(early july. number 5.)
This Secret Restaurant was inspired by our very own cultural heritages, which just so happen to be, at their most simplified: German, Polish, English. It was a "wear it loud and proud" honoring of our European immigrant forefathers. And what would a WWII dinner be without Italian and French thrown in there too?
• Vichyssoise- Chilled Potato and Leek Soup
With lots of extra fennel
• Pierogi– 3 [Kale/Kraut, Artichoke/Adele. Buttermilk Mashed Potato/Garlic]
Half circular dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with above fillings, boiled then pan fried until golden brown. Adele is a sheep and cow milk cheese made near Portland.
• Rettichsalat– Shaved radish salad w/cider vinegar, walnut oil, chives, and dill.
• Pie– Porcini/Morel Mushroom 'Black Pudding' with grilled 'Game Sausage' and Zucchini. Shortcrust pastry bottom + Bubble & Squeak top.
The creation of this pie was to share and celebrate the flavors of classic English entrees, most of which get a bad rap in the food world, and virtually non of which are commonly made vegetarian.
Pie crust: accented with fresh sage.
Bottom layer: Pseudo "black" or "blood" pudding, created with mushrooms, rye bread crumbs, yellow onions, fresh garlic, red wine, mustard, herbs, and 'game sausage.'
Second layer: Lightly sauteed summer zucchini
Third layer: Morel mushrooms in mushroom gravy
Forth layer: Porcini mushroom slices sauteed in butter
Top crust: "Bubble & Squeak" a cabbage/potato fritter seasoned with sea salt & black pepper.
Topping: Orange and black figs, Neil's Yard raw milk cheddar, and pickled green tomato.
• Mussolini's Trousers– Fresh sardine, roasted elephant garlic cloves, and fresh bing cherries
The fish was salted with large mexican sea salt crystals, broiled, then crisped in flames, on a skewer.
• Kale Kraut– fermented marriage of cabbage and dino kale.
• German Jewelbox– Selection of pickled curiosities (peppercorns and red grapes, carrots, snow peas), wholegrain mustard, herb and flower salad.
Mille-feuille– The "Napoleon" Custard Slice
"Thousand-leaf" - named for the 729 sheets in the three layers of homemade all-butter puff pastry. Alternating with layers of vanilla, ginger and white chocolate pastry cream, cherries and peaches. Topped with whipped cream and more cherries.
Sticky Spotted Dick Toffee– A medley of 2 favorite english puddings
Stick toffy pudding made with dates and molasses, layered with Spotted Dick pudding (a slow-steamed pudding made with raisons and cream). Topped with toffee sauce, hard rum sauce, and fresh currants. Passed around and torn into with spoons, in celebration of the Britt's mode of dessert consumption.
Course 1: A shot of Potato Vodka
Monopolowa was a pre-war brand from Poland produced by J.A. Baczewski, and now post-war produced by the Austrian liquor firm Gessler, from Polish potatoes (the American import version still sports the charmingly retro Baczewski label).
Course 2: Beer or Wine
Sokol Blosser 2009 Müller-Thurgau & Sokol Blosser 2009 Pinot Blanc
Sokol Blosser is one of the Willamette Valley's oldest vineyards, and the names are from Czech-Polish & Swiss-German heritage, respectively, so I guess it counts! Born of a cross between Riesling and the lesser-known Chasselas, Müller is fruity and floral, but relatively low in acid which gives it a richer body and makes for easy-drinking. The Sokol Blosser Pinot Blanc is definitely in the Alsatian style: crisp and bracing with layers of minerality beneath notes of summer herbs and citrus.
Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier is on the sweeter end of the spectrum, laden with the warmer tones of bananas and caramel, and killer with the English "Pie." The other German beer, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, is on the much drier side from the Franziskaner, expressing more citrus and baking spice (predominantly clove) notes.
For England, a traditional Lager from Samuel Smith. Light, but not too light, there are faint aromas of crisp yellow apples and hops, with a smooth malt palate. A great pairing for the more subtle items on the plate. The other "English" beer actually hailed from Seattle, the Pyramid Brewery Thunderhead IPA.