The Danforth Gourmet Brunch Tweetup
A Foodie's Dream In Real Life
In my previous post, I wrote about the preparations for the Gourmet Brunch Tweetup at the Danforth, a historic inn located in the West End neighborhood of downtown Portland. I'm happy to report that the event was even better than we hoped.
More than 20 Portland area Twitterati came together IRL ("in real life" for you non-Twits) to put a face to an avatar and sample the culinary skills of three of their own. @DanaMoos, @LeslieCottrell and I, @CandaceKaru were the guest chefs for the day.
We met in the Danforth's kitchen at 10 am on a perfect autumn Sunday to get the party started. We'd done our prep in the days before, so our time was spent mostly assembling, arranging, and heating things up. Here's a little kitchen video from our Twitter buddy @JoeCascio.
Cabot Clothbound (Photo-Joe Cascio)
Because this was a VST - a Very Special Tweetup - I brought a large chunk of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, aged in the Cellars of Jasper Hill, to get the guests primed for all the delicious food to follow. This is a remarkable clothbound English-style cheddar that won a Gold Medal at the 2004 World Cheese Awards in London and was named "Best of Show" by the American Cheese Society in 2006. Maine's own HoneyMaker Mead was a perfect pairing with this amazing cheddar.
Both Dana and Leslie are experienced innkeepers and know their way around a groaning breakfast table. But their offerings were definitely not standard B & B fare. These women are chefs of breathtaking talent. Leslie's blue cheese stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in bacon drove everyone back to the serving table again and again. Their sweet and savory flavors blended in a new and heavenly way, and will become the stuff of legend...until she shares her recipe.
Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake, Earl Gray Cookies and Chocolate Truffles
Leslie also created sweets for the table, creamy, dense chocolate truffles, delicate Earl Gray cookies and a light, sugar dusted pumpkin streusel coffee cake.
Papaya, Mangoes, and Strawberries with Lemon and Basil
Dana drizzled papaya, mangoes, and strawberries with a lemon basil sauce to start. She also made a light curry aioli for perfectly steamed asparagus. Her most delectable contribution, however, was an egg roulade - as light as a cloud and subtly flavored with leeks and Parmesan - topped with a sinfully rich lobster sherry sauce. Finally, she made a grapefruit brulee that had the crowd begging for more. And lest you think our Dana is a One Trick Pony, she also took these exquisite photographs. Visit her website to see more of her work.
Egg Roulade Filled with Leeks and Parmesan
Other than the incredible cheese, my contribution to the brunch was a dish I created specially for the occasion. The recipe for Potatoes Danforth with Horseradish Garlic Cream is at the end of the post.
Ask just about any veteran Twitterer and he or she will tell you a Tweetup invariably turns into a good time. Our gourmet brunch tweetup took the concept to a whole new level. Here is a slide show put together by Sarah Wallace, a writer, blogger, and passionate Tweeter, that captures a few more Tweetup memories.
Credit and thanks go not only to the chefs, but also to Danforth owner Kim Swan and her four-legged sidekick, Ava, for hosting a delicious, delightful good time