Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Life On The Wild Side

January 24, 2009

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A few weeks ago Foodbuzz did a call for submissions for its 24, 24, 24 event: 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blog Posts. I did a quick think-through of ideas and decided on a whim to propose a chef’s tasting at Zebra, a fancy French restaurant that we have always wanted to go to but haven’t had the opportunity –

The contemporary French restaurant is so fancy, Kath and Matt, being ultimate foodies, have yet had the chance to go since moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. Zebra’s wild chef prepares a 10 course tasting menu each night to tempt guests with an amuse-bouche, foie gras, shellfish, sorbet, fowl, lamb, cheese, and dessert. …..

……Folks have said Kath resembles a goat (and hey, she’ll eat most anything!), and Matt’s nickname isn’t Kanzi because he knows sign language – he actually does a great monkey impression and is covered in fur. What better setting to enjoy each other’s company than a jungle of delectable bites at Zebra.

Our wish was granted a few days later, and I promptly made reservations for the 10-course tasting menu! I was shocked we’d been accepted and beside-myself excited.

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Tonight we got all fancied up in heels, a coat and a tie and headed out. It took 10 minutes just to read about all the courses to come!

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Upon seating, we were presented with the Castlblanch Reserve Brut Cava from Spain. I decided that I probably would be better off without 10 courses of wine, so the husband got the wine flight and I sipped off of his. But the Cava was on the house!

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We enjoyed every sip (A little deer in the headlights below!)

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The first course was Cornets of Salmon Tartare with Creme Fraiche. A sweet sugar cone with salmon and a ridiculously good creamy filling in the point. (I photographed it on my pat of butter ;) )

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We were served bread throughout the evening, which I tried to avoid to keep myself from filling up, but MY GOSH this was an amazing roll. So salty! I am used to Great Harvest’s sweet breads and this roll was such a pleasant contrast. Kinda like pretzel dough. I had 2 throughout the evening – to cleanse my palate!

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Course #2 was Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Virginia Nectarine Compote and Petite Green Lentil Cake. Now, I know what foie gras is, and wouldn’t normally ever choose to eat it, but this was a “When In Rome” situation so I hope you all will forgive me. It was perfectly seared and the ’06 Selak Ice Wine from New Zealand served with it couldn’t have been a more perfect match.

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(I’ll use this moment to let you know that I didn’t eat everything you see. Probably 75% of each portion and shared some bites with the husband, who is a bottomless pit).

Course #3 featured Pan-Seared North Atlantic Swordfish, Caper Lemon Risotto, Nicoise Olives, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Coulis along with the ’05 Tensley Cam 4 of Santa Barbara, which was the most amazing white blend. The swordfish was hearty and delicious, but my favorite part were the olives and capers in the risotto – and the big parmesan cracker!

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#4 on the menu was Butter Poached Maine Lobster and Avocado with Tomato Confit and Saffron Creme. My favorite part was actually the tomatoes on the bottom – they were like a cross between a hearty tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes. Mmmm!

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This was served with the ’06 BV Reserve Chardonnay from Carneros.

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Then came the fun part – Zebra’s Floating Sorbet. This was a scoop of Lychee sorbet served over a frozen iced champagne pond.

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We were instructed to “break the ice” and then let the sorbet melt into the champagne layer.

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I told the husband I’d trade him bites of my meats if he gave me his champagne. What a gentleman ;)

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But I did give him some more spoonfuls –

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For course #6 we were served Griddled Palmetto Farms Squab Breast, Assorted Mushrooms and Rosemary Scented Squab Glace. What a cool bowl!!

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The squab was perfectly rare, but the sauce was my favorite part – so tangy!

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The bird was served with the ’06 Shadow Mountain Pinot Noir, Willamette.

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Course #7 was Lamb Tenderloins Diablo with Whole Grain Mustard Yukon and Chevre Mash, Swiss Chard and Glace d’ Agneau, which translates to lamb over goat cheese mashed potatoes!!! I think I ate the most of this course, and this was also the point when I started to feel very full. The lamb was served with the ’05 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville – questionably our favorite wine of the night for its inky characteristics!?

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Then came the salad, course #8. Micro Arugula Salad with Sheep’s Milk Roquefort, Sugar Roasted Walnuts and Pear, which I swear had lavender in it.

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The pear was out of this world, and there’s a huge hunk of salty cheese hiding in the greens!

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The salad was served with the Dow’s Ten Year Porto of Portugal. SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!

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As we wrapped the savory courses, we had a cappuccino, which was so delicious and came with a crunchy biscotti. My stomach would have been happier without this, but my mouth won the war.

