Birthday Lunch at Jean Georges… Utter Deliciousness.

Happy 2012 everyone!  I’ve got to say the year is off to a wonderful start!  It’s only January 5th and I’ve already had a sublime birthday, involving one of my top five best meals of all time (I’ll go into food detail in a moment) and our dear friends Brette and Ben got engaged!  SO EXCITED for them!  Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my list of thirty-three things I want to do while I’m thirty-three.  I’m not going to share the entire list here – but I’ll give you some highlights:

  • Get my Brooklyn Library card and get into the library system (in NY, you can apparently “hold” books online and then have them sent to your nearest library branch) – I’ve just been buying a lot of books and I need to really rediscover the library – especially with the arrival of the little one!
  • Make my own baby food – my friend Amie just got me this awesome book called Baby Gourmet by Jenny Carenco.
  • Work on a baby-themed photo project – I already have one in mind and am excited to get started!
  • Take amazing pictures from our baby’s early days and actually make albums/photo books out of them (instead of leaving them forever in my computer library!!)
  • Buy a new camera lens – probably a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Start an Etsy shop for my photography and link it to nellsdish
  • Blog at least three times a week
  • Get a big cushy area rug for our apartment (preferably ivory/natural color and SHAG!) – I’ve been obsessing over this purchase for about a month now.
  • Read Eat to Live – my dad read this book and it has completely transformed him.  He has adopted amazingly healthy eating habits and feels fantastic.  It is inspiring to watch.  My only issue is that he told me that the book says cheese is pretty much the absolute worst food for you.  I don’t know if I can get behind that.  But at least I can read it! 🙂
  • Take a trip to St. John 
  • Get both Adam’s and my skin checked by a dermatologist (just an annual check-up of sorts – to be safe)

So that is a taste of my goals for thirty-three.  I’m not actually done with my list yet – but just mulling this stuff over and putting it in writing feels like a meaningful exercise and I’m sure it’ll help me focus on the things that are important to me in the year ahead.

Now onto the really good stuff… FOOD!

So – on my birthday, Adam surprised me with a lunch at Jean Georges – a restaurant on Central Park West owned and operated by world-famous chef and restauranteur Jean Georges Vongerichten and one of only seven three-Michelin Star restaurants in all of NYC (I’ve been to three of the seven… I think that is another goal to add to the list!).   As you can imagine… this was the perfect gift for me. Way to go hubby.

Now – I didn’t bring my camera along (with my extra pregnancy weight I’ve been less inclined to carry around my camera bag lately) – but we did take photos with Adam’s iPhone in order to share the dining experience with you.

Here is an interior shot of the dining room:

Jean Georges Interior

The lunch started with an amuse-bouche:

Amuse-bouche – Similar to but not to be confused with hors d’oeuvre. This is a tidbit, often tiny, served as a free extra to keep you happy while you are waiting for your first course to come. It gives you an idea of the chef’s approach to cooking and the restaurant’s attention to your appetite.

[From French, literally, “mouth amuser”, from amuser (to amuse) + bouche (mouth).

In this case – we got three little amuse-bouches and they definitely did amuse our palates and get us excited for the meal to come:

A bite of Lightly Smoked Raw Salmon Wrapped Around Cucumber with a delightful Creme-Fraiche Topping, a Spring Roll filled with Truffled Goat Cheese and topped with Honey and a shot of Sweet Potato Soup with tart little Apple bits and Pumpernickel Croutons.  YUM.

Amuse Bouche

Then came the soup – one of the highlights for me (though everything was pretty much a highlight):

Parsnip Soup with Coconut, Lime and Mint

Parsnip Soup with Coconut, Lime and Mint

I love the way they served this soup.  The bowl came with just the Coconut froth and the the lime foam and then they poured the parsnip soup on top.  I tasted each element individually – the coconut froth was amazingly creamy and milky – I could have eaten it for dessert.  And the lime foam was super tart and sour – but when you blended the three together – total magic happened.  The smooth, creamy and silky texture of this divinely flavored soup completely rocked my world.  It was a food revelation.

Onto the next.

I ordered the Comte Risotto with Marinated Pear and Matsutake Mushrooms: 

Comte Risotto with Marinated Pear and Matsutake Mushrooms

Another completely rich, creamy and delectable dish… though I might have overdone it on the rich and creamy factor with this dish following that soup.  But I can’t imagine risotto being better than this.  EVER.

Adam ordered the Scallop Sashimi with Chipotle Mayo of Crispy Rice: 

Scallop Sashimi with Chipotle Mayo over Crispy Rice

Then came our mains… I’m sorry to report, we were so excited we forgot to take photos before we dove into these – so you’ll have to use your imagination on the visuals here.

I ordered the Red Snapper Crusted with Nuts and Seeds Served in a Sweet and Sour Jus.  This dish also blew my mind.  The fish was tender and luscious and the jus was mouthwateringly buttery and was filled with sour yellow and red grape tomatoes and chunks of potato.  I could have eaten that broth as a soup.  It was heavenly.

Adam ordered the Parmesan Crusted Confit Leg of Chicken with Artichoke, Basil and Lemon Butter.  He LOVED this… though I thought my fish dish was way yummier.

Then came dessert.  We ordered one dessert for the two of us to share – of course, it had two elements, so it was pretty much two desserts – A Cranberry Parfait with Walnut Nougatine Covered in Soft Vanilla Meringue and a Sweet Potato Souffle with Cranberries and Medjol Dates: 

Cranberry Parfait and Sweet Potato Souffle

Both of these were excellent… though the savory elements of the meal definitely out-shined the desserts in my mind.

Then they came out with a special birthday chocolate cake for me!  Oye vey.  We were totally busting at the seams full by this point… but I had to have a few bites!  It was so beautiful… the little gold leaf pieces were pretty much dancing and they looked so beautiful in the candlelight…  way to finish.

My birthday chocolate cake

The meal finished off with a server coming around and snipping off four homemade marshmallows (from one long marshmallow chain), which he pulled from a large glass jar and then four homemade chocolates (including a mind-blowing peanut butter and jelly-filled chocolate) and two mini macarons.  Too much.  But in the best of ways.

Here is us at the end of the meal:

Then we left, and I promptly fell asleep on the subway ride home – in my food-induced bliss/coma.

Best birthday EVER.

Oh – and just a note.  We’ve been to a few of these super high-end restaurants – but always for dinner.  This was our first lunch experience and I have to say… that is TOTALLY the way to go!  It was daylight when we left and we had hours to digest our food before bed.  It was also SO much cheaper than it would have been had we gone for dinner.  So we got to have this amazing food experience without the guilt involved in spending way too much money.  I’m definitely going to see if those other Michelin star restaurants serve lunch.  Thank you Amy Basset for the suggestion!

Now – I’m off to my OB for a checkup!  Saturday will be thirty weeks!  CRAZY!

Love to you all and may this year bring much happiness, inspiration and all things good.



8 thoughts on “Birthday Lunch at Jean Georges… Utter Deliciousness.

  1. You are welcome and I am salivating reading this and I need to go back. 30 weeks! Entering the home stretch. So exciting!


  2. Whoa I’m feeling full just reading this – sounds amazing! Great idea going for lunch. Hey I’m looking for a new book… Maybe I’ll pick up Eat to Live. Can’t wait to see you this weekend. Lot’s of love! 🙂

  3. How did I miss this post? I see you had a very happy birthday!! and your list is very doable, I´m sure you´ll be able to do all those things!! A big hug!

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