February 6, 2015 by Susan Murray
I hate doing this. I would much rather be writing about what a wonderful dinner this was and how the Blind Pig Supper Club and guest chef Justin Burdett raised the bar at the Hush Hush Vegetables Dinner. But I can’t.
I was so excited about this dinner. While I am not a vegetarian by any means, I love fruits and vegetables. Stay at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast and you will see them used in new and innovative ways for canapes and for breakfast. What I don’t love is people who think that serving vegetables means they have to be “healthy”. As much as any other meal a vegetarian meal should be seasoned, flavourful and satisfying. One should not have to go out for pizza after a five course meal.
To recap: the Hush Hush Vegetables Dinner was held at the Seven Sows Restaurant. The premise behind this dinner and a second one coming up was to highlight local vegetables available even in winter.
The dinner began with a selection of cocktails created especially for the event. We tried two of them. The Carrot was a concoction of Tumeric-Pisco, Carrot, Lime, Yogurt powder and North African spices and the Onion consisted of light Rum, Sweet Onion, Ginger, Lemon, Chilis and light Beer. In the first the Tumeric-Picso was so strong as to overpower the drink and in the second the sweet onion was the predominate flavor.
On to dinner, and the first course which was the most successful: Florida Avocado, Cauliflower, Kumquat and Lemon. The mousse was creamy and delicious. The roast cauliflower elegantly seasoned and the kumquat and lemon accents were perfect. While Florida avocados, lemons and kumquats cannot pretend to be local, they added richness and texture to the dish, bringing out the sweet flavour of the cauliflower. Unfortunately we got only a teaspoonful of each component on the plate. And from this point forward it was pretty much carrots and onions
A thin broth tasting heavily of soy sauce was the base for the onion soup which followed next. Fermented onion, roasted onion and smoked onion were all listed as being present and I would love to have been able to distinguish them. The soup lacked the richness imparted to traditional onion soup by the long slow caramelisation of the onion and the body provided the cheese encrusted topping. Crisp watercress did bring brightness but the listed buttermilk was nowhere to be found.
And so it went, peas cooked in carrot juice, carrot pickles, carrot salsa verde, smoked winter greens with sweet potato carbonated dashi evidenced neither sweet potato nor the much longed for soft egg. By the end of the meal we had eaten little more than a small salad with a cup of broth. Where were the grains cooked into polenta, bread or pasta? Where were the potatoes, hearty squashes, and rice? If buttermilk was acceptable, why not cheese? Asheville has wonderful local cheeses which would have brought so much to this meal. I know that these meals are supposed to be about the Chef’s thinking outside the box but did he have to throw away the box altogether?
Perhaps the organizers should have listened when Chef Burdett described himself as a meat-centric cook. The lack of love and passion for the ingredients was clear.
On the plus side, we met a wonderful couple and enjoyed a lively conversation and Barley’s Taproom was just across the street where James and Sarah indulged in a pepperoni pizza while I had a slice of the veggie special which was the best dish of the evening!
Sorry Blind Pig.Posted in About Asheville, Carolina Bed and Breakfast, Restaurants, Things to Do | Tagged Blind Pig Supper Club, Justin Burdett, vegetables | Leave a comment