Gloucester Glitterati at Franklin Cape Ann - our monthly American Salon
Another delectable dinner with food and wine as luscious as the dialogue, the monthly meeting of the Gloucester Glitterati is the highlight of my culinary and cultural month - and I do spend a lot of time feeding my hunger for these, my life's pursuit of all things delicious and stimulating.This month's dinner was at my personal local "go to" the Franklin Cape Ann. Having worked here as one of many, many stops along the path in my lifetime of food and beverage service, the vibe has always felt right for me here, and the relationship I have with Maria Seniti Figurido, the manager-come-owner, a wife and mother, but once my 25 year old boss regaling me with tales of Boston nightlife as I slid in sideways with the harried look that young mothers never quite shake, I feel like the Franklin and I, Maria, my husband, her siblings, the kids and many of the staff, we've grown up together here over the 13 years the martini glass has hung above their Main Street threshold. I have an affinity for this place.Maria couldn't be here, presumably because she has these little people now taking the place of her chic city jaunts, yet her attendance and her attention was felt, with all that tricky cosmopolitan neighborhoody familiarity that makes the Franklin a special kind of regulars place.Chilled Ronin Prosecco, compliments of the house, was waiting for us to arrive. The most attentive server, Grace spent her evening waiting patiently for the rare pauses in the absolutely electrified current of conversation about projects, honey, Las Vegas, Julia Child, Cambridge, Scrimshaw, craft beer, power tools, potato salad, teenagers, haircuts and Amsterdam. I'd suggest we do this more than once a month, there's always so much to catch up on, but then, that would take away from the time we need for the "doing" of these things.A crisp and light Sepp Mosser Gruener Veltiner accompanied our choice of Lobster dumplings with an Asian dipping sauce, the zucchini matchstick salad with generous slices of Pecorino cheese (I make this one at home weekly) and toasted almond in a sweet balsamic gastrique and the Franklin's tuna tartar with citron blanc , greens and crisp little toasts which left us guessing about just what makes this such a signature dish - is it miso paste? I'll ask, though I'd guess it's not an answer I'll get.
Between courses we caught up on the amazing projects and adventures of our hip little membership. Melissa is making baskets and endeavoring to make her own scrimshaw from butcher-bought cow bones. This seems that much less exotic and hard to imagine after a few anecdotes about her life in church, as a hippy Eurotraveler and on a boat. We all agreed, she can really do anything, and has already lived perhaps twice the adventures of one person's lifetime.Heather gave us the back story on her recent piece on Julia Child, and delighted us with her own personal moments as a favorite server to the unassuming, positively human and real culinary noisemaker. Julia once introduced Heather, quite casually, to Robert Mondavi, surveying her as to her opinion on how one might successfully convey quality in the craft of wine making when one is able to produce wine at the volume of house Mondavi. She waited, with great interest, for Heather's contribution to resolving this small problem. Just like Julia.
No less dazzling, Laurie is off to a 3 day cooking competition in Las Vegas for a shoot out on her American Caprese Potato Salad for Russer's. This as not the only event she will compete in, but she asserts, and we believe her, "it's fine". No biggie, really. In fact, her only jitters, though there's tens of thousands of dollars in the table (pun intended), is a worry over the plating - how will those tomatoes look on a gold plate, and how can our food fighter pack to resolve this nagging food styling nightmare. Oh, and there's the matter of having to modify her own recipe for the tomato pie cook off on Saturday, as the hosting food producer already owns her recipe, so it's off limits. Small potatoes. (Couldn't resist)
The Patz and Hall Pinot Noir we ordered for out entree course arrived just in time for an unexpected intermisso from the house. And it matched up perfectly. Chef Daniel de Olivera treated us to a mushroom risotto that tops the list of "most wonderful things I'll eat this winter" . Coarse black pepper and bright scallions balanced the fresh and the earthy in a way that made every bite a challenge in good table manners. It was hard to resist audibly celebrating this dish with each mouthful.
For our entree course we chose the tangy , light and delicately crunchy Franklin fish taco and the creamy cod with oyster mushrooms. This is my idea of the perfect"surf and turf", the pescavor's alpha entree - fish that eats like steak. It's a good thing the dish is generous, because despite the multiple selections that preceded this our final course, the forks at the Gloucester Glitterati dinner table made quick work of the cod.
Full, inspired, and laughed out, we left the Franklin Cape Ann for our homes and families, to share the photos and the tales, to wait for each writer's spin to come out as a digital testament to the power of perspective Will hand sanding whale bone make it into Heather's post? Or the unfortunate incidence of home hairstyling in pre-teen girls? I guess we'll have to wait and see, and maybe do it at the gym.
|l-R Jennifer Goulart Amero, Melissa Abbott, Heather Atwood and Laurie Lufkin|