Local chef and caterer Beej Flamholz has stirred up (pardon the pun) lots of interest in his “underground” dinners. The location is only revealed to ticket purchasers 48 hours before the event, by email. The location of each dinner is in an interesting space, within 20 minutes of Towson.
The dinner I attended this evening was at St. John’s Church in Charles Village. The room, which I was familiar with from the old Roots Cafe concert series, has a European medieval castle in ruins look, with the glamour heightened by candlelight.
Many local food-interested VIP’s were in attendance, including Fred Johnson, Air Force Chef on Air Force One.
While a local wine supplier was on hand, the event was BYOB and people brought a variety of interesting vintages to go with dinner. I brought some Merlet William Pear liqueur that I shared around the table and was very popular — it went great with foie gras and the dessert. Also, I had in a cooler bag some Doc’s Draft hard apple cider. It’s slightly carbonated, so works in place of a less-dry champagne. It also matched well with the palate cleanser. Additionally, I had J’s Vineyard chardonnay, which turned out to be sweeter than I expected but worked with lobster, as well as some Peller ice wine, Fire Side Chat beer and a South African red wine.
The ingredients on the dinner ranged from local to regional to international, prepared with seasonal flavors. Courses were served in delicate tasting portions. At each dinner, Chef Flamholz includes a “street food” influenced course and connected to the season, tonight’s street food course was roasted chestnuts, glazed with butter, sea salt, rosemary and Parmesan cheese. The chef proclaimed his love for micro greens, and indeed, there were some even with the dessert course! He also pays tribute to his Jewish heritage and on this dinner, there was challah.
Each course was beautifully prepared. People were seated at several long tables, so it was easy to meet new people. A live jazz combo played and later, some couples got up to dance.
Here’s what was on the menu!
Toasts with sea salted truffle butter
Fire Roasted Chestnuts – Parmesan and Rosemary (a hearty sweet-nutty way to start the dinner)
Wild Jonah Crabmeat (sweet, delicate) with lemon aioli and Tsar Niccolai Ossetra Caviar – English Cucumber, frisee
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine – red pear and Veuve Clicquot jam – Challah – pistachios petite Mache – nasturnium
Pan Roasted Sea Scallop – Butter Poached Maine Lobster – Flaming Lucky sorrel and White Truffle Cream (the sauce was so rich and delectable, we got some bread to get at each last drop)
Local Apple Cider Granita – Calvados Macerated Apple (prepared with mulling spices, very seasonal)
Butternut Squash and Maplebrook Ricotta Ravioli – California Globe Blistered Grapes – 25 Year Aged Mussini Riserva Balsamic – Chive Oil (a lighter, sweeter treatment of pasta)
Turducken Roulade – “Stuffing” Bread Pudding with rosemary – Bowtie Duck Fat Brussels Sprouts – Clementine Mostarda
Black Pepper Crusted Waygu Beef Short Rib – Braised Kale – Potato Latke – Karate mustard – Cognac Pan Sauce (rich, well-marbled meat, on the spicier side)
Salted caramel cake – Chai ice cream – Vanilla poached pear – Orange/Cranberry Reduction – Candied Walnuts – Pear Tuille (the cake was very rich and moist, like the cake on a pineapple upside down cake)
If you like reading my foodie adventures, please click on the “subscribe” button above. Future articles will appear in your inbox. I have over 1,600 articles here, so poke around and find something tasty.