Showing posts with label windattack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label windattack. Show all posts

Monday, December 31, 2012

Gala Parfait: Feast of the Seven Fishes


You know what they say, Italians do it better.
Christmas is no exception. I had heard of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a coursed Christmas Eve tradition to count down the hours to Christ's midnight birth, but never have I experienced it. Until this year.
On the Table Set's holiday episode this year we decided to shake up tradition and go intimate dinner party instead of all-out Xmas bonanza like last year. Add my co-host Greg's recent collaborators Alaska Seafood graciously sharing some of their top-of-the-line sustainable seafood and our Buone Feste was heartily underway.



AND the table is set (no pun intended). In fact, Greg is such a pro I believe it was set a full day in advance.


As per usual, we had too many cooks in the kitchen — That's because some of our most talented friends were in attendance. Seven courses for seven wonderful cooks. And for extra credit, seven beverage pairings. No lazy bloggers 'round here!


To serve as guests arrived, I thought Philadelphia Fish House punch seemed a fitting choice.


Course #1: The Cuisinerd and her main squeeze are no amateurs when it comes to sea bugs, and they knocked us flat with their Grilled Alaskan Oysters and Mignonette Trio: Spicy Chipotle, Cilantro Lime, and Classic Cocktail Sauce. (Seriously, these sauces should be sold in jars.)


Their offbeat pairing choice of Cantine Elvio Tintero Grangia frizzante (90% Favorita and 10% Moscato) created a wonderfully dry and fizzy bridge to the next course.


Course #2: I volunteered for the amuse bouche. Starting with salmon roe, I got inspired by dishes from LA's Son of a Gun restaurant and in the sexy NOMA cookbook. For added depth I first cured the roe in a beer brine. I used Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel's sweet and spicy Route Des Épices rye beer brewed with black and green peppercorns.


The finished amuse comprised of a Rye Crisp with Maple Cream, Beer-cured Salmon Roe, Green Chile Sugar and Fennel Top.


Course #3: Jackie the Beeroness (also behind Domestic Fits) wowed us all with her comforting Seared Alaskan Scallops wtih Smoked Sweet Corn Puree and Stout Balsamic Reduction. A sparkling wine cocktail with fresh basil and elderflower liqueur was an elegant brace.


Course #4: Chef, artist, and former Table Set guest Brian wove a tapestry of a "soup course" with his Seared Halibut over Forbidden Rice with Miso Pork Broth. For a cleansing respite, fresh lavender-infused spa water was paired.


Course #5: It wouldn't be a Table Set supper without something showy from Andy. His "Surf 'n' Turf" entree was no exception. Here, oceany Uni Capellini with Scallop, Bonito and Nori Crumble met earthy Rye Toast with Pine Nut Porcini Butter for a unique twist on the concept.
It was paired with Kabaj Rebula, a full-bodied Slavic white wine (100% Ribolla) capable of standing up to the intense flavors of the dish.


Course #6: Salad after entree? Why not?! Salad with crab? Hit me! Joy the Baker made magic with her crisp and refreshing Alaska Crab, Apple and Pomegranate Salad — a new Insalata di Mare classic. Get her recipe here.


Six courses in, I can hardly recall what we were drinking anymore... but my blurry photo shows that it was bubbly, and that we were having fun!


Course #7: And boy, the fun wasn't over yet. Greg built a mountain of it with his festive Caffè e Frittelle Dolci (Coffee & Donuts) — Glorious rosemary glazed donuts studded with gummy Swedish Fish, a highbrow/lowbrow win. I think I had seven.

In all, a beautiful night of subtlety, skill, festivity, and togetherness. Thank you to Alaska Seafood and all of our lovely guests!


Video and additional photography courtesy of Ted Houser

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Croquer: Bar Agricole


Deciding where to dine in San Francisco stresses me out. In a city where everything is "good" sometimes finding "worthwhile" gets a little hectic.
Thank goodness for friends.
On my last trip, my lovely hosts informed me "we have reservations for brunch on Sunday at Bar Agricole." What a relief! Come Sunday we approached the closed gate, with a smattering of other trolling groups, hungry fire in their eyes. Open open open...

Beyond the gate, a spacious deck patio leads into an airy interior of high ceilings and concrete, warmed with worn wood and spectral skylight sculptures.


Denim napkins. I mean, so hip.


It was breakfast, so naturally I ordered a Scrimshaw pilsner. In a cute little glass.


