Friday, October 14, 2011

Flavors of Japan by S+S Gastro Grub

This was S+S Gastro Grub's very first Pop-up dinner. It was a sold out dinner event with about 40+ guests in attendance. Dinner was held at Cosecha in Oakland and that place was filled with fresh seafood, lamb, nori, yuzu, matcha and many more during that night for their Japanese inspired menu.

S+S with Dominica Rice, owner of Cosecha

Sebastian and Simone = S+S Gastro Grub. I met these guys at the BTC bingo brunch over a month ago and I have to say they really have some serious passion for food. Both of them work full time and when they are not working, they either eat, cook, roast pigs, sous vide eggs or have dinner parties. They were really an inspiration for me since they are both self taught culinary enthusiasts.


Table set up

I'm glad they invited me to their pop-up to help out, meet new people, eat and enjoy their Japanese infused dishes.

Here are the pics of their 5 course "Flavors of Japan"

1st course - Hamachi Belly, yuzu lemon cloud, dill flower

2nd course - Japanese salad - baby bok choy, compressed sake Asian pears, pickled burdock, Japanese cucumbers topped with crispy salmon skin and nori

3rd course

Uni, fennel potato puree, orange anise, shiso

My favorite dish of the night

4th course - Ohitashi (marinated spinach), shoyu, sesame seed oil, shiro goma

This was a challenge rolling into those cute "sushi" bites but it pays off!

leg of lamb being sous vide for about 45 minutes.

Still part of the 4th course - leg of lamb, miso Gorgonzola sauce, kuro goma and chives

Kabocha on a home made teriyaki sauce

5th course - Matcha financier topped with a 12 hour toasted coconut cream

This was amazing!

After the event, I asked a few questions to S+S about the event and how they came up with their dishes..

Fer: What was your inspiration for your menu and why Japanese?
S+S: Japanese food is one of our favorite foods. We wouldn't attempt to make sushi even though we love  sushi rice a lot. The inspiration of our dishes are from our constant eating out. LOL! We love molecular gastronomy, food arts... so from thinking of the current seasonal ingredients, Indian summer/early fall food... we wanted to do something light and refreshing, ie. hamachi, uni, etc into something warm and fuzzy, ie. lamb but since we wanted it "Japanese", We were wondering how we can make the lamb "Japanese"; therefore the miso Gorgonzola sauce. Salmon skin hand roll is one of our almost must-order dish whenever we go out for sushi. we are very picky with our salmon skin hand rolls but we weren't about to make that as one of the courses. We also wanted to highlight the delicious seasonal Asian pears, therefore, the deconstructed salmon skin salad. I love coconut and wanted to have a warm and comforting toasted coconut cream to end the cool Indian summer night with.

Fer: What was your favorite dish that night?
S+S: I love the Uni dish a lot but I also love my toasted coconut cream a LOT as well so it's kinda hard to pick! :)

Fer: What did you guys learned from your first pop-up?
S+S: What we learned was that we must get good people to help prep so that we can concentrate more on the cooking.

Fer: What's next for S+S Gastro Grub?
S+S: We have a few catering gigs coming up within the next couple of holiday months but we would like to do more pop-ups if possible, maybe once/twice a month. If the catering and the pop-ups are going well, maybe we can both quit our day jobs and concentrate more on the food business. Right now, we are only getting business from word of mouth and once in a while from clients googling/yelping, etc. Hopefully, we can do more pop-ups and special events and get our name out

Prepping the Hamachi 

Team work

Beer and smiles

After some hard work it's time to reward themselves

It was definitely a great experience. The food was delicious. I still can't stop thinking about the Uni and  potato puree dish. It was definitely the star of the night for me. Everything was flavorful and people were having a great time. I can't wait to see what's next and to taste more food from these talented couple. Til the next event!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ferran Adria in SF

The line

Castro was full of foodies
Restaurant owners, chefs, foodies, writers and everyone who has much love and respect for El Bulli and its food were all gathered at the Castro theater last Monday night to see and hear the world's most influential chef, Ferran Adria. I bet not even half of the people who were there haven't eaten at El Bulli. That's probably the reason why most of us were there since it's the closest thing to experiencing dining there.  You get the book, which is the food that the staff ate there plus you get to be in the same room with Ferran hearing him talk about creativity and conceptualizing. I think it's a great deal.

Got my ticket a month ago for this event and as the day gets closer I get more and more excited. Not only have I dreamt of eating at El Bulli, thanks to Bourdain, but I want to be inspired just like most of the chefs around the world. I want to know what goes in his mind and how he comes up with such creations like the carrot foam, edible floral paper and many more.

The crowd waiting for Chef Adria

It was a sold out event. 1400 people came and listened to this culinary genius. Going to the event itself felt like you are attending an exclusive red carpet event of the food industry. There were sightings of Dominique Crenn, Anthony Strong, Pim Techamuanvivit and many other big names in the food world. Earlier that day, Ferran was spotted at Humphry Slocombe and La Taqueria. People were tweeting and updating their status on Facebook giving this event a lot of buzz and anticipation.

Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn

Ferran started his talk by saying that San Francisco is one of the places he would want to live together with Barcelona and Sydney. He talked a little bit about citrus and that the Arabs introduced it in the western world and that there are about 2,500 different kinds of it. He also said that cuisine itself is subjective. Orange and eggs might be weird for some but in Spain there is a dish made with it.

Then there was the lecture on omelets and the miniskirt. He talked about creativity, conceptualizing and using ingredients as the letters to make a word. The lecture was full of amazing videos and pictures of his greatest creations. It was almost emotional to see him talk about it knowing that El Bulli closed its doors a little more than a couple of months ago. But there is alot more in store on that place. It will be the home of the El Bulli foundation come 2014. He gave us a sneak peak of how it looks like and what the plan is for that center.

People falling in line for the book signing

Overall, it was a great inspirational lecture. A lot of visuals of food that made everyone in the theater hungry. I was actually expecting a little bit more from Chef Adria. I was ready to be moved and be blown away but it didn't quite get there. I understand what he's trying to say but I guess the delivery wasn't there. Probably it's the language barrier and the translator?? Nevertheless, I get to see and hear one of the world's greatest chef, got my cookbook signed and now will try to attempt recreating some of the food from the cookbook! This way, since I didn't have the chance to dine at El Bulli at least I'll get to have an idea what the staff has been eating.

Happy cooking!

The cookbook ready to be used! :)