Sunday, May 01, 2011

James Beard Foundation Dinner: A Dream Team Assembled

James Beard Foundation Dinner
April 9, 2011

My husband and I have stayed at One Ocean multiple times, it is our "close to home" escape. This year's occasion was our second wedding anniversary and I saw this James Beard Foundation Dinner was the very same weekend. At $125 a person some say it was a bit pricey however when I thought of the five chefs who would be cooking and the five courses that would be perfectly paired with wine I knew it was a steal! Not to mention we found out that Jacksonville hadn't hosted a James Beard dinner before so we were all to happy to be part of history.

The table setting was gorgeous and unique no table cloth just a silver finished table and bunch of white hydrangeas 

First Course Seared Day Boat Scallop and Sweet Pea Puree paired with 2008 Sebastiani "Unoaked" Chardonnay, Sonoma County California

A perfectly seared scallop with this light pea puree so bright and fresh and spring. This dish was Chef Tom Gray from Bistro Aix
Before each dish the chefs spoke about the dish from the kitchen while the sound and image was shown in the dining room this really gave it a very intimate feel.

Second Course Pork Belly, Poached Egg, Pumpernickel, Bacon Shards Ynez Valley California

How do you make bacon fat powder? Have you had many poached eggs for dinner? I can't answer these questions but I can tell you it was delicious the pumpernickel with sherry vinegar cut the fatty pork belly and the egg was creamy. This screams Orsay to me not that this is on the menu but the three pork elements and great use of egg is something that I notice on the Orsay menu when I visit.   

Third Course Cepe Mushroom Agnolotti in white truffle emulsion paired with 2008 Lincourt Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills California

I have to admit this was the one dish I had no idea what it was going to be. I didn't  know Agnolotti was a type of pasta. I will say this dish was fantastic and even thought is was light in color the mushroom and truffle (you can never go wrong with truffle) were great with the Pinot.  This dish was Matthew Medure.

Fourth Course Spring Lamb Loin paired with 2007 Kuleto Estate Syrah, Napa Valley California

I love lamb! This perfectly rare lamb was paired with baby corn and fava beans and a spring salad that kep things light since we were at the fourth course.

Fifth Course Fresh Strawberry Tart Basil IceCream paired with Chalk Hill Semillion, Sonoma County California

After all this food you realy need a light fresh dessert and this was exactly that. The tart strawberries and ice cream were delicious satisfied a sweet tooth and a great ending to the evening.

These delightful chocolates were passed to each table and looked beautiful however I couldn't possibly have another bite I felt terrible to waste them so I took pictures to preserve them. I would have loved a little favor box or bag that I could have packed these up for later. I have no idea where they are from so if you know please send me a message.

Wine Footnote: I apologize for not talking about the wine paired with each course more. The fact is they were all perfect and it is exactly the purpose of a chef's menu paired with wine it is what I can't do at home without some assistance from my friends at wine warehouse.  The pairings were great and I appreciated that each course was mindful of the next not too heavy, not a bunch of the same flavors.

One Ocean is always great. This time the dinner was really something special to mark a special occasion and it became a special occasion itself. We lucked out by having fun foodies Maria Coppola & Jon Cummins as table mates. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Azurea at One Ocean on Urbanspoon
Bistro Aix on Urbanspoon
Matthew's on Urbanspoon
Orsay on Urbanspoon

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