not just nourishment: food for FUNDS

RER 3.20.13

Just a few weeks ago, the Hudson School threw their annual Trustee dinner at the Hoboken favorite, Amanda’s (I have mentioned this restaurant a bunch check it out here, here and here…). Each year the school and the board of trustees pull together a tasting like dinner accompanied by matching wines to help raise money for student scholarship. The tickets are a pretty penny, but considering the quality of the event and the cause, it is worth it.

Many of those attending the annual dinner have some connection to the school; former student, former or current parent, teacher, board member or even friend of the school. Both my younger sister and I are what we call “Lifers” (students for the full range of the school, grades 5 through 12). My mother is still affiliated with the school so she invited me, my father and her friend to go support the school and its cause. Having gone to the school, I can understand its importance and appeal to those within and outside the community. Building funds for scholarship allows for more diversity and the character the school prides itself on. The private school is not cheap but much of the experience and education it bestows is worth it in the aide of cultivating individuals.

The event was a nice social arena; many people knew each other and many were eager to meet those who were strangers. Teachers mingled with former students, while parents chatted over wine and the tingle of dishes. There were a few speakers, highlighting the good aspects of the school that many in attendance already knew. The principal of the school since its inception told the crowd stories of the children in need of the scholarship, reinforcing the reason we were all there indulging in the fancy and sophisticated food presented to us.

RER 2.26.13
And then there was the food, the excuse that brought the people together, the gift back for the indirect donation. We were tempted with five courses created by the executive chef, Rodney Peterson. And each, save the dessert, were paired with an appropriate wine, perfect to highlight and emphasize.

1st The first was a thick and heavy pea soup, light green and grainy, sprinkled with gravlax and crunchy croutons. The cured fish and the croutons added necessary salt and diversion in texture. It was a challenge to not devour the whole bowl in anticipation for the following courses, even though it was a warm and heavy start.

2nd The second course consisted of red roasted beets, and an avocado and frisee salad topped with a nearly imperceptible citrus vinaigrette. The dish desperately needed a heavier dose of the citrus to cut the smooth fattiness of the large amount of avocado and the monotonous sweetness of the beets. It was definitely lacking, unfortunately.

3rd This third course was a small cube of grilled salmon on top of a crisscross of asparagus and a nice scoop of light potato salad. All of the elements blended extremely well together; the potato salad was a lighter refined version of the picnic variety we are used to and the salmon was salty and deliciously crusty but mildly overcooked.

4th The fourth dish was the heaviest, comprised of a perfect round of mushroom polenta and beef fillet. The comfit shallot and parmesan fricco echoed the round theme. The mushrooms on the plate were meaty and perfectly complemented all of the other elements in the dish, the creamy polenta, the crunchy fricco and the soft succulent onion.

5th Dessert was delicious, but a mild let down. It was a safe spiced apple cake, studded with raisins accompanied by a sweet melty mound of Ducle de Leche ice cream. The two elements coupled well but the desert was lacking the punch that the third and fourth courses had.

RER 2.26.13
This little tasting also had a different feeling than the normal menu at Amanda’s. The chef stuck to many of the elements that Amanda’s is known for, like the creamy polenta and succulent salmon, but the four bite sized portions looked completely different. They seemed more curated and refined with and aesthetic edge to their presentation. Perhaps this is linked to the event specifications, smaller portions and a tasting character, but it also made the meal more special, invigorating the fundraiser quality of the meal.

This was not meant to be about the food in its specifics per se, but how food in this case is not only about experience and nourishment but the cause, the less tangible reasoning behind it. This fancy feast was to raise money for a school that does good and wishes to open its doors to many different kinds of minds. We came and ate five delicious courses and drank four pungent wines to help kids better their lives and futures through education at the Hudson School. As always, Amanda’s was an excellent venue where the Flinns served as our hosts. The food, refinement, company and service rose to the occasion.
RER 2.26.13

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