Culinary Safari; In Retrospect

Dining out will never be the same.

Highlight Reel

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Captain’s Log

After many man hours of planning, we finally nailed down 8 reservations and selected our menu for what would prove to be an epic Culinary Safari.  We kicked off our Safari at 4:00PM with guide books in hand thanks to one of the archtiects, Jon Smolin and right from the start the energy level was high.

First stop was Eataly where we were given a personal tour of he market place (thanks Brooke) and finished off the our first stop with at a private table to enjoy our meats and cheese.  The highlight was when legendary Chef Mario Batali walked by me. Instinctively, I said hello, showed him our Culinary Safari guidebook and honestly, I could have ended the night right there. How could it get any better? Amazing!

We spilt up into two groups and hailed cabs (one of the few cabs we’d need for the event).

Next stop was Mermaid Oyster.  The staff was great and actually opened the place early for our crew of 8. The lights were dim, the place was very cool and the only music played was The Beatles. Octopus Garden is now my new favorite song!  After 72 delicious oysters, we were on our way to our third stop, 15 East.

15 East – killer sashimi, sake and another run in with an Iron Chef,  Chef Morimoto who by the way was taking down an Octopus the size that Popeye battled in the movies.

What we were quickly finding out was that each spot on the Safari was so good it became hard to actually have to leave.  We really had to keep on the clock because each stop had been calculated and reserved.  Jake was the man on the clock.  He was key on giving us a heads up on when to get the bill and when to bolt.

So now we’re off to SD26 for Pasta and truffles.  This place was spacious and packed with people, which I was loving.  It’s was a Friday night and the fall weather was perfect for restaurant hopping. The energy level in SD26 was high.  Even the waiters were all pumped up.  The Wine menu’s are on iPads, the waiters are pretty much juggling truffles and the pasta, which was why we were there was outstanding.

We were also noticing people asking us questions about the safari.  We were welcomed with open arms every step of the way and other patrons and staff were engaging with our group.  Man it was so much fun thinking back on it.  There is NO WAY I can ever eat a full meal at one restaurant after the Safari.  Anyway..back to the task at hand.  From Sd26 we headed to Bobby Flay’s restaurant.  To our surprise we were on time at every spot so when we pulled into Bobby’s and hit a slight delay we got a little worried.  The people sitting at our table had paid, but were hangin around. In hopes of getting back on course we put our order in while waiting for our table.  The entree’s at Mesa are fantastic and we pretty much ordered every animal on the menu.  Lamb Shank, Pork Tenderloin, Spiced rubbed NY Strip, Venison (my first time) and Tuna.  Food hit the table, we asked for the bill and Mesa Grill was history.  The waitress called us her ‘Best Table Ever!”.  In and out in 40 minutes! We planned to have an hour at Mesa to enjoy some more hang time, but you have to be flexible on a safari….and the number 1 tip for a successful event like this; say to NO to bread… just say no! (not counting Meze  b/c that’s part of the course.

Now we are 4 to a cab and heading to DBGB’s for desserts.  Our camera’s and phones are on their last battery bar from all the pics and constant facebook updates… We have been eating and drinking at a solid pace and managed to keep ourselves hungry for dessert.  So we were pumped to get to the venue and kick are feet up for Phase 7.  Desserts and beers came quick, we got Rick some extra candles to keep him cozy and we leaned back for the first time all night.  It felt GREAT.  We reflected on our favorite moments and our favorite bites and I have to tell you it was really a perfect night…and not for lack of serious planning. Jon, Jake and I had. conference calls, face to face white board meetings and lots of emails going around as we finalized our mission.

Next stop was DBA for drinks.  We called an audible and went to Double Crown across from DBGB.  This Thai restaurant has a secret door in the back that opens into a hidden bar/lounge; Madam Geneva.  It’s a MUST.  Ordered a scotch to finish off the night and that was it for me.  The time was 1 am and that was all she wrote.

All I can say is I am ready for the next Culinary Safari!

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