Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cooking with Fustini's

The best gifts don't always come in beautifully wrapped boxes with handcrafted gift tags.

Mallory, being a college student with a limited gift giving budget, can't afford to give her dad the latest and greatest hiking/backpacking gear or afford to give her mom a wonderful new photography gadget. Instead she chooses to give a memorable experience. This is something she has been doing for my Mother's Day present for the past few years, and frankly it is the gift I look forward to the most. This year she decided to incorporate a memorable experience as her main gift to Glen and I.

Her gift to us was a two hour multi-course cooking demonstration class at Fustini's. Fustini's is a Michigan based oil and vinegar shoppe with five Michigan locations, one of which happens to be located in our beautiful downtown. Our class was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The class size was small, just our family of three and another family of five. We got to watch Chef Andy, Fustini's Corporate Chef prepare all kinds of wonderful edibles.

First was Corn Fried Oysters with Jalapeño Cream. I have never had oysters before, so I was surprised how much I liked them. Although it seems like a lot of hard work getting them out of the shell.

The photographer in me really wanted to take one of the empty shells home so I could photograph it.

Next was Timpani of Eggplant with Pomodoro Basilica. Timpani means drum, so the eggplant strips were formed in the cup so they were drum-like shaped.

Some came out of the mold better than others. Which encouraged me, things don't go perfectly even for seasoned chefs.

Blood Orange, Fennel and Arugula Salad. I don't think I have ever had fennel before either. Interesting flavor, maybe not my most favorite. The oranges were divine though.

Mille Feuille of Beef Tenderloin with Red Onion Marmalade and Horseradish Cream. All I can say is yum! The red onion marmalade with the horseradish cream created a wonderfully unique flavor concoction. 

Fried White Polenta with Spicy Shrimp. YES SPICY!! I think the whole store was coughing when he added the Chili Verde Seasoning. It definitely hung in the air for a while.

No meal is complete without dessert. Creme Brûlée! I think this might be the best Creme Brûlée I have ever had. 

What a wonderful, memorable experience Mallory gave us. The best kind of cooking class; watching, learning and eating without getting messy or having to clean up. 

Mallory has become obsessed with the magazine Kinfolk over the past few months, and she recently read an article on their website related to this very idea of giving memorable experiences instead of more stuff that we don't really need. This just goes to show my girl is ahead of her time since she has been doing this for a few years already. 

I can't wait to see what she comes up with next year :)


  1. What a fantastic gift - so thoughtful! I'm drooling over the photos... yummy!

  2. Mallory has it right . . . love her thoughtfulness of experience instead of "a thing."

    Kinfolk . . . I need to check out it out.

    Happy New Year Sarah . . .

  3. A very special experience for the three of you! She's a good gift-giver! Although I don't know what all of this looks delicious!

  4. What a perfect gift! I'm going to think like Mallory the next time I need to give a gift!

  5. What a wonderful experience to share with you all. I love it.

  6. That's got to be one of the best presents ever!

  7. What a great present I think our children really know us (blog post to follow)

  8. such fun and so special, plus you two look like sisters...:-)

  9. Wow, the fascination with "Kinfolk" is contagious. I will have to get an issue.

  10. What a thoughtful gift -- beats the heck out of the coffee cup I have my sister. Lol.

  11. I'm running behind. What a marvelous gift! Experiential gifts are so wonderful. My daughter and her husband started doing this with their daughter a couple of years ago. Again this year, she got a trip to Walt Disney World come February. These memories last far longer than the material gifts we exchange. Happy New Year, Sarah!


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)