SF Chefs 2011: Sugar and Spice PartySunday, August 7, 2011
LMS correspondent Michael Seibel reports back from the Sugar and Spice Party. I’m officially drooling over Melissa Chou’s (Aziza) Black Mint Bavarian with lime, buttermilk, hibiscus, and pistachio…
The SF Chefs Sugar and Spice event featured a creative mix of spice-enhanced dessert items but a savory item stood out above all the rest. Â David Lawrence from 1300 on Filmore served a Maple Braised Short Rib with Creamy Grits that knocked my socks off. Â I’ve sampled Lawrence’s blue cheese grits on a number ofÂ occasions and they often come off too strong. Â These grits (minus the blue cheese and plus tons of butter, cream, and possibly some parmesan cheese) were the perfect foil for the slightly sweet meaty/saucyÂ short ribs. Â I can honestly say I came back to this table three times.
Staying with the savory theme,Â Laurence Jossel of NopaÂ did not disappoint with his Calamari Ceviche served on a homemade tortilla chip. Â This was a very small bite with tons of flavor. Â The calamari was perfectly tender and the red chili added flavor without being tooÂ spicy. Â Finally there was a nice acidic note at the end that completed this light and refreshing dish.
Finally some sweets! Â This Lavender Cheesecake bite was simple and delicious. Â The lavender helped make a great cheesecake even better. Â ThisÂ itemÂ was served by pastry chef Alan Carter of Mission Beach Cafe. Â For two years I lived downstairs from his smallÂ restaurantÂ in the Mission and enjoyed his wide variety of fruit pastries. Â When trying to impress my girlfriend, Carter’s creations became breakfast in bed. Â Another can’t miss are the bagels at Mission Beach Cafe – authentic New York City bagels that are the perfect mix of chewy and crusty.
The sweet that literally made me do a double take was this Black Mint Bavarian with lime, buttermilk, hibiscus, and pistachio. Engineered by Aziza’s pastry chefÂ Melissa Chou, this desert played with so many different elements and made them all work together perfectly. Â The lime foam, buttermilk, and strawberry combined for a creamy tart flavor. Â The nuts added body and texture and the mint added a refreshing aftertaste that cleansed my palate with every bite. Â This dish wins the award for best dessert of the evening.
A dessert party would not be complete without dessert wine. Â The star of the evening was a 2003 Castelnau de Suduiraut, Sauternes. Â Many of my friends complain that Sauternes is too sweet but for me, its like grown up Kool-Aid. Â This one was perfect because it was well chilled which muted the sweetness slightly but let the complexity shine through. Â A special treat for an amazing night. Â Cheers toÂ ChÃ¢teau Suduiraut.