An Unforgettable Experience – DBGB Kitchen and Restaurant

I’m Kelsey, a 22-year old who graduated from The Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park, NJ almost three years ago. I currently work at Applewood Estates, a retirement community in Freehold, NJ. Always looking for new culinary adventures, I am excited to finally produce my first post and hopefully many more to come. Enjoy!

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting Sara in the city to experience a pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime culinary adventure. I didn’t know what to expect and thought it would just be a basic cooking class that I already had learned from culinary school. Boy, was I wrong!

When first arriving at the prep kitchen for DBGB we were greeted by Lauren, the PR contact for all of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants. She gave us a brief background and offered us coffee and refreshments. We were then introduced to Chef Mark who has been working in Daniel’s restaurant for over 14 years and pretty much started the baking program for the kitchen. He gave us a thorough background regarding all of Daniels restaurants. Then Giles Verot who started the charcuterie program with Daniel, came in. For those of you who don’t know, charcuterie is the art of making sausage and forced meats like pates and terrines.

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Giles Verot

Nowadays, it’s hard to find restaurants that produce their own charcuterie. It was crazy to see how they make all the bread, pastries, and charcuterie for all of Daniel’s restaurants in New York in this kitchen. We first began our tour in the bread-making part of the kitchen. We got to see all of the ovens and other equipment they use, then got to roll our own baguette! That was a fun aspect of the tour and we got to take home what we made. Then we went to pastry part of the kitchen, saw some cheesecakes being packaged and all the appliances they use to produce all the pastries, which wasn’t a lot for the amount of product they are producing weekly.

Cheesecakes being packaged in the kitchen!

Cheesecakes being packaged in the kitchen!

Continuing on our tour, we walked through to the charcuterie section of the kitchen. They had a small area for the actual cooking part of the charcuteries, which was crazy for the 36 sausages and other charcuterie they sell throughout the 6 restaurants. Then we went to the secluded, cold area where they make the sausages and pack the terrines. Giles and one of his employees took a pork shank they braised for 48 hours and vegetables they roasted in the oven, and mixed them together with oil and seasonings. We were allowed to sample the final product, the rilette, which was very tasty. The two other people we got to tour the kitchen with had an interest in how head cheese was made. So they pulled out a pigs head and showed us, which I honestly didn’t need to see! My mind was completely blown away by this tour and really opened my eyes to the culinary world.

Making the rilette

Making the rilette

After the tour we were treated to whatever we wanted at Daniel’s restaurant, DBGB Kitchen & Bar. Taking advantage of this amazing once-in a lifetime-opportunity, we both ordered The Dickens cocktail, which was fruity and spicy but not too overpowering. I then ordered the steak tartare to feel fancy and privileged, which was very good but I think I prefer cooked steak to the raw preparation of steak, like tartare. I was very excited for my sausage to come, after the tour and class! I ordered the Beaujolaise sausage, which was a pork sausage with onion, bacon, red wine, and mushrooms served over lentils. This was absolutely delicious! Completely different than any sausage I ever had before so I ate every last bite! We also received a “complimentary” sausage de jamon and hash brown, which was very creamy and tasted great. Even though we were stuffed, we couldn’t let this opportunity to go to waste, so we ordered dessert. The choices were limited, so I went with the apple pie. It was very beautifully presented and served with scoop of freshly-made green apple sorbet. The perfect ending to an amazing experience.

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DBGB

I would definitely recommend DBGB to everyone and would like to try more of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants in the future!

Pappardelle Pasta with Lamb Ragu {Perfect for Valentine’s Day Dinner!}

Hey readers! I’m Elizabeth, your new culinary contributor. I’m a Hamilton College and French Culinary Institute graduate, and a longtime NJ resident. Even with my highbrow culinary education, I still enjoy a bowl of Kraft Mac & Cheese and a slice of Funfetti cake as much as the next food lover (my French chefs would cringe!). You’ll find me sampling and creating all kinds of food from all types of cuisines; cooking, baking, cocktail shaking – the works. I also write healthy living recipes for insurance companies; so I’ve got lots of gluten-free, dairy-free, and veggie-laden recipes in my repertoire. I love traveling, spicy food, farmer’s markets, champagne, and throwing dinner parties for friends and family.

This Valentine’s Day, why not forgo the expensive pre-fix menu and overcrowded restaurant in favor of a delicious dinner at home. This pappardelle pasta with lamb ragu comes together quickly and makes your kitchen smell delicious. Its light on your wallet but still packs big gourmet flavors to celebrate the night. Serve with a green salad and red wine, and you’ll be sure to please!

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb (you can use ground beef in a pinch)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in puree
  • 3/4 pound pappardelle (get fresh pasta if you can)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions:

  1. In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, the oil over medium heat. Add the carrot and the onion and cook over medium heat, five minutes or until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for a minute more.
  2. Next, add the lamb, parsley, fennel, cinnamon, rosemary and thyme. Cook for five minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste and the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their puree, and bring everything to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, cover your pan partially and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, 25 to 30 minutes. If your ragu gets over-reduced, add a splash of chicken stock to thin it out again. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, per package directions. Save 1 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the butter and toss over low heat. Thin the ragu with a splash of the pasta water if needed. Serve the pasta and ragu in bowls, topped with a scoop of the ricotta and a sprinkling of the chopped mint.

As a bonus- toast the night with a festive fizzy cocktail. Pick budget friendly Prosecco over pricey champagne, and mix it with 1-tablespoon pomegranate juice per glass. Serve in champagne flutes with a squeeze of lime juice and enjoy!