Saturday, April 24, 2010

I can't believe I didn't take any pictures last night. The food deserved it, the cocktails deserved it, but such a fine evening of dining and lovely company deserved to be spared the interruption of hand-held electronic devices.

The IACP "On the Rim: Pacific Rim Cuisine and Creative Cocktails" dinner at Saucebox turned out to be an evening of collaboration and innovation between the chef, purveyors and bartenders that, like everything at IACP, exceeded my expectations.

Chef Gregory Gourdet's talents do not often have the opportunity to shine in such a way, probably due to the restaurant's attractive bar menu. But his gift for utilizing Asian herbs and East Asian spices in the subtlest and most elegant way is something that I have never tasted before. Each bartender donated his time to create an original cocktail using craft spirits from House Spirits to complement each dish (without tasting the menu!), and these turned out to be perfect pairings. Enjoy reading the menu below, and imagine all of these bright flavors presented artfully on the plate, melding together in the most wondrous way with each sip of complex yet balanced cocktail.

First Course
Spice crusted Alaska sea scallops, espresso, cardamom, pineapple, pistachio
Rhuby Dawg
House Spirits unaged "White Dog" whiskey, housemade rhubarb syrup, aperol, lemon, rhubarb bitters
David Benedetti, Saucebox

Second Course
White asparagus veloute, Oregon dungeness crab, citrus flavours, petite herbs
True Oregon Martini
Aviation Gin, homemade vermouth of Oregon white wine and spirits, herbs, lemon zest
Neil Kopplin, Clyde Common

Third Course
Alaska halibut slowly baked in olive oil, spring onion compote, pioppino mushrooms, rhubarb, snap pea juice
The Seven Foals
Krogstad Aquavit, Lillet, raspberry eau de vie, Cointreau
Kelley Swenson, Ten-01

Milk chocolate and coconut bar, crunchy spice crumbles, chili flake, ginger, condensed milk sorbet
Improved Rum Cocktail
House Spirits Rum, Trader Tiki's "Don's Mix," hibiscus grapefruit bitters, Legendre Herbsaint
Dave Shenaut, Teardrop

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