As a Slow Food partner, The Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens does a fantastic job of utilizing locally-sourced ingredients for its menu; they took it one step further last week with the FRESH! Dinner: “We wanted to showcase spring in one dinner; this is what’s available locally right now,” said Executive Chef Alex Carballo. And by right now, he meant it – as many of the dinner’s elements as possible were procured that same day. To start the fresh theme off right, diners were treated to a glass of Stone IPA straight out of the fermenters before making their way back through the brewhouse and up to the second-floor dining room.
On the adjacent outdoor patio overlooking the gardens, Mil Krecu from Stone Farms greeted us with a “mix & mingle” of fresh raw greens and vegetables with an avocado oil and herb emulsion. As the room settled, Chef Tausha Lopez came from the kitchen to talk about the Soup & Salad course, which consisted of a chilled asparagus soup finished with freshly kegged Green Flash Imperial IPA and citrus crème fraîche, seated next to a citrus and fennel frond salad dressed with avocado oil that had been pressed just three hours prior.
This light dish segued perfectly into the Duck a Trois course, composed of 1. duck breast carpaccio on a bed of grilled sorrel, 2. duck tatsoi salad dressed with lemongrass vinaigrette, and 3. duck liver pate with compote of freshly-kegged OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale, strawberries and estate-grown lavendar . Chef Alex explained: “We had to find three different ways of using the same duck. How do you put that all on one plate without coursing it out?” Well, they found a way, and it was delicious as well as green – “We pretty effectively used the whole duck,” said Chef Andy Halvoresen. “With the rest, we’ll make stock. Our waste today was very minimal.” The ducks had been very-recently butchered at Wing Lee Poultry off El Cajon Blvd.
Then came the Catch of the Day – locally caught vermillion in white chocolate chili sauce with fresh ricotta gnocchi, pea tendrils, caramelized cremini mushrooms, fried kale and arugula flowers. The fish had been line-caught the night before off the La Jolla coast, exemplifying Chef Alex’s statement that “timing was very important for this entire meal.” It’s also what made the preparation painstaking and lengthy: “I was out the door at 4:45 this morning to get everything going.” Accompanying this dish was freshly-baked bread and freshly-made butter.
For dessert, Stone Pastry Chef Andrew Higgins created a fantastic strawberry & rhubarb crisp with brown butter that finished off the meal just right. Utilizing some hidden ingredients like chocolate mint and Jamaican scotch bonnet peppers, the dessert was multi-layered and complex. And speaking of desserts, Chef Andrew and Dr. Bill will be hosting a five-course Beer & Chocolate Dinner on the 19th. The Chef explained that although decadent amounts of chocolate will be used, the meal will be balanced enough to not leave you in a sugar coma; click here for more info.
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