FlameStone Grill Chile Olive Oil DinnerPosted: September 2, 2012 | |
My friend Isabel, aka @familyfoodie, called recently to say the Chile Olive Oil Council contacted her about hosting a dinner party at a restaurant of her choice featuring their olive oils where she could invite some foodies. I was quite honored to be invited to this awesome dinner party for twenty at the FlameStone Grill on August 30. FlameStone Corporate Chef Eric Lackey designed a special menu to showcase the Chile Extra Virgin Olive Oils in each dish! Here are Chef Eric and Isabel before the dinner, along with the #ChileFresh menu.
Eric kicked off the evening describing the differences in the Chile Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO) and how the courses would be presented with different Chilean wines provided to accompany his meal. There was a tasting table set up with little bottles (also at our place settings that we got to take home with us:), bread, and apples to cleanse the palate. Many have been to a wine tasting, but few have been to an olive oil tasting! They’re remarkably similar! The lighter EVOO has a very fresh, vibrant taste with a hint of apple that I detected before reading the literature. The Chile EVOOs are truly lovely!
The first starter was Black Pepper Tomato Pretzel Bread with White Anchovies Aioli. Quite frankly, I would have eaten the aioli by itself with a spoon if it’d been served alone! Or as Kerry, the Yum and Yummer food blogger sitting next to me said, “He needs to bottle this and sell it!” Kerry has since tweeted me he’s made it his mission to crack the code on this very delicious aioli; I’m looking forward to it!
Next were the remaining Starters: Olive Tapenade (made in a traditional molcajete) with Chilean EVOO rubbed Crostinis, a Fresh Tomato Tart and an Heirloom Yellow Tomato Caprese Salad. My first introduction to tapenade was when I lived in Bellingham, WA, in a brewery/restaurant inside an old warehouse where they would serve their homemade tapenade along with homemade microbrews at the bar. I wanted to go there just for the amazing tapenade! I’d never found one as good until Eric’s; it was delightful! The Fresh Tomato Tart was light, almost sweet and went perfectly with the Riesling presented. The Yellow Tomato Caprese Salad was yummy too (I may have taken some of the fresh rosemary from the tart and put it on the tomato salad too … foodies, we love to improvise!). The tomato salad was impressive because Eric made the cheese himself! All of the starters were luscious, but my favorites from this grouping were the aioli and the tapenade. Kerry, who was in business before traveling to Europe to take cooking classes in Spain and Italy, said, “He seriously needs to bottle that aioli and tapenade.” You know when a foodie says that it’s something amazing!
The first entrée served was Agave Soaked Chicken with Red Wine Bermuda Onions and Pan Seared Purple Potatoes with a Burnt Sugar Olive Oil Dust. This tasty dish was a savory combination of sweet onion, moist chicken and olive oil potatoes. It was paired with a smoky, dusky, Pinot Noir (or so I thought), which was perfect. I later found out it was a basic Chilean Red Table wine, but it was really excellent with this dish!
Next up was what I’d been waiting all day for: Polenta Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Toasted Pepita and EVOO drizzle. This dish was as heavenly as I’d imagined! It was light, sweet, moist and served on a bed of arugula, which balanced the fish beautifully. I absolutely loved the sea bass!
By the time the next dish came, I was getting full (tried not to eat everything; only half, but was only half successful at that;). The last two entrees were served together: a Goat Cheese & Arugula Stuffed Piadina and Portabella and Goat Cheese with a Porcini & White Truffle Cappallacci. What I fell in love with here was the Goat Cheese on top of the Cappallacci … it was to die for! I ate all of that just because of the goat cheese, which I later found out from Chef Eric was whipped with spices including cayenne and garlic. It was YUM-O!
When desserts came, I was full ~ but that didn’t deter me! The desserts were: EVOO Cake with Candied Tangerines & Pecans, EVOO & Sea Salt Brownies with Peanut Butter Dust and Caramelized Marshmallow, and an EVOO Almond Cookie with Whipped Cream & Raspberry. The cake was very light; almost like Angel Food and the tangerine and pecans complemented it quite nicely. After two bites I moved on to the brownie, which I’d also been waiting for all day. It did not disappoint! The ‘Peanut Butter dust’ was amazing, the brownie rich and moist and the marshmallow a surprisingly good addition. I didn’t eat it all so I could try the cookie, which was way better than I’d thought it’d be! After eating all of this outstanding food, an almond cookie is an almond cookie, right? Not in this case; it was really delicious and the whipped cream with it was perfection.
Complementing all of this awesome food, were interesting foodies including Jeff Houck, CarlosEats, a lot of great food, wine bloggers (apologies for not listing everyone) and social media peeps. @SaucyQueen, who makes spicy sauces brought us each a bottle of her Garlic Goodness! Thanks Michelle:) Here’s a great Storify post from @_KimRandall with tweets from the event! Sincere thanks to the Chile Olive Oil Council for putting on this fabulous dinner and sending us home with samples of their liquid gold, Isabel for inviting me, and FlameStone for their outrageous creations! FlameStone, please add the aioli, tapenade and whipped goat cheese to your menu … maybe as an appetizer that comes with bread and crudités? Also, the polenta crusted sea bass, brownie and almond cookie could all become menu favorites!
This incredible dining experience reminded me that while I love to cook, a chef I’m not. But a good food lover I’ll forever be! 😉