Holiday party at Blue Ginger

Yesterday my husband and I attended our first official holiday party of the season, and what a treat it was! With budget cuts due to the economic downturn, most businesses have scaled down on holiday parties or eliminated them all together, so when I found out that Adam’s company was hosting its party at the famous Blue Ginger in Wellesley, I was ecstatic! His company is small so over the years I’ve gotten to know all of them and their significant others – it’s always a good time to catch up while drinking amazing wine we could never afford and of course enjoy delicious food :)

I was in blogger-mode so upon arrival and a few “hellos” I started snapping some photos 😀

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We had one of the recently added private rooms in the back – it was pretty minimalistic. I liked the bamboo plants with Christmas lights 😀

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During the cocktail hour I had about 2.5 glasses of the yellow label Veuve Clicquot, then switched to Silver Oak cabernet. Yeah, not bad at $74-170/bottle 😉 I also tried each of the 3 passed appetizers…

Fresh crab rangoons with cranberry chutney

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This one tasted strongly of onions, so after a tiny bite, I gave it to Adam. He didn’t mind that one bit 😆

Shiitake-leek springroll with three chile dipping sauce

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Leeks are a lot more mild that onions, so although I would have preferred that they were omitted, I still enjoyed this little springroll bite, being a mushroom addict and all. :)

Lastly, I tried the grilled chicken satay with spicy almond puree

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Sorry it’s glowing 😳 It was yummy but nothing I haven’t had before.

After nearly an hour and a half of mingling, we finally sat down for a formal dinner. We had a pre-fixe menu so all I had to do was sit back and relax… and let the food come to me (first of course I made sure that the waitress knew about my strong aversion to onions. She took care of me, no problem. 😀 )

The bread basket:

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There were 2 types of bread there. I had a little slice of the sourdough bread with butter and also a bite of Adam’s other fluffier piece (it was almost cake-like in texture).

We were then served 2 more appetizers that were not on our pre-fixe menu. Cool 😎

Crispy fried calamari with Thai dipping sauce

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The calamari was standard fried calamari (could have a slightly lighter batter) but the sauce was amazing! It was very lemony and someone mentioned had a good amount of tarragon in it. I actually can’t say that I know exactly what tarragon tastes like but I’ll take their word for it. All I can say is that I kept eating the calamari just as a vehicle to get more of that sauce (and it didn’t help that the serving plate somehow ended up directly in front of me!).

Deconstructed chicken lettuce wraps with mung bean noodles

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My little wrap

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Pretty yummy but I was saving room for the upcoming FOUR-course dinner.

(Official) Course #1: organic mixed greens with a lemon/oil/vinegar dressing

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I can’t really “review” this course because it was majorly simplified due to my onion aversion. I got simple greens with a nice light dressing, while everyone’s salads were topped with crispy onions and dressed in a shallot-pommery vinaigrette, which sounded more interesting but of course would not suit me. I picked at my greens, but naturally this was nothing to write home about.

Course #2: sake-miso marinated Alaskan butterfish with vegetarian soba noodle sushi, wasabi oil and soy-lime syrup

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This course was spectacular! There were so many unique flavors and textures – each piece could stand up on its own but was even more amazing when combined with the rest of the fare. The butterfish just melted in your mouth – the sake-miso sauce was slightly sweet and perfectly burnt when seared, yielding a nice caramelized top. Although the butterfish was clearly the main attraction, the soba noodle maki was the most interesting “side dish” (I don’t mean weird interesting, I mean, I want a whole plate of them-interesting because I’ve never had anything like that). This course was definitely the highlight of the dinner, and it is clear why this is one of the restaurant’s specialties.

A little picture-taking in between courses…

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Course #3: Aromatic braised shortrib with ginger grits and bok choy fondue

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Reading this description, I wonder why it was a bok choy fondue. Nevermind. The shortrib was of course slow cooked to perfection and again, just melted in your mouth. There was something tiny bit off here for me (was fennel used in the sauce – I don’t like fennel!) but I know the dish was great and it was a personal taste-thing. I polished off all the sides but gave a good amount of the meat to Adam. He really loved the shortrib and said he would happily go back to Blue Ginger just for this dish (ironically I can now see that this is not on their regular menu).

Look who stopped by our room to say hello – the award winning chef and owner Ming Tsai!! He was really social and surprisingly funny. I couldn’t resist it… I had to get a picture with him! (I’m definitely cracking up here about something).

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Time for dessert? Already? …But we were having so much fun!

Course #4: Bittersweet chocolate cake and Tahitian vanilla creme brulee with cardamom ice cream

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The little pot of tea was too cute not to photograph 😀

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The creme brulee was nothing special but the little slice of chocolate cake did make up for it. My only complaint was that it was too small. I guess I liked it 😉

This was an incredible dinner!! Adam and I are a little snobby when it comes to fine dining outside of Boston (when in Mass), but Blue Ginger proves that quality restaurants do exist in the suburbs. I hope we get to come back there for another special occasion in the near future. :mrgreen:

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