Sunday Night Suppers: Alice Waters and Joan Nathan Pop In at the Purdum-Myers Party

It was a foodie fantasy in the Palisades last night, where Todd Gray and Spike Gjerde conjured up a wintertime feast to benefit Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen.

Host Todd Purdum poses with Alice Waters, Dee Dee Myers (the hostess), and Joan Nathan. Photograph by Kevin Allen.

Truffled risotto fritters. War Shore oysters with pickled ramps and fish peppers. Morsels of marinated hamachi with blood orange and brown-butter zabaglione. Guests were greeted with one gorgeous canapé after another last night at the home of Vanity Fair editor and correspondent Todd Purdum and his wife, political analyst Dee Dee Myers.

Among the guests was Alice Waters herself, chaperoned by New York Times food writer Joan Nathan. Along with José Andrés, the two women were the honorary chairs of last night’s Sunday Night Suppers: 20 dinners at private home around town, each with a designated chef cooking for 20 guests, who paid $550 each for the privilege. Proceeds benefited Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen, but there was a secondary agenda, as well—to bring together influential people and convert them to the cause. “It’s a great idea to enlist people, just to bring in those who can be helpful in different ways. Plus you get to eat great food,” said Myers, reaching for an oyster.

The great food providers at this particular get-together: Todd Gray (Equinox, Watershed) and Spike Gjerde of Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen, where Waters had dined during her DC visit. “I felt really comfortable there,” said Waters, who also had a chance to visit the Dupont farmers market and to admire the kale and collards growing in the edible garden at Watkins Elementary in Southeast Washington. She and Nathan were already en route to another Sunday Night Supper before guests sat down to dinner at the Purdums’. Here’s what they missed: golden hubbard pie with miner’s lettuce and air-dried beef; hand-rolled garganelli pasta with lentil ragout, root vegetable mirepoix, and shaved black truffles; yellow perch and roe with Field Run Brussels sprouts and buttered carrots; Scottish pheasant breast with red cabbage crespelle, hen of the woods mushrooms, and honey-cider gastrique; pork skirt and li’l smokies; and warm black-walnut-and-pear cream with goat’s milk ice cream, pear compote, and walnut stresuel.