Saturday, May 30, 2009

Food As Art

If any of you were checking out my Twitters on Friday night, you may have noticed that I was attempting to document the over-the-top 25 course meal Don and I were having. The tweets may have been semi-incomprehensible since I was trying to type on my iPhone under table so as not to be rude in a super fancy restaurant. Also, the food was so complicated, it was hard to keep up with all the details, so I'm going to go over our freaky meal again here.

Also, I WISH I could have taken some pics, but I was crossing the line enough as it was with all my Twittering...

We decided to also get the wine flight along with our meal because their pairings are always so nice and we find that it's a great way to not only enjoy the meal more--but to learn about some cool wines too.

So we started out with a champagne cocktail that had a bit of orange liqueur, chartreuse and also Aquavit that lended a very subtle licorice flavor which was going to play off the first dish or two.

The first thing out was two kind of roes--steelhead and Arctic char--which were served up with very creamy and foamy garnishes. It was fantastic!

Then we switched over to a delicious Reisling that was very citrusy and not as sweet as some of the Reislings I've had before. They paired this with a very cool dish of a bite of foie gras and daikon followed by a tiny bowl of soup flavored with daikon, shiso and yuzu. I have no idea what shiso and yuzo are, but the flavors were of strong citrus in a very pure and beautiful way--and perfect with that wine!

Oh--I forgot to mention that they placed a crazy centerpiece on the table--basically a black clay vessel that we were told to "explore, but NOT turn upside down." It was an organic shape and extremely cold to the touch!

We moved next to a Kerner accompanied by a platter that had a shot glass with a clear liquid inside--"distillation of Thai flavors. It was so interesting because it smelled so spicy, but the distillation process rendered away any heat and all that was left was the pure (and delicious!) Thai flavors. So we drank that down and followed it with pork belly and cucumber (along with a lot of other things I'm forgetting!) on a bed of lettuce.

The next course was a cute little palate cleanser--a white almond encased in a gelee in juniper with a tiny bit of salt, sugar and some other spices at the four corners. It was served on a guitar pick-looking thing! Very refreshing.

The next two were similar flavors, but done different ways and both served with Pinot Gris--

the first was one of my favorites of the evening--soft-shell crab in a batter of Chinese five spice and surrounding it--fresh peas with sesame and duck confit.

The second was very similar flaors, but served cold with creams and foams. It was fantastic!

Then came "Black truffle explosion" which was kind of a ravioli bite filled with--exactly as promised--and explosion of truffle inside. There was also some romaine and Parmesan involved.

The next course was incredible--inspired by the 1902 L'Escoffier cookbook. It was an onion tart with squab (or "pigeonneau" if you want to be all fancy-like) and it was served on a very ornate place with very ornate silverware and a delicious and a rich Margeaux served in etched depression glass. I would like to eat like that every night!

I think it was around this time that we noticed our centerpiece vessel was developing an icy frost on it.

A few of my old-time faves were uo next: a piece of bacon wrapped in butterscotch leather (also with apple and thyme) hanging on a trapeze, a tempuraed sweet potato with bourbon and brown sugar served on a smouldering cinnamon stick and then a mustard ice cream with little balls of passion fruit sorbet.

At this point we switched over to a sparkling rose and had the "hot potato/cold potato" which is an inventive little bowl of cold potato soup in which a hot potato, black truffle and butter are dropped in at the last second and eaten together.

A "yuba stick"--I don't know what yuba is, but it's crunchy and delicious--wrapped with a prawn, miso and "tograshi."

Then we moved on to a sake and were served an incredible white asparagus soup with these globules of honey floating in it--I can't give it a description to do it justice!!

Now another wine--an Aucerrois--very floral and delicious, served with the "seafood and flower" extravaganza. This was another creamy/foamy concoction that had scallop, shellfish and honeydew along with "pillows"of lilac--and they tasted just like lilac smells! There were also beautiful little edible flowers sprinkled throughout.

A tiny bite next--grape, lamb, ash and frisee--but served on an antenna that you were supposed to eat "hands-free".

I LOVED the next one--a take on "Americen barbeque." First, something was poured into our centerpiece--which must have had dry ice in it--because a beautiful fog emerged and settled all across our table, along with a smokey aroma. The dish was a tender cube of Wagyu beef with a cube of potato encrusted in salt & vinegar potato chips! It was served with a packet of "A-1 sauce" in powdered form that you sprinkled over the dish. So cool!

Then another palate cleanser--a little pillow filled with a fizzy lemon craziness--it exploded in the mouth!

Now we started moving into dessert mode--the first one was a shot glass with some kind of pomegranate liquid inside and. floating in that, was a "ball of yogurt." You drank the whole thing and the yogurt exploded in your mouth.

The next one may have been my favorite of the night--a clear tube filled with a gel-like hibiscus, then a creme fraiche, then a bubble gum tapioca. You sucked it all out the tube at once and it was incredible!!

There was also a "transparency" of raspberry with rose petals and yogurt which was a thin, crispy creation.

Then, to my surprise, we were served my very favorite dessert wine--Bigaro. I highly recommend it--it's a beautiful pink color, fizzy and has flavors that remind me of cotton candy!

Speaking of cotton candy--the next dish had it--but sweet onion cotton candy! That was resting on a bed of rhubarb done up all different ways and goat's milk cheesecake! Plus--the plate was placed on a pillow fillow with "lavender air" so as the plate compressed the pillow--the lavender aroma mingled with the flavors. It was all perfect together!

Another dessert was milk chocolate mousse, malt ice cream and all kinds of freaky blueberry stuff.

I think at this point I got a special birthday treat which was a big truffle with warm vanilla cream pored over it. I also forgot to mention that port that was served!

Finally, we ordered some espresso and were served the final course of the evening--a little chunk of frozen strawberry pound cake served on a vanilla bean in a mound of powdered almond. When we were done with the cake we were instructed to dip the bean into the powder and eat it that way.

And that was the end! The way I respond to this chef and his creations is the same way I respond to seeing an amazing painting or reading a fantastic book--he is an artist and his work is not only amazing to look at but sublime to eat. It was truly an adventure to have this meal!!



The Townhouselady said...


My mouth is watering!

noble pig said...

Holy crap! What resytaurant is this? This sounds more amazing than my French Laundry experience! What a great birthday meal!

Jennifer said...

Wow, if that's not a culinary adventure, I don't know what is! =)

W. Brannen said...

OK, being the Director of the Vidalia Onion Committee, I have to ask where you found this sweet onion cotton candy. Can you email me??? Thanks--
Wendy Brannen

Auds at Barking Mad said...


"Culinary adventure" is right?

I'm not sure I would enjoy all the of things you mentioned (and how did you remember all of this with such incredible detail? I'm in awe!) but I'd sure try it all just for the experience!

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I want you to know, that ever since reading this post, I have come back here no less than 5 times to make sure I had the name of that dessert wine correct...Bigaro, because I am dying to try it.

Alas, I don't think I can get it here in Maine, or in any reasonable driving distance either. I'm not even sure some of my favourite designer wine suppliers can order it either. :-(

harcoutbreton said...

omg this sounds so delicious... wish you have some pictures to show... yet still imagining it makes my mouth watery...

disa said...