October’s Full Moon Dinner Benefiting the Family Resource Center

October’s full moon fell on Wednesday, October 24th, one week before Halloween, so it seemed fitting to choose a Halloween related theme for our Full Moon Dinner. Our chefs came up with the theme of Let’s Play Dress Up playing on the holiday tradition of dressing up in costume. The evening’s playful menu, designed by Head Chef Lori, featured food in disguise using molecular gastronomy to transform familiar flavors into unexpected dishes. The October Full Moon Dinner was also a benefit for the Family Resource Center who received the proceeds from the event totaling over $800.

Moon Trees Full Sky Silhouette Starry Planet

To begin the meal diners were served a surprise amuse bouche of dehydrated olive soil, radish, and goat cheese foam made using whipped xanthan gum. The first course followed, a watermelon salad with compressed watermelon, basil gelee, feta mousse, and a walnut lace cookie. The light, slightly sweet starter was paired with a 2017 Sauvion Les Fondettes Sancerre.

 

For the second course our chefs constructed a seafood Neapolitan tower from crispy dough layers and fresh caught fish served over a red pepper roulie. The seafood course was paired with a chilled glass of 2015 Domaine Ferret Pouilly-Fuisse.

 

 

Taking a twist on a classic French dessert, the third course presented by Chef Lori was a savory foie gras creme brulee served with a glass of 2014 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas from the central coast of California.

 

 

Our palate cleansing intermezzo followed, a perfect bite of liquid pea ravioli spheres served with a sprig of fresh mint. Pulling from her molecular gastronomy knowledge Chef Lori used cold oil spherification to make the unique dish dropping cooled oil into warm agar (a vegetarian alternative to gelatin made from a seaweed base) to form the ravioli spheres.

 

 

Our smoked beef tartare for the fourth course was served still smoking (see the video on our Facebook page), the technique adding a fun and aromatic element to the dish that complimented the savory aspects of the beef and the egg yolk, which was cured with alder wood smoked sea salt and sugar for 16 hours. The tartare was served with a fresh herb salad and a glass of 2010 Numanthia Tempranillo, known for its deep and dense flavors.

6th dessertDessert for the October Full Moon Dinner was a beetroot, dark chocolate, raspberry, and black olive dish conceived through the principles of Foodpairing, a culinary technique that creates dishes by matching the key aromas for each ingredient. In this dish the beetroot shares woody notes with the chocolate and olives while also matching to the lighter, floral notes of the raspberries. Put all together the seemingly disparate ingredients act in unison to produce a uniquely harmonious dessert. It was paired with a glass of 2013 Terraza Single Vineyard Malbec, a wine with complimentary berry and chocolate flavors.

group picProceeds from the dinner, $825 in total, were donated to the Family Resource Center , a non-profit group that works tirelessly to end family violence in the Virgin Islands and offer support and shelter for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. At St. John Catering we are proud to support this local USVI non-profit and want to thank everyone at our October Full Moon Dinner that helped us raise money for their cause.

Our next Full Moon Dinner is Saturday, November 24th. The theme will be Black & White as November’s full moon is the White Moon and the date of the full moon falls just after Black Friday. Like our previous Full Moon Dinners, the meal will feature a one night only menu with five delectable courses for $95 per person. For our November Full Moon Dinner, a Caribbean Wine Club pairing will also be available for an additional $30 per person.

The remaining Full Moon Dinner dates for the 2018/2019 winter season are:

  • November 24, 2019 // THEME: Black & White
  • December 2018: no full moon dinner
  • January 21, 2019 // THEME: Packages & Parcels
  • February 19, 2019 // THEME: Little Baby Things

Full Moon Dinners are held at Lucky Chops Lounge in Cruz Bay (at the former Fish Trap restaurant space) and hosted in partnership with St. John Catering. Full Moon Dinners are one night only events with limited available seating, so reservations are required (340-690-3868).

v2 NOV postcatd

Advertisements

October’s Full Moon Dinner happening NEXT WEEK (10/24)

Moon Trees Full Sky Silhouette Starry Planet

We’re so excited to be coming up on the second FULL MOON DINNER of 2018, which is happening Wednesday, October 24th at Lucky Chops Lounge. Last month’s dinner, Arabian Nights, was a hit with a menu that showcased the exotic cuisine of the Middle East and was inspired by the Harvest Full Moon.

yolk and wine OCT 24

For October’s Full Moon Dinner the chefs are drawing on the Halloween season for inspiration with the theme of the night being Let’s Play Dress Up. The one-night-only menu will feature food in disguise as the chefs use molecular gastronomy and their own creativity to transform ordinary ingredients into fantastic creations as beautiful as they are delicious(see full menu below). For this Full Moon Dinner there will be a wine pairing to go with the five course meal, and the wines served will also be available for purchase at wholesale price on the evening of the event.

