Another Birthday for Cafe Drake
Birthdays, at this age, tend more to the bittersweet side of Life.
Cafe Drake however enjoyed a most splendid, relaxing day wandering the grounds of our beloved Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, preceded by lunch at a Prospect Heights Jamaican vegetarian cafe (meat-free "ribs" with peppers; rice and peas; spicy shredded cabbage and carrots) and followed by an awe-inspiring meal at Williamsburg's newest - and we dare say, finest - haute American eatery, Masten Lake.
Surrounded by a handful of dear friends, we started the evening off with a cunning, appropriately bittersweet cocktail tarted up by the bar ingredient of the moment, citric acid.
Too many glasses of red, white and bubbly wine followed to recount (not to mention digestifs!) but a brief rundown of the successful victuals included: a Brie-esque Vermont cheese sided with sweetened Marcona almonds and chili sauce, tufts of torn, charred sourdough bread slicked with olive oil and sea salt, pan-fried calamari tossed alongside musky melon cubes, lime fingers and sea beans, buttery chanterelle mushrooms with an elusively spiced cream sauce and toast nuggets, duck breast paired with perfectly runny - yolks only, natch - duck eggs and earthy King Trumpet mushrooms, a rectangle of expertly charred sable fish (skin crunchy and toasted above melting fish flesh) atop strokes of jet-black squid ink and pickled Romano beans, hand-rolled pasta "cigars" tossed with warm burrata, clam brodo and exquisite cod cheeks, fresh (who knew!!) shaved hearts of palm dressed with coconut cream, head-on prawns nestled in farro polenta and decorated with fat salmon roe.
Shall I continue? Thanks so much to darling friends with such dear ideas of a true birthday fete!