Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Menu #4

A few of this weeks seasonal menu items........

Ginger/Beer Braised Pork Belly
pea puree, pea tendril salad, ginger vinaigrette

Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crabs
pickled (last of the season....) Ramps, wild mushroom dressing

Shaved Asparagus Salad
red ribbon sorrel, fiddlehead tomme cheese

Lobster "Bisque"
crispy potato

Seared Maine Jumbo Scallops
brandy pillow, morels

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spring Menu #3


Soft Shell Crab & Pea Tendrils


Foie Gras Rhubarb Crisp


Pickled Mushroom & Fiddlehead Salad

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Probably The Best Ham In The World



Last week I was very fortunate to have collaborated on a dinner with Jorge Ordonez, the human dynamo of the Spanish Wine World. Our dinner was priced at $450 per person. Now I always strive for perfection regardless of what I am charging for a plate, but when a five course dinner is being prepared for just under $100 a plate, I don't care who you are the pressure is on!

Something that made the dinner extra special was the addition of 2 items that are probably known as the best ham products in the world.

1. Chorizo De Bellota: Made by Jose Gomez at Joselito Bellota acorn fed ibérico cured chorizo in natural casing
sweet nutty flavor & melting quality, slightly smokey

2. Gran Reserva Bellota Jamon: Jose Gomez at Joselito
Sweet, nutty, complex and rich, melting acorn oil and a long lingering aftertaste

Jorge Ordonez was kind enough to bring us each of these products to use at the dinner ( 16 people) and take it with us after we were done!

To make the ultimate ham and charcuterie you need - animals, land, charcutiers, curing chambers, the perfect dry climate. The people at Joselito control the whole cycle of production and have all the above.

The unique climate of Guijuelo helps create sweet, long-cured hams. The winters are cold so less salt is needed in the first stages than in the south.

Joselito own more land in Spain than any other ibérico producers.

Pigs eat grain when they are first born, until they reach 4 months which is when they are released into the wild to forage for food. However, Joselito even own their own pienso factory to produce high quality grain feed, rather than use what is industrially available.

Joselito pigs also live longer than most ibérico pigs, seeing two montaneras – one as a piglet then one as an adult. They are therefore not speed-fed artificially, which results in weaker bones and muscle. It takes around 5 years for a piglet to reach your plate at Joselito compared to an average of 3 or less for other hams.

Joselito are able to produce the crème de la crème by choosing the best pigs and allocating them to the best farms: most producers do not have this luxury.

Price you ask........if you ask me priceless.

Spring Vegetable Platter


Here was my favorite dish from this seasons ever changing spring menus

Roasted Sunchokes, fiddlehead ferns, baby thumbolina carrots, ramp stems, beets, tossed in a green almond & yogurt dressing. Finished with pea shoots tossed in Las Brisas Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Next week we release Small Plates Spring Menu # 4

Plancha Seared Maine Scallops….$16
morel sauce, asparagus, brandy “pillow”

Lobster Bisque…..$12
chorizo, crispy potato

Shaved Asparagus Salad….$10
red ribbon sorrel, jamon Serrano, fiddlehead tomme , caper vinigerette

Wild Mushroom Tortellini….$12
fava beans, almond mascarpone sauce, coffee bean oil

Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crab….$18
pickled ramps, baby leeks, rioja & honey braised cipollini

Braised Pork Belly….$14
spring pea puree, pea green & ginger salad

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nantucket

My blogging rhythm has slowed this last week due to a crazy week.

Matt & I spent 4 days in Nantucket working the Nantucket food & wine festival. Gala on Thursday was great fun, we were paired with Dole Wine and our Foie Stuffed Black Mission Figs were a hit! The dinner on Friday night with Jorge Ordonez was amazing! First the price tag was about $450 per person. So the pressure was on Matt & I to make sure that every detail was perfect.
I think we nailed it.

