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  • Photo Recap: Midnight Brunch Edition Three: A Journey Down the Spice Route

    Mouth of the Border's supper club, Midnight Brunch Edition #3 was the best one yet! We had an amazing celebration of the historic Spice Route, featuring dishes from Iran, Morocco, the West Indies and Sicily with cocktails to match. Guest Chef Raquel Pelzel and Resident Mixologist Brian Quinn collaborated with me to create a truly mystical event for the third edition of Midnight Brunch on 11/11/11, a very auspicious date.

    Guests at Midnight Brunch

    Over 20 people joined us for a secret rendez-vous in an amazing private residence in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. The menu was a parade of small plates paying homage to key spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, anise, cumin, coriander, black pepper, ginger, saffron, turmeric and chilis.

    These spices influence cultural cuisine across the globe and have the power to evoke memories of holiday time despite race, place or religion. Raquel made some stunning Sicilian meatballs, as well as a red wine spiked riff on lamb "vin"daloo and orange blossom shortbread cookies.

    She also contributed  the recipe for savory and spicy sweet potatoes that I prepared. I also dished up a Moroccan take on a Tortilla Espagnola, Persian Jeweled Rice, West Indian Curry Chicken and cardamom panna cotta. Enjoy a few highlights from the evening. All photos by Clay Williams.

    Resident Mixologist Brian Quinn shakes things up.


    Guests at Midnight Brunch



    Gauri from our sponsor Fondu chats about the app for the crowd (with Dan of Bulldog Gin and Laura of SNAP in the background)..

    Guests at Midnight Brunch



    Guests at Midnight Brunch

    Brian and his lovely lady (and Midnight Brunch charter guest), Jessica 


    We had fantastic support of cash and product sponsorsincluding Fondu, Travel Hacking Cartel, SNAP Liquor, Bulldog Gin, Four Roses Bourbon, Primaterra Prosecco and the American Lamb Board.

    Here's the full menu:

    Cocktail Hour - 11 pm, November 11, 2011

    ~ Midnight Brunch Craft Cocktails ~


    Dutch Derby Four Roses Bourbon, SNAP Ginger Liqueur, Grapefruit, Honey

    Island Airmail Banks 5-Island Rum, Lime, Honey, Nutmeg, Primaterra Prosecco

    Nehru Old Fashioned Saffron-infused Bulldog Gin, Lemon, Cardamom

    ~ Cocktail Hour Appetizers ~

    * Sicilian Meatballs
    (Cloves, Basil, Black Pepper)
    Hassan’s Potato, Olive and Harissa Tortilla Bites 
    (Cilantro, Cumin)

    Hassan's Tortilla


    Midnight Brunch Small Plates - 12 am - 1:30 am, November 12

    Persian Rice
    (Saffron, Pistachio, Dried Apricots)


    West Indian Curried Chicken with Spinner Dumplings
    (Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin, Star , Anise, Clove, Black Pepper, Pimento)

    West Indian curry chicken

    * Smoky Honey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Peanuts and Cilantro
    (Smoked Paprika, Cayenne, Cilantro)

    Sweet potatoes in a spicy sauce with peanuts, cilantro and lime

    * Lamb Vindaloo
    (Cumin, Coriander, Dried Red Chiles, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Ginger)

    Raquel plating the final savory course

    Cardamom Pots de Creme with Almond and Orange Flower Cookies
    (Cardamom, Anise and Orange Flower Water)

    Dessert: Cardamom panna cotta with orange blossom shortbread cookies (joint effort between me and Raquel)

    * Denotes a recipe created by Guest Chef Raquel Pelzel
    ~ We also had some surprises, including pumpkin cake pops and Dark & Stormy spice cakes made with love by guest chef Raquel.

    Cake pops! Guest chef Raquel surprised us with these pumpkin goodies

    • For the full photo album from Midnight Brunch 11/11/11, check out the album on our Facebook page.
    • For more posts on Midnight Brunch, click here.
    • For more photos from past Midnight Brunches, check out the photo collection on Flickr.
    • The next full-scale Midnight Brunch will likely be in January. If you missed this Midnight Brunch and want to be on the invite list for the next one, sign up here:
    Stay tuned this week for the most popular recipes from this dinner! (Hint: Who doesn't love a good-a-meat-aball?)


    I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won't want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing.