I entered my Mille-Feuilles in a gourmet cook-off this weekend and it won best-dressed in the sweets category. How could anyone refuse that vanilla bean cream, flaky pastry in between, and a subtle glaze of Grand Marnier on top? I was worried, but for a moment, the competition was stiff. But after Col won best entree with his shrimp mango quesadillas, I gained confidence.
The elegant party atmosphere worked on my behalf. The setting was a gorgeous apartment in the renovated Hood Plant--industrial wires and exposed light fixtures melded easily with stained wooden ceilings, curved and two stories high, and buffed slate tiles covering the floor. Unexpected shapes and flavors merging together for an outcome altogether unique and refined. I wondered if, in any other setting, my favorite dessert might be misunderstood. Confusing to the palette, or worse, understated.
A mezzanine above led to a rooftop terrace with views of the lake and the street below. This is where we claimed our prizes on the balcony overlooking a crowd of onlookers. I stood there with LZ (she won for her excellent crab cakes) and let the glory of the moment wash over me. For others, this prize might not be so sweet, but for me, it was the ultimate validation.