June 2017 Full Moon Dinner – I Bahn Heh

Chefs: Mathayom Vacharat, Vincent Alterio, Patrick Ryan

Gardner: Mathew Gibney

The Crucian Dictionary defines the term ‘Bahn Heh’ or ‘Baan Ya’ as, “Born here. Native. Belonger. This expression, part of the vernacular since time immemorial, is increasingly heard as immigrant islanders assert themselves in the community. This is indeed unfortunate as one realizes that the most defiant shouters of ‘Baan ya’ are themselves children of an earlier wave of immigrants. [First seen in print in the St. Croix Avis, 18 Feb. 1868.]”

To that end, with St. John Carnival in full swing, we wanted the June Full Moon menu to celebrate what we felt was an amalgam of many of the different flavors that were brought to the Virgin Islands, added to the culinary melting pot, and presented as what are now considered local dishes.  We also wanted to use what is sourced locally, as is custom practice for our kitchen.

Of course, we had to put our own twist on things as well, so non-traditional was the norm.  We linked up with Bellows and West Indies to pick a variety of wine selections.

In keeping with our commitment to give back to the world community, we decided to match any contributions to our beloved Pan Dragons steel pan orchestra.  Our patrons generously donated at total of $325, for a grand total of $650 donated!  Thank you to everyone who gave.  Feel free to continue showing the music program some love here: https://www.gofundme.com/st-john-love-city-pan-dragon-steel

Without further ado, here is the menu:

SLOW SEASON: Windy Level Baby Romaine / Smoked Eggplant / Stuffed Crouton / Coconut Hot Pepper Sauce
Pairing: Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc

Flavor Injectors!

Smoked Eggplant, Stuffed Crouton, Hot Sauce, and Baby Romaine

The greens, including baby romaine and Swiss chard, were picked from our garden and shocked in ice water.  The eggplant came from the lovely ladies who have their produce stand in Cruz Bay Park, and we smoked it for about 2 hours.  The crouton was seared and then stuffed with a Buttermilk-Herb dressing.  The hot sauce was inserted into flavor injectors and positioned into the crouton.  Voila!

CARNIVAL TIME: Wahoo Kallaloo / Lobster Dumpling / Saltfish Escabeche
Pairing: William Hill Central Coast Chardonnay

Salt fish with a smoky essence, lobster dumpling in kallalo

I see food and I eat it!

A semi-traditional Kallaloo was made with Okra from Ridge to Reef Farm in St. Croix, celery, onions, flavor peppers, malabar spinach, lobster stock, and lots of love!  A dumpling with chunks of Rock Lobster tail was added at the end, and on the side, we served an escabeche of salt fish, topped with passion fruit from our vine, and placed under a glass dish filled with apple wood smoke.  Oregano was chosen for the garnish.

CORAL BAY MASSIVE: Salt Pond Salt-Crusted Pork / Pumpkin Johnny Cake / Jerk Mushroom Sauce
Pairing: Domaine Carneros Avante Garde Pinot Noir

Salt Pond is a treasure trove for harvesting our local salt supply, and our crew brought back about a year’s worth last month.  We decided to crust and roast a pork loin, then add a whole bunch of pumpkin flavor by way of pumpkin spice Johnny Cakes, pumpkin slaw, and pumpkin puree.  We finished the plate off with a Jerk-seasoned mushroom sauce, the ribs that were trimmed from the loin, and fresh scallion.

DRUNKEN GOAT: Mango Beer-Braised Goat / Green Pea Pastry / Oxtail Demi / Spicy Tomato Jam
Pairing: Achaval Ferrer Mendoza Malbec

We ended up using mutton instead of goat as our main protein, but then after making the oxtail demi, decided to mix the oxtail meat in with the mutton to create a delicious partnership of flavors.  Planning for something like a deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie, Chef Vinny took our peas and made a crispy flatbread from them.  The spicy tomato jam cut through the richness of the dish with spice and acidity, while hints of mango perfumed the meat.  A pistachio crust was then applied to brighten the plate and add a bit of crunchy texture.

RECOVERY AND THERAPY: Sweet Plantain Monfongo Napoleon / Champagne-Sorrel Sabayon / Chocolate
Pairing: Batsiolo Moscato Bosc D’La Rey

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We have had an abundant fruit season this year, and so plantains also made the menu.  Yes, it’s true that Mofongo is orginially from Puerto Rico, but since they are so very close and we are told to, “Love thy neighbor”, we figured why not incorporate the dish somehow.  Ripe plantains were cooked, mashed, and seasoned with a bit of chili, then formed into cakes seared.  Spiced Tuille Cookies were par-baked, cut, and finished off.  The Champagne Sabayon was infused with Sorrel Liqueur from St. John’s very own Sharelle Francis.  Plating involved Chocolate Ganache, and torching the Sabayon to create a burnt marshmallow flavor.  Eating it was like taking a weekend trip to visit Boricua.

