The Big Night VI

Every once in awhile I’m lucky enough (read: I begged) to get my husband to do a guest blog post for me. Not only does it give me a break, but it also is nice to hear from someone who does most of the cooking for our family. Non-trad, what up!

If you are an avid reader here, you know that every year Marcus and three of his close buds get together and whip up an extravagant feast for around 20 of our closest friends and family on/near Valentine’s Day. This year marked their sixth Big Night and it did not disappoint. Take it away hunny…

My three best friends (Peter, Kevin and Nate) and I have been cooking together since we all relocated back in Des Moines after college. Collectively we would attempt to create meals that surpassed the last on special occasions throughout the year. This morphed into a once-per-year occasion to express our love for cooking together and do it in a way that would allow us to treat our wives and significant others to a romantic and unique experience that cannot be recreated in a restaurant.



Big Night 2016 did not disappoint and provided the lucky attendees with a 9-stop culinary trip around the world in just 7 hours! 9 courses, 7 hours, that’s too much, are you insane? Quite literally, yes! Weeks of planning, scouring for recipes, countless grocery stores, trials, errors, simmering, braising, blow torches and Octopus Tentacles…I could go on forever baby…
My lovely wife and her friend, Molly, took care of the tablescaping. The scene was nothing less than breathtaking.


First Stop – Tokyo, Japan. What else to kick the night off right, but hand rolled sushi and sashimi, octopus salad and edamame. Champagne and sake to help wash it all down.
Off to Shanghai, China. Dim Sum 3 ways! Shrimp, Pork and Soup Dumplings. All hand made (and as we found out, quite time consuming ).


Feeling full already? Ha! Wheels down in New Delhi, India. Lobster Curry (Red), Chicken Curry (Green) and Vegetable Curry (Yellow) all served with Basmati Rice and garnished with some microgreens from our friends at Dogpatch Urban Gardens.


Where to next you ask? Istanbul, Turkey. Braised Lamb Shank with middle-eastern spices and Naan Bread served family style.


Back in the USS..err…Moscow, Russia for layover before we invade Europe. What is more Russian than caviar and vodka?! Smoked trout, caviar, creme fraiche, Cranberry Vodka Sorbet with a splash of champagne.


Ahh Gai Paris. Paris, France for a dish actually stolen from China and made popular in the USA, Canard (Duck) L’Orange served with duck fat fried Pommes Frites.


Can we have dessert yet? Yes! In Lisbon, Portugal. My brother-in-law, Jerry, is Portuguese and I couldn’t think of someone better to bring into the fold and cook something he has had many times at family dinners, Pastel de Nata served with port wine.
Back in America! New York, New York. What better dessert to have in this city than traditional cheesecake served with three sauces: raspberry, bourbon and chocolate.


That’s it, right? Hell no! Des Moines, Iowa. One of our favorite establishments in town, The Cheese Shop, provided us with our last course. A 3-Year Gouda L’Amuse, Stichelton Blue and an ooey gooey Winnemere.
Thanks for following along! Now go out and start a tradition of cooking outside your comfort zone.

About tomorrowstodos

To-Do lists: I love the feeling of putting a check mark in a box.
This entry was posted in Family, Food, Friends and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Big Night VI

  1. I’m not sure if I like the menu or Marcus’ commentary better! Excellent!

  2. Pingback: Life lately: be mine | Tomorrow's To Dos

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