Last night I witnessed an intense act of cheese love. I have always known that women and cheese are a fatal combination - fatal for the cheese that is. But, I've never seen cheese categorically demolished until last evening, when my Five Front friends Thalya and Anna inhaled a selection of aged Manchego, Goats Milk Brie Stuffed with Fig Preserves and Istara with some Quince Paste thrown in for good measure. You can witness the damage above.
But, wait. That wasn't the final moment for the cheese plate. Oh, no. These gals had more to gnaw. In fact, by the time I pulled the plate away from them, all that was left was wisps of wax rind. And, frankly, I was afraid they would inhale those too, if I didn't remove them tout suite.
And to think, that was only the beginning of the wee ladies night dinner I hosted last eve. Thalya, one of Five Front's bartenders (and creator of the Kentucky Apple Cocktail, pictured below - Kentucky Bourbon, apple juice, bitters and lemon), and Anna, the restaurant's perkiest waitress, descended upon my Brooklyn apartment for a switcheroo - This time, I would serve.
Serve I did - Potato Crisps with Creme Fraiche, Chattanooga Paddlefish Caviar and Chives, followed by Chicken Scallopine in Wild Mushroom Sauce with Black Truffles (careful readers will note that the sauce was originally T-day gravy) with Green Beans and Toasted Pinenuts. Dessert came in form of individual Dark Chocolate Souffles with Pumpkin Gelato (the latter was another Thanksgiving leftover), consumed heartily with sips of fizzy, raspberry-scented Brachetto d'Aqui to compliment the dish's intensity,
And yet - we still weren't done.
No - there wasn't another onslaught of cheese, although I'm sure that Thalya and Anna wouldn't have objected.
Instead, we capped off the evening with an illegal nightcap: Absinthe.
Compliments of Anna's father, who'd recently returned from Spain, we poured the potent green spirit into champagne glasses. Thalya expertly filled teaspoons with Absinthe soaked sugar and set the spoonfuls aflame. The carmelized sugar was dripped into the 180 proof herbal liquor before we bravely took the glasses to our lips.
Oh, what a rush is the Green Fairy. My throat, my chest, my whole body felt alight with fire with only one small sip. That was all I needed. Anna took a few sips more. Thalya was a trooper and drank her whole glass with glee.
We worried that she might be treading on dangerous territory. Absinthe is remarkably powerful and has been said to spark hallucinations.
Thalya wasn't worried. Besides, pink elephants would be completely appropriate. Did we know that elephants actually love beer? They clearly have an affinity for alcohol. They would be welcome additions to the soiree...
As we called Thalya and Anna a cab, I wondered if elephants also had an affinity for cheese. If so, a whole herd wouldn't be any match for my Five Front friends.