Chef/owner John Tesar's Knife is purported to be one of the best steakhouses in Texas. Hedda and Cherif (of Rise Restaurant) joined us as we sat down at our table. But something looked odd, as there was an extra placemat and my being seated next to the unoccupied seat. Suddenly, to my stunned surprise, I heard Jean François Bonnet's voice as he walked by me to his chair. JF is one of my dearest friends and is co-owner of Tumbador Chocolate in Brooklyn. When I first met him, 20 years ago, I knew with certainty that he would become one of the world's top pastry chefs, but he went on to exceed my expectations by also becoming one of the world's top chocolatiers. He immediately explained that he was in Texas for meetings with two of his top accounts: Whole Foods and Central Market. Zach, being a first class chocolatier, not to mention master of arranging happy surprises, had contacted JF to join us for dinner. JF, of course, brought samples of his exquisitely delicious chocolates. Dinner commenced with an appetizer of the signature half of a Crispy Pig's Head that was first presented to us before being carved up and served with tortillas and three sauces. It was a fantastic combination of succulent and tender meat and crunchy skin that would have served for the entire dinner but... Chef Tesar sent out several dishes for us to share including duck confit risotto, penne with black truffle essence, and my favorite or the three--oxtail ravioli. While the others shared dry aged bone in sirloin and rib eye steaks, we enjoyed one my favorite meats" Rack of Colorado lamb. Roasted brussel sprouts were the side dish. Chef Tesar then came out to chat with us and to allow our filled tummies to relax before his dessert finale offering. Six desserts soon filled our table presented by the gracious pastry chef, who gave us detailed descriptions of each. Each had several components including caramel pretzel, an apple tart, chestnut mousse, varying consistencies of chocolate, and cheesecake sandwiched in macarrons. Midnight sounded as we arrived home to Zach's after many goodbye hugs and still more conversation with JF. Zach is not only a wonderful friend, he is also the consummate host, so it will come as no surprise that Woody and I were hoping that the predicted sleety, snowy weather for New Jersey and New York would translate to a cancelled flight and another day chez Zach. But off we flew with the comfort of Hedda's invitation to bring us back for more events in the future for the opening of the newest Rise restaurant in Houston. And time flew by as we delved into the doggie bag of now cold but still delicious pig's head followed by a variety of hard to resist Tumbador chocolates: But we mananged to save these for later!
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