Sunday, April 22, 2012

Underground Dinner in San Diego

A table for 20 with Chef Adrian
 Pork Belly with Chinese Mint
This weekend JoAnn signed us up for an underground dinner with Black Label Table.  Apparently according to the freelance reporter Amanda there are only two in San Diego.  This was their second event which Chef Adrian and Jimmy San Diego hold monthly.  Last month the event sold out in 5 hours this month the event sold out in 3 hours.  To sign up you need to pay $35 each and donate a bottle of wine, sounds like a pretty good deal.  As I was walking out the door I turned to JoAnn and said my guess it will be a bunch of 20 somethings and I will be totally out of place.  In the instructions they give you a corner to call them and then you are escorted up stairs to Chef Adrian's loft which is part of an old church.  The ceilings are 30ft+ high with a clerestory window, the floors are worn wood and upstairs in the corner there is a vestibule.  Along the walls there are various framed art pieces against a white wall.  The loft was really spectacular!!  We were the second couple to come in, my wife went over to introduce ourselves to Miles and Tanya recently arrived from Australia to live in San Diego, within 15 minute the loft filled up with several couples and one group of 6 friends and family.  Everyone was very cordial we met Bruce who is a Biotech Consultant and a part time sailor on Stars and Stripes, we met Beth and Shay, Beth is in HR and Shay is a fine artist, We met Stacy and Tommy, Stacy is a teacher and friends with one of the chefs. It was a really good group of people. Remember what I said about the 20 somethings it was not the case it was late 20's to early 50's (that is what I categorize myself)
Sweet Potato Soup with Pulled Pork
Salmon on a Bed of Black Rice and Sweet Pepper Sauce
île flottante by Stacy
OK let's get to the food as you walk in we were handed a glass of Champagne and there was a chicken liver with caramelized shallot jam, chives and sea salt topping on a small wheat toast round.  At 7pm dinner was started the team announced that this month the theme was Asian French and the first course was served. On a rectangle white plate came 2 small very well coiffed morsels one was cold pork belly with Chinese mint on tiny rice cake foible, the other was Char grilled pork viet style marinade with cucumber, shiso leaf, cilantro, Vietnamese mint, pickled green papaya and Nuoc Cham Fish Sauce .  With each serving a new glass of wine was served Miles and I decided it was best to let our better halves enjoy themselves and take on the designated driver role.  The second dish was Asparagus Spears with a Poached Egg with a drop of Miso butter.  These types of dishes always make me apprehensive but I really enjoyed it.  Next came a Sweet Potato Soup with Pulled Pork shoulder with roasted Peanuts and a teaspoon of Cilantro Creme Fraiche.  The soup was perfectly seasoned and the pork was a very good flavor combo.  One thing I thought they did a good job on was they kept the food coming and no one had to wait.  Right before the entree a loquat sorbet amuse bouche was served to cleanse the pallete.  The Entree was Salmon on a bed of Black Rice with a red pepper sauce and a lermon grass beuere blanc sauce. The Salmon was cooked perfectly a nice crust on top and slightly pink on the inside a perfect dish.  The last plate of the night was desert, Stacy the Desert Chef came up and announced it was a floating island "Ile Flottante Tropicale" is a French dessert consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise (a vanilla custard) on top of the meringue was a blood orange toffee with a passion fruit melange.  This was the plate of the night.

In summary this was a lot of fun, Chef Adrian is a great cook, Stacy cooks an awesome desert and their team is first class.  I highly recommend this event for anyone that wants to have a great meal and a good time.