February 27, 2003

Finger Lake 'n Good

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So here you are: living in a place that barely exceeds minimal city population status during the college school year, where the 40 degree weather of a random Thursday is considered the hot streak of the month, expecting this repetitious life of a common college student to ensue daily until the termination of the semester. That is, until an auspicious opportunity to enjoy a little bit of the real world unexpectedly makes an appearance.

This past Sunday, February 22, world renowned Swiss chef, Chef Fritz Sonnenschmidt, along with the hotel school Guest Chef course members, gave a select few Cornell Students, Professors, and Ithaca locals the chance to experience a European feast. Set to commence at six with a champagne hour, my friends and I anxiously awaited our experience with true haute couture.

Appearing fashionably late, as is expected in cases of such grandeur, we found it quite difficult to acquire the highly anticipated champagne. As each champagne courier made his rounds, we noticed that while this event was promoted to “happily” include all students, many of the older patrons were being offered second and third glasses while we were left scrambling, unabashedly and to no avail asking each beverage waiter to accommodate our thirst. Luckily the hors d’oerves, unlike the common mini frank in a bun American favorite, gave us some hope in this early hour of the meal and allowed us to sample the delicate tastes of wine-marinated melon balls, fois-gras, and other European delicacies.

After the cocktail hour, we followed the maitre ‘d into the dining area, and once again began to feel that elitist air. Asked if we would like to try the wine sampling, including an assortment of five wines hand picked to accompany and accentuate the specific essence of each of the 6 courses, we knew that this meal would exceed our typical Sunday night pasta and meat sauce.

The first course was a Cheese Uri Soup, consisting of a beef broth, country rye croutons, and Sbrinz cheese. Reminiscent of hearty French Onion Soup, this first course included a layering sheet of the rye croutons atop the poignantly flavored broth and bottom dwelling cheese. We considered it a fulfilling meal starter that was accompanied well by the Floria Ferrer Brut sparkling wine of Sonoma Valley.

After a well-timed intermittence period came the second course, White Fish a la Lucerne. As explained in the “historical background” leaflet included in the menu, Lucerne is from the “Canton Lurker region of Switzerland