Tasting Events

TACA Lexus Party on the Green, The Mansion on Turtle Creek – Dallas

May 20th was the date for the annual bash at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek supporting TACA Dallas, the arts benefactor that has awarded over $1,000,000 to North Texas arts organization in each of the last four years (and a total of over $19 million since 1967).

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^ Weather brought the party fully indoors this year; ^ the chefs assembled.

Chef’s stations occupied the Pavilion Ballroom, the Promenade, the restaurant dining rooms, and the upstairs event suites.

The dishes:

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^ L: Wolfgang Eberle, Al Faisaliah Hotel – Pan-Seared Scallops with Hummus and Pomegranate.

^ R: Fabrice Guisset, Las Ventanas al Pariso – Chicken Pibil on Avocado and Wasabi Tostada.

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^ L: Ned Bell, Rosewood Hotel Georgia – Ocean Wise Albacore Tuna Tacos.

^ R: Hemant Dadlani, Rosewood Little Dix Bay –  Harissa Lamb Loin with Tamarind “Moong Chaat.”

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^ L: Kevin Garvin, Neiman Marcus – Crab Cocktail with Cucumber and Basil Soup, Watermelon, Hearts of Palm and Avocado.

^ R: Sharon Hage, formerly of York Street – Green Tomatoes with Local Chevre, Pistachio-Mint Cucumbers and Crumbled Texas Cornbread.

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^ L: Anthony E. Dawodu, Caneel Bay – Caribbean Conch Spring Roll with Papaya Salsa and Mango Barbecue Sauce.

^ R: Yann Giacomoni, Jumby Bay – Shrimp with Hibiscus Sauce and Confit Sweet Potato.

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^ L: Tim Byres, Smoke – Smoked Allspice Rabbit Sausage with Fresh Herb Salad and Pickled Relish Vinaigrette. Always fun stuff from Tim.

^ R: Brian C. Luscher,  The Grape – Country-Style Duck Terrine with Dried Fruit, Pistachios and Foie Gras. 

Luscher’s was one of my favorites. I was asked to be among a handful of judges to award the best dish. This was at the top of my list. I was over-ruled however – so, moving on…  

Intermezzo time. I joined Mansion Sommelier and Wine & Beverage Director Michael Flynn in the Hospitality Suite for my kind of refreshment – Krug!

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^ A lovely view from the suite’s terrace. Back to it:

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^ L: Juan A. Rosado, Rosewood Crescent Hotel – Slow-Roasted Pork Belly, Smoked Rosemary Oil and Masa Onion Tart.

^ R: Peter Rudolph, Rosewood Sand Hill – Louisiana Grey Shrimp with Asparagus, Potato Mousse, Chorizo and Candied Peanuts.

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^ L: Scott Romano, Charlie Palmer at The Joule – Rabbit Agnolotti with Sweet Peas, Root Vegetables, Black Garlic and Rabbit Jus. Nice.

^ R: Graham Dodds, Bolsa – Veal Cheeks Braised in Milk and Graham’s Honey with Local Greens.

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^ L: Luca Rutigliano, CordeValle – Pressed Watermelon and Crab Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing.

^ R: Daniel Echasseriau, Rosewood Corniche – Lamb Kofta over Hummus and Tabbouleh on Grilled Pita Bread.

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^ L: Teiichi Sakurai, Tei-An – Seaweed Salad with Shrimp.

^ R: Jacques Sorci, The Carlyle – Beef Short Ribs with Carrot Puree, Brussels Sprouts and Zinfandel Sauce.

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^ L: Bruno Davaillon, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek – Lobster Tartare with Fennel Puree, Bouillabaisse Jelly and Green Olive Crostini. My favorite version of this dish from Bruno.

^ R: Chefs know what’s up – congregating around Sharon Hage are Tei-An Chef/Owner Teiichi Sakurai, Mansion Exec Chef Bruno Davaillon, and outgoing Mansion Exec Sous, Eric Brandt (it was Eric’s last night!).

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^ Nicolas Blouin, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek‘s new Pastry Chef created this Lollipop Flower Garden. We ate the many styles of these delightful confections late into the evening.

Taca-dessert-1 Another great night at The Mansion with an impressive turnout by patrons and the chefs alike.

