entertaining: ‘The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook,’ Updated


We toasted over Campari cocktails with a spritz and grapefruit, munched on won ton crisps dunked in edamame dip. Everything was homemade and gluten free, in a vague attempt to accommodate Mr. Noterdaeme’s warm-weather allergies.

There were quail eggs pickled in rice vinegar and fresh beet juice and topped with chives and freshly grated horseradish that looked like a palatable museum display. The couple used to run the Homeless Museum of Art out of their apartment, a conceptual project of Mr. Noterdaeme’s, with Mr. Isengart dressed up geisha style, serving food as Madama Butterfly.

For dinner, we moved to a stark, white flowerless table.

“We are modernists,” Mr. Isengart said.

Crossing his long dancer’s legs and taking a sip of pinot noir, he basked in his creation, while orchestrating the arrival of a carpaccio of sea scallops with blood orange, cucumber, raw rhubarb, red onion, olive oil, avocado and cilantro shoots (though there were health fanatics present, the chef is a fervent believer in butter and decadence in moderation). Next came baked striped bass, a heap of Persian golden rice, roasted baby beets and radishes, ginger-steamed spinach and puréed eggplant.

Champagne arrived in time for dessert. Dozens of glassy layers of mandoline-sliced apples made a confit baked to artistic perfection, served with dangerous mountains of white chocolate mousse and beach-sandy soft walnut cookies that made you never wish to go to the Hamptons again.

Dinner had been served, entertainment included, and no one even thought to ask about the hash brownies.


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