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And then came the Pre Dessert, which was a Salted Caramel Cream served over a Sesame Toffee. This salty caramel iced cream may have been my favorite bite of the night!

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And then the grande finale – the Souffle of the Evening – a Raspberry Cream Souffle. It was served piping hot, and our server poured a hot raspberry cream into the middle tableside.

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I did a number on that one! I bet the staff was shocked by the amount of food we ate

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By this point we were starting to moan (in private, of course!) until a small plate of Friandises was delivered. I have no idea how, but I found room for the dark chocolates! We literally hobbled out of the restaurant!

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I wish I could show you a before and after of my stomach, but the husband says that would be unladylike  

A HUMONGOUS thank you to Foodbuzz for the amazing opportunity and to Zebra for the superb service and unmatchable menu.

We are going to digest more before laying horizontal – perhaps another It’s Always Sunny is in store!?

Night foodies!

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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

1 zestycook January 24, 2009 at 9:59 pm

AMAZING!!!

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2 allijag January 24, 2009 at 10:02 pm

OMG – HOW ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I can’t even pick one thing to common on because it all looks so phenomenal! Thanks for sharing – what a great night for you guys! :)

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3 ModelBehavior January 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm

That looks so tasty! Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t squab basically pigeon? Isn’t it funny how one species is considered a “flying rat” but a slightly different version is considered fine dining? :D

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4 emmy January 24, 2009 at 10:13 pm

what an amazing looking dinner! Everything looks fabulous! that is wonderful that you got the opportunity to try such a great restaurant, I think the caramel ice-cream bite would have been my favorite too!

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5 Juliet January 24, 2009 at 10:16 pm

That looks amazing!

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6 Katelyn January 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Oh my goodness!!! It looks like you have had a wonderful eveing! The lobster and avacado looks too good to be true, but then again so did the lamb tenderloin. You both looked lovely! Enjoy some yoga in the morning to help digest your feast! (and I can always find room for dark chocolate, too)

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7 Sarah (Tales of Expansion) January 24, 2009 at 10:30 pm

AHHHHHHHHH, I’m beyond jealous!!! And that salted caramel ice cream, mmmmm. I think that would have been my favorite bite, too. Definitely a “when in Rome” situation — I’m glad you decided to live it up!

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8 Amanda January 24, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Yum! I’ve been wanting to check out Zebra for a while (or at least looked at their website a couple of times recently) and now you’ve made me that much more interested. Hope you guys enjoy your Sunday!

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9 Tina January 24, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Oh my gosh! So many wonderful bites and goodies! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time! :)

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10 ashley (sweet & natural) January 24, 2009 at 10:34 pm

What an amazing opportunity! You would have had to roll me out of the restaurant after a meal like that – I doubt I’d want to leave any of my plates less than clean!

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11 Biz319 January 24, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Congrats on a great night out! LOVE tasting menus – you end up trying a bunch of stuff you never would before.

I would have asked for seconds on the Butter Poached Maine Lobster and Avocado with Tomato Confit and Saffron Creme!

It’s always nice to dress up too! :D

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12 Heather McD (heather eats almond butter) January 24, 2009 at 10:57 pm

This salty caramel iced cream may have been my favorite bite of the night! – agreed! I think that would have been my favorite too. :)

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13 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) January 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Wow, what a fabulous evening! But man, so much food!

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14 Michelle T January 24, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Wow. I’ve always wanted someone ANYONE cool and brave enough to go into a fancy restaurant and take pictures of ALL the courses of a tasting menu and you’ve made my dream come true!!!! Everything does look fantastic and Thanks so much for taking great pictures & sharing them with everyone. :) Definitely a feast for the eyes!

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15 Missy (Missy Maintains) January 24, 2009 at 11:07 pm

All I have to say is wow! Everything just looks so amazing! My favorite may have to be the Lychee Sorbet in the champagne!! Yum!!

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16 Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) January 24, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Holy Decadence…what a wonderful experience!

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17 Candice January 24, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Oh my gosh! I’m SUPER jealous! Four desserts in one night?! Heaven.

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18 NT (21 and Running) January 24, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Everything looks tasty! Muy jealous!

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19 Meghann January 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm

OMG Heaven! I can’t even imagine how great that food was! I would have hobbled out too, but it would have been worth every hobble :)

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20 melissa (fitnessnyc) January 24, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Wow that is amazing. The closest I have been to an experience like that is at The Modern. And you are so right that the amazing service makes the meal. If you like salted caramel ice cream, you must try the salted caramel getalo at Otto if you visit NY. I would also recommend the olive oil. Plus Otto is totally afforadable and has one of the biggest wine lists in the city.

