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…

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‘Pon de River!

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The mountains above Chiang Mai

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Chatuchak Market

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Reclining Buddha

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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).

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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.

 

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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!