It's only going to be around for a week, so I've moved my writeup of the first "Harding Dinner Series" with Chef Jeremiah to the front of the queue. As I mentioned here earlier, the original Chow Down Grill in Surfside is being converted into Josh's Deli & Appetizing during the day, and a pop-up dinner venue for visiting chefs in the evenings. The first guest chef is Jeremiah Bullfrog (of the gastroPod and also a two time Cobaya veteran) and several of us got a preview dinner on Wednesday. It bears repeating once more:
There are some genuinely interesting and exciting things going on in Miami's dining scene right now.The format of this dinner was a lot tighter, more focused than the sprawling 17-courser Jeremiah did for his last Cobaya: seven courses plus a cocktail to start. But the style and spirit was very much the same - playful, but with a serious focus on maximizing depth of flavor.
(You can see all my pictures in this Harding Dinner Series flickr set).
You want local flavor? How about the "Instagram"? Not a popular new photo app, this was the other kind of gram. But the fine white powder in this baggie, unlike many others commonly seen in Miami, was only baking powder, which reacted with the acid in the drink (Bombay gin and lemon) to make for a fizzy, frothy cocktail. It's the same chemical reaction that powered the volcano you made for fourth grade science fair.
The first course, a "Beet Composition," was like a terrarium: inside a glass jar were beets in various forms - salt roasted garnet beets, sous-vide candy-cane beets, ribbons of pickled red and golden beets, magenta-stemmed micro beet greens, plus bits of creamy cheese, all nestled in a black sesame "soil." Not merely a presentation ploy, this had great vivid flavors, ranging from the more deep roasty notes to brightly acidic pickled notes.
The next course was one of the best things I've eaten this year. Jeremiah' s duck pastrami was cured in salt, sugar and pink salt for about five days, then thin shavings of the duck were plated on a long communal plank with brussels sprout "kraut" and a spiced pumpernickel streusel. It was just a perfect combination of flavors: the duck, meaty and fatty; the sprouts, bright, vegetal and tart; the streusel providing an earthy, spicy anchor for it all. Great stuff.