Feeling the Luv Luv

2016-08-14 12.07.26

Amuse Bouche

I podcasted about this this week, but, Stephanie and I had the privilege of attending not one but four different food events his past week. I say four but it was really only three different events but four different days. Today I’m going to talk about Chef Tim Grandinetti’s Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival that is held every year at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar. We went two nights, Monday, which wasn’t officially part of the festival and we took 10 of our good friends with us to enjoy the local celebs that we call chefs in and around WSNC. That will come soon, but the review today, t is about the event that we attended on Friday. Luv Luv brings chefs from all around the country, some of Chef Tim’s best chef buddies, if you will.

This night’s guest chef is Chef Tim Recher who is the Executive Chef of the Army Navy Club in Washington DC, so he’s used to cooking for 4-star generals and Admirals. We were lucky to have him here.

2016-08-16 12.25.30The night started with a little amuse bouche of a beef meatball, steamed shrimp (wrapped in foil with heirloom grape tomatoes and herbs) and a deviled egg that had a familiar flavor but I cannot for the life of me figure out what it was. It was pickled or vinegary. I loved it though.

The first course was a Sweet Corn Vichyssoise with Maine lobster, hearts of palm from Hawaii, Fresno chile to add some spice, a lengthy brioche with parsley oil. This was a sweet, cold soup. The chunks of lobster were just that, chunks, and an ample amount of it, too. The Fresno chile gave a little bite to cut through the sweetness of the corn. The Hearts of Palm added a little texture to the soup as did the brioche. Fantastic dish, this.2016-08-16 12.26.42

The fish course was Milk Poached Halibut with Parisian gnocchi, asparagus (which I promptly put on Stephanie’s plate as I cannot eat it and live with myself), pearl onion, which, surprisingly, I ate and the whole plate was garnished with pea tendrils. The fish was quite flaky, which is always good and there was a light foam, I’m guessing from the milk on the top and I’m unable to say enough good things about microgreens and the pea tendrils had a great light crunch and bright flavor to add, as well. I thought the gnocchi was tender but not doughy as some can feel to me. The flavor of them was nicely done, as well. They’re a little different than normal potato-based dough treats you may think of with gnocchi. I just loved the fish with the microgreens.

2016-08-16 12.27.52The next course was different for me. Another food that I just can’t get into is beets. Some may complain that a foodie needs to eat them. Well, not this foodie. They taste like dirt and I don’t mean they taste dirty, I mean they taste like dirt. It is somewhat the bane of my existence that they have become a fad as of late. Chefs need to experiment and get that, just leave me out of it. So, this course, was Smoked Beat Salad. It included aerated coriander yogurt, curried cashews, upland cress and a beet fluid gel. One thing I have to say about this dish is that it was very colorful and beautiful. It was probably the most colorful and “pretty” dish of the day. But, beets are beets and regardless of using the gold or red beets (chef Tim used both), they taste like dirt to me. I did like the curried cashews, though. Stephanie did eat some of hers and she preferred the gold beets, earthy, not like dirt but warm & hearty like yellow curry. She also said they had a brighter 2016-08-16 12.29.11flavor, especially with the upland cress microgreens, which I also ate from my plate, because microgreens.

My favorite dish was next, Zabuton Wagyu Beef Steak. It was accompanied by beef short rib in a potato pavè, heirloom veggies, truffle reduction, soubise, coffee soil and crispy bone marrow butter. The beef was prepared medium rare, as it should be (if not rare) and had a bit of the soubise and ruffle reduction around it. The coffee soil, the best I can tell, is what formed the delightful crust on the beef. The crispy bone marrow butter was very hearty with a rich meaty flavor, I liked it. The potato pave was tender, it looked firmer than it was but the flavor with the short rib inside and even with the heirloom veggies, which when I can, I do eat, was a fantastic side. I thought the flavors melded great and was a 2016-08-16 12.30.39fantastic overall dish.

