I woke up at 4:30am feeling dehydrated, bloated and angry that morning had arrived too quickly. Sure, it was my fault - I did eat everything and I shouldn't have drank most of that bottle of Sullyzwicker or accepted that glass of red or finished that large glass of cognac.. it seemed like such a good idea at the time though. Staring at the clock, my eyes burning, I made the executive decision to reset the alarm to a much later hour. I couldn't sleep though, the consequences of sleeping late (paying for both parking and a bad cafeteria lunch) weighed heavy on my mind. I got up and made a healthy looking salad - going vegetarian for one meal will erase last night's indulgence, right?
The indulgence was a 16 course tribute dinner to Eleven Madison Park (EMP). Our hosts, Murray Wilson and Pej Vongpaisal, recreated the NYC experience using recipes from the newly released EMP cookbook. I've had the privilege of eating at EMP years before it achieved it's Michelin Stars or ranking on the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant List. It was also before I started taking photos at restaurants and writing about food so I don't remember exact details about the menu. Although the wine pairing and pre-meal champagne cocktails might also explain why I don't remember. I do remember that the meal exceeded all of my expectations and to this day is one of the best meals I've ever experienced.
Although we weren't in a chic New York City dining room and Chef Daniel Humm wasn't at the helm of the kitchen, Murray and Pej successfully recreated dishes that made me feel as if I had gone back to that high-ceilinged dining room. Congratulations on a beautiful tribute!