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21 Jasmine (Sweet and Fit) January 24, 2009 at 11:45 pm

oh my goodness! every course looks so decadent! I love the champagne/sorbet course. Hopefully your stomach will feel better tomorrow =)

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22 BethT January 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Love it! I visited their web site and it says it’s in the vein of French Laundry in Napa, which is awesome. And salted caramel ice cream….MMM. There is a local ice creamery that does that flavor and it is like a frozen Werther’s candy.

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23 Jasmine T January 25, 2009 at 12:07 am

Kath, was this a contest open to only food bloggers? I totally missed it? Such a BUMMER. Congrats on a great meal.

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24 Lisa January 25, 2009 at 12:24 am

Wow! What a great way to get new ideas!

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25 amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) January 25, 2009 at 12:29 am

What an awesome opportunity! I would have love, love, loved that salted caramel cream. It just looks fabulous!

LOL I had to google squab!

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26 JanetM97 January 25, 2009 at 12:31 am

What an amazing meal! (or I guess mealS would be more accurate. ;) love your photography, too.

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27 Sarah (lovINmytummy) January 25, 2009 at 2:06 am

Fantastic. You guys, and your meals, looked gorgeous!

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28 cassandra January 25, 2009 at 2:08 am

Ok Ok enough you are killing me! this meal is soo amazing looking I want to fly there now and digest all those eats!!!!!!!

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29 Marianne January 25, 2009 at 3:35 am

Looks like a fun night. Love the lychee sorbet, salted caramel ice cream, and the lobster. Yum!

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30 Anne P January 25, 2009 at 4:29 am

holy crap that’s amazing!! yum!!

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31 Christina January 25, 2009 at 5:42 am

Good for you! I’m glad you got to enjoy such a special meal.

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32 Caroline F. January 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

look at all that SILVERWEAR! ;)

Glad you had a fabulous time, sounds wonderful!

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33 VeggieGirl January 25, 2009 at 8:02 am

SENSATIONAL!! Loving the sorbet and souffle :-)

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34 Kath January 25, 2009 at 8:33 am

Thank you everyone!

Jasmine T,
I believe it was for all Foodbuzz featured publishers.

Kath

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35 Jen January 25, 2009 at 8:34 am

looks like a fun nite!!!
a before and after shot would have been funny/informative ;)

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36 Shelby January 25, 2009 at 8:41 am

I’m glad you had such a great time! I especially love the desserts =)

I’ve always wanted to try a dining experience like that! Now I know why every course has such a tiny serving!

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37 brandi January 25, 2009 at 8:43 am

Everything looked amazing!!!

What fun :)

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38 polly January 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

hi Kath!!

WILD AND WONDERFUL, girl!! Loved every picture, and hehe about being unlady like, girl when your belly is full, be proud!! ;) XOXO

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39 Becca A January 25, 2009 at 9:03 am

Wow, what a fantastic meal!

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40 Nicole January 25, 2009 at 9:04 am

Woah!! That looks amazing.

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41 Diana January 25, 2009 at 9:05 am

WOWZERS!!! Looks Fantastic!

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42 caitlin (see bride run) January 25, 2009 at 9:08 am

wow that sure looks awesome!! i love salty ice cream as well :)

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43 joyful January 25, 2009 at 9:17 am

Oh my gosh! What a night. I hope you have recovered by this morning and aren’t waddling anymore!

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44 hk January 25, 2009 at 9:25 am

WOWWWEE! what a meal, very exciting night :)

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45 Meg January 25, 2009 at 9:29 am

How awesome to be picked! It looks like an awesome place with some amazing food! YUM!

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46 Foods That Fit January 25, 2009 at 9:31 am

Wow, what a cool place to eat! I tested out your pumpkin pie cake recipe and added 1/2 of a mashed banana to it and it is so good! You’ve got to try it!

Abbie
Foodsthatfit.wordpress.com

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47 Beadie @ What I Ate Yesterday January 25, 2009 at 9:36 am

Wow, Kath, it all looks so amazing!

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48 seelee live (for the love of peanut butter) January 25, 2009 at 10:00 am

AHHH this sounds like such a great night of fun and experimentation in the foodin world! kath, you handled it excellently! no guilt, girl-you deserve an abundance of good food-your such a great critic! you knew there was lavender in the salad, really appreciated the tomatoes on the bottom of the lobster/avocado dish–

amazing!! :-) you’ve got a superb palatte

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49 K January 25, 2009 at 10:01 am

Holy cow – everything looks amazing and 100% worth a food baby :D Glad you enjoyed it!!

