Let’s Talk Culinary Camaraderie

Good friends are always one of life’s precious commodities, and when you share common interests it’s the icing on the proverbial cupcake.

We are a pack of 6 good friends that share one of life major’s commonalities – we love to eat, drink and cook.

This culinary camaraderie is not your typical hang with the pals while tossing back tacos and tequila shots. We are four couples, an international blend of French, Italian, Belgian and American.

We rotate dinner parties; one night in Manhattan Beach, then two in Redondo. We share a passion that’s unparalleled in most foodie circles. We can’t wait to cook for one another. We spend hours, days, planning, creating menus, shopping, dreaming.

Would it fair to say there is a little competitiveness going on? Do we try to outdo one another with our home made Boudin Blanc, creative concoctions, exquisitely plated dish after dish, or do we simply love to share the glow of tactile taste bud exaltation?

Friday night was Chef Claude’s turn to delight our olfactory sensations. His style of culinary art is more on the refined and light side; delicate nuances of flavors and always the most spectacular presentations and wine, oh the wine. His cellar is stellar!

The most recent dining event was made ever more special because our four legged children were invited. Uncle Claude and Aunt Arlette have a special place for our Bouviers in their hearts as they used to have two of their own.  It actually is because of Argus and Luna that our culinary paths crossed, thanks to my ad in the Beach Reporter! (No I wasn’t advertising the dogs for sale, it was Real Estate piece in which Argus and Luna feature prominently.)

I digress. Back to the food.

We were greeted with champagne, always a wonderful way to commence a gastronomic gathering such as ours. There was some very special Wild Boar sausage, sliced very thinly thanks to a local Italian restaurant that has the machinery needed for the job. The sausage whose name I forget is penultimately special, unique and very expensive. The beasts that unwillingly gave their lives for our adorning consumption graze only on acorns, thus giving the meat a very specific flavor that resonated very well with the other diners (Armelle and Claudio, Ken and I).

The table was as refined as the palate present. Areltte’s table is the haute couture of dining. She creates her own floral expressions that are majestic. The table cloth and the silver are objects d’arts. Her table is a standalone vision of loveliness. It’s intimate, warm hues, groovy art work, the chandelier fascinates….

fleur napkin

The first dish was a roasted compilation of peppers in a reduction with an accent of pomegranate seeds. It was topped off with a light cloud of mozzarella.

To follow we all had a tartar like (but I don’t think it was raw) ensemble of scallops and I have no idea what was in it but it was so good. And like every good chef, Claude took close consideration of my husbands’ allergy to shellfish and served him an almost identical looking dish of curried chicken salad. Pure genius! Luckily Chef had had too much wine and gave Ken the correct dish. I forgot to mention the steamed asparagus in the shape of a peace sign…or a Mercedes Benz symbol, take your pick.


En suite we had a selection of white and black boudin. I won’t even go into that now….Basically the black is a blood sausage and the white is pork meat and it was yummy!

We gorged and drank a lovely Châteauneuf-du-Pape that was indeed glorious. There was white wine too but after the bubbles and the red, I just don’t remember the white, sorry!

A homemade (bien sur) plum tart with divine crust and pistachio ice-cream put the final patina on a most memorable dinner.

I think it’s our turn on the rotation. I’m thinking of a summer ‘freshness’ as a theme….spring peas….is it too late? Chilled Peach soup, langouste in a vanilla sprinkle? I can’t wait.