20th Annual Cotes du Coeur Gala – 2011, Dallas

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Welcome to the 20th Anniversary Côtes du Coeur International Fine Wine & Celebrity Chef Dinner. One of my favorite events of the year, the black-tie affair (benefiting the American Heart Association) includes a fine wine auction and a tasting of plates from 16 of Dallas’ finest chefs paired with two wines each from some exceptional winemakers. The event has raised well over $12 million over the last two decades.

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^ As soon as we walk in, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton presents his Apricot Barbecue Glazed Quail with Iceberg Wedge & Blue Cheese Dressing; paired with 2007 Martinelli Bondi Home Ranch Pinot Noir and 2008 Bookwalter Foreshadow Merlot Columbia Valley.

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^ 2006 Amizetta Cabernet Sauvignon and 2008 Justin ISOSCELES; with The Adolphus chef Marcus Strietzel’s Pan Seared Tenderloin of Buffalo, Creamy Polenta with Fresh Coriander & Goat Cheese, Chimichurri Sauce.

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^ David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House offers Orange Sea Salt Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Endive & Charred Bell Red Pepper Vinaigrette; with 2006 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Hill Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. 

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^ 2007 Karl Lawrence Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon; with Scott Romano, of Charlie Palmer at the Joule‘s Braised Lamb Ravioli with Spring Peas & Chanterelle Mushrooms.

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Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek Executive Chef Bruno Davaillon and Executive Sous Chef Eric Brandt; and Paul Blanck wines “ambassador” Tom Wesner.

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^ Bruno’s Day Boat Scallop Carpaccio, Bouillabaisse Gelee, Green Olive Crostini; with 2008 Iron Horse Vineyards UnOaked Chardonnay and 2007 Domaine Paul Blanck Grand Cru Schlossberg Riesling

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^ 2007 Ehlers Estate One Twenty Over Eighty and 2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon; with Blythe Beck of Central 214‘s Slow Braised Kobe Short Rib on an Exotic Mushroom Bread Pudding & a Carmalized Onion Demi Glace.

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Nubu-Dallas Executive Sushi Chef Mutsuhiro Eguchi’s Trio of Tuna – Tuna Tataki, Spicy Tuna roll, Traditional Nigiri; paired with 2008 Torii Mor “Deux Verres” Reserve Pinot Noir and 2008 King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris.

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^ 2008 Benovia Bella Una and 2007 Panther Creek Freedom Hill Pinot Noir; with Bijoux chef Scott Gottlich’s Smoked Pheasant Terrine with Cherry Jam.

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eatZi’s Market & Bakery chef Jay Valley’s House-made Veal Sausage & Peppers on Grilled Ciabatta Bread; with 2006 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Colby Red Cabernet.

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^ Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Porto; and a selection of Cheeses from Central Market.

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^ Brad Albers of Eddie V’s offers Jonah Crab Pot Stickers; with 2009 B.R. Cohn Chardonnay and 2008 Coquerel Wine Estates Terroir Sauvignon Blanc.

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^ 2008 J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah and 2006 Cain Concept – The Benchland; with Gerard Thompson of Rough Creek Lodge & Resort‘s Pancetta Wrapped Elk Loin, Anson Mills Farro Salad, Baby Arugula & Rhubarb.

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^ Kevin Garvin & Anita Hirsch, Neiman Marcus Restaurants: Lobster Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup with Truffled Potato Chips; paired with 2008 Ceja Napa Carneros Chardonnay and 2008 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay.

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^ 2007 William Cole Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvée Claire and Realm Cabernet Bordeaux Blend; with Kent Rathbun’s (Abacus, Jasper’s, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen) Braised Short Rib with Marsala Herb Demi & Roasted Carnival Cauliflower, Pearl Couscous.

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^ Scott Murray rallies the crowd; Chamberlain’s goods.

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^ Richard Chamberlain (Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House, Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill) offers 40 day aged Ribeye, Parsnip Potato Puree, Smoked Garlic Sauce; with 2006 Alexander Valley CYRUS and 2006 Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Regina Martinelli of Martinelli Vineyards; and the Severson’s.

