Have you ever had a really, really memorable meal -- so good that you woke up the next day and wished you could rewind time for a minute, just to have another bite of the soup, or the fish, or chocolate ganache cake? That's the kind of meal I had last night, and I want to tell you about it.
Brian McCracken, chef and owner of Flyte (private dining in your living room -- or a vineyard, cranberry bog, or barn -- basically whatever you imagine, Brian and his team can accomodate) came by last night to cook for me, my husband, and a few friends. I met Brian via an article I wrote for The Seattle Post Intelligencer a few months ago. In case you're wondering, no, I don't have professional chefs cooking in my kitchen often (or frankly, ever), and yes, I was very excited (and, um, a little nervous -- what would he think of my sub-par stove and messy refridgerator, or the baby's high chair lurking in the dining room?).
Brian -- friendly, approachable, and kind -- arrived, with food, dinner plates, pans -- you name it -- in tow. After we put the baby to bed, Jason and I, and our guests, pulled up chairs and gathered around the kitchen to watch a chef at work, enjoying the first course in the kitchen: Braised Short Rib With Cinnamon Dijon.
Warm and satisfying, we gobbled it down and then made our way to the dining room for the next round: Butternut Squash Soup With Bleu Cheese Monte Cristo. It was a blockbuster combo -- a creamy, autumnal (I love using that word) soup with the crisp, buttery monte cristo. Borderline culinary brilliance.
Next came the Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, sort of like grown-up ravioli in a bed of mushrooms and paired with these beautiful little gelees, which were made of rosemary tea. It was aromatherapy, on a plate.
Before the next course, we sipped a grape soda (yes, grape soda!) that Brian made of fresh pressed grapes and soda water. The rims of each glass were lined with lemon sea salt. It was a perfect rest before the Seared Halibut arrived, which was crusted with celery seed and served with celery puree, braised celery, and celery leaves (are they called leaves?).
Hold on, there's more. The next creation was a nod to Brian's family's cranberry farm in Westport: Pan Roasted Duck With Nutmeg-Spiced Orzo and Smoked Cranberry Cobbler. And trust me, it was as good as it sounds.
And just when we thought things couldn't get any better, sweeter, brighter, and more delicious -- Brian delivered the finale: Black Pepper Chocolate Ganache With Smoked Sea Salt, Caramel and Chocolate Porter. My friend Sally summed it up best: "This is a dessert you could woo a girl with," she said to Brian. And she was right. He wooed us all -- down to the last bite.