You pretty much just have to say “The Cookery“ to me and I’m game. I’ve totally loved everything I’ve ever eaten by chef David di Bari. His food is creative, inspired and just downright delicious. I’ve had the great fortune of dining at The Cookery on many occasions, not the least of which was during HVRW 2011 and HVRW 2012. So when I read on-line that he would be collaborating for an event just before Christmas at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company how could I resist?
The event was dubbed Wreck the Halls and described as “Alcoholic and Gastronomic Barbarism paired with Musical Perversion.” I’m not even going to try to explain what I initially thought of that title .. but as I said, Chef Dave = delicious food … so why not check it out?
After sending out the details and menu for the evening, we had several takers to join us. My step-daughter Elinor, a big fan of Captain Lawrence brews, her friend Jeff visiting from Burlington, and our friends Lisa, Bob and Jen.
When we first arrived I was excited to see Chef Dave’s Dough Nation Mobile PizzaOven fired up, just outside the door. That could mean only one thing: he would be serving up his scrumptious thin crust pizza. We were not disappointed. There were several types being circulated during the appetizer section of the evening:
More after the jump …
Pizza Bianco with Mozarella, Ricotta and Parmigianno
Brined Lemon with Scamorza
I can’t begin to decide which I liked better, but if forced I might say the Lemon slightly above the others. For no other reason than it was such a clever play on flavors. The thin slices of lemon were brined with salt and sugar and paired with the smokey version of mozzarella called Scamorza. If you’ve ever eaten his light-as-air meatballs at the restaurant, then you would have loved the Polpettone pie. Gently broken up and scattered along with fresh ricotta. (sigh)
Presiding behind the glorious appetizer buffet, doling out the wonderful beers we found Aaron Pozit (right), Captain Lawrence’s Tasting Room Manager and Doug Roberts.
There were several offerings for us to partake, and my choice was the BK Lounge. Clean, mild with just a hint of sweetness. Larry and Bob had a taste of almost all of them and could not decide which they liked better.
Just on the other side of the buffet, which by the way had a fantastic housemade sausage, was the Chef pulling fresh mozzarella. Buttery, warm and irresistible with a drizzle of thick balsamic and a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the actual mozzarella we were eating .. I was too distracted in a haze eating it to snap it!
We then moved into the actual brewery for the dinner buffet.
Greeted to the music of Go For Launch.
There were several options on the dinner menu but the overall favorite of just about all of us was the Pork Belly in Agro Dolce and the Roasted Leg of Lamb. The pork belly is another outstanding creation you can find on his menu at the restaurant.
After we were sufficiently sated – I refuse to use the words “gastronomic barbarism” … but perhaps is was? I turned to catch a glimpse of my friend Chef Jen Cook chatting it up with Chef Dave. I can only wonder what they were talking about? My guess is probably pizza. Jen also has a brick oven that she tools around the county with as Cooking with Fire. No doubt they were comparing notes or trading secrets?
It was a fantastic night all the way around – truly a collaboration of all the senses, topping the list: taste and sound! Sadly you will have to wait until next year to “Wreck the Halls,” but in the meantime there is always a trip to the Brewery and to the restaurant. Lucky gal that I am my wonderful husband booked us in for the Pig Dinner this month for my birthday. I simply can’t wait!
Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.