Homemade Heroes: Ali’s Paella

So this is a story all about how I forced an invite at Bower’s Dinner to this next dinner. My friends Ali and Ilene were having a group of friends over to eat Ali’s Paella. When I heard about this, I may have been a little tipsy when this happened, I immediately asked where my invite to this magical dinner was. And just like that I secured an invite to eat the amazing dishes you are about to see.

First off, Ilene pulled out all the stops with this huge charcuterie board. And like I’ve said before, I never turn down a charcuterie board. From figs to stinky cheeses, to salami and prosciutto this was by far the largest meat and cheese board I’ve ever experienced. And boy was it good!

One of Ilene’s friends then brought jalapeno poppers. Which looked beautiful as you can see. Now I didn’t try any of these, since I’m not a fan, but people ate these little beauties up!

But by far, the best appetizer was these little nuggets. Inspired by a five-star restaurant in England, Ali recreated the restaurant’s chips. He corked potatoes to get these perfect cylindrical shapes, blanched them in salt water, fried them in duck fat, let them rest, and then fried them in vegetable oil (I think…I could be wrong but it was a different oil and not duck fat) and then sprinkled them with salt and some garnish. Damn these were good and they were gone within five minutes. The outside held a perfect crispness, while the inside melted in your mouth. I could eat these every day if they didn’t seem like such a hassle to make.

And then it was on to the main event. The Paella! Now I’ve never eaten Paella and was not sure what to expect, I just knew that I had to eat whatever Ali was making because he is one hell of a chef. And I mean look…just take a moment to look at this beauty. The clams, the muscles, the shrimp…it’s breathtaking.

And it tasted like heaven and everyone agreed…and this is why I forced an invite to dinner.

Now that your mouth is watering take in these beautiful deserts that finished off our amazing meal. One of Ilene and Ali’s friends made this Healthy Pecan Cheesecake. Now, I was skeptical at first because not eating carbs is not something I do (never trust someone who doesn’t eat carbs). But a slice of this was perfect! It wasn’t overly sweet or too healthy tasting either. And it photographed like a dream.

Lastly, someone else brought this lovely tart which I believe is store bought, but beautiful nonetheless.

I learned a lot from this dinner, but most importantly, sometimes you have to speak up and remind people that you also like to eat good food and appreciate their cooking or else, you may miss out on something as good as Ali’s Paella.


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