Posts Tagged ‘avocado’
Posted Monday 18 June 2012on:
Mark Bitterman is championing the salt renaissance. The owner of The Meadow and author of Salted hosted a dinner class at Lisa Dupar Catering a couple of weeks ago. At home we have small containers of Australian and English finishing salts and a large jar of French salt for brining, pasta water and roasting. I’m a cautious salter but I have learnt to embrace how sodium chloride is transformative in cooking.
Adjacent to Pomegranate Bistro, the catering kitchen is a labyrinth of stainless steel, storage and commercial sized accoutrement.
Catering staff has a view of the restaurant through square panes and vice versa.
A seven course tasting menu paired by Mark Bitterman and Lisa Dupar.
Rimmed with carbonated black takesumi bamboo salt, a spicy Bloody Mary apéritif greeted us.
Rows of tables were orientated to the preparation area where chefs plated our food.
Mark was as charming and engaging as I remembered. He spoke with passion and humour about the history of salt, and the composition and flavour profiles of our samples.
Coral coloured and glistening, the salmon was cured by being pressed between two Himalayan pink salt blocks. The gravlax had a firm texture and was absent of the sliminess that sometimes afflict cured fish.
Soft slices of house made bread were smeared with butter and sprinkled with fleur de sel. The sweetness of the butter accentuated the moist crystals and delicate crunch.
The pretty flake salts were savoured on rice cake with carrot, avocado and black sesame salad. A flat disc with a crispy edge, the plain rice cake was perfect for comparing the salts. I love the elegance of Murray River flake salt, a parochial favourite. The charcoal pyramids of the Black Diamond was bold and earthy. From Anglesey, the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the oak smoked salt had an intense aroma.
The highlight of the evening was Juan’s chilli relleno with Molokai red salt. A popular family meal at Pomegranate Bistro and Lisa Dupar Catering, a whole poblano pepper was roasted, stuffed, battered and deep-fried. Garnished with guacamole and tomato sauce, the cheesy filling laced with the heat of the pepper was rustic comfort food. From the volcanic clays of Hawaii, the mineral elements of the Molokai red salt brightened the chilli relleno.
Blushed strips of Painted Hills beef were on a bed of mashed celeriac and topped with threads of sweet potato. The luscious sel gris complimented the meatiness.
A bowl of Kauai guava smoked salt.
Dessert was burnt caramel cheesecake with salted pecan crust adorned with fresh blueberries and a white chocolate curl. Unfortunately this was too salty for me.
Mark recommended flake salt, fleur de sel and sel gris as the foundation set for the pantry. Which salt to use? Consider if the intent is chemical, seasoning or visual. The final advice was ‘don’t grind salt’!
On our last day in Brisbane we bartered a ride to the airport for breakfast at The Little Larder. A popular café in the riverside neighbourhood of New Farm, it was quiet mid morning on a weekday. There was temporary reprieve from the heat and humidity of a subtropical spring.
A creative chalkboard in colourful calligraphy enticed passers-by.
Inside were birch tables, bold red walls and metal racks of newspapers and magazines. We were seated outside on a bench in the shade.
Stools were engraved with ‘Larder’.
A cute porcelain pot of sea salt flakes.
‘The lot’, a traditional British fry-up, will sustain you through the day! A large plate was piled with poached eggs, bacon, sausage, hash brown, caramelised onion, roasted tomato and toast.
The eggs Benedict was layered with grilled ham, ladled with a glossy Hollandaise sauce and topped with a crostini.
A healthy choice was poached eggs drizzled with dill mayonnaise on a square of crispy polenta served with roasted tomato, avocado slices, spinach and a wedge of lemon.
I have fond memories The Little Larder’s French toast with grilled banana and maple syrup so I ordered it again. Dusted with icing sugar, I saturated the eggy bread in the Canadian specialty. I savoured the sweet bananas, appreciating that it was still a treat after a cyclone damaged crops earlier this year.
We left content after a hearty breakfast, cups of coffee and glasses of cold pressed juices.
On our last day in Anaheim, we explored Downtown Disney. Boulevards are lined with palm trees, gardens are groomed and pedestrian paths are flat and clean.
Lamp posts are topped with Mickey Mouse figurines. The S shaped block was lively with Disney themed stores, a cinema and several eateries. Speakers throughout the complex played pop music. It is a transient crowd as families shop and eat before or after the parks.
Tortilla Jo’s was in the middle of Downtown Disney. Tortilla Jo is a jolly gentleman with a lime sombrero and a handlebar moustache. The exterior of the restaurant is painted in ochre and rust.
On a warm day, we sat on the patio under the shade of an umbrella. The menu was the classic Mexican trio of taco, burrito and enchilada.
A petite cobalt bowl of salsa and a large basket of corn chips were served quickly. We nibbled on the complimentary snack as we perused the menu.
We shared the guacamole and fish tacos. A mound of mashed avocado, diced onions, chopped cilantro, lime juice and pico de gallo was presented on a faux mortar. It was fresh and appetising, especially when double dipped into the spicy salsa.
Two strips of mahi mahi were coated in chipotle lime glaze and pan seared. Each taco was wrapped in two tortillas with corn and cabbage coleslaw. Black beans and Mexican red rice were the sides. The fish was well cooked but a little sweet. It was the perfect portion for a light lunch!
A couple of hours in Downtown Disney were plenty and we returned home humming tunes from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King.