i look into this mound of golden sunshine, and say, is this a deconstructed, modernist version of butternut squash soup? my super-uber cool friend, frank, sends out another one of his ringing, joyous laughter cascades and say, post-modernist. he roasted butternut squash with, in his words, slabs of butter, then purees it with yet more butter. eating frank's food means leaving calorie-count at his door. but then, he lives in seattle. how often do i get to eat his fabulous food? as my beloved aunt julia, as in julia child, says about crepe suzette, eat it once in a while. besides with food prepared with such thoughtfulness and delight as frank's it's pure. did i mention top-notch ingredients? for instance, he dollops raspberry yoghurt over butternut squash. this is organic greek yoghurt with quality raspberry. topping this post-modernist babe off is a whip of creme fraiche. every spoonful is fresh sunshine in the mouth.
frank begins the meal with 'laughter in the mouth.' bits of browned duck and roasted walnuts sit in a boat of endive. a little drip of maple syrup and dots of dill transform this creation into, i would say, a savory reinvention of banana split.
now, there is wild caught copper river king salmon, and there is trol-caught salmon. the latter costs three times as much. before i actually taste it frank says, once you have it you can never go back. i am kind of skeptical until i eat it. o me o my, it's juicy, buttery. the texture is tender and bouncy. flavor profile is complex and wonderful. simply irresistible. it's one of those 'mango' experience. you can describe it all you can but you have to eat the mango to know that ethereal feeling. the best i can say is this is a relaxed, contented salmon. to bring out and enhance this beauty frank slow braises celery root with cream and purees it. the salmon lies on top of this white comforter, next to a stream of blueberry sauce. the sweet and mellow blueberry is kicked up several notches by spicy red bell pepper. a raft of baby carrots of a variety of colors complete the dish. dots of dill continue their recurring appearances. i have two plates. that's how good it is.
dessert is o so simple. lemon sorbet. before i can start to tease frank about awol-ing on dessert i sniff something something and i notice something something sprinkled over the sorbet. it smells like fennel and it's deeper and richer. frank says, fennel pollen, a mario batali trick, put it over anything, it's magic.
frank, i say, you are magic.