We gathered at dusk on the veranda of Century House Tavern, and like magic, sparkling pink wine began to flow over shoulders and into our glasses. Journalists from all manner of rival publications sat together at a common table and chatted like old friends, sipping and watching the evening light and our humors soften. But let me back up a minute.

“But my lipstick is on the glass!” my dinner companion warned when I swooped in to take the photo of her champagne. “All the better,” I replied. “That just means that it’s your second (or third?) glass, and IT’S GOOD.”

Before I go any further, I have to tell you that on February 10, Woodstock’s own Chef Daniel Porubiansky from Century House Tavern fulfilled a lifelong dream when he was invited to host a dinner at the famous James Beard House in New York City. Calling his multi-course creation “A Menu for My Mentors,” Daniel paid tribute to his culinary influences who span the globe from Atlanta to Europe and everywhere in between.

Upon returning home to Woodstock from New York, he lamented that not enough locals were able to partake in this glorious evening, so he set out to re-create this meal for a lucky few. I was humbled to be among those asked to experience this once-in-a-lifetime feast that had originated on the tables, in the hearts, and on the palates of so many of Chef Daniel’s most influential mentors.

At a frenzied pace, plates of his specialties began to materialize before us, and Daniel accompanied each course, regaling us with the stories of who inspired each dish before he had to disappear hurriedly back to the kitchen. (For a look at the whole menu, scroll down. But first, pictures.)

Arancini with Sweet-and-Sour Red Pepper Sauce

My favorite course of the evening: this pan-seared halibut with Georgia sweet potato purée, candied-and-spiced Georgia pecans, and parsley was inspired by Gilbert Le Coze from Le Bernadin in NYC. (Chef Daniel brought along sweet potatoes from Georgia’s Rockin’ S Farms on his trip to James Beard Foundation in New York!)

 

Calling for Reinforcements: The Wine Table

 

One Last Look: This was the final photo of the night before the sun sank behind Main Street. Our sommelier swishes his glass in the twilight. We all parted ways soon after this, back to our respective homes and publications, and in my case, me back to you, dear Woodstockers. I hope to run into you someday on that same Century House veranda, as the sun is starting to set and our glasses and plates begin to fill up with something wonderful.

 Chef Daniel’s  “Menu for My Mentors”:

Hors d’Oeuvre

Foie Gras Torchon with Red Wine Apple Purée on Toasted Brioche

Tuna Tartare with Radishes

Arancini with Sweet-and-Sour Red Pepper Sauce and Parmesan

House Cured Duckham with Pear and fresh Chervil

Inspired by JBF Award winner Günter Seeger, Seeger’s, Atlanta

Champagne Nominé-Renard Brut Rosé NV

Dinner

Pig Head Terrine with Frisée Salad, Georgia Apples, and Bacon Vinaigrette
Inspired by JBF Award winners Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, Bacchanalia, Atlanta

Crustaces Sylvaner & Pinot Blanc 2014

Pan-Roasted Halibut with Georgia Sweet Potato Purée, Candied-and-Spiced Georgia Pecans, and Parsley
Inspired by Gilbert Le Coze, Le Bernadin, NYC
Lloco Chardonnay 2015

Beef Cheek Goulash with Potato Dumplings
Inspired by Dieter Müller, Restaurant Dieter Müller, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
Honig Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Pan-Seared Springer Mountain Chicken Breast with Thigh Rillettes Schnitzel and Georgia Oyster Mushrooms
Inspired by Hans Haas, Tantris, München, Germany
Cousino-Macul Merlot 2013

Passion Fruit Sorbet
Inspired by Gilbert Le Coze, Le Bernadin, NYC

Crème Caramel with Florida Strawberries and Candied Orange Zest
Inspired by all mentors
Cascinetta Vietti Moscato d’Asti 2015

Century House is truly something special in downtown Woodstock, but don’t just take my word for it. Go visit for yourself (and then run back here and give me all the details)!

Century House Tavern Info:

125 E. Main Street

Phone: 770-693-4552

Website: http://www.centuryhousetavern.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Century-House-Tavern-356629644386641/

P.S. Still hungry for more Century House foodie-praises? Check out my visit to their autumn dinner here.

Until next time, Woodstock!  I hope you eat well, walk a lot, and say hello if you see me around.–Jennifer

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