Since everyone knows that I haven’t been blogging, I’m not going to make any lame excuses about how busy I have been and what has been going on, blah, blah, blah, etc. I just don’t to waste the time being that there are much more exciting things to write about, as I have come across super cooking/food inspiration as of late, and last night at a late-night Wegmans trip I found the most awesome thing that I am going to do. I have been cooking when I have been absent, and have missed blogging a lot. I just needed some inspiration to really get back into things. But the inspiration actually began a little earlier than last night…

Backing up, my boyfriend’s 30th birthday was at the end of November. I’m not good at buying people presents for any occasion and being that it was his 30th I knew I had to do something special. I had a pretty good string beforehand of nicely asking people to do favors for me and them agreeing to, so I got this great idea in my head that I would contact my boyfriend’s favorite restaurant, Bistro Europa, and see if they would put together some special dinner or something along those lines. If they said no, at least I tried and we would still have an amazing birthday dinner at Bistro Europa, and if they said yes, then… well, awesome birthday gift. I wrote to Chef Steve Gedra and he replied back that he would be happy to. Yes! I was so excited and so happy that he was not only doing it but that he was EXCITED to be doing it. We sent a few messages back and forth about what he would make, and right before Luke’s birthday he said he would be making a pork dish.

Pork. I do not like it, Sam-I-Am. I never ate it, never found it appealing, and it was high on my “eww” factor. Would I tell one of the best chefs in Buffalo who was doing me a HUGE favor that I wasn’t going to eat his special dinner that I ASKED him to do? No!! I would never be so insulting. Steve told me his pig would change my life. He was so convincing that I told myself I would throw all caution to the wind and try everything that he made with an open mind.

The day came and much to my absolute horror, things started going wrong when I realized that I was stuck at work and was going to be late to our 5:45 reservation, which was also a surprise for my boyfriend so as far as he was concerned he was casually meeting me at Bistro Europa for dinner. I work in a job where there is nobody to cover for me when I leave early, I can’t just get up and leave, have no idea what time I am getting out, etc. It is SUCH a fluke and rare thing that I work after 3pm, much less 5pm, and much less 6pm. So, when I frantically ran into the restaurant at 6:30ish, I was SO EMBARRASSED that I was so late. I despise it when people are late and am the first person to complain about it. I was mortified.

But, when I saw how happy Luke was that I got there (he had been waiting drinking champagne and looking at his special birthday menu that Bistro Europa prepared. Awesome!) and that we were going to be having the most fabulous special dinner, AND that the chef was gracious enough to not throw us out after me being a whopping 45 minutes late, I settled in for a nice night of….. pork.

First course, second course, third course, the coup de grace and dessert. Each part more amazing and flavorful than the last. It was fabulous. T-Meadow Farm prosciutto and burgundy truffle, Zuppa di Pesce, the “grand slam” which consisted of T-Meadow pork belly, truffled potato hash, and tempura fried Painted Meadow Farm duck egg, and (dun dun dunnn) the coup de grace, pan roasted whey fed pork chop with pork heart tartare, ham steak, apple/rosemary puree and crisp smashed potatoes. Dear god. Dessert was pumpkin cake with the most decadent butter-cream frosting and ice cream with cardamom and other spices which was amazing. And despite how stuffed we were I insisted on finished every last bit of it!

Everything was phenomenal. My words will not do it justice. So yes, I ate pork and loved it, which means that hell has frozen over for sure. I will not be making pork a regular part of my diet, BUT I will make an exception once in a while for Bistro Europa since I can’t imagine anybody doing it better.

It was a fabulous night and wonderful dinner and Luke was BEYOND excited to have the perfect dining experience and also see me eat things normally I wouldn’t touch. The whole crew at Bistro Europa went SO FAR above and beyond what I had expected and they definitely have a customer for life. THIS is one of the many, many reasons that locally owned businesses are the places to spend your money at. I love that they did this to make his birthday special, and love that when I tell friends/family about it it makes them want to go eat there, and also love that Bistro Europa gets food from local places so I get to see my money go back into the community that I live and work in.  Win-win for everyone!

So. After eating that, all I could think about was cooking. PLUS my oven is working again (more on that another time…) so the possibilities are endless as to what I can cook.

But the final push to start back up came last night. We were at Wegmans getting movie night staples (such as the HIGHLY addicting drunken goat cheese), when in the book section the Nickel City Chef book caught my eye. Within two seconds of flipping through it as we were walking around the store, I had decided that my new project would be to cook all the recipes in the book. YES. They look complicated and fancy (to me, at least. I am WAY better with cooking now than when I started, and I am FAR from being where I could be/should be. But the recipes in the book seem to be spelled out very well, AND there is a reference section on where to find the ingredients that the chefs use in their recipes. Also, everything is centered around local vendors. YAY!) So the recipes will be made as is with the same ingredient sources that the chefs use, and also there is the option to go into the restaurants and see how my version compares to the real thing…

I’m really excited. I already picked out my first recipe that I will be making next week!

3 Responses to “Inspired.”
  1. Heather says:

    This makes me happy 🙂

  2. I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious that meal was. Steve really knocked it out of the park, and you did too for putting him up tot the whole thing!

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