Prized company. Casey and Catherine of Coffee Pencil Knife always know where to take me.


Of course Andy of the Wind Attack was along. We were skipping out on the Foodbuzz Blogger Fest's farewell brunch, and determined to trump it with the meal ahead.


We started with the buckwheat beignets with rum raisins and cream. These fluffy doughnuts melt in your mouth. Into it.


Keeping with the dessert first, the crêpe cake with persimmon was next. An impressive stack, brûléed to a satisfying crisp.


Casey was feeling Nordic, and feasted on King salmon gravlax with rye, roasted beets and horseradish. Gorgeous, and delicious.


Catherine's three scrambled eggs with leeks, rainbow chard, chives and chantrelles inspired. A scrambled egg is an art, and these fellows were golden perfection.


Neither Andy or I could resist the corned beef brisket with potato hash, a poached egg and mustard hollandaise, and were happy to not to have to share. Intensely awesome.


Oh, what's one more beer? They're tiny.

355 11th St. San Francisco, CA 94103; 415.355.9400
baragricole.com
Bar Agricole on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Foodbuzzed: T-Flo Redux Dinner


Foodbuzz Blogger Fest 2011 left lasting impressions in several forms, but Tyler Florence's "#T-Flo" Twitter trending during his cooking demo at the gala dinner may be the favorite of many attendees. While we waited, hungry for our first course, bloggers giggled at T-Flo's casual chatty demeanor, sensual relationship with his ingredients, and appreciation of steam. He whipped up cider-marinated pork chops, red cabbage, handmade spaetzle and mustard sauce before our eyes in minutes. We could smell it. We couldn't wait. We wanted it. We needed it.


Suffice to say we were not served T-Flo's mouth-watering Eastern European-inspired supper. (We got wedding steak). But that didn't stop Sabrina The Tomato Tart, Andy Windattack and I from trying our hand at his menu the evening Foodbuzz Fest came to a close. And dare I say largely improving it?!


Sabrina is one mad host. She even had enough frilly vintage aprons for everyone!
After our trip to Bi-Rite for all the goods, Mark of [No Recipes] came over to help. He didn't put on his apron though...


First thing's first, we got our Heritage Foods pork chops marinating in a bath of Samuel Smith's organic cider, brown sugar, salt, allspice berries and whole long pepper.


Red cabbage: Check.


Beer break! Sabrina produced a chilled bottle of honey ale from her cellar - perfect with the Bi-Rite pretzel I nabbed for a starter.


Not surprisingly, Andy had a vision for a delicious salad to start the meal of right.


Gorgeous persimmon, pomegranate, and paper-thin radishes bejeweled his citrus-kissed winter salad.


An Alsatian 2010 Domiane Roland Schmitt Sylvaner Grand A Petit Leon was a crisp and supple wine pairing with the salad (and might have been into the entree course, had we not finished the spritely bottle while cooking!)


Handmade spaetzle? Yawn. We decided stinging nettles might amp up this dish. Nettle spaetzle? What sounds cooler than that? Mark volunteered for the dangerous task and helped whip up a killer dough.


Many kitchen tools were tested for spaetzle-making ability, but a simple dough scraper and utility knife won. The technique is what took the most time...


We rendered pancetta fat to lightly fry the fluffy boiled spaetzle in for added crispness and flavor.


We couldn't leave dessert out of our Germanic feast. As the cool autumn air was settling into the bay, warm apple pie was the clear solution. Sabrina was all over it.


Would T-Flo approve of basic apple pie? Perhaps... But we wouldn't. I suggested adding some dimension with crumbles of pork sausage, and naturally cheese came up next. Aged white cheddar, pile it on!


Andy plates while bloggers document. Just another day...


Behold: Our cider-marinated pork chop, pickled red cabbage and fennel kraut, parsnip & sunchoke mashers, fried nettle spaetzle, and creamy yogurt mustard sauce.


We enjoyed the meal with a 2009 Van Volxem Saar Riesling, a delightfully dry fruity German wine, and perfect blind date.


The pie was a delicious brunch-for-dessert disguised treat, gussied up with a scoop of Bi-Rite Maple Walnut ice cream. The table was split in favor of the sausage, but in the end everyone's plate was clean.


Groggy from the long Foodbuzz weekend, hours of cooking, glasses of wine, and hermitage from the cold outside beyond the steamy window, we sat, admiring our tablescape with gratuitous irony sharing laughs. You're right T-Flo, spaetzle is the new black. But what's the new nettle?