Monday, March 1, 2010

Poached egg

Berkeley, February 28, 2010—
A HARD WEEKEND it's been, but I'm not complaining. We capped it off today by driving here for a staff party at Chez Panisse, where maybe two hundred people — staffers and significant others and guests and whonot — crowded and jostled upstairs and down, wolfing down duck soba, tsukemono, sushi, and lord knows what else, all made on the spot by Peko-Peko Catering.
Now Dedicated Reader of this blog will suspect that Japanese cuisine is not my cup of tea, and he will be correct. For one thing, there's the Shellfish Dodge to deal with: which pretty thing will hide a bit of lobster, or crab, or shrimp? But there were plenty of things that were clearly safe: salmon, swordfish, delicious little smelt; and bits of chicken skewered. And, best of all, a curious Japanese variation of my beloved frisée aux lardons: quickly blanched greens, very slightly sweetened, with a delicately poached egg, all on a bed of perfectly steamed rice. You had to be there.
Lager from the tap


Curtis Faville said...

Ah, yes, the aura of exclusivity, which hangs over the whole like a fog of minted steam.

Charles Shere said...

I'm not sure what Curtis means here. This was a closed party, the annual get-together Chez Panisse puts on to thank the staff, to give everyone a chance to get out of work-clothes and enjoy one another's company for a few hours. It's a family; it's a big family; and there's not that much distance between chefs and dishwashers, maintenance people and maitres d'. But since most people aren't on the staff of Chez Panisse — although Sunday night it sure seemed like a sizable fraction of the country does — I suppose it's exclusive.