PS. you guys look great!

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50 Former loyal reader January 25, 2009 at 10:04 am

Kath, the fact that you know what Foie Gras is has led me to question your beliefs. Please don’t influence your kind readers to engage in this inhumane practice through a desire to “pig out” while at a restaurant. This has led me to realize that this blog is not where my heart is anymore. I have often thought as you became healthier you would drift away from your unhealthy meat-eating ways. I’m sorry to say this is the last time I will visit this blog.

-Katherine W

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51 Justy2003 January 25, 2009 at 10:22 am

Wow, what a fun night! So cool that you got to try a TON of stuff in little portions! :) I’m sure I’d be stuffed after that, too! Probably a good thing you guys didn’t bike there, huh? ;)

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52 Sarah W. January 25, 2009 at 10:43 am

looks like youhad a fab time!!!! glad you enjoyed all the food – the pics rock!

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53 Ryane January 25, 2009 at 10:47 am

What a gorgeous evening!

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54 Katie January 25, 2009 at 10:56 am

I just wanted to say good for you for being willing and open to trying all of those things. I think it makes the eating experience more fun and interactive when you are trying new dishes or new ways of preparing them. I am a bit appalled that someone would comment that they will no longer be a reader simply because you tried foie gras, I would have to say that is your decision and for no one else to judge. But that is just me putting in my two cents. It looked like a very fun evening and something my husband and I ought to try sometime :).

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55 CourtneyS January 25, 2009 at 10:57 am

Katherine W, there’s nothing wrong with eating meat. Harsh!

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56 CourtneyS January 25, 2009 at 10:59 am

And not for anything, I love foie gras. I know, I’m evil.

Kath, looks like a perfect night of elegant food and great wine!

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57 elise January 25, 2009 at 11:01 am

i dont even know where to begin…OMG! that meal looked out of control tasty. always sunny – great choice!

your blog is the best, kath.

http://www.hungryhungryhippie.com

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58 linds January 25, 2009 at 11:09 am

Oh. My. God. What an incredible spread. Everything looks so amazingly delicious… What a fantastic dinner and you guys look so nice all dressed up! :)

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59 Sarah January 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

That Maine lobster and avacado looks amazing! Wish I could try that.

Confused by the bit about people saying you look like a goat. That is absurd!

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60 Kath January 25, 2009 at 11:12 am

Sarah ,
It’s just a joke from high school when we used to pick out animals that we resembled. I’m just kind of medium framed and like to eat, so I got goat.

K

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61 M January 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm

As a vegan, I am so embarrassed and appalled by that comment. No wonder so many people think we’re judgmental, paint-throwing freaks.

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62 michelle January 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm

WOW!!!

I am not sure i can articulate how awesome your dinner looks and sounds!!!

Wonderful and thanks for sharing with these amazing photos!!!

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63 Philippa January 25, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Goodness, I felt full just looking all those delicious photos! It sounds like you had loads of fun! :)

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64 Diana January 25, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Oh Kath, that looks like such a fun time! Glad to hear you guys enjoyed everything. Maybe Dan and I will give it a go some time. Until then, I enjoyed experiencing the chef tasting via your post. Cheers!

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65 leadingladylis January 25, 2009 at 10:17 pm

oh my gosh. that’s all I have to say. oh my gosh. So jealous.

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66 WendyF January 26, 2009 at 9:41 am

I am a big fan of tasting menus. That is usually what I order for my B-Day dinner. That one looked amazing. If you liked the Tensley white, try their Syrah if you ever get the chance. It is really good.

The only bad part about the tasting menu is the food hangover the next day :-)

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67 Andrea [bella eats] January 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

Congratulations!!! What an amazing evening it looks like you two had! I was tempted to submit for 24,24,24, but never got organized. Maybe next time! :)

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68 HangryPants January 26, 2009 at 11:43 pm

What a great restaurant! Just when I thought the last course had come … there was another picture! Well worth the wobbling for sure.

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69 greg January 28, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Very nice meal. I am reminded of my pre-teen years going to summer camp in North Carolina. Only we never had food like this. Great post. Great Fun. Thanks GREG

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70 The Duo Dishes January 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm

You got good eats! This looks like the best way to do 24!

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71 Nate January 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Congratulations on being selected for a “24” meal, and what a meal it was! That sorbet on frozen champagne pond is so cool (pun intended).

We were also selected to do a “24” meal, only this one we stayed at home with a few guests for some cioppino. Come check out our post!

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