Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dos Equis Academy Dinner

As most people already know, there are tons of fun things to do during the week of Comic-Con. Zombie walks, after-parties, demonstrations and trailers for new games and movies, parades, special exhibits, the list just goes on.
On Friday evening, I was lucky enough to be invited to a dinner for Dos Equis' Most Interesting Academy. What is the Most Interesting Academy, you ask? In short, it is the idea of people becoming more than what they are, getting out of their comfort zones, off of their couches, and doing something that they love.

Dos Equis is sponsoring people to dare to live their dreams. Right now, they are offering the chance at a $25,000 grant to fund someone that wants to take on the challenge of living their dream, whether it be opening your own restaurant, creating your own publishing company, or traveling the world on foot.

On Friday night, we were treated to a gourmet dinner by Wolvesmouth culinary genius, Craig Thornton. Wolvesmouth has been hosting secret, invite-only dinners around the LA area for the past couple of years, so I was ecstatic to be invited!

We started the evening with some Dos Equis Amber and socializing. Then came the food!!!

The first course was a ribeye seared to perfect medium rare temperature, seasoned simply with oil, salt, and cracked pepper, served with a cheese fritter and a homade pimento cheese made with apples! I'm not much of a steak person normally, but this was fantastic!

The next course was a corn chowder made with buttermilk, garnished with fresh crab meat. Another corn chowder that I loved! Maybe I _do_ like corn chowder after all, I've just had bad ones my whole life.

A salad course was next, featuring fresh green beans, peaches, nectarines, coffee soil (!), and horseradish. The crisp greens were nice and simple, and it was nice to have a salad in the middle of all of the previous rich food. I enjoyed the fresh fruit very much. I love putting fruit in salads!

The next course was halibut, served with a fried zucchini flower and pesto ricotta. You can't see it in my picture, but the halibut is sitting atop a homemade Roman gnocchi. The gnocchi was pure cheesy goodness, and a great salty contrast to the lightness of the fish. The ricotta was incredibly rich, and would be perfection as a ravioli filling.

Our final course before dessert was probably my favorite. Pork belly served with a corn fritter and grilled pineapple, all topped with a fresh, delicious slice of avocado. I've never had pork belly served this way -- I've usually had it on tacos or as part of a filling. Pork belly is scrumptious! Everything about this dish was soft: perfect, tender pork belly that could be cut with a fork, creamy avocado, all blanketed in a sweet, salty sauce. So comforting.
The grande finale was dessert! Tres leches cake served with dehydrated strawberries, lime creme fraiche, and Pop Rocks candies! My goodness, this dessert was one of the best things that I've ever eaten, and I've had my share of delicious desserts. Not too sweet, and the cake was incredibly light but did not have the "wet" texture that many tres leches cakes have. I loved it!
After dinner, we rolled (yes, rolled -- dinner was so filling!) into the kitchen and were able to chat with Craig for a bit. What I found most remarkable is that Craig's techniques are mostly self-taught. I've had dinners in some of the finest restaurants in New York, Paris, and Rome, and I have to say, this dinner was one of the best that I've ever eaten. Craig insists on only fresh ingredients, using his intuition to guide him towards what looks good at the local farmer's markets, then letting his imagination formulate a recipe.

His challenge with this dinner? The kitchen. Three burners, two tiny ovens (seriously, they were miniature!), to feed over 20 people? All I can say is wow.

Basically, the entire dinner was wow!

July 17, 2012 / by / 1 Comments

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Magnificent! (As usual. :-P )

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