I was treated to an extraordinary experience last weekend.
Well, I treated myself to it. After all, I do know best what I would like.
I was lucky enough to snag 2 seats to WastED, a pop up by Dan Barber. His goal was to show diners how much food we waste and how it is all so delicious. And boy did he succeed.
He transformed Blue Hill into a different restaurant – the walls were covered with paper that farmers use to prevent crops from inclimate weather and the tables were actually grown from the ground up. It was surreal!
But then, so was the dinner.
Beef tallow candles
These candles, actually made of beef tallow, turned into the world’s greatest shchmaltz when warm! To say nothing of the spent grain bread, made from leftover brewing grains.
The bread was slightly sweet and very soft, served with whipped lardo alongside the beef tallow. When the tallow congealed it was even better. ACTUAL beefy butter.
Dumpster dive salad
Pistachio, damaged storage apples and pears, whipped chickpea water
Stop it, Dan Barber. Don’t make me start hitting on you. This was the best salad of my or my husband’s lives – and we have eaten a lot of Caesar between us. This is…amazing. Sweet and bright and deeply savory and herbaceous. The chickpea water is just the liquid from a can of chickpeas, whipped and whipped until it is lighter than air and just a little earthy to counteract the vibrant flavors of the vegetables. How can this be REFUSE?
Blue Hill Farm Egg from table scrap fed hens
Old bresaola, outer layer onions, cheese broth from Mateo’s 3%
This would be at home at any haute dining table in Paris. A softly poached egg so rich and buttery that it might have stopped my heart then and there. The bresaola is softer than most, and has a mild flavor. The outer layer onions are especially sharp, perfect for cutting through the egg’s richness. The cheese broth is perfect – not too heavy or salty, more like a teensy, tiny bit of tang. Delicious.
Juice pulp cheeseburger
Let’s dissect this:
Repurposed bread buns – leftover bread from Balthazar soaked until soft and then repurposed into entirely new buns. Soft but crusty, not too dense, and pleasantly sour.
Juice pulp patty – made from leftover veggie pulp from Liquiteria. Spiked with harissa and chock full of hearty, spicy flavors. Doesn’t taste like beef. Does taste like heaven.
Reconsider cheese – pungent, tangy, sharp, and salty.
Bruised beet ketchup – sweet and piquant.
We fought over this one. Sharing was difficult.
Dog food with wasted potatoes and gravy
Actual dog food, made from Dickson’s Farm Strand’s recipe. I actually ate dog food. And…I loved it. Filled with liver, sweet potatoes, and a myriad of spices; this is like country pate meets meatloaf. Add in some soft, mayo-dressed potatoes and a girl could get used to eating with the dogs.
Brooks Headley Special Dessert
Filone crust pavlova with candied leftover fruit peel, expiring ricotta, and leftover verjus-vinegar sobet
Fresh, sweet creamy. Chewy, sugary bits of candied peel and that super refreshing sorbet. I can’t believe that this is made from “trash,” and yet…I can. Brooks Headley isn’t a Del Posto superstar for nothing.
This meal was…beyond. It made me rethink how I view food and feel ashamed about how much I waste. I can’t wait to save the scraps of potatoes the next time that I make latkes and to use the peach peels from my summer pies for some infused vodka.
I really preach eating the whole animal and it’s time that I started practicing that.
After all, a fish bone/apple peel/heel of bread is a terrible thing to waste.