Tonight we hosted a winemaker dinner (Meet the Maker–you like that?) for Kelly Fleming, one of our Vintner Members at Solage. Of course, I was so worked up about the ingredients and other common frustrations in the kitchen that I forgot to take pictures of the food. It was all gorgeous, so just imagine that.
Changing the menu is more than just up and switching around some print and a few ingredients. Tonight we had two dinner entree menu changes, lemon steamed sole with black corinth grapes, icicle radish, pickled shiitake, broccoli, cashews, and lime, and petaluma chicken a la plancha with calasparra rice croquettes, salsa diablo, sun gold tomatoes and sugar snaps.
After an old friend’s wedding and an intensive tour of Govan, Strathloanhead, and Avonbridge, as well as some other, better-known parts of Scotland, I was back in the kitchen this week, and what a firestorm it has been. We are incredibly fortunate at solbar to be screaming busy–last night and again during lunch today, I was expediting and the tickets were coming out of the printer much faster than I could call them. Several times during each service, a string of them reached all the way down to the floor . . . thankfully, we have a wonderful atmosphere and very patient guests. And plenty of ink.
We had been talking about a quail dish for a while, and what better segue from the last post than to describe the dish we put on the menu tonight: buttermilk-fried quail with cheese grits, fresh black-eyed peas, ham hocks, red eye gravy and pickled watermelon rind. Serve it with a side of rusted-chevy-propped-up-on-cinder-blocks-in-the-yard and that’s as Southern as an Alabama Slammer.
Protein cookery can be divided into two categories: dry-heat and moist-heat. Moist-heat cookery encompasses poaching, braising, boiling, steaming, and the like, as well as sous vide techniques where a water-based solution is added to the protein before vacuum packing. These are usually done at lower temperatures–obviously these processes cannot exceed 212 Fahrenheit, except for steaming, which is actually gentler than boiling (because of the lessened density of the cooking medium).
Or so (almost) goes “One More Saturday Night”. Far Niente threw their a 125th birthday bash last Saturday night and invited me, along with 14 other chefs, to cook for their 800 guests. The crowd was hip and excited, the music was festive, the Cirque du Soleil dancers were out there. You can see a better picture of, and read about, the soiree here.
On Wednesday and Thursday past, I opened–6am–because Zach had a few well-deserved days off (though at 945 Thursday morning, as I returned to the kitchen from a meeting, he had come in to do his dry-goods order and got stuck in the middle of the breakfast line, plating pancakes and hash browns in his flip-flops to dig out the new breakfast cooks). My prep list on Thursday started out:
smoke pork ribs
I’ll skip right over the brilliant lamb entree (leg of pozzi farms lamb, wrapped in our house-made lavash bread with babaghanoush and summer squash, and served over tomato chutney with red wine-lamb sausage, tabbouleh, and pickled eggplant) that Ryder added to the dinner menu tonight–so I can speak to the PORK CHOP that I composed with cornbread, rapini, white corn, our cajun andouille, and roasted fig-sherry jus.
Big spread in the Chronicle’s F&W section for our town this past weekend! From restaurants to tasting rooms, wow. Chateau Montelena, Dutch Henry, and Kelly Fleming are Vintner Members at Solage, Joe and Jill Cabral of Lava Vine are members, and the Lynches and everyone at Bennett Lane have always been loyal solbar supporters.