New Year’s Eve 2014

Our annual New Year’s Eve dinner with a small handful of friends commenced at 6 p.m. on December 31st with a matsutake and lardo pizza and copious amounts of champagne.

Through the several hours of the carefully planned and sourced meal, we would dine our way through seven courses (pizza not included), six or seven bottles of pinot noir and a magnum of Francis Ford Coppola-autographed 1980-something Neibaum-Coppola cabernet (you can’t keep that stuff forever), some French and Australian wines, a bit of mescal and more. A bit foggy as I write…

Here are some of the highlights. Happy New Year! And see if you can find the Monty Python joke somewhere in there…

The menu

The menu

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New Year’s Eve 2013

Another year done come and gone.

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I hope everyone had a safe and pleasant New Year’s Eve celebration. We enjoyed a quiet dinner with a few friends. Okay, it was a raucous wine-soaked dinner.

Here are some of the highlights. Now taking reservations for 2014. More

Prepping for the Big Night

As 2013 winds quietly to a close, I once again find myself busily preparing for a yearly tradition around our house: our New Year’s Eve dinner.

Each New Year’s Eve, we gather with eight or ten friends and I make anywhere from seven to 12 courses, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. It’s my time to let my creativity completely free — I never test anything, and I never make the same thing twice. Usually the dishes are a success, although my friend Jon complained last year of the chewiness and general meaty vulgarity of the Kobe beef tartare “flower blossoms” course. You can’t please everyone.

Last year's Kobe flatiron tartare “blossoms,” quail egg, curried ketchup emulsion, caper & pickled ginger mirepoix and fried parsley — doesn't look that bad, right??

Last year’s Kobe flatiron tartare “blossoms,” quail egg, curried ketchup emulsion, caper & pickled ginger mirepoix and fried parsley — doesn’t look that bad, right??

So also at this time of year, in the days before the New Year, I am consumed with shopping and sourcing. More

New Year’s Eve Dinner 2012

Another year come and gone. And with it, another of my New Year’s Eve dinners — a tradition that’s been going on for as long as I can remember.

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Each year I push myself a little further, and this may have been the best meal yet. Even the strange inspiration to accent vodka-cured ivory salmon and caviar with a black licorice reduction was delicious. More

The Anatomy of a Meal

It begins with a few sketches. Not physical drawings, but culinary ideas thrown down on paper — or in this case, a Microsoft Word document on the computer.

I’m speaking of my annual New Year’s Eve dinner, in which my wife and I host up to a dozen friends — many of them the same for more than a decade — and present a dinner of anywhere from eight to 12 courses.

Matsutake mushroom duxelles for course #5

Matsutake mushroom duxelles for course #5

The planning begins with a consideration of the time of year, and what sorts of things I have on hand or might be likely to find at the market. For example, I’ve usually just returned from my mother’s house in Sonoma, and often come back with pounds of prime wild mushrooms — as I did this year. More

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