Monday, November 27, 2017

"Dessert? It's $90 a Bite"

New York, more specifically Manhattan, seems to be the leader in show-offy expensive dishes for the Discriminating (or just filthy rich) Diner. 

Well and good; no complaints here, far from it.  Blow your $50s and $100s out of your limo window and crank up the volume, rich dude.  What's for dinner tonight?  $2,500 hamburger, check.  Done.  Ditto the Kobe hand-rubbed by nubile virgins steak ... check. Done. 

But oh no-ers!  Nothing good left?  What about dessert?  Don't remember doing a fancy dessert ...  Driver!  Stop!  (sound of squealing brakes) right there (manicured index finger points out of the lowered window) - "Rafele's restaurant.  Didn't I read somewhere that he has a $5,000 cheesecake?" 

Limo driver opens passenger door, chef Raffaele Ronea throws open the restaurant door, grinning wolfishly.  "Good evening, sir - right this way ..." and seats Rich Dude, tentatively offers a menu, but Rich Dude demurs - "No thanks, had a Mickey D earlier, but I would like to try your $5,000? (cocks an inquisitive eyebrow) cheesecake?  You can get five grand for a cheese cake?  In Greenwich Village?  This I gotta see - bring it on!". 

"With pleasure, kind sir," grovels Raffaele, and turning snarls at a waiter, "Bring the good cheesecake, you fool!  Didn't you hear the man?  He wants a slice" - turns to Rich Dude - "you didn't want the whole thing, did you?"

"I'll start with a slice, see if it's any good - what's in it anyhow?  Gold bars?" (laughs at own joke.) "That's what? $450 a slice so ... $90 a bite."

"Oh, no - no gold bars, sir!   Just gold flakes decoratively plated to add to your visual pleasure.  The taste alone will make your taste buds ask where have you been all of this time - this is heaven, sir." 

(Skeptically) "And what is heaven made of?"

The chef looks around furtively, bends down toward the table and says, "First the crust - it is crushed biscotti covered in finely-chopped hazelnuts with a pouring of melted chocolate over that.  Set aside.

Now for the pie - I use a fromaggio cheese from water buffalo in Italy.  The buffalo are very happy; they live good lives and you can taste that in their cheese.  Now, beat in three shots of a 200 year old cognac - $300 per shot - add vanilla from Madagascar, and now, mince and add an Alba white truffle from Italy to the cheese mixture.  These truffles are $4,000 a pound but we don't need a pound.  People think I am crazy - I think I'm crazy - to put truffles in a cheesecake, but ahh..." voice trails off, left hand is wafted in bliss (or semblance thereof)

Rich Dude puts a bite on his fork, lifts it. sniffs it and puts the fork in his mouth.  He roils the bite around in his mouth and smiles - "Yes, give me a doggy box for the rest.  I like this.  I like it very much." 

Gratified, Chef Raeffaele scampers kitchen-ward to do this himself, meanwhile calculating a 20 per cent tip on a $5,000 tab. "Ah, P.T. Barnum, you were so right ..."


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