The dessert course was Soft Chocolate & Raspberries. It included a chocolate soil, a housemade raspberry gel, chocolate crumble and spearmint. The soft chocolate, to me was like pudding and was melting. It wasn’t just because of the heat, but by design. The raspberry gel was thick and tart, but oh so good, especially when mixed with the melting chocolate and the chocolate crumbles. If you have a sweet tooth, I’m pretty sure this would have hit the spot. I found it delicious and with the bright spearmint at the end (I love eating mint) the whole plate popped.

I want to thank, again, Chef Tim Grandinetti for hosting this fantastic event, which over the course of the week saw seven guest chefs from around the country and Canada and around 10 of the best chefs we have here locally in Winston-Salem. I’d also like to thank Chef Tim Recher for bringing his talents to Winston for a night to thrill those who got to experience his cooking style, which for Stephanie and I, our second year in a row with Chef Tim. Next year, if you’re not at Luv Luv, then you don’t love food. Find out more about Spring House by visiting their website HERE.

 

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 5

Second post for today, sorry about that.  This show wasn’t recorded at Test Pattern Studios but you should check out their Facebook page anyway; good stuff is on its way, there!

For show #5:2016-08-16 12.29.11

Food and restaurant news including the death of a popular chef from Washington DC, a local food truck finally sells and a chain could be closing here locally.

Food holidays and history for the week of August 15-21.

I also review our great time at Friday night’s Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar featuring Chef Tim Recher of the Army/Navy Club in Washington DC.

Don’t forget my sponsor, Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the page).

Bon appetit!

The Last of the Luv Luv with Much Love

-Timothy G. Beeman II

On Saturday, Stephanie and myself were invited to accompany friends of ours to the Annual Luv Luv Festival, the brainchild of Tim Grandinetti, the co-owner/head chef of Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar. The Luv Luv Festival is a culinary showcase of chefs from all over with great live music. We hadn’t, unfortunately, ever attended the Luv Luv Festival but we had wanted to. This was our first time ever and let’s just say we loved it. Let’s make clear, too that it’s not the last ever festival but the last day of this year’s festival.

Group

The Beer Dads and Their Pilots

Menu

The Menu

First of all, we have to start with the company we kept during this festival. Paul & Susan Jones along with Jon & Celeste Lowder were our tablemates and we’re no strangers to each other. In fact, Paul, Jon and I do a podcast called The Beer Dads which is part of The Less Desirables Podcast Network. So we hang out, talk about being dads and drink, you guessed it, beer every week. Our wives have become good friends so we had a very, very fun table. Also, former local DJ personality and Master of Ceremonies of the event, Bob Campbell (who also happens to be the voice over talent for The Beer Dads) sat with us as did our guest of honor, the wife of this evening’s guest chef (Tim Recher), Alicia Recher. We were guests of the Lowders and can’t thank them enough for having us. Good wine, liquor and beer as “the beer dad” ladies had more than a few glasses of white wine and the guys a mixture of cocktails and beer. I believe Paul and Jon preferred the Sisters of the Moon IPA from Mother Earth Brewing while I had one of those and then switched to the Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge. But, as much as we like to think that it is sometimes, the alcohol wasn’t the star attraction of the night. It was the food.

Starting off the whole night was a plate of hummus with pita triangles alongside of tomatoes straight from the garden of Chef Grandinetti. This was followed by a large plate of oysters and cocktail shrimp from Rappahannock Oyster Company. The oysters 11891148_10153437332285490_984877909746256410_nwere raw and delicious. Also served with them were some hot peppers with a sweet glaze of hoisin and sesame seeds. Jon and a few of the ladies mentioned they thought they were hot. I ate several of them and got nothing more than great flavor. I found them to be very mild and almost no heat. Perhaps one of us got lucky, you decide.

