The Buffalo Jump on Coonamessett Farm

Brandon-BaltzleyBaltzley cooking at his former restaurant TMIP.

I’d been following Brandon Baltzley on Instagram for about a year. His experimental edge and curious creativity showcased at Ribelle in Brookline was fascinating. Baltzley left Ribelle, which closed this month, to open The 41-70 in Woods Hole on Cape Cod. After a few months, a wedding, a baby, and a whole lot of what looked like delicious food, Brandon and his wife and co-chef, Laura Higgins, left due to differences with the owner. Still on the Cape, Baltzley is currently quietly cooking at Coonamessett Farm in rural Falmouth. There are two seatings a night,  Monday through Wednesday, and the 7-course meal costs $70. The pop-up is titled The Buffalo Jump. The chefs give away four free tickets to “industry” folks each night. I wrote in an essay and was incredibly fortunate to score two free tickets to this Tuesday’s 5pm seating. Below, are photos of the evening along with descriptions from the chef.

IMG_2657Table setting and a drink of celery and blueberry skins.

IMG_2659A tartlet of aromatic flowers with seaweed, milk curd, and sungold tomato.

IMG_2660Soft scrambled duck egg with fermented cabbage and clam.

IMG_2662Wood fired squash in red mole with duck liver, blueberry, and celery served with grilled hand bread (not pictured).

IMG_2664Roasted cod with wild raspberry and snap beans cooked in caramelized goats milk.

IMG_2665Blueberry doughnuts with sharp cheddar from Vermont.

IMG_2668Baked potato ice cream and sweetened, cultured cream with this year’s blackberries and nutritional yeast.

IMG_2670Cornmeal and juniper hallongrottor.

IMG_2681A goat.

IMG_2674Vegetables.

Baltzley is planning to open a new restaurant on the Cape next year in the Mashpee-Falmouth area. After this dinner, I’m certainly looking forward to whatever it is this constantly evolving chef does next.

City Bakery’s Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate recipe is no, sugary Swiss-Miss like drink. No, this is the kind of rich, dark hot chocolate the texture of pure melted chocolate, so rich you could bathe in it. Behold: City Bakery’s (Very) Decadent Hot Chocolate

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 3.50.59 PM

VERY DECADENT HOT CHOCOLATE
Serves 2

Ingredients:
4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp corn starch
about 2 Tbsp sugar
generous pinch sea salt
splash vanilla extract

Directions:
In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the dark chocolate with a splash of milk over medium-low heat. Stir. Whisk corn starch with rest of milk (vigorously or else you’ll end up with clumps of corn starch in your drink) and slowly add it to the melted chocolate. Add sugar to taste. Keep stirring until it reaches a low simmer and becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla.

Divide between two cups. Top with giant marshmallows.

Recipe from: www.thetarttart.com.

5 Best Cookbooks of 2015

61o97hRaK8L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Tartine Bread (Chad Robertson – $40) – A bread-lovers dream, this cookbook is solely for those interested in the highest form of bread making (i.e. nursing a starter everywhere you go). Must-Try: Country Bread

Momofuku-Milk-Bar-Cookbook-Cover

Momofuku Milk Bar (Christina Tosi — $35) The sweet side to David Chang’s empire is just that: very sweet. Pastry chef Christina Tosi brings a sort of outside-the-box inventiveness not often associated with basic desserts. Must-Try: Crack Pie, Compost Cookies

the-mission-chinese-food-cookbook-danny-bowien-chris-ying

The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook (Danny Bowien and Chris Ying – $35) – What sets Danny Bowien’s new book apart from the many other chef-driven cookbooks is not the recipes. Yes, the glorious shots of dishes like Mapo Tofu and Kung-Pao Pastrami are glorious. And yes, the pantry section in the back of the book will have you gearing up to head out to your local Asian market. But it’s the candid storytelling that weaves between the recipes to tell the story of Danny, from his childhood in Oklahoma to celebrity-chef status in New York. Must-Try: Mapo Tofu, Hand-Pulled Noodles
Unknown-1

