feeds.
Amy's Ice Cream, Boggy Creek Farms, Broken Arrow Ranch, Sweetish Hill Bakery, Texas Quail Farm