ately named “feast” had every taste bud on everyone’s tongue singing the exact same happy song. of course, the wine helped, too. as did the cocktails. and that brings us to the New Rules. If food is the ingredient that rightfully brings people together, then it’s the sauce that makes them stay. and at this feast, there was plenty of it — 24 bottles to be precise. Riffle’s wine director, dana Frank, led her fellow guests down an oenological trip of Sicily, generously instructing them (between spontaneous toasts) on what island reds and whites to pair with which course. Then, as everyone ate, drank and made merry, Riffle bartenders Brandon Josie and alani Vierra excused themselves to prepare a theatrically presented dessert punch — served in delicate, crystalline, egg-shaped glasses made of ice — to accompany the platter of cannoli. and then there was music — but not your grandmother’s kind. There was no Pavarotti, no maria Callas. Not even deano or Sinatra got a spin. Instead the Riffle family stuck to the playlist they used to inaugurate their opening night party earlier this year, an amalgamation of each guest’s eclectic tastes, with an emphasis on glam pioneers, new wave revivalists and blues crooners (T. Rex, Cut Copy, Passion Pit, Raphael Saadiq, Sharon Jones and the dap Kings). When 9:30 p.m. did roll around, the bands (via a Spotify playlist) played on and on, and no one stirred from the table — every seat was filled and every glass refilled (there were, after all, nearly a dozen bottles of wine waiting to be uncorked). and while the conversation did grow livelier, the crew remained sensible, never once mentioning
amuse-Bouche: Blood orange and Saffron Granita With Carbonated Grappa, and Blood orange and liqueur “Caviar” Sfincione (Sicilian Anchovy Pizza) Baccalà (Salt Cod Purèe) Vongole oreganata (Stuffed Clams) Cozze alla marinara (Mussels in Red Sauce) Bucatini Con aragosta (Bucatini With Lobster) Sicilian Seafood Salad Crispy Breaded Fish Fillets Stuffed Crab
As longtime restaurant veterans, Jennifer and Ken Norris (above) know what it’s like to spend the holidays working long hours away from home. So they invited their staff to celebrate the season together, with a festive, collaborative party loaded with great food and drinks.
mediterranean Punch 2007 Benanti, Pietramarina, etna 2010 I Custodi, ante, etna 2010 Grillo, Nino Barraco, marsala 2010 occhipinti, Il Frappato, Sicilia 2009 azienda agricola CoS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicilia 2009 Benanti, Rosso di Verzella, etna 2009 Tenuta di Castellaro, Nero ossidiana, lipari 2008 daino, Nero d’avola “Suber,” Caltagirone Wines can be purchased at Riffle NW, among other stores
dessert 2006 marco de Bartoli, Bukkuram, Passito di Pantelleria Cannoli from di Prima dolce bakery Kinder Sorpresa (Dessert Cocktail)
even the word politics. But they didn’t need anything to argue over. Instead, they sang along with the music, trading stories between sips of wine, happy to have found home away from home. Because restaurant people know — as does anyone who celebrates life through food and drink — family is where you find it.
The Riffle NW crew will cook up another Feast of the Seven Fishes, this one open to the pubic, Monday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m. at their Pearl District digs; reservation only; rifflenw.com. DECEMBER 2012 MIXpdX.coM
Eat • Drink • Get Out • Get Together