Reservations are required for all Full Moon Dinners, so call today to reserve your spot for this one-night-only culinary event (340-690-3868)

Moon Trees Full Sky Silhouette Starry Planet

Arabian Nights for the Harvest Full Moon Dinner

When the Harvest Full Moon rose over St. John on September 24th we welcomed guests to our first Full Moon Dinner since Hurricane Irma hit in 2017. And it seemed fitting that our first full moon dinner would be beneath the Harvest Moon.

The Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the first day of fall, was named for farmers putting in long hours in the autumn to work their land and harvest their summer crops. Though there isn’t much farming on St. John now, this past year we’ve seen many hard days and long nights as we too work our land rebuilding St. John post-hurricanes. However, the Harvest Moon isn’t just about work; it’s also about the bounty of the earth, about reaping what you sow, and being thankful for what you have. That message also rang true this year for all of us as at St. John Catering.

So when we started to talk about the return of full moon dinners and our first dinner in September, we wanted a theme that encompassed both the the indefatigable nature represented by the Harvest Moon and the abundance. What we came up with was Arabian Nights; the stories of a woman (Shahrazad) who, for a thousand and one nights, worked to save her own life by placating the murderous King with fantastic stories of adventure and opulence eventually becoming the Queen. From hard work to bounty, so went the story of Shahrazad, and so too was our theme for the evening.Arabian menu + drinksInspired by Arabian Nights, which was a collection of stories from around Asia and the Middle East, Chef Jehoiada “Jeh” Roberts conceptualized the menu for the Arabian Nights Full Moon Dinner so that it would highlight dishes from around the region.

1_amuseDiners began the meal with a special amuse bouche of a Dueling Beet Hummus Cucumber Cup prepared by the Head Chef of the evening, Lori Dudkin, along with a glass of spiked carrot kombucha with cantaloupe juice. The kombucha was brewed by our sister company and co-host for the evening, Lucky Chops Lounge.

Next came the first course: Fried Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds. Chef Lori’s daughter even made a special trip to St. Thomas just for said pomegranate because it is such an important ingredient in traditional Middle-Eastern cuisine, having been cultivated and cooked within the region since ancient times.

1st course.jpgThe second course served was Shorabit Jarjir, a red lentil and squash soup. Its earthy flavors were perfectly suited for our first fall dinner (autumn having officially started just two days before on Sept. 22). We served our soup with house-made grilled flat bread, and for guests having the drink pairings a glass of Alois Lageder 2012 Pinot Bianco.

To cleanse the palate, we next served a vegan Mango Sorbet, which obtained its creaminess from the natural texture of the fruit.

The main course for our Arabian Nights dinner was Djaj Bil-Bahar Il-Asfar. This dish comes from Iraq and is an intensely fragrant yellow spice-rubbed chicken that we served with a pearl couscous that was tossed with bits of dried fruit and almonds for crunch. The dish was paired with a crisp glass of Simi Chardonnay 2016 Sonoma County.Main & Dessert.jpgThe meal ended on sweet note with a bountiful piece of Semolina Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Water and a glass of Bedin Rose Frizzante, a Merlot Rose from Veneto, Italy. Chef Lori made some Hibiscus Syrup to brighten the plate and cut through the dense cake.  Guests also got a sweet treat to take home with them, a piece of handmade baklava.diner guestsWe hope all our guest who attended the Arabian Nights Full Moon Dinner enjoyed the evening. For us it was not only a pleasure to cook for our guests, but also a milestone in our recovery story. Hosting the Full Moon Dinner at Lucky Chops Lounge meant restarting a pre-storm tradition in our new post-storm home, our personal bounty after a year of hard work. The creativity and camaraderie of our shared meal was invigorating, and a wonderful reminder of why we started this culinary tradition back in 2016.

