Moonlight & Moonshine

At fifty-seven, with a solid twenty-eight years of food exposure, I have a list. My top five meals. Making this list requires a unique food experience such as venue, city, romance, and my companion(s). The first time I identified a place was on my first honeymoon. O’Flarrety’s in Carmel, California. By contemporary comparison, the meal seems quite simple but in 1990, salmon filet with a roasted pecan beurre blanche sauce was an original experience. O’Flarrity’s is no longer on my top five list but it gets the sentinel place of provoking the need for a list of spectacular meals.

Now, in college, an American University in Wash, DC, I had a fantastic foodie indoctrination working at Sutton Place Gourmet. It was a tiny, local very upscale market in the Northwest, an enclave behind embassy row in what was then quite hoity-toity. The market had a butcher, a seafood department, a traiteur, a wine department with sommelier, a cheesmonger, a chocolatier and a French woman making marzipan animals bought by au pairs for their diplomatic charges. It was a new world for me. The food. The richness – in every sense of the word. It was quite seductive. I’ve cultivated a love for the beautiful and sensual parts of food ever sense.

My all time best meal was at the Quattro Liones in Florence, Italy. Ravioli stuffed with pear and asiago in a light cream and sage sauce. Simply divine. And the walk back to the Hotel across the Ponte Vecchio after nightfall was unmatchable.

But the meal I had last night at Moonshine 152 in Boston has displaced¬† all the others. We watched Chef Asia Mei deliver every dish to every patron for the three hours we sat at the bar eating our meal. We had no reservation (it was Wednesday night!) so we happily sat at the bar and talked with a few locals and the magnificent bartender, Peter. As skilled as an emergency room physician in a Level 1 trauma center, Peter juggled and created every order from the wait staff and the bar patrons solo. It was like watching a Maestro conduct a symphony orchestra. Beautiful. And the food was simply unreal. The simplest of ingredients elevated by the slightest attentive and creative bump – fresh figs marinated in bourbon added to the burrata and prosciutto salad. Unexpected and delightful. The caramelized beet dip was nothing I expected. I don’t even like beets. Earthy, sweet, savory with the crunchiest, CRUNCHIEST house-made crostini. I loveluvlerve beets in this dish! Then the Birra Gringo tacos made with beef bulgogi short ribs. Patrick LITERALLY picked up the side bowl of dipping sauce and drank it. It was that amazing, the thought of leaving it behind unbearable and frankly an insult to the chef. I can’t skip the Farm-to-Glass cocktail, Grandten Spicy Firepuncher vodka with fresh squeezed cucumber juice, Elderflower liqueur and lemon. For a person that loves to make a frou-frou cocktail, who marvels at the mixologist with a Moleskine pocket notebook with their handcrafted recipes, this cocktail sailed to the top of the list.

The ultimate wonder is that we were recommended this restaurant by Alissa at FreightFarms. That’s why we’re here n Boston. Farm Camp and training for our own Freight Farm Greenery that arrives August 15th! And to see the ingredients on Chef Asia Mei’s menu and the amazing elevation of simple, fresh farm-to-dish items was splendid.