I just got back from the second annual LA Food & Wine festival. Sierra Mar was featured in three events and we took the opportunity to showcase some of our new recipes.
On the way down the coast we picked up 2000 oysters from Morro Bay and paired them with lemon verbena infused cucumber juice, balsamic pearls and borage blossoms. We displayed them on a custom ice-bar that encased pieces of giant kelp from Monterey Bay. The dish and presentation went over incredibly well and were a perfect fit for the record breaking heat wave. The most challenging part of the event was convincing people that the balsamic pearls were not caviar - something that worked to our benefit towards the end of the night when we ran out of oysters and filled the ice display with heaping plates that appeared to be piles of beluga caviar. Thanks to Johnny Jet for letting us use this picture below. Johnny had a great write up of the event that can be read here: http://ow.ly/d1uh6.
During the event's second night, we were honored to get an invitation to participate in the Delicacy Dinner in Laguna Beach. We prepared smoked steelhead trout roe with sweet corn pancakes and lime crème fraiche as a passed appetizer and local red abalone as the second course. We fresh shucked the abalone and pressed them with smoked kelp fronds so that by the time we reached LA, they were perfectly cured and ready to slice. The smoked giant kelp enhances the abalone’s naturally subtle flavors and reinforces its connection to the Big Sur Coast. Inspired by the expansive kelp beds that can be seen from the Sierra Mar dining room we paired the abalone with six varieties of locally foraged seaweed, each prepared in a unique fashion to complement their individual attributes. My two favorites were the crispy dulse leaves and pickled kelp stipes.
For the grand finale, we partnered up with Lone Mountain Ranch to showcase their 100% wagyu beef. These are some of the highest rated steaks in the world and the response from fellow chefs and food writers was unbelievable. We seared the wagyu rare and served it with pickled watermelon rind, elderflower compressed watermelon, spicy nasturtium aioli and Balinese black pepper.
In total we served just over 3000 people. It was amazing how many people approached us to share their experiences at Post Ranch and how much it meant to them.
Now that I am back home in Big Sur, it is time to continue developing dishes for my Taste of Big Sur menu that will be debuting the first week of September. Stay tuned for the newest creations from the Sierra Mar kitchen!