Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a private dinner party with Food Network’s Ted Allen at the Nespresso store on Newbury Street in Boston.
The dinner party was hosted by Nespresso, so everyone (media folks and bloggers) received a short tutorial about their machines and products at the beginning of the event.
Nespresso’s newest machine, the Lattissima+ , is really cool. It creates the “ultimate coffee experience” by combining espresso with frothy fresh milk to conveniently make lattes or cappuccinos at home. Basically, all you need to do is press a few buttons to make a fancy-schmancy espresso drink.
After learning about Nespresso, we enjoyed some really fantastic passed appetizers, many of which included espresso flavors:
Seared Lamb Loin with Pear-Currant Relish and Espresso Yogurt on Pita Square
Espresso Crusted Pork Tenderloin on Beet Chip with Smoked Apple and Pecan Compote
Steamed Scallop and Foie-Gras Shumai served with Mushroom Broth on a spoon
Corn Fried Oyster served with Stilton Crème on a spoon
Spinach and Golden Raisin Malfatti with Brown Butter, Sage and Pine Nuts
I tried all of the appetizers except for the Corn Fried Oyster. No reason really. I just wasn’t feeling it.
My favorite appetizer of the bunch was the Steamed Scallop and Foie-Gras Shumai– mostly because it was such an interested food combination. I never would have thought to pair scallop with foie-gras, but it tasted amazing together. I also liked the Spinach and Golden Raisin Malfatti because I learned that malfatti means “badly made” in Italian, and it tasted like gnocchi.
Along with the appetizers, we were offered the choice of a couple of espresso-infused cocktails: Espresso Mojito and Espresso Martini. I went with the Espresso Martini, which was soo delicious and really strong, which, of course, is not the best combination when you need to drive home later in the evening. I sipped slowly.
After about half an hour of mixing and mingling, it was time to sit down for dinner and meet Ted Allen.
I used to religiously watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy , and I occasionally watch The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Chopped , so I sort of had an idea how Ted might be in person. I was pleasantly surprised when he acted exactly the way I expected. Ted was friendly, laid-back, and really funny. He had a witty/sarcastic sense of humor, which seemed effortless.
I’m a super creeper and took a ton of photos of him.
After Ted introduced himself to the group, he briefly talked about the Nespresso brand and his involvement, which I got on video.
Then, it was time to eat!
The dinner was very fancy.
And sort of weird since there was a camera crew recording every second of it.
Even still, it was a really nice dinner with lots of conversation. Ted seemed like he was in a great mood and chatted non-stop with everyone at the table.
Each course of the meal included a wine pairing as well as a Nespresso coffee pairing, which were selected by Mark Uhlemann, a Nespresso Coffee Expert.
I enjoyed all of the Nespresso coffees that I tried over the course of the evening. They’re really bold, but smooth and flavorful at the same time. I’d probably drink hot coffee a lot more often if it always tasted like that!
The appetizer course was a Sweet Potato Cup with Parsnip Puree Whip and Coffee Caviar. Coffee caviar? Oh, yes. It tasted as amazing (and fancy) as it sounds. The sweet potato + parsnip + coffee combination was pretty much a texture and flavor party in my mouth. It wasn’t a combo that I’d ever think to put together, but it definitely worked. Delish.
The main course was Grilled Sirloin Club Steak with Veal Demi Ketchup over Chive Roasted Fingerling Fries and Fried Crab Cake with Lemon-Caper Aioli.
The highlight of this course was the Veal Demi Ketchup, which was basically a thick, saucy ketchup with a meaty-barbeque flavor. Mmm!
Dessert, as always, was my favorite course of the meal. It was served with a decaf espresso and a 10-year-old tawny port.
Dessert was a Trio of Minis made with lots of chocolate and espresso.
Vanilla Affagato with Homemade Coffee Biscotti.
Nepresso Pot Du Crème and Hazelnut Crema. <— heavenly!!!
Mini Mocha Frappe with Nespresso Chocolate Pearls and Chocolate Straw.