February 13, 2014

Partner appreciation day

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It's been just over a year since our little fund was launched, and we've been lucky to have strong support from our prime brokers since the very beginning.  I've known some of the people for a few years and they've become much more than just service providers - they are our friends and partners.  So after we've achieved two important milestones recently, I extended an invitation to them to join our team for dinner.  I wanted to thank them for all that they've done for us.

Most of our guests tonight know of my love of food, and there was never any doubt in my mind about where I would host the dinner.  I pinged David more than a month ago to make sure I could take a big group to On Lot 10, and worked out the menu with him a week ago.  I was really, really looking forward to this dinner...

Jamón ibérico, aged 48 months - pretty yummy.  You can see the specks of protein crystals that come from aging.  Served with pickled peppers and cornichons.

Salmon roe - the salmon apparently were caught off Sakhalin, which is pretty interesting.  Salted and served on toast with some seaweed butter from Bordier.

Steamed whole artichoke - I don't think anyone at the table has ever had artichoke this way... and of course I knew that this would get a good share of ooohs and aaahs...

Soft-boiled egg with escargot, pig's ears, oysters, lardons and mushrooms - all done in red wine sauce.  There's a lot going on here, but I love it.  Epitomizes what I love about David's food - you'll never see it on the menu of a fancy schmancy restaurant, but I'd take this dish any day.

Salade Lyonnaise - avec lardons!

Scallop carpaccio with black truffles, beet root and croûtons - yum.

Boudin Basque - the dish that first put On Lot 10 on my map.  It's hard to say no to this.

I think the gang was no longer hungry after the series of starters, but there were four mains coming...

Yellowfin sea bream (黃腳臘) in herb salt crust - this wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I guess I wasn't more specific when I was discussing with David.  I was more thinking along the lines of this, but I was happy to have the fish salt-baked too.  The flesh of the sea bream was really, really soft and tender.  I'm glad there was only one fish to share among us... and I was rather surprised that No Fish actually ate her portion.

Carabineros paella - before showing up for dinner, I was most looking forward to the paella as David had mentioned that he had successfully tried to do it with king crab.  So for the last week or so, my head was filled with this image of a giant Alaskan king crab perched on top of a paella pan... and imagining how it looked on the table.  Imagine my disappointment when I was told that they weren't able to secure the crabs for tonight...

But these guys know how much I loooooove carabineros, and the batch tonight was probably the best I've had.  They were also done mi cuit, so the tomalley in the heads were still raw.  For me this was perfectly executed, and I could have had a half dozen of these...  The rice, though, was a little bit on the soggy side tonight.  My neighbor inhaled his rice so quickly that I had to double check with him to see if he got any...

Pot au feu - I asked for this because it's perfect for big groups like ourselves, and tonight once again they served it up in two separate pans. There was brisket, ox tongue, ox tail and other yummy cuts of beef, but missing my beloved bone marrow.  What was also missing was the usual whole foie gras, but there was enough black truffle to make it up in the luxe department.  The accompanying veggies like carrots, turnip and leeks were all delicious, as they'd been absorbing the beefy flavors during the cooking process.  Needless to say doggy bags were brought out to pack up what we couldn't finish...

Beef consommé - how can one not enjoy the essence of everything in those pans?

Roast Bresse chicken AOP 'Mieral', green pea 'a la française' - my favorite roast chicken.  Tonight the peas were very fresh and crunchy.

Finally we got the dessert platter to share, and thankfully this wasn't too much.  Most of this went quickly, and everyone had his/her favorites.  One neighbor went for the chocolate mousse while another fancied the raspberry tart, which left the tarte citron for me... Fortunately the cherry crumble also found homes, which left the raspberry mousse feeling somewhat unloved...

In terms of wine, tonight was a complete failure.  I brought out 4 magnums for the lot of us, only to discover that most people didn't drink...  Soooo disappointing.

1998 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage Blanc Chevalier de Sterimberg en magnum - initially pretty weak on the nose, perhaps because it was too cold.  Showed slight hint of grass, but later displayed oaky notes.  Body was initially also light but developed with aeration, with decent acidity.

1995 Vieux Château Certan en magnum - minty, cedary, earthy and smoky.  Drank pretty well.

Well, at the end of the evening I got everyone fed, and some even had doggy bags to take home to their family members.  I hope everyone else had a good time, because I know I did!  I am thankful for having good partners in the business, and hope to have more opportunities in the future to show our appreciation again.

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