Spring 2012 Edible Adventures

I love food planning. No, not menu planning. That is reserved for people who are far more organized than me. I’m talking about food events that I get to look forward to eat, and eat, and eat at. San Antonio was one of the featured cities of this season’s Top Chef, so we’ve hit the ground running in the culinary scene. That’s right folks, San Antonio is becoming less known for the best taco ever and more of a hub for the best meal you’ve ever had. So, if you’re a local food enthusiast and you want to jump on the food-lovin’ bandwagon or if you’re just hungry, join us and jump into some spring events to tickle your taste buds.

March 11 The beautiful and historic Pearl Brewery, will be featuring talented chef’s from all over the WORLD (I told y’all we’re gettin’ fancy up in here) for an Iron Chef style paella competition. Tickets are 50$ ( includes more Paella than your Spanish grandma ever made, in her lifetime) or 60$ at the door. There is also a 12 and under ticket available so bring the kiddos. Tickets include: adult drinks and a chance to get some ‘liquid courage’ and talk with celebrity chefs. Maybe a cheesy autograph to show your grand kids? Read more about the event and get your tickets HERE (This event is Family-Welcome).

March 24 The Special Projects Social (TSPS) will be having a rockin’ after party. TSPS is San Antonio’s featured pop-up style restaurant. Some of my Foodie Mama friends (SAfoodNazi and Mama2aidan) attended the last event and raved about the food, art and colorful company. Tim Mcdiarmid known as Tim the girl, is a New York City native turned San Antonio transplant. Tim brings her fresh city palette and unique culinary skills with her and is making local food lova’s go coo coo for her tasty pop-up. Unfortunately, dinner tickets sold out but you can still come bust-a-move with us at the after party. Tickets are 40$ and can be bought HERE if you cant make this one check the TSPS site for the next event or join Tim and friends for an amazing trip they have planned for Italy this summer.  I know, she’s super- food- woman, like most of Tim’s events, tickets go quickly so seize the day and jump into an Italian foodie dream week. (None of the above events are Family-Welcome).

March 26 What do you get when you mix good eats and good peeps? That’s right, The SA Chef Coalition Dinner. Well known local Chef Andrew Weissman (owner of Il Sogno and Sandbar) is leading the SA Coalition pack alongside other talented San Antonio Chefs. This culinary powerhouse team is combining forces to make San Antonio hit the mark with incredible edibles on a National Scale. On March 26, there will be a family style dinner open to the public. Join these amazing trail blazers and enjoy good food and fabulous conversations. I put my request in for a seat (wink) and you can too. Tickets are 95$ and to reserve a spot emailSAchefcoalition@gmail.com  SAchefcoalition@gmail.com  for more information on the SA Chef Coalition click HERE (This event is not Family-Welcome).

March 31 One of our beloved Foodie Mama’s Tara ( Mama2aidan) is sadly leaving us for Arizona. Despite our tears we are Foodie Mama’s after all and will be having a farewell dinner at Restaurant Gwendolyn. If you are a Foodie Mama and on twitter click HERE to reserve your seats and if you’re not on twitter and would like to join the Foodie Mama’s as we eat, drink and make food porn, please email me. (Emily@definingdelicious.com). (This event is just for Foodie Mama’s. Sorry fellas)

Check Back soon as I have some Delicious April Adventures in the works!

 

Families Welcome & Foodie Approved… Part 1

Raising a silver spoon

I’ll be the first to admit, I am one of those moms. I’m a party crasher. I show up with my kids at the restaurant where you are having your first awkward date or a stuffy business meeting.  I’ll be wearing yoga pants, have a buttload of cheerios stuck to my shirt, a crazed look of hunger in my eyes. I’ll be eager to sit down at the next available table and take some food photos all while bouncing my 11-month-old and entertaining my 3-year-old. I swear, I’m not nuts. I’m just a mama squirrel tryin to get some nuts *wink *wink. For me, meal time is family time.  With the exception of date night with my hunk-of-a-man, eating out is an all inclusive affair and I like my lil nutty love muffins to be included. I’m all about raising my kids to be shiny, happy silver spoons (minus any pretension). Not to worry, I got ’em well trained. They do pretty darn well at restaurants and they enjoy the experience as much as I do, especially when there’s rice involved.

Yes, I picked this up before leaving. I also see why some people are anti-kid for this reason and this alone. But let’s give rice and peas a chance, right?

What is Foodie Approved?

Foodie Approved: Somewhere i can get this

I’d like to re-invent the idea of “Kid-Friendly” into “Families Welcome AND Foodie Approved.” As much as I love a playground and good food. I’ll take the food over the playground. During my journey to feed my children gourmet goodies I have noticed two things: First, even folks who are so called “foodies,” sometimes  give their kids mystery meat with a side of red dye #5. Why?  Convenience, low cost, or maybe just too many hairy eyeballs at the cool spots?  I write this without judgements.  Heck, I go to the Starbucks drive-thru at least 3 times a week due to convenience and living in the burbs. Secondly, when visiting a new city with my children and asking a seemingly food lovin’ local for a lunch recommendation more often then not they suggest mass produced muck (Friendly’s, Denny’s or IHOP).  Three words: Yuck, Gross and Disgusting!  Just because I come encrusted with crispy cheerios does NOT mean I want to feed my family junk. I want the place where the food enthusiasts roam, where the local meat is being tenderized, where the beef is as grass-fed as a hamster, where the walls look like the 60’s we born again, where the hipsters are a plenty, you get it.

Where am I going with this? If you’re a parent with a mountain of Mickey D wrappers in your minivan, I invite you to join me as we re-invent the family foodie wheel.  Or if you’re recommending a restaurant share the good spots not the grease spots.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Be honest. Let’s stir the organic soup pot. Either, I’m as loony as a bag of fruit loops or are you are on the “foodie approved” bandwagon?

