Tag Archives: elements restaurant Princeton

Upcoming: Sizzlin’ Chefs, Cheese Curators &…Haute Hair?

Seriously Accomplished Chefs Sizzling at Summer of Chefs Series at elements in Princeton

Scott Anderson has lined up a phalanx of accoladed chefs to create cutting-edge cuisine alongside him and his crew this spring and summer. The third installment in the dinner series is set for this Sunday, June 10, when Michael Cimarusti of the two-Michelin-starred Providence in L.A. comes home, so to speak. Cimarusti, who you may have seen on Top Chef, grew up in Pennington. Before establishing Providence he worked for, among others, Larry Forgione, Paul Bocuse, Roger Verge, and Wolfgang Puck.

Check out my story on The Summer of Chefs in the June 6 issue of US 1 for info on how to score reservations. In it, I interview Anderson about  what he and the each of  the guest chefs have in common, what spawned the idea for the series, what has transpired so far (one example: California abalone with foie gras and seaweeds), and what guests can expect both this Sunday and for the last dinner in the series on Friday, July 13. That final one has two guest chefs, one of whom is Shawn Gawle of Corton in NYC, named Food & Wine‘s Best New Pastry Chef of 2012.

Calling all Cheese Hounds

First Amanti Vino, the wine store in Montclair, announced that they have added a cheese case with a curated selection of 12 artisanal specimen from NYC’s respected Artisanal Premium Cheeses. Now they’ve add this related event:

Cheese School 101

Cheese School 101 (Photo credit: niallkennedy)

“Author and cheese expert Max McCalman (of Artisanal Cheese in NYC) will be at Amanti Vino for a master class on pairing cheese with wine (and maybe some beer, too). In this single session class, Max provides illuminating evidence in support of his claim that cheese is a “near-perfect” food, especially when it is paired appropriately with wine. We’ve all heard about the wonderful aspects of the “Mediterranean Diet” and the “French Paradox.” This class provides point by point explanations of how it all comes together, all while you enjoy a variety of these remarkable cheeses paired with fine wines. Class will run from 4-6pm on Saturday, June 16th.  Seats are $40 each.”  To book a seat, email sharon@amantivino.com.

Calling all Hair Hounds?

Gee…that doesn’t sound right, does it? What I mean to say is, there’s a great event that involves beautiful hair for a beautiful cause coming up this Sunday, June 10.  And there is a restaurant connection, too.

Care Couture is the non-profit behind the 2nd Annual Hair Art Runway Show. Leading salons like Joseph-Jeffreys in Newtown, PA and Godfrey Fitzgerald in Princeton showcase cutting-edge hair designs, with proceeds from the $25 ticket price going to a Capital Health Foundation program that funds free wigs for cancer patients in financial need. This year’s event starts at 6 pm at Rho Ristorante and Discoteca in Trenton. For info and tickets, click here.

The chef at Rho, a new Italian restaurant in the space that had been Katmandu, is Luis Martinez, who gained a lot of fans as the longtime chef at the perennially popular Teresa’s Caffe in Princeton. (He is also a heck of a nice guy.) I haven’t dined at Rho yet so here’s Trenton Times reviewer Susan Yeske’s report.

Gab Carbone: Mad Genius of Ice Cream

Just when I think Gab Carbone of The Bent Spoon in Princeton absolutely cannot invent another flavor combo that will blow my mind, she does. In spades.

Twice within the last two weeks in fact. First, she developed a custom flavor for my friends George and Helen of Lawrenceville. They were the recipients of an auction item – 1o pints of your own custom flavor! – which Gab and partner Matt Errico offer regularly to worthy nonprofits, such as McCarter Theatre, Housing Initiatives of Princeton, and Slow Food USA. (Two years ago, Carbone tells me, a bidding war erupted at the Stonybrook-Millstone Watershed auction that resulted in a winning bid of more than $1000! For ice cream!)

I was lucky enough to share in George & Helen’s bounty. Their custom flavor of choice? Herb honey (Airborne brand, from New Zealand), candied pistachios, and fresh ricotta.  Unbelievably good. I would have been happy for months going on the just the taste memory of that, but then last week I got to try another crazy-scientist-slash-culinary-artist concoction.

Actually, several of them. Gab was responsible for dessert at the eight-course “Collaborative Feast: Princeton Chefs Give Back” dinner at elements restaurant. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner benefited the Princeton Community Foundation. Each course preceding dessert was rich and memorable, so when it came time for dessert my tablemates and I began mumbling about perhaps not having room for it.

Then the first wave of a three-part ice cream dessert fantasy arrived. To say we approached our Pretzels & Mustard Hot Fudge Sundae with trepidation would be an understatement. But hesitation gave way to ecstasy with first spoonful. The mustard wasn’t shy, and yet it was perfect. The pretzels, well yes, salt and crunch are always welcome. But mustard? With chocolate sauce? I’m telling you, it works. In short order, we were also the beneficiaries of three mini-floats, in flavors that were nominally
“root beer” and “cassis” and “chocolate,” but made with exotic ingredients like a clear liquor infused with rare cacao nibs. Then came mini sugar cones filled with butter and Scotch ice cream. Not butterscotch as we know it, but butter and a smoky, peaty 15-year-old Scotch. (I think Gab said Laphroaig, but I could be mistaken.)

Flickr photo by a fan in Tokyo

In truth, the flavors available on any given day at the Bent Spoon shop on Palmer Square  are just as interesting (and often just as counter-intuitive). They change daily – sometimes several times within a day – and here are just three November choices:

Wild Turkey Bourbon with Sea Salt Caramel

Olive & Mustard Oil

Cranberry Mostarda

For the less adventurous, there are more conventional but just as tasty ice cream and sorbet flavors, including cookies & cream, chocolate cinnamon, mocha chunk, mascarpone, and Sicilian blood orange.  The Bent Spoon team has created more than 500 flavors to date, all told.

Here’s my first holiday shopping tip of the season: Gift certificates to the Bent Spoon! If you happen to have someone who doesn’t like ice cream on your list, cans of their ridiculously rich European-style hot chocolate mix can’t miss. And my daughters regularly give their friends super-cool Bent Spoon T-shirts, which feature a tiny map of NJ, reflecting  Carbone & Errico’s dedication to using local ingredients.

Check out this charming YouTube video of Gab and Matt at work.