group photoNext month the full moon falls on Wednesday, October 24th. Our theme for evening will be Let’s Play Dress Up, a lighthearted meal inspired by the costumes of Halloween that will feature food in disguise. Seating is limited and reservations are required (340-690-3868)

Additional dates for 2018/2019 include:

  • Oct. 24th: Let’s Play Dress Up
  • Nov. 24th: Black Friday, White Moon
  • December: no full moon dinner
  • Jan. 21st: Packages & Parcels
  • Feb. 19th: Little Baby Things

 

Full Moon Dinners Return

Before the storms last September, St. John Catering had the tradition of hosting monthly full moon dinners at our Windy Level Event Center. These monthly pop-up events were popular with locals and tourists looking for a unique, one of a kind dining experience on St. John. Each full moon dinner featured a themed menu and optional drink pairing served beneath a beautiful full moon on the patio at Windy Level Event Center.

Pre full moon dinners

However, this tradition stopped when Irma hit and the Windy Level Event Center was destroyed. Since then owner Mathayom and his crew have been working hard to rebuild St John Catering finding a new home at Lucky Chops Lounge in Cruz Bay. Now, a year after the storms the tradition of monthly full moon dinners is returning this time being hosted at Lucky Chops Lounge.

In the past menus for full moon dinners have ranged from explorations of local cuisine and produce, such as at our Crucian Collaboration Full Moon Dinner, to bountiful samplings of exotic and unique flavors such as our Thai One On or Kickin’ Ash dinners. For the return of Full Moon Dinners on September 24th the theme will be Arabian Nights, a celebration of bounty and thankfulness in honor of the harvest moon.

Arabian Nights menu

Reservations are recommended as seating will be limited for this special event; call Lucky Chops to make a reservation (340-690-3868). If you can’t make the first Full Moon Dinner mark your calendar with the upcoming Full Moon Dinner dates as this will again be a monthly event:

  • October 24: Let’s Play Dress Up
  • November 24: Black Friday, White Moon
  • December: no full moon dinner
  • January 21: Packages & Parcels
  • February 19: Little Baby Things

Like us on Facebook or follow our blog for updates and the latest information on full moon dinners and other special events.

St. John Catering: 6 months after the storms

luckychopslocationphotosmarch2018.jpg

From destruction comes opportunity, and for us at St. John Catering & Mathayom Private Chefs, we have certainly borne witness to this truth. Having experienced both the destructive forces of the 2017 hurricane season on St. John as well as the new growth and rebuilding efforts on island that came as a result, we are proud to share our progress with you.

In September 2017 we lost our Windy Level Event Space in Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm which along with Hurricane Maria ravaged the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In the months since we’ve been working hard to rebuild under the guidance of Owner/Head Chef Mathayom Vacharat operating first briefly through the Little Olive Food Truck in Cruz Bay before moving to our new permanent home at Lucky Chops in the former Fish Trap restaurant (scheduled to open in Spring 2018).

Our new space at Lucky Chops has afforded us a new home with larger kitchen and storage facilities, plus a newly renovated space for events right in the heart of Cruz Bay. We have indoor and covered outdoor seating, as well as a private, 800 square foot, air-conditioned bar, where we can host upwards of 100 guests.  We will be serving fast-casual Asian inspired appetizers and small plates, and the vibe will be relaxed and spacious.

The new location will also serve as home base for St. John Catering and Mathayom Private Chefs. The kitchen is up and running, which means we are now ready, willing and 100% able to handle any catering or private chef needs for the 2018 season and beyond. Our prices will remain unchanged for this season, and we plan to revise our catering menus over the summer.

So please keep us in mind for all your catering needs from intimate in-villa dinners to extravagant beach weddings, and as the new culinary destination coming soon to Cruz Bay. We are here to serve the community of St. John and the Virgin Islands, and are extremely grateful to still be doing so.

1 hightops lounge

1 outdoor lounge wide

Transformation is underway at Raintree Court in Cruz Bay!

Feb rennovation pic_Lucky Chops.jpg

The St. John Catering team is busy completing the process of renovating the former Fish Trap restaurant, which permanently closed its doors after the hurricane season in 2017.  We wish former proprietors Aaron and Lisa all the best in their future endeavors, and thank the entire Willis family for the opportunity to continue serving the community of St. John.

