Such a magical night was had at the second annual Suzie’s Farm Autumnal Equinox dinner. It was an evening filled with enchanting scenery, great company, and delightful food and wine pairings. The event started out on Suzie’s Farm with appetizers and refreshments in the middle of their towering Sunflower maze. As the sun began to set, and the temperatures began to drop, we found ourselves crunching over leaves and fallen sunflower stalks heading in the direction of other people’s chatter. The sounds of bees buzzing past your ears, and the foliage under your feet, transforms you into this tranquil state as you explore this living piece of art. There were different rooms to be found, other than the center hay filled meeting place. Of course with the temperatures still being in the eighties at 6pm, making it to the beverages and appetizers almost felt like a reward. We snacked on pickled vegetables, Chayote and eggplant crostinis, Lambcetta dipped in a charred vegetable “dirt”, and savory cannolis. We sipped a Cucumber Lemon Verbena water that was more than refreshing. The dinner portion of the night was held at their Sun Grown property.
We mingled during the cocktail hour taking in the intoxicating aromas floating around from the outdoor kitchen. Hello, Caja China so nice to see you again. We enjoyed a glass of Vesper Vineyards Carignan, as we waited for the dinner bell to be rung. The dining area with long tables covered in crisp white linens and twinkling lights above was just gorgeous. This was like a scene that came out of my imagination. Oh wait, not everyone day dreams about dinner parties in rustic settings and farms? Well, I do, and I could not wait to see how the night would unfold.
Four local Chefs came together to create a four course meal and pairings for all of the attendees. Now that I have described the scenery, let’s get into the indulgent part of the evening, the food.
Chef Joe Magnanelli – Cucina Urbana
Blistered Little Gem Lettice with soft boiled hen egg, pickled red onion, squash blossoms stuffed with sunflower seed puree
Pairing: Brother Levonian Saison with Basil Flowers and Sancho Buttons, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
The first course by Joe Magnanelli of Cucina Urbana was a lovely start to the dinner. The charred flavors from the blistered Little Gem lettuce, that soft boiled egg, and let me say have you ever had a squash blossom stuffed with sunflower puree? The flavors and textures of this dish were outstanding. The pairing was a Brother Levonian Saison with Basil flowers and Sancho buttons by Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. I could honestly say that it is one of the best beers that I have tasted. The Basil came through with bright notes, and the Sancho buttons left your lips and tongue feeling a bit numb. It was quite the pairing.
Chef Max Bonacci – El Take It Easy
Handmade Japanese eggplant noodles with beet and radish kimchi, fermented chickpea sprouts, smoked carrots, and Cayenne chile sauce with Turkish eggplant-infused Ensenada Olive Oil.
Pariing: Alsace, Kuentza-Bas
The second course by Max Bonacci of The Linkery & El Take it Easy was a dish that had us and everyone around us asking,”How did he do this?’ The handmade Japanese eggplant noodles were so tasty, and the their texture was just fantastic. There was a nice heat from the Cayenne chile sauce, and how could you possibly go wrong with Turkish eggplant-infused Ensenada Olive oil. The Alsace, Kuentz-Bas wine pairing cut through that heat, and was simply delicious.
Chef Javier Plascencia – Misión 19
Caja China roasted goat with Green Zebra salsa, yellow chard, burnt onions, and goat cheese quesadilla.
Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Syrah, “El Take It Easy”, Villa Montefiori
The third course by Chef Javier Plascencia of Misión 19, is where that Caja China came into play. Mouthwatering goat with Green Zebra Salsa, and quesadillas with thick flour tortillas hailing from Sonora filled with Goat cheese from Tecate. I can not stop thinking about that goat, everything about this dish was just so right! The red blend “El Take it Easy”, Villa Montefiori wine pairing tied in perfectly with all of the flavors.
Chef Karen Krasne – Extraordinary Desserts
Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
Pairing: Smoked Porter, Stone Brewing Company
The fourth and final course by Chef Karen Krasne of Extraordinary Desserts was a pleasant sweet ending to the whole evening. Chocolate and Croissants together, have always been a divine pair in my book. The Smoked Porter by Stone Brewing Company pairing was rich, and full of similar chocolate notes.
We really had an amazing time at this event. It will be a night that I will always remember, and look back on as a wonderful beginning to my favorite season of the year, Fall.