Bizarre Foods/CobayAzul

Last night was a dinner that I have been waiting for a few months to cook. We had 35 of the best guests from the local Cobaya diner group. Cobaya is a name for a guinea pig in latin america and this name suits the concept of the diners perfectly. They go around about once a month to another location eating a ‘underground’ dinner either at a restaurant, or art gallery, wine cellar, etc. There were a lot of Miami biggest foodies like TheChowfather, who is one of the organizers and the cities premier food blogger, with his partner Frodnesor but, the biggest name of the night is the host of Travel Channels Bizarre Foods, Andrew Zimmern. The whole camera crew was there throughout the afternoon and evening filming for the new season.

We served 8 courses and the dinner was a huge success. I can’t wait until July when it airs. Last time I had a chance to be on a show like this was when Anthony Bourdain came to L2o and I didn’t make it onto the show, even though I was in the kitchen the whole time. I wasn’t able to get a photo of each course but I do have a couple, and a link to flickr where you can see the whole thing (Flickr Link). We wanted to use interesting local produce and seafood. Trigger fish was one we really wanted to serve but is was unavailable (out of season I guess). Jacob Anaya did get some awesome Pumpkin Swordfish and made an awesome dish with it. I had never worked with it before but, it is amazing with the color of orange salmon and an awesome clean flavor. The Uni was harvested from Joel’s hometown in California by a childhood friend. The snails on the risotto are especially awesome, they are small and tender and are fed only basil. For the dessert the strawberries I used were from Dover, FL, and they had an awesome flavor and an interesting torpedo like shape, and the sour oranges were also from Florida.

Cobaya Dinner Azul

Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail: Mint Merengue, Cranberry Mojito

Santa Barbara Uni, Monstera Fruit Sorbet, Fresh Wasabi

Pumpkin Swordfish Tataki, Pickled Pumpkin, Pumpkin oil, Spiced Seeds

“Beetzanella” Beet in Many Textures, Wisconson Bleu Panna Cotta, Brioche, Gorgonzola Snow

Smoked Octopus, Cauliflower-Vadouvan Puree, Burnt Babbaganoush, Crispy Cauliflower leaves

Carnaroli Risotto, Basil Snails, 63C Organic Egg, Chanterelles, Nasturtium, Alba Truffles

Steamed Turbot, Caramelized Shallot Gremolata, Artichokes, Sunflowers, Meyer Lemon Puree

A9 Wagyu Strip, 72hr. Kobe Short Rib, Marble Patatas Bravas, Parsley Root, Castello Vetrano Olive

Whipped Sour Orange Curd, Sesame Toffee Sable, Strawberry in Several Variations, Anise Hyssop, Effervescents

Petit Fors:

Milk and Dark Chocolate Ganache with Tamari Soy Sauce and Olive Oil

Caramelized White Chocolate Ganache with Passion Fruit and Clove

The dessert was one of the dishes I was responsible for so I will go into a little detail about it. In the center of the plate is a sable butter cookie that is soft and chewy with chunks of toasted sesame toffee folded in. On top of that is a sour orange curd whipped in the ISI with three charges and garnished with a sliced strawberry. Draped over that is a strawberry and lemongrass consomme set with agar and low acyl gellan. The piping around the plate is a strawberry curd that almost tastes like a cheese cake filling. The shriveled up strawberry was cooked sous vide in a strawberry gastrique then dehydrated until it was one third its original size and then re-marinated back in the gastrique to make a sweet and sour flavor and chewy texture. There is a block of raw strawberry that is coated in dextrose, which gives it the same effervescent effect you get when eating a fun dip or pixy stick. A grey pile is on the plate of toasted black sesame seed oil and is to mimic the white sesame seed cookie. The final touches on the plate are anise hyssop, thai basil, and strawberry marinated cardamom shoots.

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