We are extremely excited to announce that our newest venture, the Lucky Chops lounge, will be opening soon in this space. With a welcoming, relaxed island feel right in the heart of Cruz Bay, Lucky Chops will feature an expansive covered outdoor seating area and an 800 square foot enclosed air-conditioned bar.

In addition to the bar menu which includes Chef Mathayom’s island-famous home-brewed Kombucha, cocktails, and cold beer; the small plates menu will showcase Asian-inspired dishes with a focus on being fresh, fast, frugal, and family-friendly – somewhere between regular bar fare, fine dining, and the currently-trending fast-casual service.

While the renovations are being finished at Lucky Chops, the kitchen is already open for our St. John Catering clients. Chef Mathayom Vacharat and his team are already hard at work with weddings, private dinners and charity events on St John, St Thomas and beyond.

Last month’s “Hit Makers and Rum Chasers” benefit in Nashville was a great success and brought in over $50,000 in much-needed donations to the Virgin Islands schools and children’s organizations, and we were grateful to be a part of it.

As we focus on our new venture, we will be ending our partnership with the Little Olive food truck at the end of February so that we can plan a grand opening for Lucky Chops sometime in March 2018. But keep your eye out on Little Olive’s specials board, you might get a taste of what’s to come as we test out recipes for Lucky Chops!

Stay tuned to the St. John Catering blog and Facebook page for more updates and information on our progress, and thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout the years.

 

Fish Trap gets new life with St. John Catering

We are excited to announce that Mathayom Private Chefs and St. John Catering is taking over the restaurant formerly known as the Fish Trap in Cruz Bay.

fish trap 1

The move represents a huge move forward for us after losing our previous space, Windy Level, in Hurricane Irma last September. Since then the team, under Chef/Owner Mathayom Vacharat, has been working hard to rebuild taking over the Little Olive Food Truck in December and the Fish Trap starting in 2018. We have also continued to provide the best in catering and private chef services across St. John and the Virgin Islands and are now taking reservations for the 2018 season.

As for our new space at the former Fish Trap restaurant owner Mathayom says, “We are going to make some big changes and hope to have our new space up and operating by mid-February,” so stay tuned for the grand unveiling in 2018. “And a big thank you to all the friends, family, and clients who have helped us get back on track so quickly; we look forward to serving the community once again.”

newyears 1

Hit Makers & Rum Chasers: A hurricane relief concert for the children of the USVI

Nashville HM & RC flyer

Hello Nashville! Mark your calendars for January 30 because St. John Catering and Mathayom Private Chefs are coming to town for the Hit Makers & Rum Chasers hurricane relief concert. We are excited to be working on this event with the Charley Foundation, a non-profit organization in Nashville dedicated to improving the quality of life for children in need. Our own Mathayom Vacharat will be the guest chef at this night of food and music to benefit the children of the US Virgin Islands whose lives were adversely affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September 2017. We are forever grateful to organizations like the Charley Foundation for their continued support of St. John’s recovery, and we look forward to being a part of the Hit Makers & Rum Chasers hurricane relief concert.

Event information

  • Date & Time: Tuesday, January 30, 2018; 6:30pm dinner, 7:30pm concert
  • Location: City Winery Nashville
  • Ticket sales: charleyfoundation.org ($125 dinner & cocktails; $50 general admission)

Little Olive, our temporary home after the storms

b4 after collage with frame.jpg

Owner Mathayom Vacharat leaning out the back of the Little Olive Food Truck, a new venture for his business St. John Catering. Inset picture shows Windy Level Event Space, his old establishment that was leveled by Hurricane Irma in September.

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season is over, but it will not soon be forgotten. It transformed St. John and the Virgin Islands as one of the most destructive seasons in the Greater Antilles with damages estimated to be in the billions across the Caribbean. The storms changed both the physical landscape of the region as well as the lives of everyone who has come to live on or love these tiny, emerald islands.

With a resilient island spirit, St. Johnians would not wallow but rather rallied and days after Hurricane Irma struck reconstruction efforts were already underway. However, we’ve found that rebuilding after the storms hasn’t simply been about recreating things exactly as they were before because St. John will never be exactly as it was before. Instead we’ve had to adapt to unexpected opportunities and changes that arose in the wake of the hurricanes.

