So if you thought I was giddy over MY FIRST DUK, prepare yourself. When I found out I would get the chance to host a second I nearly passed out at work :)
So what was different this time around? A lot! For starters, I wasn't a nervous wreck for the days preceding - and with the arrival of my iPhone4 that morning I was actually quite distracted! I took the day of off to enjoy my time and relax :)
When Jason and Josh arrived I still had tablecloth to press, but everything went off without a hitch :)
We started with Hors de oeuvres
The Fillet Mignon Meatballs were to die for (I might repeat that comment throughout - everything was simply to die for) The golden raisin coulis was the perfect accompaniment!
And then there was the wine.. Oh the wine
I kept the same rules as last DUK for my guests, all bottles had to be rated 91 or above.
I took on the Champagne. Much thanks to Ernie at Central Market for this recommendation. It was an unusual Champagne - and while this whole genre of beverages is not my favorite, I will say I enjoyed a few glasses of bubbly :)
herbs, olive oil and blood orange zest FTW!
herbs, olive oil and blood orange zest FTW!
Here they are on the platter about to be devoured.. I nearly missed this shot as they were an instant hit with our group!
Oh the wonderful carnage!
On my birthday I had dinner at The Lodge. The King Crab tasting menu was bliss! So when the Crab Cakes with Ras al Hanout appeared I was smiling ear to ear :)
Then came one of my favorite parts of DUK. The "What's In Your Fridge" course! I had made a trip to Central Market earlier in the day to pick up regular groceries and the Champagne and my favorite foodie Mimi was there. I had her pick me out a few fun items to "plant" in the house for this course. I had wasabi sesame seeds, Blue Monday, Peter Hook cheese, strawberry honey spread, a amazing Tri-Tip, etc.. Funny enough my Greenling box also arrived around the same time Jason did. And behold the what's in my fridge course: Lycheee, salted tomato caviar, and foaming fizzy, color changing poprocks! The tomatoes and honey used in this dish were 100% local and organic (Thanks Greenling !)
Up next we started the courses. The previous night I attended the Literary Feast dinner at Bin555 . The figs on the dessert course were amazing - I'm glad I told Jason because sure enough they made an appearance the next night in my own house! Watching Jason prep this deconstructed salad was fun! He really does make it look super easy.
Black Mission Figs, Pickled Texas Peaches, Medjool Dates, Goat Cheese, and Watercress
The PERFECT summer salad!
The second course won me over before it hit the table!
This dish paired amazingly well with the Angeline Pinot Noir and had more spice and complexity than any of my Thai favorite places in town. I will never be able to enjoy my spicy Thom Ka the same way again!
The shrimp and avocado base was beautiful enough, but then the rich coconut milk, red curry, and sweet peppers made it simply perfection!
Thai Red Curry and Shrimp "bisque" with Avocado and Sweet Peppers
I would love to see this dish added to the menu of one of Jason's restaurants. I'd have a new lunch spot!
The third course was a personal favorite of mine because it involves the newest appliance addition in my home. My SousVide Supreme!
I have been enjoying the wonders of Sous Vide cooking for a few weeks now, but when Jason emailed me asking if he could use it I was overjoyed. I couldn't wait to see what a pro could do with it. Seeing as how I have been making some pretty spectacular dishes myself as an amateur, I had no doubt great things were in store!
This is me peeking at the Sous Vide goodness!
Free Tip! place a kitchen towel on the bags to keep them fully immersed! Thanks Jason!
This is the butter and basil poached Halibut after being removed from the sous vide water bath
Jason prepping the halibut for plating
And the finished creation:
Sous Vide of Halibut with Fleur de Sel, Local Summer Squash, and Basil Butter "broth"
Can you say Summer Yum?!!!
The sous vide yukon gold potatoes were also amazingly delish!
I love Sous Vide!!! Everyone should have one!
So if you have been to a Dady restaurant, you should be familiar with Nutella. I know that is one of the main reasons he won me over years ago!
The final course:
Strawberry Shortcake with Nutella
and yes, I licked the bowl!
And let's not forget the awesome wine! My guests did not disappoint!
Kendall Jackson Reserve Chard
Angeline Pinot Noir
Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon
And the Jackson Canadian Ice wine
I also want to take a moment to highlight our other favorite part of DUK. While Jason is a known superstar, Josh his right hand is equally amazing! We host a lot of dinner parties at the house, and he puts my host skills to shame! With a smile on his face he is there every step of the process making sure everything is just perfect!
And he also doubles as our favorite server at The Lodge.. Go see him and ask for the tour! He is an expert!
I really do think Josh has the best job in the world! We are all envious!
This shot was taken after a taste test of the amazing lamb baby back ribs! Our favorite Pic of the night!
I have so many wonderful friends, and I wish I could have shared this experience with them all the first time around, so it was amazingly cool to be able to open up the invitation to some new faces.
I still have friends who have yet to experience the wonder of DUK so I plan on attempting to win another date in the future! DUK has become my favorite thing to do with friends and food.
Thanks again to Chef Jason Dady for another night filled with foodie bliss, great wine, good friends, and memories we will never forget!