The dinner was an elegant event. Twelve diners, evenly matched by gender and largely strangers to one another, had paid $125 a person to enjoy a five-course meal steeped in patrician privilege.Courses, each paired with wine, included savory broths served in tiny cups and textured, fruity, palate-cleansing foams offered between dishes of caviar, foie gras and lobster. Dessert was a rich, butterscotch-flavored cheesecake whose delicate carvings of rose buds flecked with gold leaf blossomed in ...

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