Monday, April 23, 2007

Beauty Contest : A Photoessay (with audience participation)

Welcome to the first annual Sunday Night Dinner Beauty Contest. The best and the brightest plates from restaurants all around the Boston area have come here to compete for the coveted title of the one, the only, the first ever Miss/Mister Sunday Night Dinner™.

You, the judging panel, are tasked with choosing from among these highly accomplished contenders for the title. We understand that such a decision cannot be undertaken lightly no made easily or spontaneously. To aid you in the decision making process, please consider the following general guidelines:

- Consider all the qualifications of the contestants: plating, originality, perceived smell and taste.
- Be objective: do not let your own food preferences and biases color your decision-making process - this is an equal opportunity beauty contest.
- Look past the imperfections entirely out of our contestants’ control: poor quality of the photograph cannot, and should not, be held against them.

Please enter two votes (Ms/Mr SND and runner up) by Sunday, April 29, 2007 (or whenever you feel like it, really). Please indicate your choices by listing the restaurant name. Do not forget to include what you consider to be the gender of your chosen contestant, indicated by Miss or Mister, and your reasons for the assignment of the gender.

Remember that your votes are non-confidential and non-anonymous. Please be advised that the organizers of the first annual SND Beauty Contest™ reserve all rights to make fun of you based on your response, should the appropriate opportunity present itself. [Incidentally, this holds true for any and all posts presented here, at SND].
The winner will be announced once all the votes are counted.

We appreciate your participation and patronage of the
SND Beauty Contest™ and look forward to many more thought-provoking, captivating, and challenging beauty contests in the years to come.

Happy Judging!

Goat cheese croquette on a roasted beet salad, dotted with flavored oils at Lineage - so named because the restaurant is located on the corner of Sewall Ave and the chef/owner's name is Jeremy Sewall. No coincidence - it's the same family.

Roll with salmon, asparagus, shallots, fresh jalapeno, and daikon at Gari Fusion

Warm gorgonzola custard with arugula, walnuts, and pears at Sorriso

Sushi salmon with golden caviar, truffles, truffle oil, and edible gold leaf (an odd combination that works remarkably well) at Oishii

Sea urchin with butter lettuce, celery leaves, fried chickpeas and black squid ink dressing, at Neptune Oyster (Wow)


amanda said...

i will dutifully take on this important task... with the knowledge that i may well be made fun of. ;-)

while my initial inclination was to vote for Oishii, after careful consideration i think the texture of this particular dish would leave something to be desired. there is no "crisp" "crunchy" texture, just raw fish and cavier. hmm i don't think i was asked to give my opinion on who shouldn't win... so on to who should. I cast my vote for....drum roll please... MME Linage! the croquette looks expertly fried at just the right temperature so the morsel of goat cheese goodness is crispy yet not oily. the roasted beets, i'm sure, added a wonderful earthy sweetness and the frissee a freshness.

as far as runner up is concerned... Mr. Neptune Oyster get the vote. There's a lot going on with mr. neptune and while i think all the flavors would work well together, he looks haphazardly thrown together and a bit disheveled. for these reasons, he is certainly no Ms. SND.. but congrats on taking my second place vote! (what a fun thing anna. great idea!)

atp said...

I found it somewhat difficult to be objective here; it was all too easy to jump in head first and pick the dish that I would pick from a menu for myself. Understanding the importance of impartial judging and the seriousness of this competition, I managed to take a step back to carefully consider the pro's and con's of each dish. You may be interested to know that the plate I would have originally favoured did not make the grade in the end. So, without further ado:

In second place, Mr. Neptune Oyster....
I like Mr. Neptune Oyster. I like him a lot. Sadly, he just doesn't quite get my juices going. That is how I know he is gentleman caller. That and his slightly irritating air of indifference. Mr. Neptune clearly gave thought to his attire for the evening - original and fresh, not overpowering, a careful consideration of flavours if you will. He excites me a little bit, however his presentation leaves a little to be desired. Amanda took the words haphazard and dishevelled right out of my mouth. One can only concede that he was going for the casual look. The kind of casual that takes hours of preening and countless outfit changes to achieve. Mr. Neptune Oyster....we all know you care, stop being so nonchalant and smarten up a bit.

