Arabian Nights - Our FIRST Full Moon Dinner of 2018
Do you remember your first? Your first Full Moon Dinner that is? September was our first Full Moon Dinner at Lucky Chops Lounge and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of reviving this St. John culinary tradition.
Started in 2016 by our sister company, St. John Catering, Full Moon Dinners were once popular monthly events held at the Windy Level Event Space. However, that space was lost in Hurricane Irma and so now Lucky Chops Lounge will be the home of Full Moon Dinner moving forward.
The Arabian Nights dinner on September 24th was not only the first full moon dinner hosted in our newly renovated space, but also the first full moon dinner put on since the hurricanes. So for such an important night of firsts we wanted the theme to be something special.
Each Full Moon Dinner is inspired by the full moon; in September that was the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that falls closest to the start of autumn, which this year started two days before the full moon on Sept. 22nd. It’s named the Harvest Moon because traditionally this time of year is when farmers would be harvesting their summer crops, and the light of this full moon allowed for extended work hours. The Harvest Moon has thus come to represents both hard work and bounty, being the moment in time when the former turns into the latter.
So when we began to plan for our first dinner in September, we wanted a theme that encompassed the duality of the Harvest Moon. What we came up with was Arabian Nights; the stories of a woman (Shahrazad) who, for a thousand and one nights, worked to save her life by placating the murderous King with fantastic stories of adventure and opulence eventually becoming the Queen. Shahrazad’s story is much like Harvest Moon as they both embody the journey from hard work to bounty, and so Arabian Nights seemed the perfect the theme for the September Full Moon Dinner.
Inspired Arabian Nights, which was a collection of stories from around Asia and the Middle East, Chef Jehoiada “Jeh” Roberts conceptualized the menu for the Arabian Nights Full Moon Dinner so that it would highlight dishes from around the region.
Diners began the meal with a special amuse bouche of a Dueling Beet Hummus Cucumber Cup prepared by the Head Chef of the evening, Lori Dudkin, along with a glass of spiked carrot kombucha with cantaloupe juice. The kombucha was brewed in-house at Lucky Chops Lounge.
Next came the first course: Fried Eggplant with Tahini andPomegranate Seeds. Chef Lori's daughter even made a special trip to St. Thomas just for said pomegranate because it is such an important ingredient in traditional Middle-Eastern cuisine, having been cultivated and cooked within the region since ancient times.
The second course served was Shorabit Jarjir, a red lentil and squash soup. Its earthy flavors were perfectly suited for our first fall dinner (autumn having officially started just two days before on Sept. 22). We served our soup with house-made grilled flat bread, and for guests having the drink pairings a glass of Alois Lageder 2012 Pinot Bianco.
To cleanse the palate, we next served a vegan Mango Sorbet, which obtained its creaminess from the natural texture of the fruit.
The main course for our Arabian Nights dinner was Djaj Bil-Bahar Il-Asfar. This dish comes from Iraq and is an intensely fragrant yellow spice-rubbed chicken that we served with a pearl couscous that was tossed with bits of dried fruit and almonds for crunch. The dish was paired with a crisp glass of Simi Chardonnay 2016 Sonoma County.
The meal ended on sweet note with a bountiful piece of Semolina Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Water and a glass of Bedin Rose Frizzante, a Merlot Rose from Veneto, Italy. Chef Lori made some Hibiscus Syrup to brighten the plate and cut through the dense cake. Guests also got a sweet treat to take home with them, a piece of handmade baklava.
We hope all our guests who attended the Arabian Nights Full Moon Dinner enjoyed the evening; it was a pleasure to host! We also want to thank everyone involved for being a part of an incredible milestone for us, bringing back this pre-storm tradition and helping us on our island journey from hard work to bounty.
Next month the full moon falls on Wednesday, October 24th. Our theme for evening will be Let’s Play Dress Up, a lighthearted meal inspired by the costumes of Halloween that will feature food in disguise. Seating is limited and reservations are required (340-690-3868)
Additional dates for 2018/2019 include:
Oct. 24th: Let’s Play Dress Up
Nov. 24th: Black Friday, White Moon
December: no full moon dinner
Jan. 21st: Packages & Parcels
Feb. 19th: Little Baby Things