Monday, April 27, 2009

Hot Food Porn @ MSF - Breakdown

Hello all, I've been rather busy recently with an official guest chef night with Mission Street Food on Saturday and assisting Ryan Farr's 4505 Meats with a wedding gig in Santa Cruz. Now that I have a little bit of time, here are some pics and recaps of Mission Street Food:

I had two items on the menu on Saturday, 4/25/09. One of them, the Sweet Potato Duck Confit Poutine was a sold out at the end of the night perfectly which is all I could have asked for. Hopefully everyone got a chance to have some. Being from the East coast, I really enjoyed spending time in Montreal for vacation. Poutine was always one of the most special things we had there and it was common as coffee. The most legendary of poutines, of course, is none other than Au Pied Du Cochon's Foie Poutine. Sadly, I did not have this when I was there for a quick dinner (actually I ate pre-dinner at APDC before my actual dinner at a stupid Italian restaurant during one of my best friend's bachelor party) I would have loved to do that, but not wanting to be a culinary hack, I decided against it. I probably wouldn't do it justice anyways.

The inspiration for making this poutine was actually quite odd because I basically woke up one morning and all I could think of was poutine. Natural progression brought me to come up with something a little different, so I decided to incorporate savory and sweet. Once, I picked sweet potato fries as the primary starch, I thought either smoked/braised pork or duck would be perfect. I figured duck gravy sounded better, so I went with duck.

The shrimp was actually added to the strawberry vadouvan gazpacho recipe I created the week before. I liked the idea of creating a colder refreshing soup, but pronouncing the savory flavor of strawberry without altering the integrity of its natural sweetness. I basically highlighted it with vadouvan (french interpretation of curry) and Tierra smoked mirasol chiles and mulato chile powder. Wanting to give the gazpacho some sharp textural contrast, but flavor profile familiarity, I decided to pair it with fresh sweet gulf coast shrimp, brown butter poached and tossed in Harissa. Cucumber and cucumber foam provided a flavor contrast as a relief from the slight heat of harissa.

I do want to apologize that at the beginning of service, some shrimp were getting over poached, shrunken and mushed due issues with powering my circulator. We ended up moving the poaching operation onto a sauce pot and the shrimp started coming out beautifully. I'm sure everyone enjoys the comfort of poutine because its duck, fries and cheese - which always is good when put together. Other than great execution, its flavor profile isn't particularly bold. It's what we crave. However the shrimp and strawberry is a little more out there conceptually, but if you taste it and not shovel it, the idea lies at trying to establish and bring forth undercurrents of flavor (savoriness of strawberry, sweetness of shrimp, coolness of cucumber).

Not being a fan of the organization of Yelp, but understanding the need for such a tool (for some people, you can reference similar sentiments about religion), I went to see what feedback on the gazpacho was. I was pretty sure this was probably somewhat polarizing dish and tough to understand for those that don't think flavor outside of a narrow box. Of course, just as I thought,one person likened it to "melted cocktail sauce with shrimp... not that appetizing" and another said "perhaps my favorite dish, the shrimp were lovely, and the strawberry flavored soup was out of this world. I had never had anything like this before, and perhaps never will again." I'm not taking pot-shots on the former reviewer, but I obviously like the latter a lot more. The only thing I can say is that there was no tomato in my gazpacho, but if he thought it was there, then I think it says something about the dish and my intentions for it. Love, hate, anger, happiness, it's all fair game and strong opinion is always better than no opinion. I'd love to hear more specifics beyond the "I hate it" or "I love it" though, that way I'd learn some more things specifically about a person's tastes or about my own.


So here are the pics:


Harissa Rubbed Wild American Shrimp
with Strawberry Vadouvan Gazpacho - Cucumber Foam


Plating prior to Gazpacho poured at tableside

Ooey, gooey Duck Confit Sweet Potato Poutine
with Spring Hill Cheese Curd & Duck Gravy

Tony and Chris on the line.

Key Lime Pie is so money.

Our stylish FOH gals, Kelly and Diana

20 Hour Pork Belly action, hell yea.

1 comment:

  1. poutine!
    ive had the foie gras poutine at Au Pied du Cochon, but can you believe that the poutine at Potato Champion in Portland was more memorable for me? (it might be due to the fact that i also ordered the Au Pied du Cochon)

    ReplyDelete