Table Setting

We told you we were going to the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) Dining by Design event: Table Hop & Taste….and we did attend, of course. It was really a lot of fun, all these great tablescapes to look at and lots of great stuff to taste, a treat for the eyes and the tummy. Lon and Carol were my fabulous dates…

Table Setting

Our first taste was a Veal Meatball by Icon. It was just that, a veal meatball, nothing special. It could have been better if it wasn’t cold already, but it’s always difficult serving this way.

Icon - Veal Meatball with Eggplant and Tomato Compote CU

Our next stop was the L’ecole table, where they presented a beautiful amuse of cured salmon, curried parsnip, croutons, and salmon roe. The flavors and textures were each vital to making this one of the clear winners of the event.

L'Ecole (FCI) - Curried Salmon

Paris Commune
had four different pastries, each puff pastry with a different filling. These were rather disappointing since none were particularly pretty, and the puff pastry was under-baked. The one with duck confit, and the one with braised lamb skimped on the filling, to the point where you could not tell what the filling was.

Paris Commune - Duck Confit and Apricot Glaze Paris Commune - Braised Lamb with Poached Pear

The Mixed Mushroom ones and the Crab ones had more filling, but were still boring.

Paris Commune - Mixed Mushrooms Flambe Paris Commune - Crab and Corn with Light Cream Sauce CU

While some tables seemed more focused on aesthetics, others seemed to be sending a message.

Pieces 1
Pieces 2

had cute little grape leaves, a bit extra acidic, but Lon loved them.

Ilili - Stuffed Grape Leaves

The little flatbreads with ground lamb were also tasty.

Ilili - Ateyef Lahmajeem (Pancake with Spiced Lamb and Labne)

But the three of us swooned over the Beef Dumplings in Yogurt. The meat was tender and juicy, spiced and seasoned wonderfully, submerged in a thick yogurt with an herby oil. The whole shooter was served hot too.

Ilili - Mini Kibbeh Bi Laban (Beef Dumplings in Yogurt)

North Square had the table next to Ilili, where they served cute little cups of Shrimp Cocktail with Avocado and Mango, with pretzels. It was pretty standard.

North Square Restaurant - Shrimp Cocktail with Avocado and Mango

Carol’s favorite was the Tuna Tartare in Limestone Tartlets, by Kittichai. The candied tuna had a nice bounce and texture, but it was too sweet for my taste, but Lon agreed with Carol, and they went back for more.

Kittichai - Grade A Meing Tuna Tarare in Limestone Tartlets with Peanuts, Ginger, and Lime

All three of us are cheese fanatics so of course we enjoyed the Murray’s Cheese stop. The fresh Asiago with apricots, and the Castel Rosso with Charcoal Crackers were great.

Murray's Cheese - Asiago and Dried Apricots Murray's Cheese - Castelrosso with Honey and Charcoal Crackers

There was one cheese that I can’t remember now, but the last was a bitter cheddar that all three of us walked away complaining about.

Murray's Cheese - Aged Cheddar from Grafton Village with Raisins

Estiatorio Milos
definitely put out the biggest spread. We each walked away with piled plates of simple but well executed Mediterranean salads. The roasted peppers weren’t peeled but they were very tasty.

Estiatorio Milos - Grilled Peppers, Garlic, and Capers

They used excellent mozzarella to pair with cherry tomatoes and olives.

Estiatorio Milos - Fresh Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes, and Kalamata Olives

I thought a few pieces of octopus were tough but Lon didn’t notice.

Estiatorio Milos - Grilled Octopus Salad with Capers

I’ve been unhealthy lately, so I appreciated the tomato and feta salad. We also loved the dips with pita, hummus, yogurt, and roasted pepper/feta. You could really make a nice lunch out of this spread.

Estiatorio Milos - Tomato & Green Pepper Salad with Feta Estiatorio Milos - Fresh Pita served with Various Dips

I liked the Pane Rustico Insalata by Bella Cucina. The Toasted pane rustico flatbread is ultra thin so it breaks really easily, but to my surprise (since I’m not an olive lover), I loved the strong tapenade dressed with fresh arugula with a slice of Parmesan.

Bella Cucina - Pane Rustico Insalata

L.A. Burdick, a chocolate company, ended up being our favorite. We tried all seven chocolates and an incredible hot chocolate, and all agreed that this was a fabulous company. The Richelieu – Cherry, flavored dark chocolate bonbon with hint of vanilla, garnished with dried morello cherry, was mine and Carol’s favorite.

L.A. Burdick - Richelieu

Lon’s favorite was the Pave Glacee, cube of rich, velvety, dark chocolate gianduja mixed with hints of saffron and cognac.

L.A. Burdick - Pave Glacee

We’re going to do an interview with the Chocolate and Pastry Chef Michael Klug soon so stay tuned…

The Pain a la Grecque by Dandoy Biscuits are just biscuits with pearl sugar, nothing interesting really.

Dandoy Biscuits - Pain a la Grecque (flaky biscuit hand rolled in sugar pearls)

Oddly, Tribeca Grill served desserts. It was an amazing looking spread but they looked better than they tasted, mostly because they were generally too sweet.

Tribeca Grill - Pastries 2

The three of us tried nearly every one and all favored the Dulce de Leche, the only one that was more flavor than sugar, ooh that caramelized goodness.

Tribeca Grill - Pastries 6

In our experience, the food at these types of events seem to be an after-thought. Yes, even when it’s called a food event or tasting. This time, I’m actually impressed. All three of us enjoyed several different tables and left full and happy. Presentations were great (as you can see) and I hope we get invited again next year!

View the full Flickr set.

posted by jessica at 04:00 PM Filed under Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.