Wassup everyone, looks like you’re in luck for two weeks: (back to back in a row) another double issue straight off the press! Let’s take a look at Part One: A special evening debut of the cooking demo and dinner series with Celebrity Chef and Restaurant Proprietor; Charlie Palmer.
“Business casual should be fine. I’m in a conservative dress.”
Well there was nothing conservative about the meal I had two nights ago that’s for sure. It all started about a week ago, while I was doing some Freelance work for another website. Like all Social Media savvy folks, I received a personal message about a dining event on Wednesday and there was an open spot for anyone who attended. Surely, at a retail value of $125.00 a pop, who would refuse an extravagant free dinner? My old college frugality kicked in and soon enough, two afternoons ago I was ready to embark on my second experience with another well-known Celebrity Chef (Michael Cimarusti’s Providence being the first).
This isn’t an everyday opportunity, therefore it would be nice to learn more about cooking and well… really see what this place has to offer.
While we (Anne and I) were slightly late to the demo, although not pictured, they provided us enough White wine and tapas (White Truffle Quiche and Lobster Corn Dog skewers) for us to become happily sedated for the time being, until dinner.
After the demo, we were finally seated among (I estimate) 50+ other attendees to get the dinner started.
Like any meal you would want to enjoy, sometimes you lose track of time (or photo opportunities in this case). Therefore I wasn’t able to snap some of the wines. However, we were happily on our way to enjoying a gastronomical experience.
My first time eating Caviar and surprisingly it was quite mild. The truffle slices weren’t overpowering the savory Panna Cotta (texture was similar to a freshly grated potato skin, with the usual truffle flavor). I must also note, all of the wines paired with their accompanying dishes, blended well with the palate: it wasn’t too complex (bold, sour or strong) or bland by any means. Therefore, I won’t comment on their profiles by individual merit.
Think of taking your favorite croissant (flaky, crispy and slightly crunchy due to the walnuts), alternatively layering it in a blanket of figs and small scoops of mildly sour goat cheese, a sweet vinaigrette and a mild spring blend (where the arugula isn’t bitter by any means).
The potato reminded me of a souffle (in presentation), the carrot puree made an illusion as if it were sweet potato pie filling), the strip sat in a puddle of red wine jus, a slight coating of caramelized sugar sand and droplets of alcoholic kool-aid. The beef cheek to me was the headliner of the two. If you notice, it didn’t need much from the accompanying flavors to melt into the dish, at least to me.
Amaretti Cookie and Ice Cream. The peach was succulent the whole way through and the mascarpone added a nice contrast of texture/flavor between the creamy decadence and mildly sour whip. However that cookie… if I could make a Disaronno version instead and dump it into my favorite vanilla bean bucket of awesomeness by any of my favorite specialty ice cream spots (Scoops in LA, Humphry Slocombe in SF and etc.), then I would gladly eat it everyday and for any occasion: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Passover, Kwanzaa, Mexican Independence Day, Chinese New Year, Boxing Day, you get the drill.
After dinner, Charlie Palmer and crew ended the evening by thanking all of us (staff included) for the whole experience. For anyone who’s into fine dining, you would think there’s a definitive line of conservatism (or even touch of pretentiousness and corporate attitude exhibited), specifically within these parts of Irvine/Costa Mesa area as opposed to the robust food and drink culture of Los Angeles and various pockets of OC. Mr. Palmer said it best when he explained during our short interview,
“Serving people and taking care of people, food is such a huge part of that… making people feel comfortable…”- Charlie Palmer; Chef and Owner of Charlie Palmer Restaurant Group
Service and Comfort for the people… Now if only I can get a bit of comfort (and sleep) from taking care a diverting duo of dogs, cheers.
3333 S Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626