Tasty Summer Inspirations...

As we gear up for one of our biggest events of the year; a huge Caribbean-meets-South American food-fest, we are smothered with wonderful summery ingredients straight from the farms and ready for the taking for various other journeys and adventures. Inspiring to say the very damn least! As history will serve as testament, we almost always have a chef's table on the last or second to last night before we open for the huge tropicana gathering. This year was no exception. Below is a playlist of the tastes, textures and flavors that we orchestrated together to put on the show. The crowd gathered. The cooks played with fire. The food came alive. It appeared and then gently vanished as they ate, only to be an elusive memory, albeit a great one for both. Like a musician's set of songs played off the cuff from the heart and soul without rehearsal and formula, only fueled by passion and inspiration ...here they are

chilled lobster, litchi, basil, golden caviar, yuzu sabayon
muscovy duck "two ways"...
crispy skin breast salad, arugula, figs, pine nuts and 30 year balsamic
seared foie gras, hot pickled peaches, and hazelnuts
pan roasted sea scallop & stuffed rabbit saddle
abalone mushrooms, house cured bacon, corn, truffles, and corn pudding
flash cooked local albacore tuna
heirloom tomatoes, chocolate basil, chorizo, herb pancake,
olive oil and a calamari-chayote "salsa"
summer melon-cucumber composure, grains of paradise, elderflower
and a rhubarb "popsickle"
apple mustard rubbed american bison loin
macerated cherries, sauteed potato gnocchi, potato-horseradish puree
fennel sous vide and a black pepper-dark chocolate essence
buttermilk panna cotta, peppered strawberries, sapote sorbet
lemon pudding cake, pistachio, rhubarb, lemon verbena ice cream
cherry-graham "clafoutis", creme fraiche-peach milkshake
dark chocolate bite, salted caramel, lavender ice cream
chamomile chocolates, bacon-hazelnut macaroon sandwiches


Kentucky Sour Mash...

That is what comes to mind describing the southern influenced bbq soiree last Friday. Ol' Jack pens the term in the whisky it flaunts and we are jumping on board as well. Although it had morphed a few times here and there, it ended up to be a Kentucky Classic with bourbons galore...sipped here and splashed there. To merry the occasion and festivities together with our cooking, the food took on a pleasant taste and flava by way of the south. Sure it was my take on it, never wanting to be authentic mind you, so here is how it played out...
Cheddar & Jalapeno Cornbread
Toasted Pinenut & Onion Corn Cakes
Chipotle-Lime Butter...Spicy Honey
Bitter Greens with Summer Heirloom Tomato Pickle
Peach-Cabbage Slaw, Red Onion, Orange & Rosemary
Minted Melons & Plums w/ Julep Dressing
Heirloom Butterscotch Baked Beans, Molasses, Bacon and Garlic
Braised Escarole, stuffed w/ House Tasso, Mirepoix, Parmesan
Cuban Rubbed Smoked Pork Shoulder, Coffee BBQ
Slow Roasted Beef Brisket, Spicy KC BBQ
Stonefruit Cobbler & Orange Biscuits
Chocolate Cookies...Pecan Shortbread...Mint Sugar Sablees


Chef's Table Shots...

A moment in time...a glimpse of the vibe...an arousal in taste and texture! It is always an inspiration for me when a "foodie" comes to dine with us at the chef's table(or anywhere else for that matter). Tonight's table was a guest who has inspired us from the beginning of the chef's table inception...which in turn has become a birth ritual in our kitchen with this person whenever he and his guests come to experience our craft. It is because of this person, truly, that our chef's table came to be. Sure, we would have most likely developed the elements of this venue within the thrones of the battery but it is the way it transpired is what is unique. That is a different story and a different time. Tonight is about the food and what was the inspiration for the meal. Simple...his being here and gracing us with the opportunity to cook for him and his wife, straight from our hearts is what it was about. Now sit back and enjoy...or not. Either way, here it is..
~snacks scene 1~
house cured lamb sausage, pork felino salumi, lonza, tuscan cured pork
spicy smoked antelope andouille
~snacks scene 2~
frozen spicy aioli lollipop, orange in blood orange evoo and warm spicy calamari
maine lobster cup, avocado, mango, american sturgeon caviar,
yuzu-champagne sabayon
penn cove mussel salad, heart of palm "ravioli" with litchi, togarashi and golden caviar
chayote squash, radishes and green apple in a bergamot dressing