We had such a great array of ingredients to work with, Mr. Ordonez was gracious enough to bring me a 5 pound chunk of True Jamon Iberico de Bellota as well as Chorizo Iberico made from the black footed pig. both extremely flavorful, have a sweet acorn flavor due to their diet and extremely expensive. I am fortunate enough to have been given the chance to take it home with me!

I also was fortunate enough to get my hands on Spains most expensive cheese, Torta de Casar, is a cheese made from sheep's milk in the Extremadura region of Spain. It is named after Casar de Cáceres, its city of origin. It is aged for at least sixty days. The fully ripe cheese has a creamy consistency in the center, and is traditionally eaten by slicing off the top and scooping out the inside.

In 1999, the cheese was given protected-origin status, regulations that stipulate not only where it can be produced, but also that it can only be made with the milk of Merino and Entrefina sheep. These breeds have a low yield of milk, and it takes the milk of 20 sheep to make a 2.2-pound wheel of Torta del Casar.

Torta del Casar is produced commercially today by eight family-run dairies. Only about 10 percent of the production is exported from Spain.

What a great dinner and unreal wines.

We had such a great time, but were so busy that all though we had a camera at the ready, we didnt take one photograph...agggghhhhhhhhh.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recession Buster


Foie Gras "Peanut Butter & Jelly" $16

I want to apologize for not updating the blog last week. It was actually a week that we finally saw an upswing in guests at the restaurant. The economy has been taking its toll on restaurants like ours. Its great to have a $50-$60pp check average for the bottom line, but if people aren't spending like they used to they look for alternative options.

But last week we saw a turn, people were out, spending money, enjoying the weather,telling our servers the ll be back very soon.

Its great to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The hospitality business has been hit hard, they are practically giving away rooms and vacations at hot spots like Vegas, US Virgin Islands, Disney Wold. Restaurants have had to deal with rising cost of goods, but without drastically changing prices the restaurant takes a hit.

Lets see what happens on the next 6 months, but I think that we are about to see the economy start to slowly get better.

As a restaurant that provides exceptional service, world class cuisine and an amazing wine & cocktail list you have to believe that people have not lost interest in what we do. So to make it more affordable for our valued guests we have offered multi course tastings for $35, recession buster small bites (Pintxos) for $3, including items like Foie Gras on toast, black trumpet mushrooms on brioche, Jamon Serrano and Manchengo.

This week we are headed to the Nantucket Food & Wine Festival, our dinner alone costs $450 pp, and mind you we have the cheapest ticket price out of 16 dinners taking place that evening. All SOLD OUT!

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Secrets Of Success" :Food Service East

I was asked to participate in a Q&A article called "Secrets Of Success", an ongoing series of interviews with chefs, restaurateurs and foodservice operators, Secrets of Success looks at the paths taken to professional recognition and acclaim.

Click Here To Read Article

A little About Food Service East

Celebrating 84 years of providing news and information to the Northeast foodservice industry...

Foodservice East, the business publication for the Northeast foodservice industry, began life in 1926 as Hotel & Restaurant News in Boston, MA under the ownership of George Clark.

Through the years, the paper, which, under Harold R. Dolby, became Lodging & Foodservice News, was a leading source of news and information for New England foodservice operators.

In 1960, fresh from a stint in the US Army following graduation from Bowdoin College, Richard E. Dolby, Harold’s son, joined the business and later transformed the publication into what today is Foodservice East, now a quality tabloid paper on glossy stock, dedicated to editorial excellence.

Richard, who died suddenly at age 69 in July, 2006 was an advocate of professionalism and innovation in business press publishing, Richard’s spirit lives on both in the print publication, and on the web site which seeks to bring useful information to the region’s operators, commercial and non-commercial, in a new venue.

Susan Holaday, editor and publisher, joined the publication in 1972 and has been reporting on the foodservice industry for more than 40 years. She also freelances for Nation’s Restaurant News and FoodService Director.

Her goal is to bring to the Food Service East web the spirit of excellence, journalistic integrity and innovation that characterizes the paper and to fulfill her mentor and companion’s vision of changing with the times to continually offer value.