If you’re with me please sign up for the FAST FOOD FREE petition, (no worries: Chipotle is not considered fast food) you can sign your name by commenting below.

If you think I’m coocoo for cocoa puffs and should shut my food lovin’ pie hole, kids n all Please dish…

*Check back soon for more information and a list of certified, “Family Friendly and Foodie Approved” places.



French Laundry Survival Guide, Part 2

“We want THE FOOD!” Who gives a crap about your walk through the garden (did I read your mind?)  You’re almost there.

Some more survival tips, just to elongate the suspense…

To Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Yes, Shoot. Don’t be too cool to bring your camera/iphone.  I was the only weirdo taking pictures of my ENTIRE meal, even the bread. I can attest I have no regrets.  Those morsels will forever be with me.  Appropriately, there is no flash allowed in the dining room. I would recommend practicing some candle lit shots before you go (*wink).  Otherwise all of your photos will be frustratingly dark.

I would also brush up on your French Foodie terms.

Here are some Defining Delicious definitions to get you started:

Amuse-Bouche– A special treat with a fancy name, given to you by the Chef de Cuisine.

Chef de Cuisine– Creative culinary genius in the kitchen.  Most likely very hot, in more ways then one. Especially when he is sniffing black truffles.

French Laundry Executive Chef Thomas Keller and his Chef ... Lance Iversen / The ChronicleSabayonA silky smooth kick ass custard dream. 

Foie Gras- Don’t ask just eat. Only Americans get upset about the ingredients.  Oh and add some magic fairy salt from the sterling silver dishes.

Now sit back and enjoy the food porn joy ride.

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Our Amuse-Bouche was what I called “Salmon Mini Ice Cream Cones” (Salmon Cornets) accompanied by La Cheese Puffe (Gougeres).

After we interrogated these mini salmon cones, the kitchen served us a parsnip soup with caramelized banana. They entertained us with a particular pouring technique, the likes of which I have only seen on Top Chef. The banana sunk like The Titanic after the pouring so it didn’t make for much of a photo. I left the photo out of the blog and licked the porcelain bowl instead.  Who but Thomas Keller would come up with parsnips and banana? Genius.

Above you see the famous French Laundry dish Oysters And Pearls. Sabayon (heavens custard) and Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar.

Funny Story: This little gem of a dish is the French Laundry signature plate.  Not only is it the most exquisite caviar you’ll ever eat but they serve it with Mother of Pearl mini spoons. Mother Of F’in Pearl! I was really tempted to ask if I could take one home and make a necklace, but I didn’t. Here’s the real kicker. One bite in… ONE BITE… and my throat started closing up.  That’s right, CLOSING the F Up! I started wheezing.  My face got red.  My cheeks got puffy. My eyes watered. I was in God damned anaphylactic shock at The French Laundry.  I did what any foodie would do, I went outside, walked circles in the garden like a stalker, caught my breath, called my Dr. Husband instead of 911, drank about a gallon of water.  Somehow, it went away.  My man is quite the Doctor.  He cured me from 1000 miles away without even a drop of Benadryl.  I’m officially allergic to Caviar. Mother F’in Caviar. Who on earth is allergic to caviar? See what happens when I take off my spankz and let loose? Caviar. CAVIAR.

I must admit this is a slight food blogger’s dream come true. From now on when asked, “Are you allergic to anything?” I get to respond, “Actually, I am allergic to Caviar when served on Mother of F’in Pearl mini spoons.”

Tip: Try a less expensive version of Caviar before you head to The French Laundry. Just in case you too are lucky enough to have such a sophisticated allergy.

Divine Droplets of Saki saves the day. The japanese have done it again. After the embarrassing allergy incident I ate my slice of humble pie and dove into a beautiful Sushimi dish. I called it, “The Sushi Life Saver,” which was accompanied by a delicate Saki. Enjoying the Saki was like drinking japanese rose petals, only better. I didn’t know it at the time but the Saki was actually called: Takasago, Ginga Shizuku, Junmai Daiginjo, or Divine Droplets. For real. People I can’t make this stuff up. I think I might have to carry a flask of this Divine intervention Saki around in my purse rather then an EpiPen.

Above was what I called, “The Golden Egg.”  This hallowed egg was filled with a savory white truffle custard combined with a white truffle dream sauce. Capturing the dream sauce on camera was an epic fail so you’ll have to trust me about the flavor and the texture of this dish.  It was royal perfection.

#FAIL

The little chip in the egg was meant to allow you to taste the Truffle au Jus like a refined princess. I actually scooped the thing dry. Our server was amazed by my technique and commented, “Wow, you really emptied the egg.” No Sheet, I emptied that egg.

TIP: EMPTY THE DAMN EGG and screw the Princess etiquette.

Above you’ll see the French Laundry S’MORES: Moulard Foie Gras en Terrine, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow, Chestnuts, Oxalis (heart shaped herb) and Sour Cherry-Cocoa Nib Puree. Translation: The S’mores of your fantasises. Once you’re a few nibs into it, your dish may look like this:

Tip: Try to get the whole thing in one bite. Bonus points if you even get heart shaped herb in there.  Genius.

The Mom in me wanted to order a side of Graham Cracker and Marshmallow for my daughter. I refrained from this urge.

Tip: Don’t talk about, think about, or worry about the Kiddies. They are FINE.

Ok, I need a snack. That’s it for Part Deux.  Just like this posting, my next edition will be worth your wait.  Need I say S’More?

* Picture of Thomas Keller and Chef De Cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth photo credit /insidescoopsf.sfgate.com