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Sevy’s Truffled Duck Confit, Melted Leeks & Blackberry Thyme Sauce; with 2008 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast and Santa Helena Pinot Noir Selección del Directorio Pinot Noir.

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^ Our group (Regina Martinelli, Tom Wesner, Philippe Blanck, Bruno Davaillon, Eric Brandt) planning to hit the event bar in the lobby:

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…where Roederer Champagne was served in dramatic fashion. The event was a tremendous success!

Check out the previous night’s shenanigans at the Grand Tasting here

Savor Dallas 2011 & AIWF: Wine and Cheese Pairing Event at The Mansion

Between Savor Dallas’ heavily attended Arts District Wine Stroll on Friday and the Grand Tasting the following evening, discerning American Institute of Wine and Food members enjoyed Savor’s civilized wine and cheese pairing event at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Well, somewhat civilized – things got rowdy in the Sheppard King suite about halfway through the eight wines. Of course, that’s part of the fun!

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The delightful Paula Lambert brought along a lovely selection of her excellent Mozzarella Company cheeses, and The Mansion’s  wonderful sommelier, Michael Flynn, offered inspired and clever wine pairings for each.

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Michael Flynn is passionate about education, as devotees of his unpretentious and casual weekly Thursday Wine Chats, can attest. One lesson, that is always fun to explore, reveals that most cheeses actually pair much better with white wines – the results often sublime. The first four cheeses were paired with whites:

#1 Crescenza  ~ “Singing” Gruner Veltliner, Laurenz V, Austria 2009

#2 Hoja Santa Goat ~ Terroir Coquerel, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa 2007 (Paula’s Hoja Sante wrapped Goat Cheese is a real treat.)

#3 Herbed Goat Log ~ Riesling Muhlheimer Sonnenlay, Dr. Richter, Mosel 2007

#4 Smoked Scamorza Cow ~ Folie à  Deux Chardonnay, Napa 2009

#5 Montasio Festivo ~ Barbera Tre Vigne, Vietti, Piedmont, Italy 2007

#6 Black Pepper Caciotta ~ Alto Las Homigas Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina 2008

#7 Blanca Bianca ~ Moscatel Seleccion Especial, Jorge Ordoñez, Málaga, Spain 2007

#8 Deep Ellum Blue ~ Ferreira 20-year-old Tawny Port.

– some really amazing results.

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Go visit Paula at her shop in Deep Ellum, and be sure to check out the fun at Michael Flynn’s Wine Chat at The Mansion, every Thursday at 6:15 sharp – it’s only 25 bucks, Michael won’t divulge the theme or selections before the event, and it”s the best deal in town!

 

Matt McCallister & J. Chastain “Play” at 2nd Floor Bistro, Dallas

The name might be fun, the preperations whimsical – but Chef Matt McCallister is serious about his “Play.”

Play is the name of McCallister’s moveable feast – a combination of collaboration with the chef of the hosting restaurant, interaction with the diner, and yes – just plain fun.

On this occasion we are hosted by Chef J. Chastain at Second Floor Bistro Bar. We start with some of Chastain’s Molecular Cocktails (J. offers a Molecular Mixology Happy Hour on Friday evenings in the Second Floor bar – I’ll show you more on that soon).

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^ Right: Don PX Sherry with Bacon Cotton Candy; Albrecht Champagne & Caviar; Cherry Mojito Sorbet; Vanilla Mudslide; Glenmorangie Nectar with Lemon.

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^ Detail of the Don PX Sherry with Bacon Cotton Candy. ^ We diners sit at the Second Floor bar as the chefs prepare the meal before us.

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^ A note about the Bar at Second Floor: they have one of the best – if not THE best – whisky programs in town. Seen above are the over 100 selections – heavy on single malt scotch, with a nice choice of blends, Irish whiskies and even Japanese Yamazaki. I’m a scotch freak and this bar always gets me twitching.

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^ Right: “Borscht” – beet-top, beet, potato, horseradish, creme-fraiche, pickled quail egg.  Matt: “I wanted to take all the components in a borscht and reinvent them in the form of a salad with an emphasis on perfecting each ingredient on their own and bringing them back together in a playful way.”

