Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dinner by Design Event Review (Part II): Getting Inked At Dinner

In my last post, I left you with a review of Adam Bostwick's intermezzo - a BRILLIANT lime gelatin wedge. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm no stranger to getting inked... But thanks to Chef Ellis Cooley and Emerging Chefs, last Wednesday was the first time it's ever happened during dinner.

Course Four

Course four was titled "Black and White" and was comprised of bay scallops, farro, and squid ink. Before my full-on foray into the foodie world, squid ink was something I only saw on Iron Chef Japan - and even then it was something I was half intrigued, and half horrified about. Chef Cooley's scallops were sweet and cooked magnificently - they had a buttery, pillowy texture. The farro was toothsome and almost fun to eat, while the squid ink provided an indescribable (but pleasant!) briny-ness. I really liked this one and felt the portion was just right.

Course Five

By the fifth course I was blissed out on the wine pairings, while visions of spiced lime jellies wiggled in my head. Still, we carried on! This was a lamb loin with a cipollini soubise (a soubise is a thickened, bearnaise-style sauce made with onions and cream, sometimes potato), a spice brittle and fava beans. The soubise was my favorite part of this dish, to be honest! I could have eaten that with some mashed yukons and collapsed into a carb-induced coma. The brittle was also very good, and the lamb had a lot of great flavor. The loin seemed a little tough to me, but it was worth the extra effort in my opinion. It was cooked perfectly. I was not crazy about the fava beans, but that had nothing to do with Chef Cooley's take on them - I am just not a fan of favas. The favas added a strident, earthy and bitter flavor to the dish, which was complimentary to the rest of the plate.

Course Six

Would you eat a bacon cookie? Of course you would, especially if it was made by Amp 150's Chef Ellis Cooley. The sixth and final course is what I affectionately refer to as the pièce de résistance, a dessert so busy it almost needs a traffic cop. While we're on the topic of law enforcement, this was also so fun and decadent, it should be illegal (only not really). I ate this in an "around the world" style, trying to come back to everything more than once. Starting at the bottom right and moving clockwise, we have:

- A dark chocolate truffle with sour apple. This was a very simple treat, but lovely. The sour apple balanced perfectly with the chocolate. I tried my best to make this three bites.

- Dehydrated honey. This was honey, nothing more. The flavor once again evoked nostalgic memories, this time of being six, shoulder-tied sundresses and freckled shoulders in the summer breeze. I really loved this.

- Chocolate pannacotta with "fizzy" and a bacon cookie. The "fizzy" was a powder that reminded me of the Ramune soda flavored hard candies I used to buy at an Asian grocery in Columbus. The idea was to make the flavor like that of an egg cream. The bacon cookie was spectacular, I found myself wishing for another one. The flavor of this cookie would make Michael Symon blush, it was so good. It went perfectly with the pannacotta.

- Beet jelly with citric acid (To make it tart, like a Sour Patch Kid). This was really good, and initially hard to believe it was made of beet. After the second bite I could tell. I liked this, though it was very sour!!

- The middle was a chocolate foam, which was nice but not my favorite. It seemed to be the most subdued of all of the aspects of this dessert, but I believe this was probably the idea. It was nice to come back to, especially after the sour jelly!

The Dinner by Design event was truly a night never to be forgotten. The music was fantastic (I really loved the remix of "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) and the atmosphere was charged with the curiosity and enthusiasm of of other foodies like myself. It was great to be a part of a group who may never meet again, but were for one night, kindred spirits in the name of good food.

Thank you for reading!


Bite Buff said...

Wish that I hadn't missed this one!

Jeansa said...

The descriptions are mouth-watering! Can't wait for your next posting!

Anonymous said...

Actually the desert dish and the Pea soup were made by amp 150's Melissa Khoury...who is also essentially taking over AMP when Ellis leaves.