Kitchen on Fire (a Chanukkah gift from my parents). The class we chose was called "Cooking to Impress Your Date," and the menu was as follows:
- Canape of Endive, Smoked Chicken, Pear, Blue Cheese & Toasted Walnuts
- Winter Fruits & Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette & Goat Cheese
- Pan Fried Leg of Lamb with Rosemary & Garlic
- Seafood Linguini with Saffron Sauvingnon Cream Sauce
- Banana Flambe with Rum Toasted Coconut & Pomegranate Molasses
Holy cow, that food was delicious. Very, very delicious. The lamb was my favorite part, and I am not usually a lamb person! I typically find it a little too gamey (that's not the right word - too rich, perhaps). Also, I think of little lambs, and I get all sad and not wanting to eat them. However, this was ridiculous. SO freaking good. It was actually made with thyme, I think (not rosemary), and had a white wine mustard sauce that was just ridiculous when you added back the pan juices from the lamb. Holy cow. Or holy sheep, I should say.
The photo, taken by Will on his camera phone (what amazing quality! ha.), is me making banana flambe. For the second time. That's right, I liked it so much, I got to do it a second time. I definitely want to try this at home...impress some dinner guests, perhaps? It's way less scary than I thought it would be, and I never would have tried it on my own without having done it in a class-setting first.
All of the food was great, and we learned how to cook mussels too (and to know how to buy them and know if they are ok to eat), which is another thing I'd been wanting to learn. The endive situation was extremely easy, but it looked pretty and tasted wonderful. Smoked chicken, you are my new friend. I will buy you all the time from now on. Yum.
Anyway, if you are in the Berkeley area, I highly recommend these guys. The class was really fun, and it's a great deal for the money - you not only get a class, but also a delicious, gourmet meal made from fresh and mostly local ingredients. In our case, it was a 5-course meal with seafood and lamb! Such a deal! Did I mention it was a lot of fun?
My one complaint is that they spent more time than (I thought) was necessary explaining everything at the beginning, and I wished we could have had more time to do hands-on cooking instead. Maybe smaller classes would help? It was kind of difficult to move around to try cooking at each of the different stations, even though you were allowed/supposed to. That said, I would definitely go back here again!