Tacos: Recipes and Provocations (Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothmans – $32.50) – This encyclopedic book of tacos brings tortillas onto the level of pasta. No longer are tacos something to be wolfed down without much thought; with fillings ranging from blood sausage and fava bean mayo to inverted al pastor, Alex Stupak takes tacos to a level you never dreamed of. Must-Try: Al-Pastor Tacos, Corn Tortillas

Robertas-1

Roberta’s (Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parching, Katherine Wheelock – $35) – The Brooklyn restaurant turned Bushwhack into the “it” neighborhood with the place everyone wanted to go to. Fast-forward a few years and they also have a 12-seat tasting counter as well as an outpost in a Midtown food court. With the cookbook, you can make their pizzas, pastas, meats, and vegetables at home. Must-Try: Speckenwolf Pizza

Tasting Part Deux: This Time Vegetarian

For our second Tasting dinner, we wanted to showcase vegetables at the forefront and be more accommodating to our guests. So, for the larger and longer (length and table-wise) dinner, we decided to go vegetarian pushing late summer/early fall produce into the spotlight. With all of the beverages generously provided by the fine folks at Campus Fine Wines, freshly foraged chanterelle mushrooms donated by the RI Mushroom Co, plus some very stylish aprons generously discounted (and one donated!) from Hedley & Bennet, we had some of the finest ingredients and fashion from both near and afar. Deb Hickey, the bartender down the road at Chez Pascal, was the Beverage Director for the night, pairing drinks with each course including one inspired combination that featured both homemade cucumber granita and vodka. Nate Kelly helped out in the kitchen along with my brother Dylan, in charge of the (two!) dessert courses, as well as myself in the heat of the kitchen.

We bumped up the number of people at the table from 7 people to 11, forcing us to add two tables to our dining room.  One of the highlight dishes included a chilled soup made of corn, buttermilk, and herbs and plated with seasonal vegetables (pictured below). Another favorite was the transition between savory and sweet which came in the form of a vegetable-forward plate of avocado ice cream surrounded by roasted vegetables, atop a mound of refreshing cucumber granita.

Even with the numerous hours that went into planning, scheduling, prepping, shopping, and cooking that went into making the evening what it was, I had a thrill making the entire event come to life for a second time.

We’re very grateful for Campus Fine Wines, Hedley and Bennet, and RI Mushroom Co for graciously giving us their fantastic products for a reduced price: we cannot thank you enough! Also, to Deb and Nate without whom the food and beverage never would have made it to the table. And finally: our guests! You are who we put in the effort for and we can’t wait to do it all over again.

You can view highlights of the night below, as captured by Deb Hickey.

IMG_0063

IMG_0069

IMG_0071

IMG_0074

IMG_0080

IMG_0081

IMG_0084

IMG_0087

IMG_0002

IMG_0100

IMG_0001

IMG_0097-2

IMG_0034

mitch bates / Momofuku Shōtō / north

IMG_0110Last night, I had the pleasure of enjoying (my birthday present) a special one-night only meal at north. Michel Bates, chef of Momofuku Shōtō the widely lauded Toronto tasting counter, came down to Providence to collaborate on a special meal with his old co-worker, James Mark. The meal was structured as a five course tasting, with two choices for each course. Since I was there with my brother, we were able to conquer the whole menu by dividing up all ten dishes between the two of us.  From high-quality albacore served raw to charred peppers and maitake mushrooms in a hearty broth, all of the dishes were very unique, each imbued with a clearly evident sense of north’s signature style as well as some Shōtō techniques. Being seated with complete strangers only added to the fun of the evening and it was exciting to chat with other chefs, culinary students, and foodies while we waited for the food. A truly unique experience all around. Aesthetically plated, thoughtfully conceived, and perfectly executed, it was certainly a meal to remember.

Below, you can view photos of the delicious meal.

