Monday, November 19, 2007

December 2007 Activity -- Holiday Baking

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
L'Academie de Cuisine
5021 Wilson Lane Bethesda, MD

Description on Web site: Class provides on instruction on "holiday gifts to give from your kitchen to their table" -- including peppermint bark, ginger snaps, cranberry caramel sauce and pecan shortbread bars.

Well, because this was a school night, we all decided to meet prior to class for dinner and drinks, rather than going out after. Perhaps not the best idea in hindsight.

Dinner was at Black's in Bethesda. Cool place -- and good food. Amanda and Nicole brought us dilettante Christmas gifts (Amanda a Kiva gift certificate and "D" ornament and Nicole adult MadLibs). Much hilarity ensued -- mostly from us, but also due in large part to our waiter who pronounced the Dogfish Head Raison d'etre beer as "raison day etray". Interesting.

We got to L'Academie a few minutes after the class had officially begun (it was a bit of a hike from Black's) and should have known we were in trouble when every last one of us giggled over a sign outside the instruction room that said, "bring a stool in with you" -- and then one of us erased the "a" so it read simply, "bring stool in with you." (Gentle reader, it is true -- we really are all 8-year old boys.)

Most seats were already taken, so we asked other class participants if they would mind moving so the four of us could sit in the back row together. From there, it all went downhill so fast:
  • We found some "hello, my name is" stickers and filled in "poopy pants", "big nuts", and "firm dough" and wore them throughout the class
  • We flung some melted white chocolate (accidentally) onto the participant in front of us
  • We harassed the tweener assistant so much that at one point, he rolled his eyes and asked, "What middle school is it that you go to?"
  • We put on some rubber surgical gloves and proceeded to do untoward things with them
  • We did manage to avoid taking pictures down each other's shirts (and feeling each other up........Amy), although the same cannot be said for Amanda's butt
All this, and the assistants still felt it was a good idea to offer us all a glass of wine. Perhaps they were looking for the final straw that would allow them to give us das boot guilt-free.
Somewhere in there, we did get instruction on how to make some holiday treats and some of us actually did some baking. We also got to take a plate o' treats home. And then we promptly left -- about an hour earlier than the class ended. Not the best class, then again, we weren't the best students. And somehow, it all seemed an appropriate way to end the second successful year of the Dilettante Club.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

November 2007 Activity -- Italian Cooking Class with Chef Roberto Donna

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Bebo Trattoria
2250-b Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA
$110 (includes all food and drink throughout the evening)

This is not an unbiased assesesment of this activity, dear reader, as all of your dilettantes are now smitten not only with Roberto Donna's cooking, but also with the Master Chef himself. This is a man who seems to truly love what he does and as with any true expert in his field, makes it all look so effortless.
Arriving at Bebo Trattoria, we were seated at a table in the restaurant with the only other class participant, a delightful woman named Carol. (Normally, there are 14 people per class, but during the holidays attendance is much lower, so we had only 5 in the class -- which was ideal.)
Each seat had an apron and a recipe book next to it. We were also given some sparkling wine and a charcuterie plate to enjoy while we waited, then taken over to the cooking area -- also very close to the dining room.

The instruction part of the class was so much fun. We each had individual burners on which too prepare our food, and cutting boards, knives, and all of the other tools we needed.