Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday Dinner in New York For Reggie Darling, Part I

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A few months back, I came upon a very interesting new blog named ReggieDarling.  Right from the beginning, I knew the person behind it was right up my alley.  He was witty, charming, well educated, a discerning collector, a beautiful writer and above all a gentleman, that rare species one only finds today in those of a certain age .  We became virtual friends when I started to comment on his blog and that friendship became a real one this past weekend when I visited New York and Reggie Darling took Lindaraxa to one of her favorite restaurants, La Grenouille.  Now, it takes a very generous and trusting soul to entertain a virtual stranger at such a temple of haut cuisine.  But that is the kind of guy he is.  We had a marvelous dinner, with an equally delightful Bordeaux and the added pleasure of meeting Boy Fenwick, Reggie Darling's partner in life and on the blog.

La Grenouille
 La Grenouille hasn't changed much... and that is a good thing.  The beautiful flowers are still there, together with the marvelous food and impeccable service.  It is one of the few Old Guard restaurants in New York City where it is still hard to get a table.  The night we were there, a Thursday, it was packed full.  The Magret de Caneton aux Agrumes, Pruneaux et Navets (Braised Duck Breast with Citrus and Turnips) was to die for as well as the little Canadian oysters for a first course.  Needless to say, we all had souffles for dessert.

The beautiful flowers of La Grenouille

Usually a dinner like this just ends there.  We meet, have a great chat, assert that the other is "for real" and get back to our blogs.  But the next morning when I woke up I felt that I wanted to do my part and reciprocate such a nice gesture.  Not only that, but  I really wanted to do something nice for this man.   So why not entertain Reggie D chez nous for Sunday Dinner? 

Sunday night is the perfect time to entertain when you want to keep it simple.  I know that New Yorkers, who eat out on most nights, really appreciate a home cooked meal, one where they don't have to dress up and where they can enjoy good old fashioned comfort food.  So I rang my new friend, who immediately accepted, and the party was on!  A couple of friends from out of town were also in the city and they were invited to round up the group.

After ascertaining the guest list for allergies and "can't eat" or "don't like" , I settled on Marcella Hazan's Lasagna Bolognese,  a green salad and an Apple and Cranbery Crisp for dessert.  I usually wouldn't pair these two on a menu, but the apples at the store looked divine and after all, what could be easier?  You have to remember kitchens in New York are on the small side and my friend doesn't like to cook so the pantry and the gadgets are limited. 

So there you have it.  A home cooked meal for a New York guy who can eat anywhere he wants to...I think that's a match, don't you?

Making the lasagna, still in my nightgown!

 The appetizers were simple. I had brought some Red Pepper Jelly from my local farmer's market as a gift for my hostess to serve over cream cheese with crackers.  This is an old Southern appetizer which everyone seems to love and something you definitely would not find at a New York dinner party.  Pork Rilletes, which I adore, were purchased at Dean & DeLuca although, in my humble opinion, mine are much better.

Saturday was a shopping day and the time to make the ragu which takes at least 4 hours to cook.  Luckily, the Yankees were still in the playoffs so waiting while the sauce simmered away was no pain.  On Sunday the lasagna was assembled, the apple crisp ready to bake, the table set and the New York Times read cover to cover.  We even had time for a nice walk around the reservoir and a stab at the crossword puzzle.

A gift of local apples from the guests of honor

A nice evening was had by all and I was delighted to see everyone go for seconds, especially Reggie D.  By 11:00 o'clock every dish was put away and the hostesses were tucked in their respective beds.  Now, as Ina would say "How easy was that"?

I'm glad I have such nice friends in New York, some old, some new, but all great!  Thank you for a wonderful time.

(Stay tuned for Part II where the lasagna recipe will be posted.  It's much too long for one post.)

Apple Photo: B.Fenwick
top photo Country Living


  1. What Heaven it was to be the honored recipient of Lindaraxa's marvelous entertaining. Reggie was thrilled to (finally) meet this divine lady, and to spend two lovely evenings in her company. And, Dear Reader, he encourages you to try her recipe for the lasagna, because it will be nothing like you've ever had before. The best ever. Thank you my dear. Yours, Reggie

  2. How simply wonderful! My daughter needed a ride to school and I had to say hurry up I need to get home to read about Lindaraxa and Reggie’s dinner! This will be fun for me to reflect on as the day moves on. What did they talk about? Was it awkward at first? Was Boy wearing Reggie’s uncle’s jacket? Was Reggie wearing a pinze-nez? Did Boy take photos? Who took care of Pompey? Did Lindaraxa experience any frustration using an unfamiliar kitchen? But most of all I’ll think about how cool it is that strangers were brought together through the wonderful world of blogging and are now becoming friends.

  3. Can't wait for the recipe! I have so enjoyed many you have posted. Thank you!

  4. Reggie, dearest

    The pleasure was all mine. I felt just like Lidia Bastianich must have felt when she cooked for the Pope!


    1.let's see..we talked about ourselves, all of you, and how wonderful it was to get together and be able to enjoy such a wonderful meal. No, really, we were never at a loss for words. He did ask me one thing which I thought was very you really cook all that stuff???!

    2. nope, not awkward one bit

    3.No actually Boy was very elegant. Nice grey suit beautiful tie, fantastic tortoise shell glasses, definitely not Eyebobs!

    4 No, no pince-nez for Reggie but I did wear my lorgnette, just to egg Reggie on

    5, No, no photos at La Grenouille. Reggie would not have approved and neither would Lindaraxa

    6 I think Pompey is old enough to take care of himself. Lucywestie does.

    7 Lindaraxa is quite cool on such ocassions. Main thing is to take a look around and see what you have before you decide on a menu. My original idea was to make my Yankee Pot Roast but my friend did not have an oven proof deep Le Creuset type of pot so that had to be discarded. You have to adapt to the circumstances not the other way around. And always make something you have made before, so there are no surprises.

    6. I, like you, think blogging is fascinating and very rewarding. However, you'd be surprise how many people are skeptical of it. Their loss.

    Thanks for your comments. It was fun.


    Thank you sandra. It's quite easy though time consuming, but well worth it. Coming up tomorrow!

  5. It sounds like you have not only made a wonderful dinner but a firm friend as well....xv

  6. Lovely lovely "story"! As you know, I most definitely agree that blogging leads to wonderful new friendships.
    I look forward to the lasagna....

  7. vicki, libby

    A wonderful friendship indeed!

  8. This was a joy to read about and one had the sense of "being there",
    as always with your posts. You have the knack of drawing us in.
    Can hardly wait for the Lasagna post!

  9. Thank you, Toby, for the kind words. Lasagna recipe coming up today!


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