Course 1

Course #1 Chicken & Dumplings

The first course “Chicken & Dumplings” was quail, black summer truffle mousse, gnocchi, chive velouté and herb biscuit. This was a fantastic course. The “chicken” seemed to be a combo of quail and other meats that were served sausage style and while I’m generally not one for quail, not only did I eat all of this, I picked it up and ate the bones like they were a chicken leg. Of course, I was nibbling, but it was so good and the velouté sauce was like gravy and light enough to not overpower but perfect for accentuation. It was easy to sop up the extra velouté sauce with the biscuit and the gnocchi were tender. Let’s say that my plate (with the exception of the bones of the quail) had nothing left on it. It was clean. Wonderful course.

Course 2

Course #2 English Pea Soup with Sea Bass

Course #2 was “Chilled English Pea Soup and Seared Sea Bass.” Described as coriander, Fresno chili, warm mushroom-shallot-pea salad, Arbequine olive oil, fennel pollen. When you cut into the fish, it fell apart being a wonderful flaky morsel of flavor. Seasoning wasn’t anything to mask the fish, you got full “sea bass” (or Patagonian Tooth Fish) flavor and that’s a good thing. The peas under the fish were quite fresh and even had Susan Jones, who doesn’t eat peas cleaning her plate of them. As simple as it is, the cress on top, really set a freshness that I can’t explain in words to the entire plate. The pea soup had the distinctive coriander and chili flavor as it was a tad savory and I loved it. It was topped with the fennel pollen. I had to drink it like a shot because there really was no way to get a spoon in there. But, I think that was the point. I had no problem shooting that soup. Delicious.

Course 3

Course #3 Beet Salad

Course #3 was “Roasted Baby Heirloom Beet Salad.” Belgium endive, frisée (another kind of endive, which along with Belgium endive can be called chicory here in the US, at least from my research), upland cress, pickle apple, curried cashews, beet vinaigrette, aerated coriander yogurt. I’ll have to be honest, was my least favorite course, but when you don’t like beets, or many other like-vegetables (I’m adapting as I get older), then that’s understandable; at least in my mind. I did enjoy the pickled apple and curried cashews. I did eat all the leaves but left some of the endives and most of the beets. Again, the cashews and pickled apple were good.

Course 4

Course #4 Back Yard BBQ

Course #4 was, to me, the pièce de résistance. It was “Back Yard Steak.” Coffee rubbed bison. Vidalia onion ash inlay. Sous vide smoked brisket & potato croquette. Seasonal vegetables, sweet corn puree, bbq jus lie and smoked black garlic.This cut of bison meat was so tender and juicy that a regular table knife could cut right through it with no problem. It was medium rare and the outsides were perfectly charred and seasoned with the coffee rub. The baby carrot and corn was a nice addition as was the jus lie (pronounced zhoo lee-AY) and vidalia onion inlay. That coffee rub and the meat itself was such a flood of flavor that I ate it with my eyes closed most of the time, enjoying each individual bite. Generally, I’ll tear through food like I’m being graded on it but I took my time and every single chew was documented by my brain. Let’s just say that it was so good that not only did I eat all of mine, I also had the bonus of half of Stephanie’s. She loved it as well, but was filling up. This was a definite 5 on a 5 scale.

Course 5

Course #5 S’Mores

Course #5 was the dessert course which was “S’mores.” Dark chocolate crémeux, molasses spice graham cracker cookie, toasted marshmallows, salted caramel gelato, toasted caramel. Stephanie got her second wind enough to eat this. I thought the crémeux was the absolute best thing about it. It was like eating a very soft, but still firm, piece of fudge. The tiny toasted marshmallow squares were a nice accompaniment for the crémeux. The gelato was a bit melted away by the time I got to it but what I got of it was delicious. I love caramel, so this was a nice finish.

Chef Tim Recher, of the Army/Navy Country Club in DC, really brought a wonderful menu and Chef Tim Grandinetti and his team both in the kitchen and the outside wait staff were fantastic support, making this event a true 5 star dinner treat to anyone who was privileged enough to be there. Spring House is always a class act and this was no different. Many thanks to Chef Grandinetti for hosting. Spring House can be found at 450 North Spring Street in downtown Winston-Salem. They’re on the web at springhousenc.com.