Sunday, November 1, 2009

James Beard Dinner - Dallas

Aaahhh, back to the lone star state....
I used to arrive in Dallas every summer to spend a few fun-filled weeks with Grandma Rosalie.  Of course it was so long ago that mom could actually walk me on the plane and kiss me goodbye before strolling the tarmac back to the terminal.  How times have changed.
One thing I didn't miss was the humidity.  Fortunately for me, this trip didn't come with the overwhelming heat that I remembered as a child.  That happens in the middle of the summer.  October 2009 has brought central Texas some heavy and constant rain.   The rain wasn't really a problem, however, as 98% of my time in Dallas was spent indoors.

After leaving the two and a half fresh feet of snow covering Colorado, I arrived in Dallas.  I called up my boy Nate who just happened to be visiting his lovely girlfriend and we met up at III Forks Restaurant.  Chris Vogeli, the chef-owner, greeted us and showed us around his massive restaurant and kitchen.  This place is the epitome of the Texas Steakhouse.  They have a cooler filled with red meat and a kitchen crew that rocks out thousands of pounds of potatoes, corn, bread, and everything else that goes well with an 18oz prime strip.  The crew there is fantastic and everyone made room for us as we prepped for our dinner.
Of course I had to make a little time for my favorite band in the world, the Drive By Truckers (dbt) who just happened to be playing at the House of Blues that night.  Suffice to say, whiskey may have been consumed....
Nate and I got up earlier than we should have Thursday morning and went to work.  We prepped all day and put out two passed apps and three courses of a six course dinner.  The event was part of the Celebrity Chef Tour - Benefiting the James Beard Foundation (tour) run by my friend Jeff Black.  We sold about 90 seats and the dinner was a blast.  Everyone ate and drank their fill and had a huge private room to themselves.
Two James Beard Dinners in one week.  I feel very lucky and honored indeed.
What a great trip...

The apps I served were:  Blue Point Oysters with chile-cucumber mignonette and American Sturgeon Caviar with roast fingerlings and creme fraiche.

My three courses:

Hiramasa Sashimi with avocado, grapefruit and fennel pollen

Seared Duck Breast and Confit Leg with butternut squash, brussels sprouts and pomegranate

Porcini Dusted Venison with gnocchi, wild mushrooms and blackberry demi glace

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