Monday, April 7, 2008

Deep-fried lemons, or, Inspiration

Here at the Guerrilla Gourmet, we don't eat out much. We spend more time in our mountain redount (the kitchen at home), saving money and enjoying the process of cooking itself. But last night we, and a huge posse of young alumni from St. John's College, launched a daring raid on Globe, near Jackson Square. Such raids into more "gourmet" than "guerrilla" territory are pricey, but well worth the money in inspirational value. In fact, I would much rather save up for one $50 meal that teaches me something than blow the same amount on five meals that just stuff my belly.

I really should have brought my camera. Details after the jump!

We had the "Sunday Supper", a seasonal, locally-sourced prix-fixe menu. There were four options for each of four courses. I had beet green and farro soup with beet greens, carrots and barley-like grains in a beety-red broth. Then a salad of potaotes, chopped egg, mint, and olives with anchovy fillets on top. Then braised pork shoulder with brothy gigante beans and sliced baby artichokes. Finally, "Mt. Tam" cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery with toast points and dates. Tiffany had a super-garlicky romaine salad, deep-fried fava beans with deep-fried lemons, seared lamb and bitter greens, and an appley-tarty pastry.

The meal was good but not great. My pork was very tender but bland, the artichokes were fibrous, and the soup was rather bland. Tiffany's fava beans were delicious, but she had to pull the strings out of her teeth and the dressing on her salad literally burned with garlic. Also, the highly-recommended Tilamook mac'n'cheese was just not very Tilamooky. But the anchovy salad with potatoes was fantastic and I seriously considered gnawing the bone of Tiffan'y lamb chop when she was finished. Also, the broth with my pork was very rich and great with the beans. I probably wouldn't go back (it's a bit too much for anything short of perfection) but I was inspired by seeing a professional chef play with the same fresh, seasonal material I have at my own disposal.

A dish is already taking shape in my mind... The next time I'm at Sun Fat, I will pick up some anchovies (or mackerel or sardines, they're all very cheap fish with similar character). At the farmer's market, I'll be on the look out for inexpensive little potatoes, baby artichokes, and meyer lemons. (I know Meyers aren't remotely in season, but in California they bear at least some fruit most of the year.) Gigante beans shouldn't be hard to find either. Grill the fish; roast potatoes and olives then garnish with fresh mint from the garden; sautee slices of artichoke with beans, white wine and garlic. Dredge and deep fry some slice of lemon (and maybe capers?) and toss over all. Hmm...

An intersting note: that afternoon there was an alumni reception at The Waterfront Restaurant on, well, the waterfront. As we were leaving Globe, arund 10:00pm the waiters from the reception came strolling in, presumably jonesing for cocktails. The place is open until one in the morning on weekends, and I gather it's an after-work gathering spot for chefs, waiters, and other industry rogues. Maybe I will go back some late night...