Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dinner Dates

At last we now know who our next president is, and can look ahead to something besides the election. I’ve got a few delicious dates inked in my November calendar.

The first is the November 21 fundraiser called Dames Dish for Thanksgiving hosted by the local chapter of an international organization I belong to, Les Dames D’Escoffier . Proceeds from the Monday night event will benefit local urban farming projects and food education initiatives that help young people make the connection between field and fork. The Thanksgiving themed tasting fest at Trevarrow Kitchen showroom in Parma- a place that prompts a burning desire for new appliances, faucets, cabinets and countertops- will feature a Mediterranean style turkey from Matt Harlan of Lolita, a locally sourced bird prepared by Karen Small of The Flying Fig and a gobbler with Low Country flavor courtesy of Paul Jagielski of Henry’s at the Barn.
But all side dishes and desserts, and there will be lots of them, are being made by our group’s members who are women involved in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. Many are kitchen pros- pastry and restaurant chefs, cookbook authors, culinary instructors and caterers so the offerings are guaranteed to be excellent. Then there’s me. I am being forced out of my comfort zone and away from the table and the keyboard- my regular workplaces. I have high expectations for myself. However, just in case my stuff is not quite as fabulous as what my sister Dames do, I’m not going to tell you what I’m making. I hope you'll come out for a good cause, great food, and wine too! Tickets are $50. Make reservations with Angela Williams at 216-831-3767.

Another event I’m excited about is the Big Night Dinner at Michaelangelo’s . The restaurant’s very talented chef /owner Michael Annandanno is pairing up with friend and fellow Little Italy chef Valerio Iorio (Valerios’s) to recreate the menu from the poignant 1996 cinematic comedy The Big Night. Book a table for Monday November 24 and get a starring role in this local production.

In the movie, which also provides the musical soundtrack for the evening at Michaelangelo’s, actors Stanley Tucci and Tony Shaloub play immigrant brothers running an Italian restaurant in New Jersey circa 1950’s. The problem is that Chef Primo (Shaloub) is a culinary artist in a red sauce world. He doesn’t care about pleasing customers. So it’s no surprise that business is bad. Hoping to generate some positive word of a mouth, an associate promises to get the famed band leader Louis Prima and his entourage to come into the restaurant. Annandono and Ioria serve the dishes that appear on screen in the definitive scene when the brothers set out the 7-course feast they’ve prepared for their celebrity guest. Those who reserve a seat will dine on roast suckling pig, baked sea bass, risotto, and the labor-intensive il timpano, a combination of meat, pasta, eggs, and cheese layered in a pasta "drum" and baked. This is likely the closest most of us will get to having a silver screen moment, and the meal in the lovely dining room of Michaelangelo's promises to be extraordinary. Call 216-721-0300 for reservations.

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