I treated my churn girls to a “taste of bliss” at the Inn at Pound Ridge, NY on a Wednesday afternoon in September. Once you step inside this New England inn from 1833, you find yourself in a stunningly renovated space- think neutral nordic with a dash of rustic California. As one might expect at such an illustrious Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, we were seated next to Hollywood royalty, and Jojo couldn’t keep herself from texting Romancing the Stone quotes to her sister throughout the meal. So, amidst sighs of gastronomical anticipation came “Well, I ain’t cheap but I can be had” and ”I need to get to Cartajena!” followed by gusts of awkward laughter.
Alongside our citrusy and refreshing Honig Sauvignon Blanc (Napa, 2013) came a simple dark country bread with olive oil for dipping. It was almost perfection, but a butter tasting is de rigueur in our business, so we requested their butter and were pleased, but certainly not enthralled with the butter of the house. Though the presentation was lovely- two little butter logs were propped up on one of the inn’s mismatched vintage floral plates, the butter itself was just a touch salty.
For starters, we chose the Asparagus Salad with Hollandaise and Watermelon with Goat Cheese. Both of these dishes were simply stated, superb. I would have happily left right at that point, completely satisfied with the good white wine, salty butter, brown bread and exquisite starters, but my daughters are avid culinary enthusiasts, so the midday feast continued.
The youthful and alert waiters were handsomely buttoned in plaid flannel shirts and served our meals promptly and with great care. Jojo described her Black Truffle Pizza with Fontina as “divine”! However, Jojo has been known to liberally sprinkle her commentary with superlatives when she is in an enthusiastic mood, which clearly she was- a glass of Honig was under her belt and thoughts of being rescued in the dangerous jungles of Colombia by the likes of Jack Colton were swirling in her head. Kristina’s Grilled Hanger Steak Sandwich was tender and flavorful. She also confirmed in a somewhat more sedate tone that, yes, Jojo’s truffle pizza was exceptional. The chef had used actual truffle shavings instead of a simple truffle oil and the frisee on top lifted up the whole flavor profile. My Chop Salad with Chicken Paillard was well-balanced with bursts of blue cheese, but somewhat disappointingly, the chicken had been pre-chopped in the kitchen. For me, one of the best parts of a chicken Paillard is slicing into the flattened, juicy, flavorful grilled chicken breast. However, the waiter did pleasantly explain that Jean George’s chef was going for a gesamt chopped presentation of the dish, so fair enough. It was delicious all the same.
Dessert was the perfect ending to our meal. We shared the satisfyingly rich dark chocolate cake accompanied by a delightful lemon yogurt sherbert and the Strawberry Almond Shortcake, which was prepared with chunks of almond pound cake and small flavorful berries. The almond flavor was pronounced but not overwhelming and the strawberries took center stage as they should. Would I go again? Absolutely!
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Last week, we had the privilege of hanging out and cooking with the amazing Silvia Baldini. There’s not much Silvia doesn’t do – a former high-powered art director in NYC, she’s now a local chef, entrepreneur, super mom and all-around #girlboss. Did I mention she won Chopped with “the best dessert on this show ever”? Needless to say, we were thrilled she agreed to be featured in the second installment of our Chef Series!