Still, there's no way he could ever compete with my choice for first place......Ms. Sorisso.
Sure, we've seen similar combinations a hundred times over, but her lack of originality is made up for by her beautiful simplicity. Or so she would have you think. All sweet and coy on the surface as if butter wouldn't melt, but look a little deeper my friends; Ms. Sorisso is a minx. Her warm, silky body, smooth and creamy white lures you in. She’s swimming in femininity; her sweet, juicy pears come as no surprise. She’s all you ever dreamed of, you assuredly appreciate all she has to offer and then it happens – she hits you with a bitter, peppery kick. Lady luck is shining on you tonight; Ms. Sorisso has a kinky side. Hallelujah.

atp said...

...please feel free to correct the spelling of my true loves' name. How embarrassing.

Jonathan said...

Well my first is for the Neptune Oyster. That thing just looks and sounds ridiculously good. I think this is a Mister.

For runner-up, I have to go with the dish that I was present for and that I had the pleasure of eating. The Oishii dish...and it seems like a Miss to me.

And the pictures look great, btw. Glad I got to see you.

JC said...

Hey, I'm gonna have to vote after I get to AZ because I need to leave in 5 minutes. Should be later today or tomorrow at the latest! Cheers.

Alicia said...

I give #1 to Oishii because it looks like she is already wearing a crown! Also, because even though I got sick about 20 minutes after eating at Oishii, it never really even occurred to me that it might have been the food -- and I think that is saying something.

I think #2 should look miserable and unhappy because it's so much worse to come that close and STILL lose than to not really even be recognized. So I pick Mr. Neptune Oyster because it looks like he got so upset he barfed chickpeas all over himself.

JC said...

OK, as I sit here in non-AZ due to travel snafus, I guess I will have time to vote before I leave.

My first runner up is Mr. Gari. I'm calling him Mr. because Gari is close to Gary. The reason this one lost out on the top spot for me is because the originality points just aren't there. Overall I like the nice, clean presentation over most of the others which just look messy to me. I also like the pop of the orange and green combination. I think the jalapeno is a great touch too.

For winner, I vote for Ms. Oishii. It's got to be a Ms. with all that bling. The originality of these ingredients being mixed together puts this one over the top. It still has a very pleasing and noncluttered presentation, the gold leaf is just the icing on the cake so to speak.

Anna said...

Thank you, honorable judges!

Hi Amanda. Your point about Oishii's lack of crunch is well taken. However, the golden caviar is really just roe, and therefore quite crunchy. It was a slippery kind of crunch. Don't know if that makes sense.

There seems to be a consensus on Mr Neptune being a mister. I wholeheartedly agree. There is something unkempt (not to say that males are unkempt)and a little in-your-face about him.

AtP - I think I need a moment before responding to your detailed description of Ms. Sorriso. Yes, a time out is definitely in order... Whew :)
Out of curiousity, which plate would you have picked for yourself at the start? Well, besides the inimitable Ms. Sorriso. (Way to go, by the way. I think I have read that paragraph over about 15 times now. Just gets better :) )

In all, Mr Neptune seems to be ahead of the pack, be it as the star or the runner up! Stay tuned for further details and developments, and we (ok, I) thank you!

Anna said...

Oh this is great!

Alicia/Lissa - So funny. Barfed chickpeas. Ha! He does look like a bit of a sinister back stabber, that runner up!

JC - The underdog emerges! Gari/Gary may be a bit of an effeminate man, don't you think? Slightly on the prissy side.

JC said...

Perhaps. I think for me the simplicity of "Gari" seems to hint at him being a male, if that makes sense.

atp said...

Calm yourself girl! Ha! I was having a rather dull night at work...

Had I gone with my initial thought, Mr. Lineage would have got my vote. Purely because I'm a sucker for anything with goats cheese.

I had a brief flirtation with Sir. Gari Fusion. I too thought he was male (I thought of him as a cleancut, well suited businessman. I thought about this a little too much didn't I?!), but then I spotted Ms. Sorriso giving me the eye and that was the end of it.

Anna said...

The votes are in and have been tallied! There was much difference of opinion among the judges, but the winner is.... drum roll.... Oishii! It was a marginal victory at best : two votes out of five for Oishii. And the clear choice for runner up was Mr. Neptune Oyster himself, who seems to have been quite a hit on the beauty pageant circuit.
Thank you all for voting! That was fun. Will have to do it again soon.