One of the most exciting opportunities we’ve had is to temporarily take over the Little Olive Food Truck in Cruz Bay (DMV parking lot). With Chef Shelly McElligott making breakfast and lunch daily we’re able to continue producing delicious food reflective of our dedication to rich flavors and the utilization of changing local ingredients.

Open weekdays from 11-5. Follow our Facebook page for daily menu specials and any changes to normal operating hours.

LO food 1LO Mat sooncomeLO food 2Lo printed menubetter ahead sign

August 2017 Full Moon Dinner – Crucian Collaboration #1

FullSizeRender_5

When I went to St. Croix for their annual Taste of St. Croix this year, http://tasteofstcroix.com/ I was once again taken aback by the level of talent that the chefs there have on the regular, as well as the relationships that they cultivate with the local farmers. The agriculture community on Twin Cities is very in touch with the culinary world, and the final result is a food scene that is mature and robust.

While we do have our maintain our own garden next to the kitchen, have an organic farm in Coral Bay, and work with local fishing charters for product, the variety of locally sourced ingredients on St. Croix simply eclipses what we have on St. John.

As I was sitting at breakfast with other guest judges and one of the main organizers and producers of the event, Jane Watkins, and was expressing my jealousy of the chefs on our sister island having such abundant access to locally grown produce, she suggested that I try to find a way to collaborate with some of the passionate restaurateurs and chefs there. So I took her suggestion.

It has taken some time to organize, but this month, we welcomed our first guest chef of what we hope is many. Ryan Bennett is a former co-worker of one of our chefs, Vince Alterio, from back in their Chicago days, and has the culinary background to stand up with the best of them, including time working in some premier restaurants in Chicago, such as Gather and Graham Elliot before moving to St. Croix.

He is currently at Brew STX, an establishment not necessarily known for fine dining, but Ryan designed a menu that was both eclectic and familiar at the same time. We joined forces with Paul Kessock at Bellows International to pair a trio of Rose’s with the courses.

August’s menu was 90-95% locally-sourced and featured Caribbean-inspired flavors.  Here’s what our guests had to look forward to:

Sofrito Shellfish Consommé: Butter Sauce Conch / Avocado Puree / Salt Fish Lavash / Pickled Green Papaya / Fresh Racao

Pairing: Miraval Rose’

Roast Goat Roti: Crispy Roti /Tender Goat / Sweet Potato Puree & Chip / Mint / Turmeric / Coconut Rice

Pairing: Montes Cherub Rose’

Fruit: Mango ice cream / Pineapple Johnny Cake / Coconut Crunch / Lemongrass Gastrique / Basil / Crispy Plantain

Pairing: Josh Cellars Rose’

In addition, Chef Ryan and Chef Vince treated our patrons to some “one-bite” amuse bouche style plates.  This was the first time I got to attend as a guest, and although I won’t divulge what those one-bites were, I can tell you they were delicious!  OK, I may have had some wine and can’t remember properly at this time, so instead I will distract you with pictures of food.

The soup course was meticulously plated prior to being dropped in front of the customers.  The broth was a concoction of Thai Basil Tea and Habanera Peppers, and was poured table side from French presses after the bowls were set down.

Chef Ryan sourced out locally made roti shells on St. Croix, and chose to plate with braised local goat, sweet potato (two ways: chip and puree), mint, turmeric, and coconut rice.  All of the guests completed decimated their plates.

 

“Fruit” dessert: As promised, a combination of tropical flavors that seemed to explode on the plate, as well as on the palate.

We look forward to welcoming Chef Frank Robinson, a St. Croix native, in November for the second in our Collaboration Series.

Special thanks to St. John Inn for housing our guest chefs and providing a special rate for anyone wishing to stay the night and attend one of our dinners.  Check them out here: http://www.stjohninn.com/?gclid=CKO144bo8NUCFUxahgod9ckDAA

September’s dinner will be around the Harvest Moon and feature foods from the Great Midwest.  Friday, September 8th, so call us to reserve early!  340-777-5464.

 

 

July 2017 Full Moon Dinner – Thai One On

Sorry for the late post!  We have been working very hard in what is the busiest July I can remember, which is great, of course, but also comes at a cost: less time for the beach, friends, music, exercise, and obviously, blog posts.