painted hills tenderloin of beef tartare
broiled oregon boquerones, citrus, chipotle, potatoes, andouille,
baby tomatoes, olive oil, panzanella, sherry vinegar

foie gras "two ways"
chilled mousse, apricot brulee "tart", apricot-truffle conserve,
30 year balsamic, brioche, fleur de sel
honey bunches of oats crusted, peppered plums, cacao nibs, hazelnuts and syrah gastric

alaskan spot shrimp, baby zucchini agnolotti, peas, honshimejii, house kimchee
smoked & bbq'd calamari nage

hawaiian hebi(spearfish) & squab breast
braised chard, chorizo potatoes, sweet garlic, charred tomato poultry jus
grated marcona almonds

baby fennel-sweet carrot-carrot top salad, elderflower compressed cucumber
black salt, frozen yogurt-elderflower lollipop

brown butter roasted veal sweetbreads
corn-bacon pancake, morels, fava beans, corn, truffle oil, fig-mustard jus
"street food"
sumac braised wild boar "slider", rhubarb, house parker roll
spicy bbq glazed "skewer", coconut, quince paste
peach-cabbage-carrot slaw

pepper & porcini crusted bison loin
potato gnocci, red onion marmalade, porcini mushroom, smoked salt & evoo
black peppercorn-saba sauce

quillisascut crottin, fig jam, moscato gelee
chevre de cremier, peach sambal, grate walnuts
7 year gouda, green apple mustard, mostarda, cherries
moncenisio bleu, roasted melted grapes, douglas fir honey
peach-lemon balm smoothie with cardamom
raspberries, litchi, orange curd, langue du chat
organic local strawberries, pepper, creme fraiche ice cream
pistachio financier, peaches, sapote sorbet, cherries
douglas fir milkshake
two flavors with bacon...hazelnut-bacon macaroon sandwiches, bacon caramels
strawberry pates de fruits
chamomile-citrus chocolates

A Dinner for a Friend...

I have known Scotty from Norpac Fisheries out of Hawaii for about 6-7 years. He is a fun, ambitious, passionate, excited about fish kind of guy who exudes happiness about what he is doing. It has been very inspiring to say the least to work with him and to share thoughts and ideas about food, fish and cooking. His passion fuels mine in cooking. It is through his life in the "fish biz" that makes my life in the "food biz" so exhilarating. It is truly like that with many folks with whom I have met and got to know well in this industry. Well, the point is, is that after all this time getting to know Scotty, I have never met the dude! Go f*n figure. He finally made it to Seattle, in which I have been blessed and honored with the rare opportunity to cook for him and try to explain to him and his dear bride through my cooking who the hell I am. Good news and bad news...good news...killer eats. Bad news...no camera! Lame on my part. Oh well, one will just have to get a visual on their own accord. Here goes...

maine lobster salad, avocado, green mango, golden caviar, yuzu
seared rare hawaiian ahi, cucumber, citrus, celery hearts, ginger dressing
seared scallop, litchi-caviar-vermouth sauce, spinach, heart of palm
honey bunches of oats crusted foie, rhubarb, cacao nibs, syrah gastric
local broiled sardines, chipotle, baby fennel, heirloom tomatoes
olives, chorizo, oregon bouquerones, panzanella
seared alaskan halibut, corn pancake, bacon, morels, peas, fava beans, pea jus
anti griddle...
yuzu aioli lollipop, spicy calamari, frozen yogurt lollipop, fennel pollen
king salmon belly "poke"
roasted veal sweetbreads, truffle, honshimejii, figs, pickled sweet carrots
coffee crusted loin of lamb, cepes, fennel, gnocchi, garden beans
douglas fir milkshake, local strawberries, creme fraiche ice cream
rhubarb and its sorbet, gold raspberries, pistachios
lemon pudding cake, cherries, lavender, caramelized apricots