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^Whipped Mortadella – pickled sunchoke, grilled toast. This went right to the deviled ham loving soul of the child inside me – fun! ^ Right: Tuna – shallot, Australian finger lime, espelette.

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^ Blown Up Blue Cheese – honey mustard, watercress, radish, bacon powder.

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^ Slow Cooked Potato – leek, olive oil, brandade, American osetra.

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^ Duck Sugo – house fettuccini, shaved foie gras; ^ “Roast Beef” – caramelized onion, turnip, carrot, celery, truffle jus.

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^ J. and Matty. 

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^ Bay Leaf Panna Cotta – lemon gel, strawberry sorbet, almond crumble (LOVED this.) Matt: ” I love bay leaf so I wanted to incorporate it into a dessert…this is what I came up with. With desserts I always try to incorporate extreme contrasts… whether it be cold and hot, sweet and salty, or acidic or basic.:”

^ Right: Brioche Sponge – cardamom coffee soil, brown butter ice cream, pistachio, milk chocolate.

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Happy food lovers (and/or chocolatiers as in the case of (r) Zach Townsend).

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You can still catch another Play by Matt, this time with Salum chef Abraham Salum on March 3rd. Better hurry on that res – and to see Matt before he sets off on his months long journey to ‘stage’ at some of the most prestigious restaurants in the country. “I am really excited to go work for the chefs at the restaurants I am staging at. I just want to absorb as much knowledge of technique and flavors as I possibly can in the next year, I also want to see how the flow of their kitchens are and hopefully get some insight on the operations as a whole,” Matt explains. Go get ’em, dude!

Matt also appearing at: Cedars Social Supper Bowl on February 2; and the Chefs for Farmers event on March 13.

And now for tonight’s musical guest…

Côtes du Coeur: 2010 International Fine Wine Auction & Celebrity Chef Dinner – Dallas

The 19th Annual Côtes du Coeur International Fine Wine & Celebrity Chef Dinner – benefiting the American Heart Association – was the third of the group’s events that I attended in a day and a half. 18 Dallas chefs and eight of the world’s only 170 Master Sommeliers came together to create an impressive event with some killer food and drink.

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^ A selection of lots for the International Wine Auction.

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^ Some of my favorites: Harlan Estate Red; ^ Montrachet Grand Cru.   

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^ Kevin Garvin and Anita Hirsch, Neiman Marcus Restaurants: Lamb Gyro, Sliced Thin on Warm Flat Bread, Served with an Isreali and Bulgur Feta Salad & Tzatzki Sauce. Paired with 2006 Hill Family Estate Stewart Ranch Pinot Noir & 2006 O’Brien Estate Seduction.

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^ Gerald Thompson, Rough Creek Lodge and Resort: Bourbon-Molasses Glazed “High Plains Bison” with Bosque County Cheese and Gulf Shrimp Grits. Paired with 2005 Egelhoff Cabernet Sauvignon & 2008 Luca Laborde Double Select Syrah.

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^ Jeffrey Hobbs, Suze: Rise e Bisi: Toro Tuna with Risotto Style Bamboo Rice with Edemame and Tassione Farms Sungold Tomatoes. Paired with 2007 Lungarotti Fiamme Rosso dell’Umbria IGT & 2007 Adi Napa Valley Rose of Syrah.

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^ Anthony Bombaci, Nana Restaurant: Grilled Moroccan Flank Steak with Panzanella Salad. Paired with 2006 Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon & 2007 Terra Valentine Amore.

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^ Bruno Davaillon, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek: Braised Veal Cheeks with Organic White Grits Gratin and Anchovy Condiment. Paired with 2007 J. Bookwalter Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon & 2007 Torii Mor Chehalem Mountains Select Pinot Noir.

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^ Marcus Strietzel, The Adolphus Hotel: Bacon and Wasabi Shrimp, Ginger Infused Risotto with Shitake Mushrooms and Black Vinegar Sauce. Paired with 2005 Domaine Paul Blanck Schlossburg Riesling & 2009 Dr. Loosen Riesling. “Dr.”

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^ Chef J Chastain (in for Scott Gottlich), Bijoux & The Second Floor: Slow Braised Shortrib Sandwiches with Profiteroles, Roasted Tomatoes and Watercress. Paired with Cain Cuvée NV6 & 2007 Tuck Beckstoffer 75 Wine Company “The Sum.”

