Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Chef’s Table

July 24, 2012

Remember that time I had a blog?
Remember that time I abandoned said blog because I became a crazy bride?
Yeh, me too!  Goodness, it’s been quite a while since we had a post. 
BUT rest assured, the skies have opened, I can see the light at the end of the “wedding tunnel”, and a long awaited (you were waiting, weren’t you, loyal readers?) update and post is here! 

A few weeks ago, my beautiful bridesmaids took me out for a bachelorette evening on the town.  These ladies know me well, and we found ourselves at “The Supper Club” in Greensburg at the train station.  To say I was pretty pumped is an understatement- this was suppose to be a GREAT restaurant. BUT- even better, we were sitting at THE CHEF’S TABLE. 

(A word about the chef’s table- The Chef’s Table is an elite table that is located in the kitchen of some restaurants.  It is an honor and privilege to eat at the chef’s table, as you are a guest in that chef’s kitchen and bare witness to all the going’s on in the kitchen. Very cool.)

Anyway, if you ever get the opportunity to sit and have dinner at the chef’s table- do it. Don’t second guess if you really want to eat in the kitchen. DO IT.  It was by far, the coolest culinary experience of my life thus far.  I definitely plan to go again somewhere else- or maybe back to the same place, it was THAT GOOD.
We met Chef Greg Andrews, and he gave us the run down on The Supper Club.  The Super Club is a Farm to Table restaurant, which takes local grown and raised ingredients and incorporates them into their menu.  For that reason, the menu is constantly changing, and you are always guaranteed to get the finest quality foods.  That evening, we would be enjoying a 9 course tasting.  Heaven on earth- I recommend you go hungry!  Everything was exquisite.

While I plan to lay out our menu  from the evening in a few minutes here, I have a larger plan for the upcoming weeks with this blog.  Over the next few weeks (Minus the time I will be on my honeymoon!), I will be recreating these delicious dishes and hopefully simplifying the things that sound intimidating.  A few will be modified and possibly skipped ( I don’t much care for scallops)…but the rest will be here with the How To. 

SO, what are we getting ourselves into? 

Here are the courses, from beginning to end- complete with my commentary. We also had wine- I’ll give some of my favorites that will go well…not QUITE as fancy as the Supper Club, but still quite satisfying!

1- Copper River Salmon Carpaccio with a vanilla oil and blood orange reduction, served as crostini’s w/ arugula. 
I was a bit intimidated by this at first for a few reasons. One, I don’t do carpaccio- I like things cooked. And Two, it’s Salmon…not something I do frequently.   The great thing about the Chef’s Table is that if there’s anything you want prepared a different way, they are happy to oblige- I asked that my salmon be “flash cooked” with a blow torch and was quite pleased with my cooked salmon.  Not to mention the cool show of a blow torch!   Anyway, the Salmon was quite possibly the best fish I’ve ever eaten in my life. Combined with the sweet acidity of the blood orange and arugula- It melted in your mouth.  

2- Grilled Brioche and Goat Cheese Sandwich served with 2 over easy quail eggs, and a banana pepper jelly
I will never eat a regular grilled cheese again. Ever.  My world has distinctly been placed into two periods of time… life before this grilled cheese wonder, and life after.  This is the 1 dish that I am most looking forward to trying to recreate.  I felt like I should have been alone in a dark room with that grilled cheese and quail egg mix, it felt that naughty to sit there and eat something so decadent- and the banana pepper jelly?! WELL… rest assured that when I perfect that little baby, I’m going to can it, and you all will receive some with a note that says “Make the grilled cheese”.   I don’t need “50 Shades of Grey”… just a grilled cheese, and if that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
  Also- you can find quail eggs at Wegman’s!?  WHO KNEW?!

The Wine- For the first 2 courses, we were served a Bonterra Organic Viognier from California.  I have my own favorite Viognier from Bluemont Vineyards here in VA, but I trust you can find your own favorite.  If you’ve never had a Viognier, I highly recommend it.  It’s a great white that has some hints of  honeysuckle and apricot...a bit dry, but a lot now are leaving a hint of residual sugar to balance it out.  Easily my favorite, especially in the summer months.

