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My High Holidays dinner party

On the menu

“On a trip to Rome many years ago, my husband and I ate stracotto, which is an Italian Jewish take on pot roast. The braising liquid is based on full-bodied red wine and aromatics. I include the recipe in The Jewish Cookbook and consider it a must-serve on Rosh Hashanah. I like to cover the table with colorful salads and mezze-style spreads. One favorite is Moroccan orange and black olive salad. It is refreshing with complex flavors and makes a perfect companion to a rich, meaty dish.”

What we’re drinking

“I love welcoming red wine back to the table after a summer of chilled whites and rosés. Anything deep and robust with bursts of jammy fruit hits the spot. Covenant, a Berkeley-based winemaker, produces some truly spectacular bottles. We recently traded our traditional stemmed wine glasses (which we seemed to break at every dinner) with stemless ones. They are just as beautiful without the inevitable crash somewhere through the meal.”

The decor

“I don't focus too much on decor, but I do love fragrant centerpieces. More often than not I forego flowers and scatter the table with jars of fresh herbs —things like rosemary and lavender—that are beautiful, but also lend an extra layer of spice and scent to the meal.”

The guest list

“Too often with holidays, you end up having to choose between celebrating with family or friends. At my dream party, everyone would magically have the plane tickets they needed to be in the same place, and the table would expand enough to include biological family and chosen family.”

What we’re listening to

“My husband's band Sandcatchers plays this mix of Middle Eastern-meets-Americana music. My husband Yoshie plays the oud (a lute-like string instrument) and his bandmate plays the lap steel (kind of like a slide guitar), and the combination is so gorgeous and is perfect for dinner parties.”

Photos: Evan Sung (food); courtesy of Leah Koenig (others)

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