Degustation Series 04.20.07...

So here it is...our first real tasting in depth menu full of spring goodies. Chef's Garden...Local purveyors...Nicky USA...Norpac Fisheries...Fresh & Wild...those are but a few peeps that supply us with the beauties of ingredients that adorn our service china. This time of year has that way of bringing out the sophistication and elegance in our cooking and releasing us from the suppressed mind of winter. The chic, the vogue, the sexy...all combined in a few bites, or in this case, 18 different courses. It was a gathering of the first spring tastes, harnessed together in a juxtaposition of bounty. A special dinner for a special couple in celebration of their wedding anniversary. Below are a handful of the photos from the dinner. Spring is here guys. No turnin back now. It's full-on until summer. When we cook these dishes and ingredients, it is always refreshing and rejuvenating for us. New ideas are hatched everyday...every shift...every moment as we delve into the cooking. When plating one dish, out comes ideas for several others. Wait! There is just not enough fucking time to cook everything we think of! After compilations and thousands of pages of notes, I have come to the realization that things either get put onto the next season or the next year or for that matter, simply written down for the mind. Some just get eaten and never go any further than that, like it was just plainly made for enjoyment of the moment. Once in a while, some lucky bastard gets to experience that fractionary bliss as it unfolds in front of them at the table. The others...the next memoir? The next book? Whatever the case, it is there and ready.

Marinated Japanese Hamachi Collar
Bottarga,Trout Roe, Kohlrabi-Radish Salad, Micro Fennel

Torchon of Foie Gras
Olive Oil Sponge, Truffled Apricot Conserve, Pickled Ramps
50 year-old Balsamic Condiment, Micro Burgundy Amaranth

Poached "Dog Mountain Farms" Duck Egg
Baby White Asparagus, Morels, Arugula and PX Syrup

Rhubarb Emince, Tropea Onion Jelly, Rhubarb Gastric, Buckwheat Crumble

Duck Prosciutto, Grilled Abalone Mushrooms, Pecorino, Madeira Nage
Micro Tatsoi

Seared Diver Sea Scallop & Rabbit Kidney
Pea Risotto, Peas, Pea Emulsion, Lobster-Vanilla Oil

Demi Thumbelina Carrots & Fava Beans
Braised Purplette Onions, Carrot Tops, Olive-Anchovy Ice Cream
Carrot Juice-Truffle "Vinaigrette"

Steamed Mediterranean Daurade
Artichokes Barigoule, Spring Matignon, Meyer Lemon-EVOO Bouillon
Micro "Rainier Club Blend" Greens

Heather Honey & Ras el Hanout Lacquered Squab
Fava Beans, Raisin-Caper Essence, Curried Cauliflower "Cous Cous"
Smoked Popcorn and Marcona Almonds

The other dishes that went before the blade and fork, rather than the camera, and were not as fortunate for the glory were as follows:

Maine Lobster Omelet, Tomato Jam, Sturgeon Caviar, Ugli Fruit

Passion Fruit Smoothie, Yogurt-Rose Foam, Nigella

Candied Salmon Ice Cream Cone with Orange Caramel

Brown Butter Basted Sweetbreads, Corn-Salumi Salpicon, Rice Pancake
House-Made FigVodka Sauce

Bellwether Farms "Crescenza", Pistachio Waffle, Raspberry-Pear Eau de Vie Reduction

Poached Rhubarb Batonette, Cuisson, "Creamsicle" Semi-Freddo Slice

Frozen Flavors of Spring...
White Asparagus Ice Cream, Olive Oil Gelato, Meyer Lemon-Cello

Bittersweet Chocolate Indulgence
Dark Silk, Caramel-Chocolate Cube, Milk Chocolate-Malted Shake

Almond Macaroons, Raspberry Pates de Fruits, Pistachio Financiers


Degustation Series 04.13.07...

The week had been going quite well. Spring has sprung! Morels...Asparagus...Rhubarb...Radishes...Meyer Lemons...Peas...Fava Beans...Ramps! What fun they are to cook and create with. It is a time of year that brings us out of hibernation from the cold winter months, itching to do something different and more lively from an ingredient perspective. Winter is a great time too, don't get me wrong, but Spring has a way of rejuvenating the senses. At the chef's table, we let all these kinds of influences steer our food and menus to a new height. Some ideas new, some revisited, some crazy and some just plain tasty. Each evening when the chef's table is in session, the menu takes a direction that is not always certain. It is unrehearsed, unplanned, un-thought of and often, last minute. It is purposely and strategically culmination of the thoughts of the moment. That is what makes it fun...and the cooks crazy! God bless em'. Here is an insight of this evening's experience and adventure...

