Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sustainable Food Center's Spring Bounty Dinner 2011

Spring is in the air, and fresh veggies are are hitting dinner tables.  I can not wait to see what spring crops bring.  The Sustainable Food Center Chef's Series was an awesome event to check out what spring veggies and meats are available.  Thank you so much to SFC, Giant Noise, La Condesa, and the Chefs for having me out for dinner.  Before we get started, I have to show off my Scan-gauge with some readouts from the Chevy Cruze Eco.  MPG is instantaneous miles per gallon.  It says 0.0 because I was stopped.  However, on my drive from my home to downtown Austin and parking, was 45.3 city driving.  Not too bad considering the Chevy Cruze Eco Automatic is rated 26 city driving. 

YAY!  This car performed better for me city driving than highway driving.

The first course wasn't started with a beer, but this is pretty awesome to have just sitting on a table.  This was Independence Brewery's Stash IPA.  Wanna firkkin?

Foreign and Domestic's Richardson Farms Pork liver custard waiting to be plated.  I was pretty hungry by the time 5pm rolled around, and staring at food did not help.  I nearly passed out from hunger be the time the food started rolling.

I caught Chef Paul Qui from Uchiko in the back preparing for dinner service.

Chef Zack Northcutt from Haddington's and Chef David Bull from Congress Austin chopping onions and grill red romaine.  I'm unsure how they aren't crying from the onions.  I wear goggles when I chop onions.

The first course is from Chef Ned Elliott from Foreign and Domestic.  It is Richardson Farms pork liver custard with piquillo syrup, natsturtium salsa, and sherry caramel.  The flavor combination was utterly fantastic, and the texture of the custard was incredibly smooth.  If you're a lover of the liver, this is the dish for you.  If you're not a liver lover, you  might not be so thrilled.  While I loved the dish, I thought that the La Spinetta Moscato made the pairing overly sweet.  I think a dry champagne would have paired better with the texture and sweetness of this dish.

The next dish is from Chef Paul Qui from Uchiko.  Spring onion dashi, squash blossoms, baby zucchini, baby carrots, on top of a goats' milk ricotta.  I think that's goats' because there should be more than one goats' milk to make the cheese.  Coming back onto the subject at hand, this dish was literally spring in a bowl.  The flavors was so light, fresh, subtle, and clean that it made me feel like my body was healing itself, Wolverine style.  Also the presentation of this dish was fantastic. The colors were simply gorgeous.

This dish is the Milago farms soft egg, elephant garlic puree, and pancetta shitake vinaigrette danube from Chef Bryce Gilmore of Barely Swine and the ever popular Odd Duck Farm to Trailer.  I must say that Chef Bryce has got that soft egg thing going on.  It is one of my favorites at the trailer, and this dish aimed to please.  The yolk of this egg was perfectly cook, congealed but not runny.  On top of the garlic puree (that was not the least bit pungent) with a bite of crunchy pancetta, #win.  Paired with Lagunitas Little Sumpin Ale, it was a perfect balance for cutting the rich heavy fats and the sweetness of the pancetta.  Double #win.

Chef Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside served up Sloan Farms rabbit, green garlic, pecans, glazed spring carrots, and a red wine sauce.  Is this dish beautiful or what?  This dish just looks so pretty with that pink carrot.

Next up was grilled Lockhart quail, grilled red romaine, candied orange, and cardamon yogurt by Chef David Bull from Congress Austin. The quail was out of this world. Chef David brined it in citrus for 24 hours, and that will be the next method I use when I cook poultry.  It was sweet, juicy, and de-boned (except the leg bone which made for a nice handle).  The sweet quail, tart orange, and subtly spiced yogurt was fantastic.

Chef Zack Northcutt of Haddington's can make a mean meal.  This Windy Ranch osso bucco served over polenta was so mean is made me cry and wish that my ancestors were Italian.  But they are not, even though I don't have Italian roots, this osso bucco made me feel like I was at home (even if I never ate it at home).  I'm pretty sure my mom doesn't even know what it is.  In any case, the osso bucco was meaty in texture, juicy with flavor (just the right amount of fat), and perfect with the Independence Brewing Stash IPA.  It had just the right amount of hop flavor to go against this beefy dish. I hope this gets added to the Haddington's menu on in the wintertime.  I would be shoveling it in my mouth like it was going out of style.

This drink is the Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal with Honey Liqueur, cream, and house-made Froberg Farm strawberry soda.  I loved this drink's creamy texture and strong liqueur flavor though it was just a tad sweet. 

Dessert by Chef Laura Sawacki at La Condesa was Soncrest Farms smoked egg parfait, marcona almond, Oakhill Farms strawberrry, pickled mustard seed, and smoked sea salt.  To someone who doesn't know Chef Laura's style, that might sound a bit daunting and completely unconventional.  Let me tell you straight up that Laura is not traditional, but she is downright amazing.  This dessert paired sour, sweet, spicy, smoke with creamy, sticky, cold, and crunchy into something fantastic that words cannot describe.  I have to hand it to Austin pastry chefs.  They can get downright creative and pull off crazy concoctions.

Thank you again to SFC, Giant Noise, La Condesa, and the Chefs for having me over for dinner.  And Happy Birthday to Chef Rene Ortiz!


  1. Wow, this looks PHENOMENAL. Gorgeous pics of gorgeous food. I am so going to this next year!

  2. It was AMAZING! Simply AMAZING! *swoon*