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.
The 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.
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.
The 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 flavor, 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 fantastic 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.