Maine Lobster Omelet
Yuzu-Lobster Oil, Chives and Sturgeon Caviar
"Crudo" of Tai Snapper & Striped Sea Bass
Ugli-Trout Roe "Salpicon", Citrus Syrup and Micro Greens
Rabbit Confit-Portobello Terrine
Tropea Onion Jelly, Savory Olive-White Anchovy Ice Cream, White Asparagus
Pedro Ximenez Reduction
Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras
Rhubarb "Tranche", Apricot-Truffle Conserve, Sabre, Caramelized Onions
Rhubarb Gastric
Steamed Daurade
Peas, Demi Thumbelina Carrots, Fingerling Potatoes, Micro Celery
Meyer Lemon-Olive Oil Broth
Passion Fruit "Smoothie" with Yogurt-Rose Foam and Nigella
Slow Confit of Veal Loin
Crispy Sweetbreads, Morels, Fava Beans, Braised Ramps
Cauliflower Puree, Fava Bean Pesto and Mustard Jus
Porcini Crusted Oregon Lamb
Artisan Grits, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Caramelized Garlic, Salsify
Praline Chocolate Silk, Oven Dried Strawberries, Kumquats, Huckleberry Sherbet
Key Lime Bavarian, Jasmine Gelee, Olive Oil Gelato, Pistachio Brulee
Blackberry Pates de Fruits, Caramel Chocolates, Almond Macaroons

As we look into the next series...
we see more and more opportunities to cook great foods
and explore new ideas.
It is a time of exploration. Revisitation. Growth and Happiness.
There are many meals ahead.
I hope that you are a part of them with us...


Breakfast for Dinner...

I have been working with this item for a while now, and have tweaked the idea back and forth with many great results. It is a play on that great breakfast standby...the omelet, or omelette, if you prefer. I do! I think I first came across the "breakfast for dinner" concept when dining in France at a place called Chateau Arnoux at the Restaurant Le Bonne E'Tap. We were served a chilled omelette filled with a mosaic of fresh vegetable purees, gathered from their garden that morning. It was cool. It was awkward as well, being the mid 80's and knowing the local food scene in Seattle...that was avant garde bar none! So, as a typical encounter might find itself...burying itself back in my metal-logged brain, filed away until the right moment. It was played with here and there, but honestly, I think the city was not ready for that kind of endeavor that early~ both in time and time of day. So enter Tom Douglas. He was gracious enough to accept an invitation to cook at the club with me and about 6 or 7 other chefs from around the nation for a guest chef event dubbed as the "Friends of the Chef" dinner. His choice of course was a play on the same theme, now quite acceptable in modern foodie circles. He did it up in Asian flair and style, rolling it up as I have with Anise, Orange and Crabmeat, all laid to rest with a succulent piece of Steamed Black Cod. That is another story. So, after that, I started up with my quest again to try this idea out as an appetizer, or amuse or first course on one of our chef's table or tasting menus. Recently, I have been doing Maine Lobster and a Mediterranean Tomato Jam rolled up with a garniture of American Sturgeon Caviar, Micro Fennel, Smoked Paprika Meringue(embellished with Nigella, Turkish Pepper and Hawaiian Sea Salt) and a Lobster-Yuzu-Vanilla Oil. With great results, we have done Rabbit Confit and Mushroom(take your pick), Crabmeat and Ginger with Chervil and yes, of course...Foie Gras as you see here. Foie is definitely my favorite of the bunch, but lobster is very tasty and always a crowd pleaser. It also allows us to offer it more appropriately for an amuse of first course to be paired with Champagne and then be able to do a seared, poached, grilled or roasted foie gras course in and of itself later in the gastronomic adventure. So, simply blend up some farm fresh eggs(in which we have been pulling from local farms) with herbs, and seasoning and cook in an omelet pan just until set. I then place the pan under a salamander, or broiler to "set" the top. Spread with the jam, or tapenade, duxelle, conserve or whatever, then top with your choice of meat, roll up tightly using the plastic wrap sheet method so as to get it nice and tight. Twist the ends to secure and chill. Let sit for 2-3 hours and then slice as needed and pair with what you see fit. We use things like house made Apricot-Truffle Conserve, Green Olive Jam, Grapefruit Yogurt-Honey or perhaps a Mango-Avocado "Salpicon" or in lay-man terms, a fancy word for a chunky sauce. So...check it out, have fun and enjoy the tastes.