A Movable Feast
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Luce at the InterContinental San Francisco
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) presented the first installment of the First Annual Movable Feast: Twelve Chefs Celebrate Six Farmers in a Series of Seasonal Suppers. Occurring once a month, the Series is intended to honor the relationships within the chef community and between chefs and farmers all while bringing attention to CUESA’s mission.
Chefs: Dominique Crenn of Luce and Chris Kronner formerly of Slow Club and Serpentine.
Featured Farmer: Louis Iacopi of Iacopi Farm, Half Moon Bay.
About 50 folks gathered for a true feast in the elegant and spacious Luce, where the curved glass windows looked out on the active corner of Howard and Fifth Streets. My wife and I were seated at a banquette on the inside wall. There were no speeches or ceremony, just good food and wine. Those present knew why they had come. Between courses, CUESA Executive Director Dave Stockdale circulated among the guests and introduced farmer Louis Iacopi. The chefs, Dominique and Chris, circulated throughout the evening to answer questions and check on our reaction to the dishes. Wines were paired with each course and served with an explanation of the selection.
The menu was served in courses on large white plates. The portions for each course were small, but by the end of the evening, our bellies were full and our senses heightened.
The menu is presented below, with my comments in italic. I took no food-porn pictures because I thought it inappropriate for the occasion – also, I forgot my camera.
It was a most agreeable and enjoyable evening, and we look forward to others in the series.
Early Spring Vegetable Garden
A mélange of flavors and textures including a very thin crisp slice of raw carrot, a cooked white carrot, half of a baby turnip, slice of beet with mustard seeds and grainy mustard, and dehydrated basil nestled with a dollop of pureed potato.
Graziano Fontana, Muller Thurgau, Sudtirol, Alto Adige, Italy 2005
Baby Octopus / Cauliflower / Potatoes Fondant
The octopus, served warm, was extremely tender and tasty – I’m guessing it was marinated in a vinegary, briny solution and briefly cooked. The cauliflower was shaved longitudinally through the floweret, served cold and very crisp. Julienne strips of fennel were presented cooked and lightly dressed. The potatoes were balls the size of a large marble. I’m guessing that “fondant” means they were pureed, gelatin or agar agar added, cast into balls and re-cooked. They were very white and served on dry basil and a dollop of mayo. The potatoes themselves were rather bland, but with the basil/mayo were quite tasty.
Iron Horse, Chardonnay, Green Valley, Sonoma, California 2006
Mint English peas / Spring onion /
Slow Roasted Spring Sonoma Lamb
About 12 peas presented in an open pod with a sauce of pureed peas and mint. An eight-inch stalk of grilled spring onion with a crunchy interior complimented two-rib portion of roasted medium rare Frenched lamb chops, suitable for gnawing. Yum
La Spinetta Ca da Pian, Barbera d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy 2004
Gigante Beans Cassoulet
Amazing flavor! Giant butter beans, an Iacopi favorite of mine, served with a rich sauce and topped with a thick scrumptious slice of tender pork belly. Chef Crenn told me that the sauce was a reduction of some of the beans, pureed, with wine and the bean juices.
Marquis-Phillips S2, Cabernet Sauvignon, McClaren Vale, Australia 2004
Evolution of Strawberries
Raw, cooked, candied, sorbet, dried, gelato, and foam strawberries were arranged around the plate, each displaying its own color, texture and temperature.
Vinoptima, Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand 2002