Tom Douglas Mega-Tour – the overdue finale

By the end of the evening, Chris and I were feeling pretty beat up, but excited. Cuoco and Palace Kitchen, who already held soft spots in my heart, were last.6:45-7:30 pm: Cuoco

And then, Cuoco was our glorious downfall.

We trekked down the flight of stairs from Brave Horse Tavern, and were seated at a lovely window spot so we could see the exciting view of Terry Avenue. We explained how we were doing and asked for something light. Small. Delicate, even. We settled on sharing the Agnolotti dal plin ($19); it looked safe enough.

A few minutes passed, and then those words came again. “I know you said you were full, but the staff insisted. Even if you can only enjoy one bite.” He had brought out a timballo ($14), a crab-stuffed rice ball topped with hearts of palm and a meyer lemon sauce. I was laughing from exhaustion by this point. But, the chefs were right – it was beautiful. The crab was delicate against the spiced rice, and the meyer lemon and hearts of palm were the right acidic, crisp notes the crab needed.

I also ditched Chris and took a few minutes to photograph a master in action. I’m pretty sure she was making my dinner, and at blazing speed.

Then the plin came – along with a plate of tajarin with sage butter ($12). Again, they insisted I try it. I was alternating between laughing and holding back tears. I highly suspected by this point that Herschell and Liana were out to get me. (Liana, I don’t know what you said in that text, but I fear you both.) The plin were fantastic, light and buttery, and the tajarin was melt in your mouth sage around the wispy pasta. I only managed a few bites, but it was amazing.

Jasper brought out the sous chef at the end of our meal, and I shook both his and Jasper’s hands. Cuoco, you have my respect.

8-8:30 pm: Palace Kitchen

We walked over to work off some of the pasta fest, carrying a brown bag of Cuoco treats along. (Chris had them the next day for lunch. He said it was one of the best work lunches he’s ever had.)

Upon arrival, I received a hug for surviving the day.

I ordered a virgin mojito with orange juice, a favorite mocktail of mine. (If you like orange and mint, it’s really refreshing.) Palace Kitchen was our dessert spot, so we settled on the chocolate hazelnut semifreddo ($8). It was like eating solid, cold, light nutella, smooth and intense. The nib and crunchy toppings were great textural contrasts, and the passion fruits pate de fruits were excellent, even if I didn’t like them together with the chocolate. I’m more partial to raspberry with my chocolate, but it was all excellent.

We caught a cab home and called it a night. I had survived, and school was going to be ready for me in the morning.

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