IMG_0084

Raw Albacore smoked tomato, sesame, mutsu apple, fennel

IMG_0085

Littlenecks and Middlenecks burnt cucumbers, seaweeds, and cantaloupe

IMG_0086

Charred Peppers pickled mussels, holy basil, cilantro, maitake mushroom

IMG_0087

Chewy Beets plums, smoked lamb, juniper oil

IMG_0091

Roasted Broccoli toasted hazelnuts, rosemary oil, pickled chanterelles

IMG_0089

Corn Ravioli roma tomato, cojita cheese, lime  roma tomato, cojita cheese, lime

IMG_0097

Scup quebec saffron, summer beans, dried shellfish

IMG_0092

Gnome Cabbage celery root sauce, chicken livers, burnt pears

IMG_0101

Goat Cherve Soufflé golden beets, black walnut

IMG_0104

Cider Donuts chinese five spice, cider sorbet

Maine’s Foodie Capital: Portland

Portland, Maine is an up and coming food city that, despite it’s size, has some of the most exciting new restaurants on the East Coast. Whether you’re in the mood to gorge on a sinfully decadent lunch, pass around a profusion of small plates, warm up against a massive wood-fired grill, sip coffee in a trendy atmosphere, or commit to a five-course extravaganza, there’s something for everyone. After spending a day in the blossoming foodie capital of Maine, here’s my take on a few incredible restaurants.

For lunch, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Duckfat, where Rob Evan’s lunch (and dinner) spot spreads the gospel of one particular animal’s fat. Evans uses the duck fat to crisp paninis, to fry doughnuts holes which he scents with citrus, and to whiz into vanilla milkshakes. Their panini with “overnight” duck confit, kimchi, and cilantro-lime mayo was good, but not incredible. There’s really only one thing you simply must have at Duckf2at, and probably even in all of Portland: the fries. And if you want to go all the way, as I did, order the poutine which includes those crispy, salty wedges of wonder blanketed by a layer of duck gravy and cheese curds (y’know, to cut through the richness). The dish is truly phenomenal, albeit something you’ll only want to eat about once a year.

For an afternoon snack, we sampled Standard Baking Co. which Travel+Leisure called “Maine’s best bakery”. The pastries we sampled were good, but not mind-blowing. The blueberry-oatmeal scones lacked any strong blueberry flavor and the madeleines paled in comparison to Dominique Ansel’s baked-to-order variety. I didn’t get to sample any of the breads however, which seem to be the star of the show, ranging from German Rye to Flax Batard, Cracked Wheat Potato to Hominy Whole Wheat. However, when we returned back to Portland we took home two breads: the sweet and comforting Raisin-Pecan and the other sourdough-like bread we sampled (can’t remember the name).

For dinner, I had my eye on two restaurants. The first, Central Provisions, serving small-plates (Smoked Carrots, Ramen Carbonara, Suckling Pig, etc.), which Bon Appetit named the 6th “Best New Restaurant” in the country as of last year. The second being The Honey Paw, owned by three of the most powerful players in Portland, Maine (Andrew Taylor, Mike Wiley, and Arlin Smith) who also own the massively popular bubbly, casual Eventide Oyster Co. and the darker, more refined Hugo’s. All three of these restaurants are on the same block which makes for an unique setting: guests can pop into each eatery and select whether they want an oyster bar, tasting menu, or now a noodle bar for dinner.

photo 4We settled on the latter (self-described as a “non-denominational noodle bar) which turned out to be a very good decision. The vibe of the restaurant is the kind of casual, yet refined feel that hipster spots have instituted as the new norm. There’s a record player spinning everything from Outkast to The Doors. There’s a counter stretching along the perimeter, a bar in the corner, and a large rectangular table in the center. The menu features small snacks, thoughtful appetizers, house-made noodles, large-format entrees meant for sharing, a few desserts, and some specials for good measure.

photo 1The lobster tartine should be how you start your meal: a slice of house-made Pullman loaf is deep-fried before being topped with a lobster-scallop mousse, paper-thin radishes, and cilantro emulsion. It’s like the lobster roll you’ve always remembered except infinitely better. You like that buttery crispy edge of the bun? Deep-frying the bread makes the whole thing that crispy. The lobster-scallop mousse scales up the decadence factor and the radishes and herbs brighten the whole affair. In short, don’t miss this dish.

