This is another awesome Tasting Collective dining club event we attended. (You can read about the previous posts about Tasting Collective events here: http://www.foodlovergirl.com/fish-cheeks/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/win-son/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/f-o-b/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/xixa/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/huertas/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/bessou/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/maharlika/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/traif/ http://www.foodlovergirl.com/lalito/ and http://www.foodlovergirl.com/noreetuh/). Tasting Collective is a dining club for food lovers, and they offer brunch and dinner at great NYC restaurants. They close off the restaurants for the club, so we get to have the entire restaurant and chef(s) all to ourselves. So, this is more than just eating food at a restaurant, but you get to have the background story and its passion from the chef(s), eating 8- to 12- or more course brunch/dinner created specifically for Tasting Collectives.
This is our second Tasting Event held at Traif (You can read about our first visit here: http://www.foodlovergirl.com/traif/). We became a serious fan of Traif after our first visit. I completely understand the reason why many Tasting Collective members say this is their favorite restaurant! This event was a fun holiday event with 16-course feast, called : CHRISTMAKWANZAKKAH Party” – to celebrate each and all holidays!
We sat at the back patio space again, where it is a bit more intimate and cozy. We sat with wonderful friends who we met through Tasting Collective, and also with the ones who have never been to the event before. We were very lucky that everyone a our table was just fabulous and super fun!
This event was a bit different from the usual one, and the first portion of the feast was served standing cocktail-party style, with several courses served as hors d’oeuvres. Then, we sit down at the table for the rest of the feast. Our chef Jason Marcus was hard at work, making all the wonderful and delicious food for us. The sweet and tasty aroma that was slowly embracing the entire restaurant was making me hungry…
The first one was Foie Gras “truffle” with Gingerbread and Pickled Cranberry. We were told to take one per person, as they were making just enough for the everyone who was attending this event. The “truffle” part is not the mushroom, but referencing to the chocolate truffle, for its size and shape. No, there is no chocolate in it.
It was like a mini croquette of foie gras, creamy and velvety. To be honest, I am not a big fan of foie gras, even though I have had them at several high-end restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park. But here at Traif, the chef somehow turned it into a flavor that I really enjoy! I liked the spice from the gingerbread, it was really nice, I enjoyed it to my surprise!
Second course was Beggar’s Purse, made with Blue Crab, Crème Fraîche and Wasabi Caviar. If you are wondering what in the world is “Beggar’s Purse,” it is an appetizer dish consisting of a mini crepe topped with caviar and Crème fraîche. Usually, the top of the crepe are pulled up into pleats and tied with strips to resembles a little purse.
This one was a much fancier version of that, in my opinion. It had beautiful creamy filling and chunks of blue crab that was super tasty and just melt in your mouth. I didn’t get much wasabi flavor in the caviar, but it was really fresh and very high quality for sure. I wish if I could had another one, or two, or five of them…
The third course was Filet Mignon Potato Latkes with King Crab Bearnaise. This one kind of looked similar to the Beggar’s Purse, but it had one major difference: filet mignon!
Each one had a nice slice of filet mignon on it, which was gently hugged by this creamy bearnaise sauce… Total food porn right here. The potato latkes was light and flavorful, and the filet mignon was tender, juicy, and super tasty. All the ingredients went perfect together, becoming a happy family altogether.
Next up was Strawberry-Cinnamon Glazed Berkshire Pork Belly. Interesting mix, but that is where the genius mind of Chef Marcus comes in. An unusual pair or mix that somehow works great like magic.
The small bite was packed with flavor, all I could say was “WOW!” The pork was super juicy, the flavor was flooding over my taste buds like an ocean wave. The slice of strawberry and cinnamon gave a nice little sweetness and refreshing taste. It was awesome!
Then there was beautiful “Adult Candy” which was Bacon-Wrapped Blue Cheese Stuffed Medjool Dates. Just look how gorgeous they are, shiny with bright, colorful flowers on the top.
And yes, it was awesome. Nice and crunchy bacon, but not too crispy, is cuddling very creamy and velvety blue cheese stuffed dates. Sweet flavor that is well-balanced with a slight acidity from balsamic flavor. A prefect bite, elegant and classy yet fun and creative.
This is where we were instructed to take our seat. Our super fun table was ready for the feast! The first sit-down course was Spicy Bigeye Tuna Tartare, with Tempura Eggplant and Kecap Manis. We were told that this is really awesome from someone who had this before, so I was excited. But then again, I don’t think it is possible to get any dish that is not delicious at this restaurant…
It was a nice dish indeed, with fresh and tasty tuna, and I really liked the mix of tuna with the eggplant tempura. I like eggplant already, but this was an interesting mix. It gave not only different flavor, but also different texture as well. Served on crunchy plate of kecap manis, I enjoyed it. The only issue was that I wanted more! I wanted more of everything really, but then we can’t try them all…there are total of 16-courses waiting for us, after all.
Lucky number seven was BBQ Short Rib Sliders, with Smoked Gouda and Pimenton Aioli. This restaurant really feeds you well. We had no doubt we will be stuffed when we leave. We each got one slider, and then the mountain of fries to share.