Next month, for July, we will be exploring the flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine, and serving a fantastic family-style menu with beers and Suntori Whiskey.  Come Thai One On with us on Monday, July 10th.  Call our office during business hours to reserve a seat for only $55pp   340-777-5464

We are also SUPER excited at the prospect of having our first guest chef appearance in August by way of Digby Stridiron of Balter in St. Croix!  http://www.balterstx.com/ Saturday, August 5th is the date.   Mark it in your calendars now; it’s going to be epic.  We hope to have a guest chef about every three months.

We will be posting our upcoming concepts for the year very soon, so keep an eye on our homepage and our Facebook page for details.

Until next time, enjoy Carnival and the Holiday week!

 

 

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Thai Me Up! November 2016 Full Moon Dinner Recap

Wow, what a Super Moon (literally)! The closest one we’ve had in almost 70 years, and we were blessed enough to have great weather, during this otherwise rainy November, to be able to see it in all it’s spectacular beauty.

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“Hey, look!  The moon!  And some cars!”

We were also lucky enough to be able to get our new outside space pulled together just in time for a capacity crowd and our largest gathering to date, thanks to Mathew Gibney.  He’s our gardener AND handyman extraordinaire.  We think it came out pretty nice, and are looking to improve it even more for future events.  (REMEMBER: The Windy Level space is available for FREE* if you book a minimum of $2500 in catering services at our venue).

 

Onto the menu.  We’ve had a ton of requests for Asian-inspired food, so being the people-pleasers that we are, we developed a menu based on Mathayom’s childhood palate.  Here it is in all it’s glory:

Course #1 – Broken Summer Roll: Shrimp / Black Rice / Sweet Chili
Drink: Lemongrass & Thai Basil Mojito
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We wanted to make this one look like a “Shrimp Volcano”, with the Chili Sauce as the hot lava (not pictured)

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Apparently, it’s not pronounced, “Moe-JAI-toe”

Course #2 – Tom Ka Pĕd: Coconut Soup / Duck / Lime Leaf

For the soup course, we did a twist on the traditional Thai Coconut dish. Our version contained Duck Confit Dumplings, a trio of vegetables (Pearl Onion, Shiitake, Roasted Pepper), and fresh Lime Leaf from Chef Jeh’s garden.  We took some of the banana leaves from our garden, used them as covers, and added a touch of smoke to our version.

Course #3 – Pho Real:  Crispy Catch / Pho Fumet / Sweet Potato Glass Noodle
Drink Pairing: Spicy Mango-Tumeric Sour
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Chili threads accent the dish and add a pop of color

We got some snapper and created a glass noodle cake for the base.  For the sauce, Chef Nils made a local Wahoo Fumet and added some of the traditional spices and seasonings one might find in Pho, such as ginger, onion, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon.  We then reduced this down for an intense yet light flavor base.

Course #4 – 18th Parallel: Mango Pork / Purple Curry / Fried Basil
Drink Pairing: Lime Leaf Bourbon Ginger
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Purple Curry is the new Yellow Curry

For the meat course, we used a mixture of flavors that encompassed those found in both Southeast Asia as well as the Caribbean.  Because the climates are so similar, we have a lot of products that thrive in our respective environments, but are put together differently.  To make the purple curry, the chefs used beets, purple potatoes, coconut milk, and lots of love.  The pork shoulder was sliced, pounded, and braised with mango and spices, and we threw on some pumpkin for depth and color.  Thai Sticky Rice (sent down by Mat’s mom) and Fried Basil completed the dish.

 

Course #5 – Buddha Belly: Coconut Custard / Tea Redux / Rambutan Coulis
Drink Pairing: Spiked Thai Iced Tea

By the time dessert course came out, folks were busting at the seams, so we kept the portions small and manicured.  Chef Ben torched the tops of the Coconut Egg Custard to create a brulee effect, afterwhich the kitchen drizzled a jasmine tea reduction and rambutan coulis to add to the flavor combo.  The spiked Thai Iced Tea was a refreshing bit of caffeinated buzz to end the evening.

 

Of course, no Full Moon Dinner at #windylevel is complete without a group shot.  We had so many people, that we had to move everyone outside into the new area to fit them all!  Our free shuttle came right on time and got our guests back downtown, with tiny turmeric plants to commemorate the evening.

Next month: Winter is Coming! – Hearty and Traditional Fare with Silverado Wines on Tuesday, December 13th.  Make your reservations today if you will be on island and wish to join us!