Boulangerie Langer - a patio bistroThere’s a bit of catching up I need to do (halfway through my draft of Travel: Minnesota) but till then, a friend encouraged me to record the dinner party that Mark and I had last night.

The guest:  Alison is our friend who used to study with me for the GRE. She’s an elementary school principal and has the most adventurous spirit I’ve ever encountered (and if you knew my sisters then you’d be impressed). For the past year she’s been telling me that I belong in France. She’s said it often enough that I’m almost inclined to believe it. So last night we hosted her for a French-inspired dinner.

The menu:

Mixed Greens from Berkeley with French Dressing

Caprese Salad from Berkeley

Imagery White Burgundy

Croque Monsieur

Creme Brulee

Imagery Port with Dark Chocolates

The music:  Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook Vol. 2, prep through dinner. Ray LaMontange Trouble, through dessert.

Whenever a guest asks how to contribute, I always request salad. Alison outdid herself with the dual course, sourced from our beloved Monterey Market! So colorful, refreshing, and flavorful. For such a special guest, we opened a bottle of white burgundy. This wine is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorites. It’s described as a white wine that red wine lovers love. The entree was still under construction as Alison arrived, but she wanted to see my recipe* in action anyhow. What a joy to cook again! We took the first courses on the patio all at once as the sunset lingered. We each had a salad plate but took whatever we liked whenever we liked from the center dish full of croque monsieur. We retired inside for the creme brulee, which I prepared earlier in the day and Mark torched with a new technique. At that point we felt so indulgent that we opened our new port. Naturally, we had to break out the dark chocolate as well. After all, with two salads we’re allowed two desserts, right?

It was an evening of good food, great wine, superb conversation.

Thank you, Michael, for insisting I write this dinner down to remember it.

*The hyperlink leads to a croque madame recipe. Omitting the egg (the hat) transforms madame to monsieur.