Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Lunch Box


If you've got sixty minutes for lunch and seek a truly unique epicurean experience, your search is over! "Lunch Box" sessions at Datz Foodie's Market And Loft Bar are a stimulating, flavorful treat for your taste buds. This ingenious idea was cooked up by Datz owners Suzanne and Roger Perry, when exploring unique ways to add a daily spin to their restaurant's menu. 

When I signed up to attend the "Lunch Box" salad session, I knew who'd be the best friend Miriam. Miriam's an incredible cook! Over the many years we've been friends, I can't remember one thing she has whipped up that I didn't devour. Among our friends, she's known for her refreshing salads. She makes eating healthy...delicious.

Driving to Datz, my mouth watered just imagining the luscious desserts I'd soon see lining the bakery case.  In my opinion, a meal without something sweet is a travesty.  If our "Lunch Box" experience wasn't going to  include dessert, I'd be making a beeline for the cupcakes. Oh happy joy!)


While parking the car what, I realized I had no idea what we were about to encounter. I just hoped whatever it was didn't require advanced cooking skills to participate. If so, I was doomed! Growing up, I was never taught the art of cooking, so I'm culinarily challenged. However, being unable to prepare a gourmet meal has never stopped me from enjoying one. The possibility of having this flaw exposed to a bunch of strangers in an intimate setting, made my stomach turn. I had to come up with a plan, just in case this was a "hands on" class, to save myself from embarrassment. Then, the idea hit me! I'll do the same thing I did as a teenager in Biology class when faced with the disgusting task of dissecting a frog...partner with someone who is good at it. When the instructor comes by, make it look like you are assisting. Perfect plan I thought, considering I had Miriam, the cooking genius as my date! 

Fortunately for me, my fears instantly dissolved the minute I saw our table beautifully set with our first course (Caprese) skewered and elegantly displayed in a martini glass in front of each guest's seat. Well, that and the fact Chef Nikki and her assistant Moses were positioned behind our pub type table, pouring Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2008 into Reidel wine glasses and prepping for our second course. For the next hour, I was thrilled to learn the proper way of concocting Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette. The trick I was told to getting the ingredients to incorporate, was to slowly whisk the olive oil into the acidic elements. We also sampled a light three bean salad sprinkled with candied lemon nuggets to give it the perfect dash of sweetness, as well as, hearty lentil, brown rice and cranberries mixed together with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette.

After enjoying three tasty salads, we chatted with other participants as our table was cleared and a white rectangular plate with a bright pink cocktail and a dainty artistic piece of chocolate was situated in front of us. The cocktail was a beer mixture of Ace Pear Cider and Raspberry Lambeck Beer.  I am definitely not a beer lover, but the girly girl in me couldn't resist partaking in this pink creation. Raising the glass to my nose, I inhaled the sweet aroma of raspberries, but was surprised to actually taste a mellow flavor of pear. I gazed excitedly at the handcrafted confection created by chocolatier, William Dean. Rich, creamy, dreamy and all mine I thought! But wait, did Chef Nikki just mention this little work of art was flavored with grapefruit and tarragon? That's not exactly what I had in mind as the finale to my meal, but it looked like white it had to be luscious, right?. My taste buds went berserk as I savored the unexpected...light and refreshing with a subtle tangy aftertaste. A fellow attendee described it best when she exclaimed, " Don't eat pears...don't like beer...and feel like I've died and gone to heaven!" 

To sign up for your own "Lunch Box" session at Datz Foodie's Market And Loft Bar, visit

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