Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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Turned 50 the other day and still not surprised.  Not by life, and certainly not by birthdays.  You see, my lovely wife had been planning a surprise trip for my half a hundred, and for six weeks she kept it under wrap.  Then, some ten days out from the big one, while driving into town together, she has a Lucille Ball moment and in mid thought from the passenger seat comes this “….da da da, and while we’re in New Orleans…..da da da”.

My head turned to her at about the same speed as the Carousel Bar downstairs at the Monteleone, “Did you really just tell me where we’re going for my birthday?"

It was a great time.  Except for my little run in with the boys. 

The day after my birthday we were strolling the Quarter.  As I was trying hard not to peer into something called the Stiletto Lounge, I got bum rushed into the back of a van, and minutes later I’m hanging upside down from a third floor balcony as some bald headed hatchet man is shaking me by my ankles. 

“Let me guess,” I said, “it’s time for a blog about the Space Downtown.”  The big guy concurred.  And minutes later I was back on the street, no worse for wear, hugging a hurricane and contemplating how many quarters of a Muffaletta I could throw back.

So if you can wait a week, we’ll talk Gumbo, but for now, let’s look at some photos.

All photo credits to my daughter, Devan Burgess , who will be going off to college soon and leaving this blog in ruins.

We recently did a wine dinner with noted wine maker Randall Grahm, of Bonny Doon winery.  We love these events because the winemaker brings the wine and we have creative freedom with the food. Hold my hand and I'll step you through the process of how we put together this meal.

We start with some passed apps. Here are prosciutto wrapped local spring asparagus. 

another look

miniature pizzas ( actually puff pastry dough )

Here is our smoked salmon martini.  Vincent smokes it in house, using Walnut dust from some trees he had cut from his property.  How's that for recycling? Also there is a green olive cracker (of course we make it!), vodka cream, and some micro greens.

and finally tempura soft shell crabs with an avocado caper salsa

Getting hungry?  Good, it's time for the first course.  This is confit red and yellow tomatoes, a goat's cheese panna cota with chives, and a pan roasted artichoke heart.

another look

The next course starts with a smoked eggplant puree.  I had this a couple years ago in Florence and set forth to duplicate it from that moment on.  I'll save those details for a later blog.

That's a little arugula oil for an accent.  Next comes a red quinoa with garden zucchini and basil.

And finally, the Halibut.

For the next course, we chose some local dry aged beef from Sherwood Farm.. Here it is seared and resting.

Staying with the season, we garnish the beef with a pea puree and roasted purple potato.

Not one to ever throw anything away, Vincent came up with this little smoked bacon wrapped pea pod filled with ricotta.
 I think I ate about ten of those.  Finally, here's the beef.

another look.

For the final course, they asked for cheese instead of sweets.

That's Tarentaise Spring Brook, Spanish Goat's Cheese, and Gruyere Emmi for those keeping score.

Here's the cheese plate, we added some sweet almonds and house made pineapple sage jam.

Proud papa 1                                                               

    and 2

Miss this dinner?  Don't worry, they'll be more coming.  Oh yeah, here's a little secret between the three of us.  Ever heard of a pop up?  It's a restaurant that only opens to the public every now and then, and yeah, you guessed it, we're going there. Stay tuned to the face book page and our soon to be redesigned website for more details.

Until then,


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