photo 2

The Vietnamese Chili Lobster was less of a noodle dish, more of a pasta with an Asian flair (there’s the non-denominational part for you). The Wok-Fried Yaki Soba tasted like an okonmiyaki in noodle form. The cabbage, mayo, gochujang, and bonito was all there. But instead of on  a pancake it was placed atop noodles. Onto of all that there are fatty bits of bbq pork shoulder,  both soft and rich all at once.

photo 3And to end the meal, the soft-serve honey ice cream is a must. The chocolate magic shell and caramelized honeycomb add an addictive crunch all adding up to the most perfect end to a fantastic meal.

IMG_1195

IMG_3599

IMG_3605

On our way out of Maine, we found ourselves back in Portland. First stop? Tandem Coffee & Bakery which had been nominated by Bon Appétit as one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in the Country. The ginger cookie with white chocolate had the sort of  intense gingerness that hints at spice, tempered by the chewy texture of the chocolate. The hot chocolate made with Mast Brothers tasted like coffee made with cacao beans instead of coffee beans; it had virtually no sweetness whatsoever. The blueberry pie, however, was incredible, the perfectly soft crumble melding with the thick blueberries that made up most of the pie. While almost everything was delicious, I’m not sure if this is the best new coffee shop/bakery in the country. Then again, I haven’t scoured America in search.

IMG_3609

IMG_3615

IMG_3616

For dinner, we hit up Central Provisions. One of the most popular spots in town, we arrived twenty minutes before they opened for dinner only to find around twenty people standing around the bar and lined up outside. At 5, we entered the dining room and were seated at the chef’s bar where you can watch everything that goes on.

The waitress recommended we order three to four dishes per person. If you do so, I’m sure you would go away pleasantly full. But to do so, you’ll spend an average of $34-$46 per person. 

We ordered six dishes and every one was delicious. They’re known for their crudo (raw fish), so we started out with the Bluefin Tuna Crudo and Bluefin Tuna O-Toro. The former was beautifully plated with a julienne of radish, perfectly pungent mustard, and sesame. The latter was plated like a sushi plate, but infinitely better. Rice? Forget about it: it’s all about the fish. Thick slices of tuna are served with freshly grated wasabi that looks like parmesan and tastes like fresh radish, as well as some (unnecessary) soy sauce for dipping the fish.

.IMG_3626

Next up, the Caramelized Sheep’s Cheese. The chefs take a small round of sheep’s cheese and crisp it up on the plancha, pressing Maine blueberries into it, and cooking it until it dissolves into a thin layer of wonderful crispiness. It’s drizzled with very good balsamic vinegar to add both acid and sweetness. The Roasted Cauliflower comes served with some chickpeas spiced with ras el hanout and feta cheese which was all delicious, but perhaps the least interesting dish of the meal.

IMG_3633

That’s not to worry, however, because the three dishes that came next were simply stunning. Their famous Suckling Pig dish is a pressed cube of pork cooked until the top is a crisp layer of skin and the rest falls apart when you cut into it. It’s served with an apple sauce, crunchy marcona almonds, and drizzled with brown butter.

IMG_3638

You can order foie gras four different ways: cured, parfait, the whole lobe (1 lb+ for $100), or how we opted: a small slice of the duck’s liver pan-seared and served with millet granola and a blackberry sauce. It melts in your mouth like meat pudding, tempered by the crunch of the granola and the sweetness of the blackberry sauce  Finally, a small filet of black sea bass is served with fig agrodolce and marinated wood ear mushrooms.

The only complaint I have is the size of the dishes. I understand the “small plates” movement: order a lot, share everything and I think it’s a great idea. You’re able to taste way more than you would be able to with 3-courses and it’s a fun way to eat. But when you’re left leaving hungry, it’s a bit of a problem. Yet when the food is so good, the atmosphere so fun, and the kitchen so close, it’s hard to complain.

Nice job, Portland. Nice job.

