Here’s guest Betsey Bush after she tasted the welcoming drink — an ice cold dirty martini with a liquid olive! Yeah. A liquid olive!
Crescent Bluff, the mansion at 3106 Kingston Pike that once was home to the Dulin Gallery of Art, will turn 100 years old next year.
As a run-up to that historic event, current owner John Trotter earlier this month hosted a Summer Supper benefiting Knox Heritage. We’re talking octopus, raw oysters, foie gras, duck breast and butter poached lobster. And that’s about half of it!
Chef Matt Gallaher of Knox Mason and Emilia (my current favorite Knoxville restaurant) prepared a seated dinner of six courses with wine pairings by sommelier Connor Coffey. It was a fantastic evening for 24 guests and about an equal number of hosts.
The dinner featured a French theme in honor of the home’s Neo-Classic Revival style based on English, French and Italian influences and popular celebration menus of the era when the home was constructed.
These folks brought a great evening! From left, homeowner John Trotter and his girlfriend, Meg Long; Caroline Farris, general manager of Emilia; sommelier Connor Coffey; chef de cuisine at Emilia, Steven Leitner; and chef Matt Gallaher.
Welcome to La Grande Dame. (The red rocking chair indicates that Home Federal Bank is a sponsor of the Knox Heritage Summer Suppers.)
Ellen Bebb, one of the hosts, offers those aforementioned martinis. Chef Gallaher created the liquid olives by means of molecular gastronomy. Interesting.
Ann Goldstine offering tomato aspic on buttery toast with basil mayonnaise. Delicious little morsels.
We found our names at a table for four, which we shared with Tom and Melissa McAdams. Anyone who knows Tom and Melissa knows that we were in for a highly entertaining evening! And get a load of all those wine glasses!
We peeked into the kitchen and saw Chef Gallaher preparing octopus that would be used in our soup course.
And Connor Coffey was preparing more of those martinis.
Sandra Butler and Peter Acly discussing the liquid olive.
Even though it was overcast, the view of the river was beautiful.
In this patio view, you can see the gazebo that Trotter said he was planning to get rid of until historian Jack Neely told him what a historic structure it is. Now he will restore it. (Good job, Jack!)
Here’s guest Jarrod Blue beside an antique elevator. It works!
Guests, from left, Michael Higdon, Ellen Robinson and Scott Bird.
John Trotter and Meg Long.
John and Sandra Butler with Nancy Voith, at right.
Five of the hosts. From left, Sheena McCall, City Councilman George and Stephanie Wallace, Dick Goldstine and Ann Bennett.
I couldn’t handle more than one martini, so I joined those drinking this delicious pinot grigio that Connor Coffey selected.
When we were told to be seated, the food began arriving, starting with this raw oyster with celery custard and ham. It was velvety and divine. Coffey paired it with a non-vintage Leon Galhaud Cremant de Bordeaux Brut from Bordeaux.
Then came my favorite course of the evening: chilled seafood soup with heirloom tomatoes, saffron, grilled bread and aioli. The octopus was in there. Wine pairing was a 2015 Domaine de la Bastide Cotes du Rhone Rose from Rhone.
John stopped by to show us some photos and discuss the history of the house.
Next up: butter poached lobster, egg yolk and lobster cream sauce with sepia pasta (black pasta that looks like caviar). Paired with it: a 2014 Maison Shaps Meursault from Burgundy.
Dry aged duck breast with grilled peaches, foie gras and Vadouvan spiced sweet corn butter. Pairing was a 2014 Domaine Moltes pinot gris from Alsace. (Vadouvan is an Indian masala kind of spice.)
Caroline providing Melissa with wine for the next course.
Which was smoked beef tenderloin with potato puree and green peppercorn sauce. Wine was a 2012 Domaine Juliette Avril Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Rhone.
Then came two desserts. This was a grapefruit meringue pie.
And this is the “Thousand Leaves” pastry with chocolate cremeux and raspberries. Wine with both was a 2015 Franco Ivaldi Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont.
We could hardly stand up to leave!
Here are John and Meg at left with Deborah Franklin and my husband, Alan Carmichael.
And here are John and Meg with our dinner companions Melissa and Tom McAdams.
Unbelievably, as we left, Stephanie Wallace, left, and Ellen Bebb handed us still more food and drink! In those pretty packages were little jars of chocolate truffles and small bottles of champagne. Perfection.