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^ Chris Svalesen, Central Market: Official Cheese Sponsor with Graham’s Six Grapes Port.

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^ Adam Rzeczkowski, Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton: Barbequed Texas Bob White Quail on ‘Iceberg Wedge’ with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dressing, Apple Smoked Bacon & Vine-Ripened Tomatoes. Paired with 2007 Justin ISOSCELES & 2006 Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Jay Valley, eatZi’s: Creamy Lobster Polenta with Parmesan Tails & Spicy Roasted Tomato Sauce. Paired with 2008 Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay ‘La Pommeraie’, Sonoma, California & 2008 Morlet Family Vineyards La Proportion Dorée.

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 ^ James Johnson, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse: Seared Dry Aged Strip Loin with Mousseline Potatoes in a Red Wine Sauce. Paired with 2007 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon & Robert Mondavi Winery, Pinot Noir Reserve.

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^ From Charlie Palmer at the Joule: some of Chef Richard Blankenship’s wonderful charcuterie.

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^ Blankenship (in for Palmer Exec. Chef Scott Romano) serves Roasted Garlic Pheasant Sausage with Salumi Braised White Beans with Red Wine Reduction. Paired with 2005 Alexander Valley CYRUS & California 2006 Coup de Foudre Napa Cuvee.

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^ Jim Severson, Sevy’s: Seared Jumbo Scallop on a Bed of Creamed Corn with Lemon-Thyme Butter & Crispy Fennel. Paired with 2006 Coquerel Wines Terroir Coquerel & 2008 Morgan Metallico Chardonnay.

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^ Kerry Simon, Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palms Place: Sheepsmilk Ricotta Gnudi with Lamb Sausage and Locano Kale Ragu & Morel Butter. Paired with 2005 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon & 2006 Revana Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Event Lead Chef, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill offers: Garlic Roast Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Cauliflower Mashers and Organic Watercress.

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^ Chamberlain’s dish paired with 2010 Tête de Cuvée Award Winner Alfred Tesseron’s terrific 2000 Château Pontet-Canet. And 2006 Stewart Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Kent Rathbun, Abacus, Jasper’s, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen: Orange Glazed Duck, Kumquat Sweet and Sour Chinese Black Fried Rice. Paired with 2006 Panther Creek Cellars 20th Anniversary Pinot Noir & 2008 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. 

The event was quite excellent. Côtes du Coeur continues to do great work, having raised nearly $12 million for the American Heart Association’s cardiovascular research and heart-healthy education since being founded by Bob Hillert, M.D. in 1992. I look forward to their future events.

Savor tha Flava. Quick Pics: Savor Dallas 2010

I was able to run by the International Grand Tasting portion of the 2010 Savor Dallas event last Saturday night. After a maddening parking adventure, I made a mad dash to take some snaps, sample some of the goods, and chat with some of my chef pals. Then I found Jay Liddell at The Macallan table and became distracted discussing the Mac 18, for the umpteenth time… no matter – here are just a very few bites from the over 60 restaurants participating.

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^ A Pork Belly dish by Estevan Galindo, Hattie’s Restaurant; ^ Grilled ‘Mongolian’ Lamb Chops, Hunan Eggplant, Chili-Mint Vinaigrette – Sara Johannes, Five-Sixty by Wolfgang Puck.

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^ Dali Wine Bar chef Joel Harloff and his Wild Boar Orecchiette dish.

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^ From Suze Restaurant‘s Jeffery Hobbs – Steak Tartare and Grilled Cheese. I want a jar of this relish.

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^ Paul Peddle of Pyramid Restaurant at the Fairmont served this Duck presentation.

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^ The guys from Kenny’s Woodfire Grill in Addison served up a ton o’ Ribs; ^ Here’s The Second Floor Bistro Exec. Chef J Chastain’s Asian Beef Short Rib.

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The ladies from Empire Bakery and the delightful Paula Lambert of Mozzarella Company; and her delicious Cottage Cheese.

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^ The gregarious Pascal Cayet of Lavendou offered Lobster Bisque and Escargot en Croute.