1 Week, 6 Dishes

With an entire free week on my hands, I began collecting recipes that I wouldn’t be able to pull off in a weeknight or weekend. And what better way to learn from it all than documenting it? So here is a week’s worth of adventurous cooking, from making gnocchi from scratch to sprouting lentils over the course of four days.

Day 1:

On the first day of the week, I had planned to make roti, an Indian-style flatbread interpreted by the chef of The Progress in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I did not read ahead in the recipe and failed to notice that the dough must rest overnight. Nevertheless, I made the dough substituting the 1 cup pastry flour/ 1 cup AP flour for all AP flour. I also switched the 1/2 cup creme freiche for sour cream because that’s all I had. The dough didn’t completely come together, but I proceeded with the recipe while anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s meal.IMG_3128

Before I realized the dough had to rest, I had already made what I planned to serve the roti with. At the restaurant, it’s served with a black-truffle ranch dressing made with oil infused with sunchokes. They shave black truffles, pecorino cheese, and sprinkle chervil on top. But, because black truffles were more than a little out of my price point, I devised my own toppings to smother the flatbread with: a creamy eggplant spread with a “mousse”-like texture and a homemade mayonnaise flavored with a basil oil.

The basil oil recipe (via ChefSteps) took some time and didn’t result in the smoothest product, more like a very thin pesto, it still tasted clean and herbaceous, just as I had wanted.

I used the freshest, smallest eggplants I could find at the farmer’s market which may not have been the best idea. Using four (minus the skins) resulted in only around 1/4-1/2 cup of puree, however I can assume they’re probably somewhat more flavorful than the supermarket variety.

Not feeling the satisfaction of having made something I could eat that day, I went about making a tomato salad with minuscule tomatoes and spindly mitzuna from SCLT. I halved and quartered the tomatoes, scooped out the seeds, and filled them with the basil mayonnaise. I took some ricotta cheese, thinned it with some half and half (you could use cream) and schmeared it across the plate. I dressed the mitzuna with a dash of olive oil and lemon arranged on the ricotta cream and garnished with the tomatoes. Maybe not a from-scratch roti, but still pretty delicious!IMG_3127

Day 2:

Starting the day off…Well, I didn’t actually have much of a start, beginning the day at 12:00. There goes plans for making gnocchi!

I did however make peanut milk, or at least begin to make peanut milk.  Another two-day process, the milk production begins with roasting off unsalted peanuts to provide an aromatic, darkly roasted product. Add them to a saucepan with some cream, milk, half a vanilla bean, and some dark brown muscavado sugar. Simmer for 45 minutes and then into the fridge, with vanilla bean and all (I failed to notice this) for an overnight steep.

I also made the roti, fully rested all night and day. The end result? Awe-some. I seared the flatbread off in a cast-iron pan for 30 seconds on each side, resulting in a blister-y soft texture bringing to mind naan with a denser chew. I topped it with the basil mayo, eggplant mousse, grated pecorino cheese, and some parsley. Pretty darn tasty.
IMG_3141-2

Day 3:

On Wednesday, I set off on two dessert dishes. First up, completing the peanut milk. I took the milk and peanuts and poured them into a blender (now would be the time to discard the vanilla bean, unless you already did like me) and whizzed them together for a few minutes. I then strained the milk, but it had a slightly gritty, just barely chunky texture. So, I blended it and strained it again. It was still a little thick but I figured that there wasn’t much else to do to change that, so into the fridge it went.

While not included in the recipe, I’d seen pictures of the milk and read a glowing article dedicated to it, so I knew it was served with a couple teaspoons of the muscavado sugar. I made my own caramel-y syrup by simply dumping a bit of the sugar into a sauce pan, adding a splash of water, and a tablespoon or two of water. I cooked it just until it started to bubble and thicken.IMG_3151-2

The finished peanut milk was good, but certainly not “world peace”. A drizzle of the syrup added sweetness to the nutty, creamy milk. If I made it again, I would certainly pay more attention to the cooking of it.

Second dessert of the day: buttermilk panna cotta from the Mission Street Food cookbook. Ingredients: heavy cream, buttermilk, sugar, lemon, gelatin. Pretty simple, especially after making the laborious peanut milk. All I had to do was heat up the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolved, stir in the gelatin, and then add it to the buttermilk and lemon juice. Then, simply portion into some containers (I used ramekins) and refrigerate overnight.

