Not your typical blue plate special

One of the things I love about The Season in South Florida are all the charity auctions. Especially if my employers, John and Margaret Shuff, bid on something involving food. And then involve the staff. Which is what happened Thursday when we had a sit-down dinner for all 14 of us -four courses -prepared by Chuck Gittleman of Bogart’s and Rapoport Restaurant Group. OK, so you will immediately think we had black angus sliders and seared tuna. HA. Not a chance. This dinner, which was an auction item at the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce holiday event, was way off the Bogart’s menu into a culinary dreamworld.

Gittleman obviously knows his way around the kitchen, but this was different. This wasn’t Chuck; this was Sir Charles and the food rocked. In our oh-so-private room, we started with clever little passed hors d’oeuvres – bacon-wrapped bleu cheese-stuffed dates and salmon tartar springs to mind – followed by what may be the best salad in memory: mixed greens with roasted exotic mushrooms, shaved Pecorrino and a poached egg in a Meyer lemon sauce. The pan-seared sea scallops that followed (caramelized cauliflower, melted leeks, truffle brown butter) were, simply, a delicacy. And then we had an Austrailan lamb chop, balsamic grilled, with a parsnip potato tart and baby green beans. There was a devilish dessert, of course, and with every course, a fine pour of various Markham Winery wines.

People think working at a magazine is glamorous; we hear this all the time as we slog through mountains of lay-outs
or transcribe endless tapes. Then again, it can be. Like this dinner was. Here’s to more charity auctions and a big thank you to the Shuffs-and Sir Charles of Bogart’s-it was a real treat.