Eater.com presents family meal with DeVonn Francis

It’s truly amazing how many unique ‘foodie related’ events you can find in New York City! From food and wine shows, to unique pop up restaurants, to wine and cheese classes, chef tastings, and dinner parties, it’s a foodie’s dream and one of the many reasons New York City is so great! As discussed in my article ‘Supper Clubs are the New Rage’ social dining and dinner parties are huge right now. It’s a fun way to sit and enjoy a nice, multi course meal while chatting with total strangers.  A while back I checked out: www.eatwith.com, and absolutely loved the experience. Review here. Truth be told, I have been a bit hooked since then. Dinner parties are a great way to sit down at a dinner table, eat some great food and get to know some new people. Therefore, when one of the best websites on the planet, Eater.com, posted a family meal event in a space on Canal Street in New York City, I knew I had to go.

The chef of the evening, DeVonn Francis, is quite an interesting and admirable man. According to the Eater.com article, he is the chef and artist behind Yardy, a successful food media and event company in New York City. He also likes to throw good parties (case and point with this event). DeVonn spends most of his hours working on menus, sourcing ingredients, and speaking to collaborators. He’s passionate about sourcing ingredients from marginalized farmers, hiring more women and trans people to staff events providing livable wages and benefits for the people he hires. His long-term goal is quite admirable and ambitious – he hopes to open a food and agricultural design school – the Noma of the West Indies. We wish him best of luck!

Moving on, the event was sponsored by Wisconsin cheese and soon as you walked into the beautifully decorated room, you couldn’t help but stare of the beautiful, massive display of cheeses in the front of the room. They had everything from 12-year-old cheddar, to Gouda style cheeses, to blue cheese and everything in between. As you are probably aware (or maybe not), Wisconsin has claimed the title of the largest cheese producing state in the United States since 1910. Here is a fun fact for you…There are over 1,000,000 cows in Wisconsin and 90% of Wisconsin milk is made into cheese. Wisconsin really is the cheese capital of the USA! (Side note, if you find yourself in the state of Wisconsin, check out Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha. Awesome spot, cheese lover’s paradise)….but I digress…(here are some pics from the event).

Once everyone had a chance to sample some cheese, and a rep from the Wisconsin cheese board said a few things about Wisconsin cheeses, they asked us to be seated. The menu, shown below, featured lots of veggie dishes with an egg and cheese undertone. Everyone was excited to dig in and food was brought out in perfectly-executed fashion.

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Immediately upon seating, they came over with the lacto-fermented roots & greens. The dish consisted of carrots, radishes, onions, and chard which were fermented. (Apparently during fermentation, healthy bacteria such as lactobacilli form, which is believed to support and improve the body’s immunity…I’ll need to start fermenting everything in my house). It was a light, refreshing, and healthy starter.

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Then they brought over the charred leeks with cured egg yolk on top in a light pecorino broth. The cheese and cured egg gave a nice flavor to an otherwise bitter vegetable. They also brought over a roasted cabbage dish that was excellent!

The main entrée, the grilled lamb, was served over lima beans and was an excellent main. The real highlight of the evening (in my humble opinion), was the dessert. The guava sauce on top of the goat cheese tart was a lovely combination of sweet and salty and the crust on the tart had a nice sugary taste that paired well with the other flavors.

Although the food and the event were great, the wine I must admit, was not very impressive. The La Patience Blanc 2017, a NZ Sauvignon Blanc, lacked the crispness and strong grapefruit flavor that some NZ Sauvs have. The Clos de Mourres 2017 didn’t seem to have enough body, or depth, maybe because it was a 2017 vintage…I heard the Kumpf de Meyer Utopiste 2017 (orange wine) was good. However, orange wine has really gone out of style lately from what I have heard.

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Overall the event was a lot of fun, and although they said it was going to run from 6:30 to 8:30, everyone was still hanging out at 9pm. It was a great way to chat with other foodies about cheese, wine, food, and other social events! Eater.com, have more events like this!

List of cheeses at the event:

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