Every once in a while due to having a blog that covers life in the Big Apple I am offered opportunities to experience some things that actually surprise this jaded NYC citizen. One of them recently was a cooking demonstration and dinner that featured lamb as the main ingredient. Now, I have to admit that I really wasn’t a big lamb fan but did enjoy the occasional lamb lollipops handed out as a snack at certain business events and functions I have atteneded over the years. Lord knows I had no idea how to cook it. After the recent evening’s soiree at Fairway Cafe & Steakhouse I can now admit to being a bit converted into a fan of lamb. It was an enjoyable evening featuring terrific demonstrations of lamb and wines from Australia, followed by a full four course sit down dinner. I had a feeling this event was going to be a hit when I was greeted with a glass of Stone Dwellars Sparkling Brut as soon as I walked in! Yes, we fancy!
The cooking presention was performed by Fairway chef Vincent Olivieri. I have to say he was very professional, funny, and cordial while also keeping the cooking demo interesting. Prepping the meat is actually really simple and he showed us ways using different oils and seasonings to help bring out the flavor when roasting a leg of lamb. All of what he listed can easily be found on Fairway’s shelves, or in any other grocery that you normally shop at. I had no idea it was not that complicated. The way he taught us made it seem that even the most novice home chef could do it. I really need to get in my kitchen more and start experimenting with my skills!
Along with the cooking part was a selection of terrific Australian wines being offered throughout the evening, and hosted by wine guru Joshua Wesson. He knows his stuff when it comes to wine! We were treated to seven different wines starting with that Brut, and then followed by generous pours of Paringa Sparkling Shiraz, Yalumba Y Series Viognier, Punt Road Chardonnay, Stone Dwellars Pinot Noir, Yalumba The Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz, and a dessert wine Yaluma Museum Muscat NV. Oh my! I enjoyed all but the star of these wines had to be that Sparkling Shiraz! It was like drinking a fizzy wine, and would be a wonderful chilled libation to enjoy on a warm summer day picnic. Heck, I could drink a bottle of it while sitting on the couch watching tv anytime!
What more can I say other than that the meal we experienced here was pretty delicious! We started with an appetizer of Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb with Fig Chutney. Yum! Can I have another?
A Ceasar Salad that had some outrageous dressing on it. It was more like a chopped salad version. I could have eaten three bowls of this!
Whole Roasted Rack of Lamb served with Parsnip Turnip Mash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Holy moley this whole plate was awesome! I absolutely adored the brussel sprouts and as you can see in the pic there was a melt in your mouth piece of thick bacon on it. The lamb was so tasty, lean, and reminded me of eating a prime rib. It was so good! The inner fatty in me could have eaten another plate if I could have snuck another one out of the kitchen. Who do I have to bribe here?
Did I mention that with each course the wines were paired with them? So not only are we all feasting on wonderful eats we are washing it down with delectable wines to help accentuate the flavors of the foods. The staff here at Fairway Cafe were so attentive and generous with the pours I must say. A big “thank you”for that!
What, did I almost forget the dessert we were served? Mitchel London’s Apple Tart. Warm, crispy, flaky, mouth watering yumminess topped with vanilla ice cream. I basically licked every crumb off the plate. No, really, I did lick the plate off. In front of everyone. I have no shame when it comes to scrumptuous food!
All in all it was a splendid evening and so glad I participated. The night was well attended and the proceeds gathered here went for a great cause – the New York Common Pantry – New York City’s largest community-based food pantry which is designed to meet the needs of our families by providing culturally-appropriate and nutritiously-balanced food.
So many great foods out there that are simple to make if given a chance. Now I know how a proper leg of lamb should be prepared and served. I might give it a try but surely won’t be competing on ‘Top Chef” anytime soon. Chef Olivieri has nothing to worry about when it comes to me working in the kitchen. Yet, it is fun to explore new foods and expand my palate at times!
Fairway Cafe & Steakhouse – http://www.fairwaymarket.com/
New York Common Pantry – http://www.nycommonpantry.org/