January 2, 2015
I’ve recently been blessed with the opportunity to enjoy a 12-week gift of The New York Times. Morning, afternoon and night I have been feasting my eyeballs on a never-ending world of news, and becoming educated on the many happenings around the world in a variety of countries, industries, sports – you name it. What a treat!
One of my favorite stories that I came across last week was a short interactive feature called Small Plates, one of the Times’s top videos of 2014. Six public-school second-graders from Brooklyn were treated to a seven-course tasting menu at one of the most prestigious restaurants in New York City, Daniel, where the meal goes for $220 a person. If you have seven minutes, check it out!
Not only was this feature endearing and very entertaining, but it was reminiscent of my own first experience of a tasting menu — and fitting, as I ended the year with a new hobby, if you will.
Like the chef at Daniel, I was not exposed to fancy or innovative dining growing up and was slow to appreciate the many unique and wonderful delicacies of innovative chefs around the Twin Cities. However, being married to one of the biggest foodies I know, I have faced many food fears, and would now proudly accept the title of “aspiring foodie.”
My first experience with a tasting menu happened right in my own backyard at La Belle Vie, where each beautiful course was presented as I smiled and secretly wished I knew what was on the little plate in front of me. Despite a few giggles, and many questions, I soon became surprised and enamored by each bite. My fears melted away course by course, and I developed a curiosity and passion for tasting menus. There’s something exciting about a parade of bite-size courses to sample, rather than just one.
Tasting menus are unique in the way that they often can push you out of your comfort zone as you lose control over what may be set in front of you. Say goodbye to picking your favorite food or making a safe choice. Over the past year, I have conquered many food fears, and am thankful for the many new tastes I’ve acquired — oysters, mushrooms, duck and more. From the classy, homey charm of La Belle Vie to the energetic bunch at Travail Kitchen and Amusements, each experience has opened my eyes to a new world of culinary innovation and creativity.
A few of my favorite 2014 endeavors include:
Each of these restaurants will, without a doubt, take you on a culinary adventure.