brunch for a crowd

Last Saturday Miss Fats put on her social chair hat (yes, that position is real) and threw a brunch for a crowd.  Her task was to feed between 20 and 30 people following a boozy department party the night before.  Since Miss Fats attended the prior night’s festivities, she wanted to keep morning cooking duties to a minimum.  BUT that doesn’t mean she wasn’t all about a spread.

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Clearly Miss Fats opted for the excessive cheese and meat platters.  Who doesn’t love a wide variety of cured meats and creamy cheeses?

IMG_2064Epic cheese plate. Miss Fats doesn’t really know that much about selecting cheeses, so she basically just went for one of every animal.  And since she wasn’t paying for it, obviously fancy jam had to happen.  Thanks to her brilliant friend, Miss Fats now knows the beauty of blue cheese and Bon Maman cherry preserves.

IMG_2059Yeah you know you want that salty porky goodness following a night of too much wine and department nonsense.

IMG_2055Along with some bowls of salted almonds, pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe and papaya, this end of the table featured all of Miss Fats cooking additions.  In the early morning hours she whipped up two quiche lorainnes, a batch of her patented peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (not sure the reasoning behind that menu addition), and some of that crazy delicious buttery lemon cream cheese coffee cake she told you all about last week.

IMG_2056Now there’s no way Miss Fats could have done this on her own, and she is no drink expert, so she handed bar duty off to her co-social chair who turned it out.  They had the good orange juice (no concentrate for Miss Fats), bellinis, and bloody marys (and of course a TON of coffee).

Miss Fats considers this brunch to be a big success.  Plenty of food for their large hungry crowd and even some leftovers for post party snacking.  It’s hard to say what the final budget came to (this was thrown in conjunction with the department Oscar party), but she’d say somewhere around $150-75 for everything (including alcohol!).  Miss Fats enjoyed this little get together, but can’t say she’ll be throwing any more of these big brunches any time soon:she prefers to leave brunch to the professionals.  She resembled this sleepy kitty afterwards:

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Blah Blah Blabla, Cafe Spiaggia

Miss Fats apologizes for the delay on this restaurant week review.  They have been BUSY eating (clearly).  The second spot Miss Fats hit last week was the famous Cafe Spiaggia.  There were obviously a lot of warning signs to prepare Miss Fats for disappointment with this one: Gold Coast location, famous reputation, tourist spot, and fancy Italian (this shit should be rustic, cheap and delicious always.)  However, looking at the menu and lunch price, Miss Fats decided to give it a go.  BIG MISTAKE.

Here’s what they were promised:
Three-Course Lunch Menu

Olive -Nocellare, Gaeta, Alfonso, Torremaggiore,orange zest, pickled fennel

FIRST COURSE
Gran Farro – cannellini beans, farro, pancetta
Fegato – chicken liver mousse, cranberry, arugula, crostini
Bocconcini – mozzarella di bufala, apple mostarda
Rucola – arugula, Capriole Farm goat cheese,balsamico

SECOND COURSE
Salmone – Faroe Island salmon, Tuscan beans, shallots, fingerling potatoes,
fennel, Brussels sprouts
Gnocchi – wild boar ragu,Parmigiano Reggiano
Polpette – meatballs, tomato sauce,polenta,Pecorino Romano
Cappellacci- butternut squash, sage,Parmigiano Reggiano,brown butter

DESSERT
Zeppole – Italian style fritters, vanilla sugar, rasberry compote
Sorbetti – passion fruit, lemon-lime, pear
We were offered a menu with SEVEN differences from the original. When your menu only has 11 items on it… nice work, jerks.

Yeah. Looks pretty damn good huh?

Well here’s what they got:
1. NO OLIVES. WHERE WHERE THE OLIVES? We wanted the olives. They were not there.
2. NO CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE. Miss Fats wanted the chicken liver mousse. It was not there. NO GRAN FARRO. NO MEAT BALLS AND POLENTA.

RESULT: The most apathetic restaurant review ever.

IMG_1825Bread – parmesan crisps & foccacia

M: Fine. Fluffy bread. Crispy cracker.  Eh.
J: Miss Fats put this in her mouth. It was food. The top of the foccacia was super super salty.

IMG_1845Bocconcini – mozzarella di bufala, apple mostarda, thyme

M: Ok. The moz was pretty damn good. But who should really get credit for that?? Miss Fats thinks the buffalo. Not the chef.  Eff that apple thing; too sweet. Give me more cheese.
J: The cheese stands alone. The cheese stands alone. Hi ho the buffalo, the cheese stands alone. The cheese SHOULD have stood alone. It was hanging out with a bad crowd, Miss Fats swears it was some sort of carmelized syrup pear slice sitting on top. Not her cup of tea. Also, ARUGULA NEEDS TO GET THE EFF OUT OF HER LIFE. In general.

