Julia Child's birthday is this Saturday, Aug. 15. Do you have anything planned to commemorate the treasured chef? Going to see the movie "Julie & Julia" that opened last week? Hosting a dinner party, or cooking Child's favorites?
Gordon Naccarato will host a celebratory Julia party Saturday at his restaurant, Pacific Grill (the party also celebrates the fourth anniversary of the downtown restaurant). Karyn Lindberg, a food columnist for our sister paper The Olympian, is taking a cue from Bon Appetit magazine and hosting a private dinner party at her home Saturday night toasting Julia Child with a menu of Child's favorite dishes. Click "read more" to see the menus and memories that Naccarato and Lindberg shared with me.
Are you planning anything special? Even if it's something small, such as seeing the movie, post a comment and let TNT Diner readers know.
What: Happy 97th Birthday Julia Child party; and 4th anniversary party
When: Aug. 15
Where: Pacific Grill, 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
Reservations: Do call for reservations, limited seatings available at varied times. 253-627-3535 or http://www.pacificgrilltacoma.com/
Gordon Naccarato has a touching memory of meeting Julia Child. He writes on the invitation to his Julia/anniversary party:
"My first professional kitchen job at Michael's in Santa Monica, CA was in the Fall of 1979. I remember standing at my station one night and looking up – I saw the imposing figure of Julia Child being given a kitchen tour – and making a beeline for me!
Towering above me, in her distinctive melodiously cheery voice, she asked what I was doing: 'Boning quail,' I answered, my voice hesitating. 'Oh wonderful,' she exclaimed. 'I just adore quail! But be careful of those little bones,' chuckling as she warned me, twinkling mischief in her eyes. Then, as she turned to leave, a final "Carry on!" full of encouragement. And with that, she was off to the garden with husband Paul to finish dessert."
Naccarato and Executive Chef Ian Thompson will serve a prix fixe menu of Child favorites: potato and leek vichyssoises or green salad with Julia's French vinaigrette for a starter, entrée choices of beef bourguignon or chicken with mustard, herbs and breadcrumbs or lobster Thermidor a la Julia Child (for an extra $10). For dessert, Julia's perfect chocolate mousse or Julia's best ever brownie sundae a la mode.
The three-course fixed menu dinner is a bargain at $35, so reserve your spot right away for the three-course meal.
The invitation to Karyn Lindberg's Julia Child party.
Also on Saturday, Karyn Lindberg will be sitting down with about 20 of her closest foodie friends in a nod to Julia Child. The invitation to her party is pictured here (sorry, you're not invited!).
Her guests will help cook the menu suggested for a Julia Child commemorative party in the August issue of Bon Appetit magazine: pissaladiere nicoise, poulet sauté aux herbes de Provence, ratatouille and green salad with sauce vinaigrette. Lindberg will make the reine de saba cake, her friends will bring the rest. She said the fun part will be tasting the different interpretations of the recipes, as guests bring their own versions of the dishes.
To Lindberg, the party will have special meaning. Child was an enormous influence for Lindberg's early food appreciation. "I remember watching Julia, it was pretty amazing to have a food show," said Lindberg of Child's revolutionary show at the time. "I come from central Wisconsin, and I'd never tasted garlic. I never had fresh mushrooms. They came in a can and they were rubbery and I hated them." She remembers watching Julia Child use those fresh ingredients. "The food world has changed so dramatically because of her," Lindberg said.
Want to take a cue from Bon Appetit with your own Julia dinner party? Find recipes and party suggestions here: http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/cookingclub/happy-birthday-julia/