Having now known Vanessa (Tongue & Cheek) for the better part of a year now, I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t get kicked out of her condo for bringing my portable light box to dinner. She’s a relaxed hostess, dishing up a simple and delicious 3-course dinner in a casual setting. And luckily, no one minded the glaringly bright box lit up on the far side of the room. Like me, she’s probably trained her friends to ignore things like that.

Aside from being a passionate and skilled cook, her main gig is actually industrial design. You can see evidence of her projects all around – light fixtures, dishes – and the long wooden table she’d made herself to perfectly fit the space. Vanessa’s got a great aesthetic sense – lucky for me, as this translates nicely to her plates.

We start with bone marrow, roasted and sided with the traditional parsley salad. Toasted crisps were on the table in these lovely pedestaled shallow bowls.

For our main course, crispy roasted chicken thighs on lentils and cream-braised fennel. The skin was so perfectly done and tasty. Really liked the colours of this dish too.

And my favourite course, dessert! We were served a dulce de leche budino with pistachio honey sponge and freshly whipped cream. Vanessa had my love forever with this dessert.

Though I eat out a lot, a dinner party with friends is always something I welcome. From small and humble to outrageously lavish – indeed, it’s what makes food such an integral part of life; beyond nourishment, it is the medium in which we celebrate, socialize, and mourn. It is always a pleasure to sit with friends, new and old, to eat a meal prepared by a deft hand and an appreciative audience.

You can read more of Vanessa’s adventures at Tongue & Cheek.

More at Vanessa’s Dinner Party

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