Stone Fresh Dinner – May 2010

May 7th, 2010 by Justin | Filed under Countries.

Another Fresh Dinner at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens has come and gone, and once again, “epic” describes it rather adeptly.

If you missed my last review, then a little explanation is in order.  Stone holds a special, seasonal dinner event that features fresh, organic, local food from surrounding farms and fisheries.  They begin harvesting early in the morning, working a rather long day, to provide what is likely the best meal that most people will have that season.  Their hard work is greatly appreciated.  For $50.00 a person, it simply can’t be beat.  So without any further hubbub, here’s the menu.

1st Course: Charred Sardines Marinated in Lemon Juice, Herbs, and Olive Oil with Microgreens

  • San Diego Bay Sardines from Pacific Shellfish
  • Meyer Lemons from Crows Pass Farm
  • Microgreens from Connelly Gardens

The general consensus at the whole table, and not even just our party, was, “Damn, sardines.”  But they were gone just as soon as they came.  Most American’s aren’t that interested in these little, salty fish, and I’m not exception.  I think the key was that the marinade really helped to break down the typically overpowering fishy taste.  I have to say, I’ve never had such tasty sardines.  Seriously, they were gone in minutes.

2nd Course: Grilled Purple Artichokes and Vegetable Medley with Marinated Radishes and Maltaise Sauce

  • Artichokes from Connelly Gardens
  • Fennel, onions, squash and radishes from Sozie’s Farm
  • Eggs from Eben-Haezer Poultry Ranch

No surprises here: everyone liked this dish.  The big star for most people was the maltaise sauce, which was, without a doubt, fantastic.  However, I love me some roots, and when you grill them, it’s all over.  The fennel and onion were so great, that I cleaned up after everyone else.

Served with Dinner: Thyme Rolls with Lavender Butter

  • Estate herbs from Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

Nothing too fancy here, but delicious none the less.  The rolls were perfectly soft on the inside, yet crusty on the outside. As for the butter, whenever you got a piece of the lavender, the flavor was awesome.

Entree: Spaetzle with Blazei Mushrooms, Onions, Fava Beans and Seasonal Greens

  • Blazei mushrooms from Mushroom Meadows
  • Temecula honey onions from Crows Pass Farm
  • Fava beans and greens from La Milpa Organica

I have to admit, I wasn’t paying close attention to what Executive Chef Alex Carballo was saying about this dish so I was quite surprised when I learned the twist. I’m eating this thinking, “Wow,  I wonder why they added so much almond to this…but there are no almond on the menu.”  Then Sherelle, my fiancee, filled me in on what I had missed.  The almond taste comes from blazei mushroom.  Very strange and unexpected coming from a mushroom, but definitely delicious, especially when composed with the chicken in the following dish.  And by the way, the only place this mushroom is cultivated in the US is at Mushroom Meadows.

Entree: Smoked Chicken Halves Marinated in Citrus Juice, Olive Oil and Herb Emulsion over Arugula

  • Chicken from Wing Lee Poultry
  • Three varieties of lemons from Crows Pass Farm
  • Estate herbs from Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
  • Arugula from La Mipla Organica

I absolutely destroyed this chicken. Destroyed. I had between 5 and 7 pieces. It never stood a chance.  Even though a few were slightly over cooked, that’s how good it was.  I’m not complaining about the done-ness either.  Chicken can be a bastard and will do that to you sometimes, especially when you’re making that much of it. Kudos chef.

Dessert: Strawberries Pavlova with African Blue Basil

  • Strawberries from Crows Pass Farm
  • Eggs from Eben-Haezer Poultry Ranch
  • Basil from Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens

If they served heaping platters of this dessert, like they did with the chicken, I would have had 5 to 7 servings of this too.  Not many people in my party ate their basil though, but that’s their loss.  African basil is some of the best basil I’ve ever had.  I’ll have to figure out if can grow my own.

All in all, a great dinner and everyone left full, content and somehow, still salivating.  Here are a few of the pictures that I took.  More can be seen on Stone’s flickr