On Friday, we celebrated Flag Day at Spice Kitchen & Bar. What, you don’t celebrate Flag Day? Well, I bet you would if it also happened to be your birthday.
For awhile now, I have been a huge fan of chef Ben Bebenroth. I have always found him to be ridiculously talented, quite friendly and have long respected and admired his approach to cooking. We have used his catering company, Spice of Life, for a number of events and his team continually exceeded expectations. Plus his Plated Landscape dinners are always a treat. So when he decided to open up his own restaurant, my husband and I were so excited for he and his wife because we knew this was a good move for them. But mostly, because we could enjoy his cooking at our whim.
Whim. What a funny little word. And what’s funnier, is that the idea of it is pretty nonexistent when kids enter and plot to take over your life, making plans fall apart and forcing you to often stay within a one-mile radius of home base. So although we are huge team Bebenroth fans, aside from the grand opening, we have never made it in for dinner. Until this past Friday.
We started off with a pair of strawberry-rhubarb juleps. Which quickly turned into another round. What an incredibly fun and refreshing cocktail that quickly creeps up on you. So consider yourself warned.
Fun cocktails were followed by the asparagus and poached egg salad with feta and white balsamic for me and the carmalized onion soup for Jamie. For dinner, we each ordered the special pasta: pappardelle with duck and pesto. To finish our evening, Ben sent out a dessert for us to enjoy: Blueberry sweet corn cake with crème fraiche ice cream and macerated blueberries. The dessert was accompanied by a great story on its origin as told by Ben. As aforementioned, I was two juleps plus one cab in at this point. So I had to follow-up to get the story correct.
The cake is made with Spice Acres corn that they grew out for three years from seed. Ben’s parents went out last year and picked a boatload of blueberries in Columbia Station. They froze those and used them in the cake; then mixed in some fresh ones on-hand that they macerated and paired with Crème Fraiche for a DIY topping. Somehow when I heard the story the first time, I could have sworn celebrity chef Michael Chiarello was somehow tied to the corn; I’ll have to dig a little harder on that one to see if it’s a reality or julep-induced fabrication.
I can’t begin to tell you just how good this meal was. In fact, it was outstanding. Every bite, every sip, every course. Again last night, we were talking about this meal and just how impressed we were. It was – without question – one of our favorite and more memorable meals in a long time. If you’re like us and just haven’t made it in yet, do yourself a favor and call for a reservation. Soon.
I am already eagerly anticipating our next meal. And this visit will take place long before Flag Day.