Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Head to Tail 2010!

One of my favorite meals of the year--Incanto's Head to Tail dinner. It's an extravagant five course meal, always full of surprises and delicious dishes. This year, I went with some of my favorite people and we had a great time. Here's the menu:

I've written about this annual dinner before. And like all the other years, the anticipation of the dinner was building and building as the date got closer and closer. My friends and I eagerly gathered at the restaurant and could barely contain ourselves as we waited for our table.

As we sat down and were sipping on our vino, I made every person around the table guess which dish they thought might be their favorite. I always think it's interesting that despite the description on the menu, the dish often comes out very differently and what you had expected and what you thought you might not like, could very well end up being your favorite!

The first course started us off with a punch! There was no easing into the meal! But this was delicious. The mint was perfect to cut the heaviness of the meat, and I was obsessed with the onion ash.

venison pluck fra diavola, mint & onion ash

Then we moved onto a peasant pappa. And it was incredible. It was similar to a rice porridge. It was homey comforting and full of flavor. This dish ended up being one of my top two favorites. I loved breaking that egg and stirring it in with the rest of the dish. The more chefy types at the table were pretty intrigued by the blood mousse.

salted cured pork liver, blood mousse, egg & peasant pappa

We moved onto a lighter dish next--a terrina served with artichokes and tarragon. The dish was fresh and light and so good. Kind of the perfect course mid way through the meal. Definitely my other favorite dish of the night.

beef lip & oxtail terrina, artichokes, tarragon

We moved onto the next dish. The one that had garnered the most comments at the beginning of the meal.

Sicilian cod tripe & tongue

I have to admit, when this dish first came out, we all looked at it with our spoons, and tried to determine what was what. The cod tongue was the easiest to determine, and then either Joe or Evan picked out the cod milt and well, the tripe from there. My favorite component of this dish? (And probably my favorite component of the entire meal?) The broth! It was so good!

Our final course? Dessert! But not what you would expect.

lamb mincemeat pie & lavender hay ice cream

I enjoyed this dessert a lot (although maybe not my favorite desserts of all of the Head to Tail dinners.) But delicious nonetheless. The crust on the mincemeat pie was so good, and the lavender hay ice cream? YUM!

Now. You might say eating this meal just once a year is probably enough. Well, yea. For most people. But for me? I had to go back for seconds. Ok. Not of the entire menu, but I was lucky enough to go back on the second night to sit with some of my friends as they experienced the meal for the first time. (Oh, and well, since I was there, I couldn't help but have seconds of the lip and oxtail terrina!)

Happy girl coming back for seconds!

Another year has come and gone, another Head to Tail dinner under my belt. What will next year bring? Know one knows. But until then? I'll be dreaming of that peasant pappa...

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