We did still have time enough to throw together a Full Moon Dinner, and it was our most popular ever, with 70 guests.  Since I had just gone to Thailand and Vietnam to visit some family and had brought back authentic spices and ingredients, it seemed fitting to share that with our guests, especially since there are no real Thai or Vietnamese restaurants in the Virgin Islands, at least that I know of.  To keep the experience even more authentic, and to make it (a little) easier on ourselves, we decided to make the dinner family-style, since most meals in Thailand and Vietnam are served this way.  I guess that’s why I always want my girlfriend to split entrees with me when we go out.  I like variety.

Courses came out one after the other, and since we were in the kitchen getting things out in a hurry, I completely forgot to take any pictures of anything.  So, to fill whatever visual cravings you might have, I am going to post some pictures from my trip instead.  The trip inspired me to connect with more of my roots and family, and was an opportunity to show my son another side of the world.

We paired up with Southern Glazer’s and brought in a few different Sierra Nevada Beers as well as some Suntory Whiskey for the event.

Here is the menu we designed for July 10th, 2017:

In addition to the Curry Trio (Massaman, Panang, and Green), Green Papaya Salad with fresh, local Papaya, Spicy Beef Salad, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Fish Cakes, Son-in-Law Eggs, Sticky Rice, Jasmine Rice, and Teas, we also had some some Bun (Rice Noodles), Tom Ka Soup, and array of sauces and pickled vegetables.  We also finished with a Thai Iced Tea Popsicle.

All of the food was born of the idea that we wanted to treat folks to an experience as close to what they would get in Southeast Asia as possible.  The extremely hot weather certainly helped us achieve our goal!

Here are some of the places, faces, and flavors that helped this idea come to fruition…

FullSizeRender_8

‘Pon de River!

IMG_3984

The mountains above Chiang Mai

IMG_3861

Chatuchak Market

FullSizeRender

Reclining Buddha

FullSizeRender_1

Heart to the sky

 

Our journey to us first to Bangkok, where my son and I met up with many members of our family.  It was his first time meeting my father’s side, since we live so far away.  From there, we headed to Chiang Mai to spend some time connecting with even more family (28 members in all made it to this part of the visit).

FullSizeRender_15

Lyric, Hua, and Nick enjoying lunch

 

A quick few days in Vietnam took us from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi to Halong Bay, and back to Ho Chi Minh.

With markets all over the place, it was hard to resist filling our suitcases with fantastic flavors.  We definitely did not bring back any fresh fruits or vegetables, as per the USDA regulations.  Wouldn’t want to risk losing our Global Entry statuses, after all.

 

Throughout, it was an amazing trip filled with new experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  Dreaming about going back as soon as possible and spending even more time there.

I hope that our guests enjoyed the evening and got the feeling that they were transported to another locale for just a few hours.

August’s Full Moon Dinner was another amazing time.  Stay tuned for the next update, soon come.

 

May 2017 Full Moon Dinner – Kickin’ Ash: Smoked and Grilled

The May Full Moon represents, in many ways, a fresh start.  It’s called the “Flower Moon”, “Milk Moon”, or “Planting Moon”.  For those of us in the service industry on St. John, it usually marks a period when High Season comes to a close, and we are finally slow enough to take a rare break before Wedding Season and Carnival start kicking in.  For many people in the States, it constitutes the end of the school year, the approach of Memorial Day and summer, and weekends outdoors with the family.

To that end, we wanted to do a dinner that was a tribute to the beginning of BBQ Season.  What better way than to build our own Grill Pit for the occasion?  The talented Chef Ben Lewis spearheaded our project from head to toe, with the assistance of Chefs Vince Alterio and Pat Ryan, and got the entire thing sketched, sourced, and built in less than a week’s time!  Our space just got a Redneck Upgrade in a very cool way.

 

We collaborated with Glazer’s Premier, who hooked us up with Hess Wines for this event.  Take a look at the menu and pairings:

Folks were actually texting us about how excited they were for this dinner, especially the meat portions!  Let’s take a look at the courses in detail.