IMG_1846Ribollita – purgatory beans, Tuscan kale, Savoy cabbage, San Marzano tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano

J: This wasn’t actually listed as a soup on the menu, so Miss Fats thought they were getting some kind of interesting vegetable concoction. They received what amounted to a bowl of canned soup. Like, the good kind, though, the chunky ones that cost $2.50. You know.

IMG_1847Cappellacci – Chioggia squash, brown butter, chestnut honey, Parmigiano Reggiano, sage

M: Standard vegetarian pasta.  Vegetarians seriously get shafted.  There was also a problem with the filling to pasta ratio.  By the end of the meal, the edges of the cappellacci became hard and gross.  No good.
J: Miss Fats doesn’t even really remember eating this. ? Vague memory of it being too sweet and tasting exactly like every time she’s ever had butternut ravioli, ever.

IMG_1848Gnocchi – wild boar ragu, Parmigiano Reggiano

M: Pretty good. At least these were REAL gnocchi.
J: This was the second time Miss Fats had wild boar ragu, the first being at Erbaluce in Boston. They did it better.

IMG_1849Trota – ruby trout, Tuscan beans, fingerling potatoes, fennel, padron peppers, shallots

M: Trout deserves a shout out.  This shit was GOOD.  After their poor fish luck, Miss Fats was worried about their sea friends.  However this fish was incredible. Perfectly cooked and covered in a lemony sauce that made the dish.  If this had been it, the review would have been outstanding.  Miss Fats apologizes to you, trout, because it’s not your fault you got overshadowed by lameness.  You deserve a serious award.
J: Fish luck fish luck! Miss Fats falls asleep dreaming of fennel fields. All the accessories that came with this fish were superb. Actually, now that she’s looking at the description, this dish didn’t have any peppers. It did BYOB… Bring Your Own Brusselssprouts… Miss Fats was sharing this and they each got a whole QUARTER OF A SPROUT. Oh you menu lies. This fish was delish.

IMG_1850Bomboloni – Italian doughnuts, poppy seed sugar, apple cinnamon compote

M: Miss Fats rarely disses on fried dough.  But a doughnut should NOT collapse when you bite into it.  This was completely devoid of the chewy, yeasty bready goodness that makes a doughnut.  Fail.
J: And then there were some fried ball sugar thingies sitting in applesauce, which Miss Fats would have been really happy to see… had they been served some crispy latkes. Uhhh. Uh. Uhm. Whatever.

IMG_1851Sorbetti + Gelati – passion fruit sorbet, chocolate gelato, cinnamon rice milk sorbet

J: The chocolate gelato tasted like chocolate gelato. The passion fruit was bright and sour and wonderful and Miss Fats ate every last drop! The cinnamon rice milk sorbet was also awesome, or maybe it just seemed that way after this super mediocre meal. Suck a floppy cappellaci, Cafe Spiaggia.
M:
Shout out to the passion fruit and cinnamon rice milk.  Miss Fats is out.

triple creme craft attack

IMG_1717Miss Fats likes think of herself in cat years. Which puts her at 168 years old, and thereby excuses her from any and all activities she’s “supposed” to be doing at her inappropriate age.  This means she can pursue all hobbies of the elderly (including knitting, Jeopordy, and scrabble- holla.).  Naturally, this meant when Miss Fats’ super fun friend suggested a valentines day craft night she was all over it.

What’s better than crafts? Cheese plate. Duh. Miss Fats and friends started off the night with a couple of decadent blocks of blue cheese and some INSANE triple creme whyaren’tyoualwaysinmylifecheese. As if those two treats weren’t enough, they had a crusty seeded baguette, crackers, red wine, and her personal favorite: bon maman jam (don’t even get MIss Fats started on how much she love this jam). Miss Fats was introduced to a beautiful thing last night: triple creme or blue cheese topped in cherry preserves. do it. do it right now. She can’t stop thinking about it. Throw that on a little baguette and you have pure goodness.

Following the greatest flavor combination in the world (still talking about the cheese and jam), she dined on a tasty curried veggie soup.  This creamy, warm bowl of delight was a delicious blend of parsnips, onion and cauliflower, topped with greek yogurt, pistachios and a little drizzle of maple syrup.  (Yeah you check that fire in the background too.)

IMG_1716Fully charged and stuffed with cheese, Miss Fats and friends hit crafting HARD.  Complete success. However, apparently slightly delirious from all that milk fat, inspiration may have come a little too freely.  Friends of Miss Fats, you are getting come weird cards this year: get ready for it.

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