I took in a very appealing meal as part of a DeGustibus cooking class last night, hosted by Blue Hill chefs Dan Barber and Mike Anthony. The restaurant's pastry chef, Pierre Laboule (spelling), was also in attendance.
This represented the first time I had participated in a DeGustibus class, which furnished a full demonstration over the course of approximately 2 1/2 hours of each described course (except for the amuse) and restaurant-size portions for each participant. I could not miss a demonstration of the cuisine of my subjectively preferred restaurant in the US.
(1) Amuse -- Citrus cured salmon with pickled fennel, with Domaine Carneros sparkling wine, 1996.
-- The salmon is cured in a manner not dissimilar to that for gravlax. Citrus peels, vodka, salt and sugar are among the curing ingredients utilized. The salmon is left to cure for a lengthier period, though (approx. 14 hours).
-- A curl of salmon was lodged within a little cup made from spring roll wrapper, and enhanced by a nicely controlled amount of Upstate NY goat cheese that had been marinated in olive oil and milk. Sherry vinegar provided a slight persistence and a slight acidity that were appropriate. Each class participant sampled at least two pieces of the amuse.
-- Two of the three principal wines produced by Domaine Carneros (a Taittinger California affiliate) were furnished during the meal, with generous pours (and refills). The restaurant-size portions of each dish, the cooking demonstration and the wine were collectively a good value-for-money at $85. The third Domaine Carneros wine, La Reve (a Blanc de Blancs champagne), was not poured. Domaine Carneros is located on one of the principal connecting routes between Sonoma and Napa, and can be along the route when one drives from SF to Yountville, for example.
(2) Romaine Soup with Poached Shrimp
(3) Spring Mushroom Tartelette and Fingerling Potatoes -- Most yummy :)
(4) Arctic Char, Stew of Organic Golden Beets and Pine Nuts, with Pouilly Fume, Michel
(5) Berkshire Pork Cannelloni, Baby Bok Choy and Spring Parsnips, with Domaine Carneros (Pinot Noir) 2000
(6) Passion Fruit Souffle
Details to be provided in a little while. :)