Course 1: Full Nest Syndrome


Grilled Quail / Chorizo-Date Stuffing / Sweet Potato / Smoked Pepper Sauce

We decided to build this plate like the bird was sitting in an actual nest, so we threaded and fried the Sweet Potato, perched it on a plate that was dusted with Moringa Powder, and accented it with our Smoked Pepper Sauce.  The Quail was par-grilled on our new toy and finished in the oven prior to plating.  Sekhem, Mathew’s son, was thrilled to help stoke the fires!

 

 

Course 2: Day and Night


Day: Morbier / Quail Egg / Lardon / Grilled Brioche

Night: Morbier Fondue / Short Rib Skewer

Here, the goal was to create a dish that used the same ingredient in two different ways.  We chose Morbier because of it’s duality.

From Wikipedia: “Traditionally, the cheese consists of a layer of morning milk and a layer of evening milk. When making Comté (cheese), cheesemakers would end the day with leftover curd that was not enough for an entire cheese. Thus, they would press the remaining evening curd into a mold, and spread ash over it to protect it overnight. The following morning, the cheese would be topped up with morning milk.”

The Quail Egg was a simple sunny side execution, and the Lardon was Apple Wood Smoked Bacon that was grilled and then thick cut.  The Fondue was actually more of a Mornay, but we weren’t splitting hairs that day.  We did a 13 hour Sous Vide on the Short Rib prior to slicing and skewering, and dusted it with Smoked Paprika.

 

Course 3: Dust in the Wind


Smoked Wahoo / Lime Ash / Windy Level Greens

Fairly straight-forward and clean flavors dominated this plate.  Even though the Wahoo was smoked, we brightened it up and made it into a salad with Radish and Preserved Lemon, then stuffed it into Baby Romaine from our garden, tied with Lemongrass.

There were two types of Lime Ash on the plate.  One was rich and dark, made from the rinds, with almost a roasted coffee feel.  The other was dehydrated Lime Juice, which added the tart, citrus notes.

We finished the plate with Charred Tomato, Preserved Lemon, Green Goddess Dressing, and Nasturtium Petals.

 

Course 4: Table Top Luau


Al Pastor Roast Pork / Taro / Charred Pineapple

Chef Ben Lewis really wanted to take charge of this main dish, so we gave him free reign to cook the pork as he envisioned.  Marinated slices of Pork Shoulder were layered and skewered, wrapped, then set in a water bath for 18 hours.  After chilling it to retain it’s shape, they were then wedged in between Pineapple tops and bottoms, brushed with a spicy balsamic reduction, charred, and roasted to bring back to temperature.  We served these standing up, surrounded by a nest of Grilled Pineapple, Fresh Thyme, and Chicharrones.

Side dishes to complete the Luau feel were Taro for Caribbean Poi, Forbidden Black Rice, a Jalapeno Bread Panzanella, and a Roasted Beet “Poke”.  We gave each communal table a knife and designated one of the patrons to be the carver.  I think having guests participate in the action gave every table more of a family feel and some easy talking points.

 

Course 5: Go Nuts, Go Bananas


Grilled Banana Bread Tamale / Cinnamon Ice Cream / Smoked Pecans

Usually by the time dessert comes around at our dinners, our guests are full and happy.  So we have gotten into the habit of reducing our portion sizes a bit with the hope that no one leaves overstuffed.  We purposefully made our sweet treats more lightweight this time, especially considering that some of our dishes were on the heavier side of the palate.

Taking Banana Leaves from our garden, we softened them in hot water and rolled cigar-sized tamales.  After baking them, we set aside and grilled them to bring them back up to a nice, warm temperature, as well as add that light smokiness we were using as our central theme.  After pairing it with a small scoop of Cinnamon Ice Cream, Smoked Pecans, and Smoked Maple Syrup, we sent it out into the dining areas.

 

Overall, guests seemed to be pretty thrilled with everything.  Our front of house team crushed it (AGAIN), and in the kitchen, we had a ton of fun.  So much so that we forgot to take a group photo!  C’est la vie, no?

Join us on Friday, June 9th for the next exciting edition of the Full Moon Dinner!  I Bahn Heh: Local Flavors and Ingredients (5 courses).  Call us at 340-777-5464 to reserve your space, or just say hi.  It can get lonely behind a computer screen all day…

After that, we are planning some really special treats for the 2017-2018 Full Moon program, including possible collaborations from some guest chefs!  Keep an eye out for the schedule of concepts, and we hope you’ll be able to experience one for yourself sometime soon.