In an email yesterday, Student Affairs sent out an email announcing the Senior Dinner, which is slated for April 30th at 8 pm, and the menu, which is strange. Wondering what a “cranberry gastrique” is, Bwog turned to resident foodie Matt Powell.
The Fish Option:
The fish option may be both the most substantial of the choices offered to the class of 2012 as well as the most well-planned. We begin with a “250 Mile Salad” which makes a return on the vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free option. What is this mysterious salad? Quite honestly, I don’t know. It could be a reference to the 100-mile Diet, a locavore movement where one tries to eat only things sourced from within 100 miles of one’s home. Or 250 miles, if you live in New York. At any rate, it comes with butter lettuce, which will probably be most familiar as a vehicle for Thai Lettuce Wraps. Accompanying the lettuce are locally farmed vegetables (unspecified) and of course, dressing.
Then, we enter the entrée. Salmon and parsnips are familiar enough, but what of this fregola? And what’s a gastrique? Firstly, fregola is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a pasta, typically semolina, hailing from Sardina and resembling couscous. Fingers crossed that it’ll be served warm—cold, fregola tends toward chewy and bland. Gastrique refers to a cooking process in which caramelized sugar is deglazed with vinegar. In this case, cranberries will most likely be combined with sugar and vinegar, then simmered until tender. Think a tangier version of your Thanksgiving favorite, served with a salmon, not turkey. So not Thanksgiving at all.
Finally, we hit an ever-so-inventive dessert. The major surprise for the palette will be the introduction of crème fraiche, a French soured cream that works quite well in desserts, especially to cut a rich, dense chocolate cake.
The Kosher Option:
Apparently Columbia Catering couldn’t come up with any Kosher options in time for the Dinner Menu preview. Note that the entrée and dessert will be “complimentary” (do they mean comparable?) to the fish option courses. However, the first course will be a vegetable/salad and it will not be “complimentary” to the previous first course. At this point, we can only speculate.
What’s the point of eating for this group? Apparently vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free people are all the same. Or at least they’ll be subjected to the same menu choice. To start, they’ll be able to enjoy that mysterious 250-Mile Salad, experiencing some of the exhilaration of their carnivorous counterparts.
Next, enter the quinoa pasta with wild mushroom ratatouille. At last, an entrée option that I’m truly interested in. No, really. Quinoa is a surprisingly versatile grain, and I’m hopeful for a successful conversion to pasta form.
At last, our herbivorous friends will enjoy a “seasonal fruit display.” Also ambiguous, this can be as bad as a John-Jay-esque fruit buffet or as good as a chocolate fountain. Do vegetarians get a plated dessert? Or are carnivores the only ones worthy of plates? Only time will tell.