The slider, my goodness, soooo good! The ribs were super tender and packed with flavor. It was making my taste buds and tummy very happy. And I liked how it had a nice amount of ribs in it, held by soft, cloud-like buns. Had good weight to it, and very satisfying. The fries were nice too, very addictive…
The last individual dish of the course was Crispy Buffalo-Style Fried Oysters with Blue Cheese and Crème Fraîche. The oyster is from Widow’s Hole Co., located in New York. It was lightly fried so that they were not greasy, very crunchy exterior with moist inside. The oyster was tasty without being fishy at all. I really liked the spicy kick to it from the buffalo sauce seasoning.
The course number nine through thirteen was a Pig Roast feast, all served family style. We received a huge chunk of Confit Suckling Pig, meaning a young baby pig that is extra tender, because they only had mother’s milk (therefore the name “suckling pig”).
Slow Roasted Black Truffle Suckling Pig was simply amazing… So juicy, tender and packed with flavor. The roasted pig came with black truffle honey, foie gras, black truffle gravy, and black truffle mojo. I didn’t take photos of all the condiments out of all the excitement over the feast, but they were all really nice. I especially liked their truffle gravy and burgundy truffle honey.
There were four accompaniments to the pig. The first one was Prawn & Porcini Mushroom Stuffing with Brioche. It was my first time trying a stuffing with prawn in it. Really interesting indeed! So how did it taste? Pretty darn good! I liked the flavor of prawn and the mushrooms mixed together, with soft and moist brioche bread that was soft without becoming too mushy. Nicely done!
Second accompaniment was Roasted Broccoli Rabe ‘A La Catalana’ with Raisins, Almonds, Capers, and Sherry. It had nice fresh crunchy texture to it, and the bitterness of broccoli was nicely balanced by the sweetness of raising and sherry. The almond added a nutty flavor and extra crunchy texture that was different from the crunchy-ness of broccoli.
The third accompaniment was Crushed Yukon Potatoes with Chestnuts and Walnut Oil. This dish was quite popular among the table, and no wonder. It was so creamy and had wonderful nutty flavor that was different from the usual mashed potato. I really liked it, a unique, elevated mashed potato that can steal the spotlight!
I completely forgot to take a photo of the fourth accompaniment… When you are having an amazing feast with so many dishes constantly arriving at the table, sometimes you forget your duty with such exploding joy of amazing food… It was Wilted & Creamed Swiss Chard with Garlic Butter and Chile. It was really refreshing and like a pallet cleanser of this flavor-filled feast. We had such wonderful dinner, with so many different flavors and texture that came together to create a warm, homey, sweet and lovely feast. Of course, sharing this dinner with wonderful group of people made it extra special.
Before we moved on to the desserts, we were presented by pig’s head! They had two of them, and they had a fun way to distribute it. We were given a raffle tickets, and the winner’s table gets the first dibs. And guess what, our table won! So we got one of the heads! We were told that their cheeks are the best, so of course, we went for the cheeks. And they were right, it was so good, extra tender and extra juicy… Then we sent him off to other tables to be shared with others.
Now, dessert time! Yes, we were very full, but we always have room for desserts… We actually got to pack up leftover pig meat and take it home with us. It made a wonderful lunch on the next few days. So, they had three desserts lined up for us. The first one was Warm Salted French Butter Cake with Cognac Whipped Cream. I really liked this one, it was so moist and fluffy, sweet without being too sweet, but sophisticated sweet flavor. I liked the added flowers on top, turning otherwise something very simple into an elegant dessert. Buttery and comforting, I really liked it.
The second dessert was Winter-Spiced Pavlova with Pumpkin Mousse, Persimmon, Pear, and Pomegranate. This one screamed Winter Holiday Fun! Loved the colors, like a snow ball with wild flower petals on it. And yes, the flavor was great too, light, cloud-like fluffy texture, sweet and fun to eat. The fruits were refreshing, ripe and tasty. Oh yeah, another nice one!
Last but not least, Trifle Sundae with Cranberries, Chocolate, and Coffee Ice Cream and Whipped Nutella. It was like a Banana Split without banana, but replaced with different fruit. The ice cream was really nice, high quality and went down smooth. The chocolate chips were fun, and gave extra texture. Even thought this dessert had its own lovely flavor of its own, since it was cold and creamy, it also acted bit like a pallet cleanser to wash away all the strong flavors. A perfect ending to this amazing feast.
I was so happy we got to go to this event, what a wonderful way to start our Holiday season, it certainly put us into the fun, festive mood. And so fitting that this most amazing event is the last event of this year. I wish if I could have shared this amazing feast with my family, but that is not easy when they live on the other side of this planet… Maybe one day. Until then, I will gladly and happily share the feast with my Tasting Collective family! Thank you Traif and Tasting Collective for another incredible event!!!
For those of you who are interested in joining this great dining club, Tasting Collective, you can use this link to get a discounted annual rate of $115 (over 30% off the normal $165/year) for the first year: https://tastingcollective.com/?invite_code=JUN4346
Traif – 229 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211