Friday, February 4, 2000
The Mosquito Dines Out
The Super Hunger Brunch: Eating Well and Helping
a Worthy Cause
Perhaps everyone feels that a brunch is for super hunger, but unlike the usual buffets around, this one is a worthy charity and the only brunch we ever attend. The food is spectacular and the cause is worthy. Oxfam America, Greater Boston Food Bank and Operation Frontline all benefit from this great tasting fundraiser.
All over eastern Massachusetts, restaurants donate their food, time and staff for this occasion. This year the brunch was held on January 22 and 23 to accommodate the growing participation. The quality of food and service has been consistently high and the occasion costs anywhere from $15 to $50 per person, which usually includes a Mimosa, champagne or Bloody Mary cocktail, bread, a choice of appetizer, entree, dessert and coffee.
This year we went on both Saturday and Sunday as Alex felt we shouldn't resist supporting a worthy cause at a fine restaurant. We chose L'Espalier in Boston for Saturday, and though the morning was bitterly cold, they filled the restaurant. This restaurant lived up to its reputation for some of the finest food in Boston with a choice of food most elegantly presented and delicious. I chose the potato leek soup garnished with thin lacy potatoes and caviar as my appetizer, Alex had mesclun salad with house Two smoked salmon. For the main course both of us had sirloin steak with eggs poached in port wine reduction (now there is a new one for breakfast), tiny new potatoes, onions and lardons (which proved to be segments of thick slices of a heavily smoked bacon); not low cholesterol, but once a year, fantastic. In addition, the multiple choices of bread were sourdough, fig and black olive. They also placed a large plate of sausages and bacon on the middle of the table, in case we didn't get enough on our plates. The dessert was memorable; a flan topped with a walnut savarin and a black sesame seed mango compote. This was the most expensive restaurant on the list at $50 per person. I would call this a dinner not a brunch, and they also graciously wrapped my leftovers.
Remember when you eat out, anything served on your table must be thrown out, so if you don't want it you may bring it home for the birds who will be most grateful. In winter I soak the leftover bread in suet and add other protein for better bird nutrition as, according to my latest MSPCA newsletter, plain bread is poor food in winter.
Our choice for Sunday's brunch was The Grapevine Restaurant in Salem. The atmosphere was quite different from Boston but again, the food was memorable, and staff attentive. I had a Caesar Salad and Alex had a mixed greens with apple, carrot and walnuts and a warm port vinaigrette. For a main course I had the eggplant rolled around herbed ricotta and baked with a tomato-basil sauce, served with pasta, and he had the steamed asparagus with poached eggs, and shaved parmesan drizzled with white truffle oil, served with home fries. For dessert, the offerings were bread pudding or a chocolate torte with whipped cream and fresh strawberry. The atmosphere was festive, the waitstaff friendly. I would recommend either of these places for a great Valentine's dinner.
In addition, do consider supporting the Super Hunger Brunch next year. You may review web sites of these organizations and get on their mailing list for this event: http://www.oxfamamerica.org and http://www.gbfb.org/news.htm. The Greater Boston Food Bank is New England's largest private food assistance program. The Food Bank is a non-profit clearinghouse for food, both donated by private sector and purchased to be distributed to more than 900 member feeding programs (including soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters) throughout nine counties in eastern Massachusetts.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito