A GrantMeFood Dinner with the "1912 Paris" Theme

Last weekend, I attended a GrantMeFood dinner with the theme of 1912 Paris. It was my second GrantMeFood dinner (I blogged about my first experience here), and it was, again, fantastic. Chef Grant and his wife Ria made everyone feel welcome and did an amazing job preparing, cooking, plating, and hosting.

On the menu this time:

Course 1: Gougères au foie gras with blackberry gel & hazelnut

Course 2: Beef tenderloin with dill crème fraîche, horseradish, capers & zest

Course 3: Celery velouté with celery leaves, smoked morels, and lemon oil

Course 4: Summer vegetable tarte (a play on ratatouille) with eggplant, zucchini, squash, roquefort, truffle, tarragon & red pepper pureé

Course 5: Duck (72 hour prep) with caramelized onion broth, field pea & mint pistou, earl grey ash, and pea shoots

Course 6: Chocolate soufflé with basil sabayon

Some photos I captured at this dinner are below.

Ria serving the beef tenderloin with dill crème fraîche, horseradish, capers & zest.

Detail of the beef tenderloin.

Celery velouté with celery leaves, smoked morels, and lemon oil

Ria serving the summer vegetable tarte (a play on ratatouille) with eggplant, zucchini, squash, roquefort, truffle, tarragon & red pepper pureé.

Ria serving the summer vegetable tarte.

Detail of the summer vegetable tarte. So yummy!

Prepping the plates.

Grant and Ria plating the tarte.

The tarte is ready to be served.

The tarte is served.

Another angle of the vegetable tarte.

Serving of the duck (72 hour prep) with caramelized onion broth, field pea & mint pistou, earl grey ash, and pea shoots.

Another view of the final serving of the duck.

The duck was the star of the evening.

Getting ready to put the chocolate soufflé into the oven.

Chocolate soufflé out of the oven.

Grant and Ria putting the final touches on the chocolate soufflé.

Grant and Ria putting the final touches on the chocolate soufflé.

Chocolate soufflé with basil sabayon ready to eat.

If you are interested in tasting incredible food in a warm, friendly atmosphere (and don't mind the serendipity that's involved with interacting with other strangers/like-minded foodies around Atlanta), I highly suggest checking out the GrantMeFood website and signing up for his mailing list (some dinners sell out very quickly as there are only eight spots at the table), following the @GrantMeFood Instagram account, and liking/following the page on Facebook.

The McCarthy Lodge Bistro: The Best Dinner I Had in Alaska

Having returned from an eighteen day trip to Alaska, I have been thinking about where to start with the blogging process. As I was looking through the images, I thought it would be great to start with a foodie blog post. Hands down, the best food I ate in Alaska was in a remote town of McCarthy at the McCarthy Lodge Bistro. The town of McCarthy is located deep inside Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The town has a population 28 in winter; the population is higher in the summer during the peak tourism season.

The McCarthy Lodge Bistro in McCarthy, Alaska offers a wonderful breakfast in the morning, but it's the seasonal dinner menu for which this restaurant is known (and should be praised for). When you arrive, you are greeted by friendly staff who bring around this blackboard with them displaying the items on the menu that particular evening. Our waitress explained each item on the menu with great care and our group had some tough decisions to make on what to order—everything sounded delicious!

The blackboard at McCarthy Lodge Bistro showing the dinner options.

I brought my camera with me and captured a few of the photos from the McCarthy Lodge Bistro. Every appetizer/main course was eloquently presented and showcased great Alaskan ingredients. 

Salad en croute. 

Miso sablefish. 

Amazake bison ribeye.

Blueberry cheesecake and ice cream.

On top of the incredible selections for both appetizers and main courses, the McCarthy Lodge Bistro boasts an impressive wine list and a great selection of signature cocktails. Our group of eight were all raving about this dinner and could not stop talking about how great the overall experience was. The impeccable service, the delicious meals and imaginative drinks, and the wonderful ambience were all memorable.

If I could make a recommendation, I would say that you should go out of your way to McCarthy, Alaska just so you can dine at the McCarthy Lodge Bistro. If you aren't staying in McCarthy but are backpacking or exploring Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the Bistro is a must-stop. For me, dinner at the McCarthy Lodge Bistro was by far the best meal I had during my entire trip in Alaska. The Bistro should be on the Michelin list of places to dine in the Last Frontier.


McCarthy Lodge Bistro
101 Kennicott Ave, McCarthy, Alaska
Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK 99588-8998
907-554-4402

GrantMeFood: An Atlanta Area Supper Club

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending an Atlanta-area supper club called GrantMeFood, hosted by chef Grant Stevens. Here is how GrantMeFood bills itself on its website:

GrantMeFood is an Atlanta area supper club that unites a group of strangers in our home for an evening filled with incredible food and interesting conversation. We combine global cuisine with a farm-to-table approach to take you on an adventure of flavor and texture that'll change your life. Ok, maybe it won't change your life, but we promise it'll be fucking tasty.

Grant, in collaboration with his wife Ria, opened up their lovely home for an amazing four-course tasting menu. 

An amazing setting to host eight strangers around the dinner table.

Prior to arriving to the dinner, I emailed Grant asking if I could take a few photos of the dinner preparation and as the dinner was being server. Luckily, Grant responded in the affirmative.

The title of this particular dinner was "The Hangover Cure," and the following was on the menu that evening:

Course 1: Duck fat latke, tarragon and meyer lemon creme fraiche, quail egg, caviar

Course 2: Rabbit poutine with rabbit espagnole and fresh cheese curds

Course 3: "Ketchup and Mustard" - Pork cheek capaletti with pink peppercorn pork consomme,  wasabi and mushroom agnolotti with shitake and saffron broth

Course 4: Roasted banana cream, lemon and black poppy seed meringue, kiwi-matcha panna cotta

Below are a few photos I captured of Grant (and Ria in the background) preparing the finishing touches on the above courses:

And below, a few photos of the courses served that evening:

What was remarkable about the event was not just the incredible food that Grant and Ria prepared for the random selection of guests that attended, but the amazing conversation that our group had over the course of the evening. What was supposed to be a dinner that lasted from 7:30PM to 9:30PM ended up being an incredible evening where we talked and connected on various topics until past 2 o'clock in the morning! 

If you are interested in tasting incredible food in a warm, friendly atmosphere (and don't mind the serendipity that's involved with interacting with other strangers/like-minded foodies around Atlanta), I highly suggest checking out Grant's website and signing up for his mailing list, following the @GrantMeFood Instagram account, and liking/following the page on Facebook

 

Cathy Barrow ("Mrs. Wheelbarrow") at Preserving Place

Something that I am trying to get more involved in this year is exploring the food/restaurant scene in the Atlanta area. 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Cathy Barrow's presentation at Preserving Place, where Cathy taught the audience how to preserve a selection of foods. Cathy Barrow, also known as Mrs. Wheelbarrow, is the author of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round PreservingThe book was available for purchase at the event, and a large number of folks in attendance stayed until the end to get their book signed by Mrs. Wheelbarrow.

The three main highlights of the event were learning how to make/preserve jam, bacon, and home-made butter. Something I learned that I hadn't known previously: you can make homemade butter by using heavy cream and spinning it in a mixer until it solidifies. 

Mrs. Wheelbarrow was very helpful in answering the many questions coming from the audience. One of the best questions asked was during a preparation of preserving pork belly: "Did you bring that with you on the plane?" To which Mrs. Barrow delightfully responded: "No, I don't fly with pork belly. I have to draw the line somewhere." Everyone burst out laughing, and it was a wonderful moment.

Below are some photos which I captured at the event. Mrs. Wheelbarrow is wearing a white apron with blue flowers, and the owner of Preserving Place, Martha McMillin, is dressed in a solid blue apron. 

If you're interested in learning more or perhaps taking a class about preserving food in the future, Preserving Place has a great lineup of future events on this page. I highly recommend it.

Happy Spring, everyone!