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^ Ceviche by Dallas Fish Market; ^ and a Beef Carpaccio dish from Dallas Chop House‘s Kenny Mills.

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^Bolsa‘s Bleu Cheese stuffed Dates with “Zip Code” Honey; ^ and a bite from Kenichi.

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^ From Bruce Ross of The Tower Club: Cauliflower and Horseradish Panna Cotta with American Sturgeon Caviar; ^ and La Duni‘s Cuatro Leches Cake.          

In the Kitchen: 10th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner

It’s nice when in the course of helping a friend in need, you get to run around the kitchen at Stephan Pyles.

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I’ve been damn-near fooded out this past 10 days (and just wait for this week) and was not planning to attend Pyles’ 10th Celebrity Chef Dinner benefitting the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship at The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. But one call from a sick friend later – I was wandering over from The Winspear to check out the festivities.

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^Stars and Bubbles: Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Sparkling Wine. I like this stuff just fine.

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^ The chefs: Exec. Chef Matt McCallister – Stephan Pyles; Stephan Pyles; Coner Seargeant; Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach; Exec. Chef Vijay Sadhu – Samar by Stephan Pyles; Exec. Chef Tracy Miller – Local; and Exec. Chef Jason Dady – Chef/Owner The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, San Antonio (et alii). Pic at right: Ninth Annual Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship Cook-off winner, Thomas “Coner” Seargeant of the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. (Photo: Aimee Olson)

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^ Vijay Sadhu’s South Indian Crab Soup with Garam Masala, Coconut Curry and Mustard Seeds – paired with Montinore Estate, “Borealis” White Blend, Willamette Valley 2008.

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^ Local’s Tracy Miller prepares Pan-seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Scratch Texas Toast with Vanilla Bean steeped Eden Creek Gala Apple, Currant Sauternes Compote. Paired with Planeta, “Cometa,” Fiano, Sicily 2006.

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^ (L) Jason Dady, (C) Stephan Pyles Exec. Sous Chef Bradford Hodgkins (R) Managing Director George Majdalani.

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^ Jason Dady and his Sous Vide of Main Lobster Tail with Deconstructed “Chowder.” Paired with Mer Soleil, “Silver,” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands 2007.

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^ Preparing Pyles’ & Matt McCallister’s Juniper-Scented Venison with Vanilla Compressed Honeycrisp Apples, Celeriac Tart Tatin, Cranberry “Air,” Cranberry Fruit Roll-Up. Paired with Justin, “Savant,” Cabernet Blend, Paso Robles 2006.

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^ More action; and the Flourless Chocolate “Intense” Torte with Citron Joconde, featuring Valrhona Taïnori Pure Origin Grand Cru Dark Chocolate (Dominican Republic) by Executive Chef/Chocolatier/Owner Zach Townsend – Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach. aired with Jam Jar, Shiraz, Western Cape 2009.

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I love this room, particularly in the fall and winter. This was a great way to miss a Cowboys game. I thought the chefs and wine guys rocked this one out… and I’ll be back to sample more of Matt’s food.

Underground… with Jordan Swim & Food Creates Community, Dallas

The lovely and talented "Jet" invited me to a seasonal "Underground Dinner." She had previously attended the winter addition. However, based on our normal dining shenanigans, she was concerned that I might not "get it."

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I got it. Hosted by Vestals Foods, the Food Creates Community Spring Dinner was right out of a glossy spread in Food & Wine or Gourmet Magazine. Unpretentious; hosted in the backyard of a suburban Dallas home; mismatched dishes and glassware (each volunteer server brought there own)… just perfect.

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In my many years as a director/cameraman, I have rarely seen a more pitch perfect setting, less contrived art direction, or better on-camera talent – the guests were right out of central casting.

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Behind the scenes: Chef Jordan Swim (below, far right) and crew pulled off service for 40 people out of a DINKY, old school kitchenette.

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Thankfully, the weather cooperated and we enjoyed a perfect spring evening – even the bugs were yet to be out in force.

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^ L: laptoppetite, herself. 

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This evening was about the communal experience of sharing the joy of food, wine and good company. It was one of my favorite dining experiences in recent memory. I'll be back for more – I'll tell you about it afterwards… I want to keep my place in line.

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