Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

The Cafe at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead

Written by Patti on February 22nd, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

I have been more than fortunate since I started the blog over a year and a half ago. Oh, the fab parties and the wonderful people I have met have filled my life. But one particular experience left me with more than I could ever imagine. It was the day my darling friend Tami over at Running With Tweezers , took me to Lumen, at The Ritz-Carlton downtown as her “plus one”. There I met Sandra Ryder, who so kindly brought me into her circle of fabulous PR Directors, who, in turn, so kindly invited me to write about their respective Ritz-Carlton hotels.

And to kick off my birthday weekend, Miss Sandra invited Eric and me to The Cafe, and The Wine Bar to sample the most lovely, fresh cocktails and fine cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.

Miss Sandra and I catch up on all the news.

Of course, the best part was getting to visit with Miss Sandra. But second to the visit, were the incredible cocktails whipped up by Christa, the new mixologist at The Wine Bar. Dark, clubby and sumptuous are the words that come to mind upon entering the sexy Wine Bar. You may choose a big, comfy chair to settle into or sit at the bar so you won’t miss the mixing magic made by Christa. I ordered the Slicer Punch which entices as it cools with fresh cucumber and gin. Eric had the Black Beauty – Lillet Rouge mixed with muddled blackberries, lemon, black sambuca and egg whites. Christa makes all her syrups fresh at the hotel and has all kinds of fun gadgets to turn a plain old cocktail into a party.

Slicer Punch on left, Black Beauty to the right.

Christa demonstrates how she adds froth to the cocktails.

When we were finished with our drinks, we moved over to The Cafe and met Linda, the sommelier. Eric and I were seated in the plushest booth where we could view all the action. Now it was time for the show to begin. Golly, I love a chef’s tasting. I chose the 5 course, and Eric opted for the 7 course. Brian, our server, was a total delight. Shante, one of the managers at The Cafe and I started talking when we realized we had a friend in common – my buddy Adam, who works at the property. Although he wasn’t on site at the time, he asked Shante to bring us each a glass of champagne. Isn’t he a darling?

Enjoying the bubbly sent over by Adam.

The Cafe has really brightened up the menu. With a fab new chef in Todd Richards, a man who in his spare time (spare time? for a chef? in the middle of the night?), has appeared on Iron Chef America, crusades to find a cure for Lupus and plays jazz piano at home.

He also makes some mean cuisine.

Chef started us out with some chicken liver pate and crackers as an amuse on Friday night. Delicious.

Chicken liver and kumquat preserve.

Next course was a glorious yellow fin tuna crudo with glazed pineapple and bourbon aged soy gelee. It was very seafood meets Jetsons. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the pineapple paired with the tuna. Yummy.

Yellow fin tuna is always a great choice. And this was a fab rendition.

Oh, and they had a fun, interactive soup similar to what we enjoyed in New Orleans. But this one was carrot and ginger. Two of my favorites!

First, they deliver the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Carrots, Pureed Ginger and a Lovely Wild Rice Croquette.

Next, comes the soup! Careful, it is very hot.

Piping hot soup is merged with the dry ingredients to make a show stopper.

While I gobbled my soup up, Eric received a beet salad. Beets are my very favorites and this dish had at least three different types of beets. It was beet heaven. Delectable.

Loved all the colors, loved all the flavors. Beets rule!

Wait, what? There’s a foie gras course? Sign me up. This was Hudson Valley foie gras served with a fried quail egg, fig marmalade, croutons, potato hash and white Russian sausage.

If this had been the only dish they had served, I would have left very happy. But since there was so much more to come, I was leaving there deliriously happy. You know, birthday happy.

Oh my goodness, it must be a holiday - we have foie gras!

After all of these treats, we now arrive at the entrees. Is there even any room? Oh, who am I kidding, of course there’s room.

Three entrees? Has there been a mistake? Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

First up is the wild, pan seared salmon with green tomato chutney, red peas and carrots. I am not a huge fan of salmon, but this was nicely seared. I really liked those red peas. They reminded me of lentils.

Wild, pan seared salmon over those tasty red peas.

My entree was oh-so-good – peppercorn veal breast with rutabaga, brussel sprouts and cranberry gelee. I am beginning to be a big fan of gelee. It is like food jello shots. Only much more tasty and no chance of a hangover. The veal had places that were crispy and some meltingly delicious parts. I loved it all.

It's a veal extravaganza!

On Eric’s side of the table, he was enjoying a fabulous dish of orange duck with duck confit risotto croquette and puree of celery root. This was fantastic, too.

Ridiculous duck goodness. This was insane.

And we now come to the dessert portion of our show. Not one, but three desserts were served up for our dining pleasure. First up – my favorite of the evening. Pain perdu, Valencia orange with a remarkable blood orange sorbet. I am not even a fan of sorbet, but this was one of the most wonderful things I have ever tasted. Seriously. You must get up from your computer right now and go to The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead and order this. You will thank me. Truly.

Pain perdu, with that amazing sorbet.

Next on the dessert tray – a luscious pumpkin maple bar with waffle sorbet and whipped cream. What’s that you say? Waffle Sorbet? Yes, ma’am. And you will adore it. Trust me. The whole shebang was accented with a gorgeous sugar strip that just added to the glamour.

Waffle Sorbet. You heard me right.

At this point in the evening we are about to throw in the towel. But not before we have a bite of something sweet (what??) Chef sends over four precious chocolate chip cookies. For just one more nibble of goodness.

These were such yummy cookies.

And then we got a chance to meet Chef. Yay! You know how I love to visit with the chefs. And Chef Todd Richards is a total delight. And for you bbq lovers out there, Chef started Rolling Bones here in town. And…Todd used to be the chef with our friend Christine at The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. It’s a small world.

But, boy is it delicious when that world includes Chef’s fabulous cuisine and Christa’s fine crafted cocktails at The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.

Chef Todd takes the time for a visit and a photo.

And two very happy campers.

Happy Birthday to me!

You need to make a reservation? Call the hotel at 404-240-7035 or you can use Open Table and earn some dining points!

Again, a million thanks to the wonderful Sandra Ryder and all the great folks at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Did you know they have Spa Level Rooms? More on that later!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to 42nd Street (everything about The Ritz makes me feel like I am living in a fabulous broadway play!)

The Cafe (Ritz-Carlton) on Urbanspoon


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Rosalynn says:

    Everything looks lovely. I really would like to try their croquette and soup. I’m going to have to make a visit sooner than later.

  2. tami h. says:

    been a busy, busy few days so i would have missed this had erin not given me the heads up! thanks for the shoutout and i’m so glad you had a wonderful birthday!

    – t*

  3. Patti says:

    Rosalynn – everything is soo good!
    Tami – you started this all for me. A gazillion thanks. And we are going to get to that lunch eventually. Promise! xoxo