3- Salad of butter lettuce, heirloom cherry tomatoes, roasted golden beets, with a roasted garlic buttermilk dressing.  I love a light salad, and I especially am fond of cherry tomatoes.  Just something about them.  This was lovely with both red and yellow cherry tomatoes- YELLOW?! you say… yes, yellow.  They DO sell them at the store, and most definitely at your farm stand- I recommend them,  They have a slightly different taste than the reds.  I like them in a good caprese as well.

4- Seared Scallops over a barley risotto with basil oil, and grilled asparagus. Well, I’ve already admitted that I’m not a huge scallops girl, but as far as scallops go… divine.  I tasted it and was pretty impressed!  Definitely better than any I had tasted before.   I will speak about and attempt to recreate the risotto with grilled asparagus.  A risotto is a touchy dish, and barley is a different approach to it.  It had a more nutty and earthy quality to it which I found pleasing with the grilled asparagus.

The Wine-  For the 3rd and 4th courses, we had a San Huberto Malbec Rose from Argentina.
Beats me- pick your favorite rose!

5- White Peach Bellini Sorbet… a sorbet with a hint of fizz to it. How can you not love that?

Roasted Heritage Farm Chicken Breast with Smoked Thigh Hash, Yellow beans, and thyme pan gravy
Chicken 2 ways has to be among my favorite experiences… I am definitely my mother’s daughter, and her love of chicken has been passed on to me. You end up getting the best of both worlds… the juiciness and heartiness of the breast meat, and then the rich flavors and fat content of the dark thigh.  Top that off with the pan gravy, and you in for a treat… One I will definitely recreate, and possibly serve up to company.

7- Grilled Friendship Farms Hanger Steak with anson mills grits, morel mushrooms, and zinfandel demi glaze- I’ll be honest, by this time I was feeling rather full, so I only had a bite of this tender, flavorful steak.  A Hanger Steak is a cut from around the diaphram area of the steer.  It doesn’t do much work, and therefore is pretty stinkin’ tender.  As a sidenote- I am not a grits girl… If I were to recreate this (if I could FIND a hanger steak… I’ll probably substitute a skirt steak).. anyway, if I were to recreate it, I’d probably make a potato hash of some sorts, or possibly a garlic mashed potato. We’ll see what strikes me.

The wine for 6 and 7 was a Sileni Pinot Noir from New Zealand- As far as reds go,  Pinot Noir is known for it’s versatility.  It’s lighter bodied, which for me, makes it less harsh… with hints of plum and almost earthiness.  I don’t have a particular Pinot Noir that I gravitate to more than others, mostly because I enjoy a Norton, which has similar flavor profiles, at least I think… Same plum and cherry hints but a bit fuller bodied.- Bull Run Winery has one that I’ve become a recent fan of, and at Bluemont it’s known as “The Pig”…. truth be told, Bull Run’s wins that battle. At any rate, a good Norton makes me feel like having a steak by the fireplace- warm and fuzzy.  Another option if you feel like grabbing a bottle of red from the grocery store- Big House, house red.  Not sure what kind it is… but it’s tasty.

Lastly, we had dessert in courses 8 and 9.
8- Black Raspberry Crisp with creme fraiche and local honey icecream… This came to us served warm and the creme fraiche just oozed into the black raspberries.  Again, I’m my mother’s daughter through and though…as she loved black raspberries…There’s something about a crisp that is unpretentious and almost endearing.  It’s as though it’s something you’d make your dearest friend, just because.  It’s that every day desert…I’d certainly eat this one any day!!9- Chocolate Tasting Trio… a chocolate passion fruit macaroon, an ancho-milk chocolate mousse, and a rosemary-dark chocolate flourless cake.
Looking at these combinations, you wouldn’t think initially that they work… but THEY WORK.  The ingredients and pairings, although different, really bring out the flavors of each type of chocolate.  Passion fruit brings a bit of freshness into the mix, and I loved the ancho- chocolate mix in the mousse.  It gives a nice heat that almost transports you to South America.  Lastly, the Rosemary dark chocolate cake- earthy.  Another unlikely combination for chocolate that we didn’t see here?? BACON. I kid you not! 
The wine for dessert was a Zinfandel Port from Amador County, CA.  It was alright, but not a favorite for me…I’d have probably just gone w/ coffee.  😉 

Talk about a night of food, huh?  We were STUFFED by the time we headed home!
Next… bringing it all home.

Until then..Happy Eating!