I only waited a few hours to try it which resulted in a deflated, yogurt-like consistency that puddled on a plate. (Note: Wait longer next time.) The taste was good, much higher on the lemony, tangy flavor than the creamy, sugary richness. I might cut down the lemon juice next time, but garnished with some macerated berries and muscavado syrup, it was still delicious.

Day 4:

Having wanted to make scones again this week, fresh blueberries from Schartner’s Farm proved to be the perfect incentive. They gently deflated into the dough, perfectly complimenting the caramelized scones‘ lightly sweet flavor.

Ricotta gnocchi from J. Kenji Lopez Alt sounded dead simple. Not so. The dough was loose, barely holding together and my scale shut off the moment I looked back at the recipe. The taste? Not quite as I imagined, but still delicious. Ricotta is barely held together by eggs, flour, and parmesan, begging for a flavorful sauce that clings to the tender pasta.IMG_3156

Day 5:

By far the most labor-intensive dish of the week, Bar Tartine’s Lentil Croquettes are not something you whip up on a weeknight. In fact, it’s not something you’d be able to make on a weekend. Sprouting the lentils takes three or four days (a week if you did it wrong, like me). I didn’t make every component myself; a unique aspect of the cookbook is that it reads like a restaurant bible of recipes for sweet onion powder, farmer’s cheese, kefir cream, fermented honey, and more (and those are just the from-scratch ingredients used for the croquettes). If you try to follow all of the sub-recipes, you’ll probably drive yourself crazy or just give up on it before you start. But if you substitute ricotta for farmers cheese as they suggest, use supermarket spices, etc. the book becomes an exacting, yet rewarding challenge.
IMG_3191

The finished croquettes were super-crispy and worked well with the yogurt I substituted for the kefir sauce and the beet puree I made instead of the watercress sauce. Garnished with some of the sprouted lentils and whatever fresh herbs or greens you have, the dish becomes truly memorable (it brought to mind falafel).

Best Dish: Lentil Croquettes

Biggest Surprise: Roti

Biggest Letdown: Peanut Milk

Try Again: Ricotta Gnocchi

Scones, Any Which Way

IMG_2938 copyThe British pastry known as scones may have a lesser reputation here in America than that of muffins and the like, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be made delicious. And when they are, I’d dare to say they surpass most other bread-y pastries lining bakery shelves here in the states. Their contrasting crisp exterior reveals a moist interior that will instantly erase any memory of dry, over-baked ones from bakeries. Making them is not particularly difficult: ingredients required include all of the pastry staples that are probably lining your shelves and whatever else you want to mix in. This is where the fun begins.IMG_2934 copy

As long as you’ve mastered a basic recipe for the dough with a simple filling, which even for a novice baker will only take one or two attempts, you can mix in anything. Currants are an iconic British choice, both classic and stunningly delicious at once. A grating of orange zest delivers remarkable depth of flavor with its citrusy undertones and warming scent. Apples provide a certain moist sweetness and pecans or walnuts complement them perfectly. If you’re trying to win over someone who really just wants a blueberry muffin, well, use blueberries. They’ll explode as they bake, releasing a fruity flavor that they won’t in muffins. You can swap the white sugar for light or dark brown or even forgo all sugar for 1/2 cup maple syrup or 1/3 cup honey.  And this is only a jumping off point: whether savory or sweet, the list of things that taste good in scones might just outweigh those that don’t.IMG_2936 copy

Basic Scones Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • Optional mix-ins: Dried fruit, blueberries, rasberries, apples, pecans, walnuts, orange/lemon zest,  canned pumpkin puree,  etc.

7 People, 6 Courses, 3 Chefs: Tasting, Pop-Up Dinner

A few months ago, a friend, Chez Pascal bartender Deb Hickey, knowing that I loved to cook, suggested I prepare a meal for some friends with perhaps a few courses (for experience, excitement, and risk) and a suggested donation to cover the cost. Instantly enamored by the possibility of cooking a high-stakes, all-out meal, I immediately began hashing out the menu and test-running dishes. This past Sunday, the idea came to fruition, thanks to my brother as pastry chef and a former chef (Nate Kelly) overseeing it all.

