Posts Tagged ‘Menus’

It was a bit of luck that brought me to the english bookstore in Amsterdam on Saturday afternoon.  The weather was unsettled so I refused to ride my bike into the city and risk getting soaked while doing our errands therefore I insisted on taking the tram. We had a number of places to go and had plotted out a route that would allow us not to backtrack up and down the tram lines.  It was great in theory, until I realized I forgot the city map. Fortunately our route would take us by a favourite haunt, the ABC Bookstore.

I zipped into the store to pick up another trusty city map for a mere 2 euro and scanned the magazine shelf.  I was on my way to the cash register when I spotted it – Menus for Chez Panisse.   I was drawn to the title and the cover so I picked up the book and began to leaf through.  It was love at first sight.  I tried to put the book down and convince myself I didn’t need it.  In fact, I didn’t need it but I wanted it so I bought it – or rather C bought it for me.

Chez Panisse opened in 1971 by Alice Waters in Berkeley California is legendary.  Alice Waters has changed the face of food through her unique restaurant, advocacy for local products/ producers and her Edible Garden program.   She has surrounded herself with many creative people over the course of the 40 year journey including David Lebowitz, who use to work at the restaurant and recently attended the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Party in August 2011.  Today however, I want to share with you the work of an artist, creative contributor and sometimes cook at Chez Panisse, Patricia Curtan.

The book published this year, 2011, is simply a compilation of menus dating from as far back as 1972 through to 2009.  It follows the development of the restaurant, friendships, birthdays, romances and momentous occasions through the recording of the event’s menu.  It is endearing to see the wit and charm in these individually letter pressed menus embellished with the beautifully simple drawings of seasonal fruits, florals and vegetables.   How wonderful to be the recipient of such a menu on your arrival to Chez Panisse and know that the care taken to present the menu on paper will be followed by courses of delicious food prepared with much love and care.

On this Canadian Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful there are people who can slow down and enjoy both art and food.  In this spirit I share my menu – sorry I have no talent for drawing so I refer you to page 82 with its gorgeous variegated leaves in fall colours.

Menu for “C”

Foie Gras on Buttered Toasts with Sauterne Jelly

Pairing: Champagne

Magret du Canard with Truffled Celeriac Puree and Carmelized Savoy Cabbage 

Pairing: Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Pumpkin Pie with freshly whipped cream 

Pairing:  Great conversation with friends

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