6:40 P.M. -- A brief stop at the Lalique boutique on 63rd and Madison, where they were teaming up with a scotch company to bottle a 50-year-old whiskey in a crystal bottle. The retail price is just shy of $6,000. But I had to settle for a taste of a 17-year-old single malt because they weren't opening the really posh stuff until 7:45, and I'd accepted a last-minute invitation for a truffle dinner at the James Beard House downtown, and they sit down there at 7:45.
But after all, I'm a food writer, not a beverage writer, and the featured chef tonight was Cathal Armstrong, a hot young chef from Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va. Definitely worth checking out. I had to do my duty and abandon the scotch.
The gift bag from the Lalique party had a nice-smelling bottle of men's eau de toilette, so I spritzed some on, and then realized I was an idiot: It's rude to wear scents when going to a truffle dinner (or really any dinner in which the focus is on the food), because the food's fragrance is what those evenings are all about. So I tried to wipe it off.
What I ate and drank:
Butter poached turbot with yam puree, chanterelles and white truffles
Belondrade y Lurton Verdejo 2003, (Rueda, Spain)
Sauteed boudin noir, fried quail egg, smoked ham hock and black truffle
Domaine Montirius "Clos Montirius" Vacqueyras, Rhone Blend 2003 (Vacqueyras, France)
Wild Scottish pheasant breast with pheasant-black truffle sausage, salsify and white truffles
Meinert "Synchronicity" Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Pinotage Blend 2001 (Devon, South Africa)
St. Killians farmhouse cheese with truffle soup
Guzman Aldazabal Cosecha, Tempranillo 2000 (Rioja, Spain)
Chocolate truffle cake with orange milk jam
Sullin Red Malvasia 2004 (Casorzo, Italy)