The meal, titled “Tasting”, sprung from my personal love of cooking. Looking for a way to share my passion, the opportunity to cook a multi-course meal fit the bill. Cooking the volume of courses for the volume of people proved challenging, while still hugely rewarding. One highlight of the meal was the drink; wines were thoughtfully paired with each course by Deb and provided by local Campus Fine Wines. Keegan Bonds-Harmon, a local young artist, provided the menu’s stunning artwork. The delivery of the meal involved lots of hard work, including devoting the entire weekend to the final 3 hour dinner. But, based on the overwhelming positive feedback as well as the pleasure we received from the meal’s creation, we’re hoping to do it again in the near future… For now, a view behind the scenes of what was a thoroughly enjoyable dinner. Click here for the evening’s menu, including wine pairings.

Photo credit: Deb Hickey. Thank you to Deb for documenting the evening. You can see all of the photos from the big night here:
bSNMhOsiDAZr3wNKKu2Be0WH7dH2JjqC_UOpHlEBD9cKeegan’s stunning menu artwork.

osYhceEjUzpzbHUogsdDIWOAkM1sixF2LLcGe_bZvzQ Deb’s wine selection.

AJdhR7NchxfZAejLFvtNQvy6QfQ1tNTZfact3M9wH5EA layered vegetable terrine.

NWvJohSmH43oMLlm8BuA8djA1mLapZImT_vpan4kQncThe first course, plated at the pass.

aBulr3u5e3QD1Ly0BKJeD2Q0YqfD0PGLKqp5sY-slBg-1Seafood salad is garnished with chickpeas and chives.

rYvLFWI2sxdqzhmr27gqh0nb-3nkpICdBYcXHvSEYYYRich, brown-butter roasted carrots are glazed with butter and plated with crispy sage leaves, carrot pureé, and a sage pesto.

7n-Zxt7Wzt6_O2tLPCQLmv40y-ypgTriXC-ifgv8FpMDuck breast is carved.

nBnHdiB0NL500RmXhJDuVv0EzQv5zo0gh6_k7jY04ok-1The finished duck plate.

Iq4v3xm1psPgrkLRdV3g1eaV9eqa5XkGk4Lcinds4S0Pork tenderloin sitting in a beefy-cider sauce.

tEbVfxcVuLZrbdl__r4P730kSbzeCekrEvh77TXB37YPastry chef Dylan Itkin scoops cake batter into molds for the final course.

xJXWwmCzIp1DAgZZKyxZP9IGRJ0IXJ5AtgKMy3yEQWAChefs at work.

At EatDrink RI, Brunch Is A Feast

This past Sunday morning, the Eat Drink RI festival, an annual gathering of local foodies in the downtown area organized by David Dadekian, came to a close with a behemoth of a meal located in the Biltmore Ballroom. A smattering of local chefs, both culinary and pastry, offered wonderfully delicious dishes showcasing the best Providence has to offer. The sheer range, featuring everything from sinfully decadent french toast (Julians) to perfectly tender strips of chicken swimming in a spicy bath of green salsa (El Rancho Grande). Below, a few highlights from the brunch.

IMG_9711

The aforementioned french toast, from Julian’s, made from raspberry babka and set afloat in a pool of mint chocolate sauce.

IMG_9706Gracie’s downtown patisserie, Ellie’s Bakery, was at the event with treats such as the Pain Au Chocolat and a scone with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and feta.

IMG_9696The fantastic north bakery was giving out Dark Chocolate cookies (pictured), as well as their latest menu addition: a sweet-savory Brown-Butter Miso cookie studded with bits of caramelized white chocolate.

IMG_9693Simone’s take on chicken salad: mesmerizingly light pieces of chicken tossed with creme fraîche and iceberg nestled atop a focaccia crostini.

One boy talking about food