Sunday, September 22, 2013

James Beard Foundation's "Taste America" comes to Sur La Table, Downtown Boca

Hello Foodie Friends,
 What an awesome day I had yesterday at Mizner Park, in beautiful Downtown Boca. Thanks to the good folks at The James Beard Foundation (, their sponsors and Sur la Table, those who were lucky enough to get in, like myself, enjoyed time with the talented, funny and approachable Ted Allen, Host of The Food Network's "Chopped" and formerly of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", which incidentally Ted and his former co-stars recently met to shoot a reunion show which will be airing sometime in October. Ted was also in town promoting his new book, "In My Kitchen" and stayed after his cooking demo to do a book signing.

Ted, along with Yigit Pura, winner of Bravo's "Top Chef Just Desserts", Season 1 and owner of Tout Sweet Patisserie in San Francisco, came into town on Friday to help kick off the "Taste 10 Cities" national event where guests enjoy a one-night-only menu created by a Taste America All-Star team of notable and local chefs in each city who come together for a two-day event to include a Friday evening dinner at a unique venue to raise funds to support the James Beard Foundation, with a portion of the proceeds from each dinner also benefiting a local charity.

Each city's two-day event includes a Friday evening fundraising dinner for foodies and free culinary demonstrations on Saturday at a Sur La Table store. This past Friday's dinner was held at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach and included several James Beard award winners such as Ted Allen, South Florida's very own: Norman Van Aken, Allen Susser, Michael Schwartz, Lorena Garcia and visiting Pastry Chef Yigit Pura. (I was unable to attend this event, but from looking at the menu and from what Ted and Yigit mentioned about it on Saturday, this is a "must do" event and if you are able to make it to one of the other cities on the tour, I'd highly recommend doing so or at a minimum, be on the look out or next year's event when they return to Miami).

Ted demonstrated a variation on a chicken "saltimbocca" where he pounded a chicken breast to thin uniform sizes and placed sage leaves on the seasoned meat and then wrapped with prosciutto and then placed in pan to saute. He showed us how to make a little sauce for it and then he got started on his potatoes fried in duck fat. (liquid gold). SLT's Store Manager, Martin was ever so helpful at bringing in items that were used during the demonstration that were available for purchase right there in the store. Who knew you could buy this illusive duck fat? Now I do and you do too!!!

In between Ted's demo and Yigit's, I ran over to Kapow! for some lunch. Yes, even though I just came from a cooking demo, I still had a little bit of an appetite ;)
I ordered their Bahn Mi sandwich which came with some fries. I packed half of the meal to go to be finished later for dinner.

Yigit demonstrated how to make a "Cheeky Upside Down Raspberry Tart with Lavender Honey Gems". He showed us also how to make the vanilla bean pastry cream and included some useful tips for the home baker.

Later that night, I took out my leftovers from Kapow and the first thing that came to mind was re-frying those fries, this time in the duck fat that I had picked up earlier at Sur La Table.  I hit the fries with some truffle salt (which coincidentally came from The Spice and Tea Exchange, another wonderful store for foodies also in Mizner Park), while they were still hot, yummo! I transformed the pork sandwich by losing the bread and adding carmelized onions and a few prunes for contrast against the saltiness of the dish. (If you don't care for prunes, I'm sure dates would work just as well). 

Had a wonderful day in Mizner Park and speaking of MP, don't forget the Taste Maker's event is coming up this Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept 24th and 25th. Taste a signature dish item and cocktail from 11 participating restaurants for one low price. Do it all in one eve or spread it out over the two. You can buy your tickets online here or at any one of the participating restaurants.

Until we eat again,
I send you delicious wishes, xo


No comments:

Post a Comment