BY MARCY SHORTUSE - The 2012 Taste of Boca is a little different this year. The date’s about the same, the number of restaurants is, too. But this year on Monday, Feb. 6 there will be one big difference: Tents. Tents are a good thing in February. It’s been proven time after time at Taste that gusts of wind and spatterings of rain can dampen the spirits of even the most devoted food aficionado.
This year, the tickets cost a little bit more to cover the cost. And, if Murphy’s Law is consistent, there’s a good chance those tents might bring clear skies and calm winds. But, in the event that things turn out like they have many times before, here is what those tents will cover.
This is the first of a two-part series that we will run on the Taste menu. It includes all 15 restaurants.
Keep in mind, the photos we show are not the actual pictures of food that each chef has prepared. The actual dishes the night of the event might look totally different. We’re just trying to give you a “taste” of the “Taste.”
m0Mojito grilled shrimpEagle Grille and Miller’s Dockside Chef Antonio Olivero
View More images >>Ahi tuna nachos: Sesame-seared tuna with seaweed wasabi, cream ponzu and crisp wontons. Also, Mojito grilled shrimp skewers.
Ahi is the Hawaiian name for yellowfin, as well as “bigeye” tuna. It has become a favorite of sushi lovers everywhere, as has wasabi. One of the most entertaining things you’ll ever see at the dinner table is the first time someone tries wasabi. Especially kids, when not forewarned. Not that we know that personally, of course.Ponzu is a Japanese sauce made with lemon juice or rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin or sake, seaweed and dried bonito flakes. It’s used as a dipping sauce with many dishes.Wontons, of course, are paper-thin creations of dough that are fried.Shrimp on a skewer are amazing, but shrimp covered in Mojito (moo-hee-toe) sauce and grilled are sublime. The sauce is made like the drink, with lime, sugar, mint and rum.
Farlow’s on the Water Chef John Mazza
Lobster bisque, seafood macaroni, Grand Marnier pecan bread pudding.
A favorite for any seafood lover is lobster bisque. A bisque is a thick, rich soup made of cream and pureed seafood or vegetables. If you’re prone to heartburn, bring the Tums along and eat hearty, because it is worth every second of minor discomfort you might experience. Well, well worth it.This particular bisque includes fresh Key West lobster, slow-cooked for 24 hours with onion, garlic, butter, wine, sherry and the restaurant’s special lobster stock. Chef Mazza adds heavy cream and fresh herbs, right from Farlow’s garden.Seafood and macaroni are two things that should always go together. When you take shrimp and scallops, then add a special pasta called Acini Di PePe, it gets even better. When you also incorporate Gruyère and Asiago cheese mixed with shitake and portabello mushrooms, as well as fresh spinach, it makes you want to cry.This is not the “mac and cheese” in a blue box.Acini Di Pepe, by the way, is small, round pasta used in soups. The name translates to "peppercorns" in Italian and describes the size and shape of the little pasta.Bread pudding is a dessert that time has long forgot. When our kids think of pudding, they think of the creamy chocolate and vanilla stuff that comes in little plastic cups. Bread pudding is almost a meal in itself. It is made with cubes of bread, along with milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and spices.And, in this case, a little Grand Marnier. In 1827 Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle founded a distillery in Neauphle-le-Château near Paris. It quickly became a favorite in that area. In time, Eugène Lapostolle, son of Jean-Baptiste, took over as head of the company.About 50 years after his father founded the distillery, Eugène found the Cognac region. He brought that knowledge home and, a few years later, Eugène’s son-in-law, Louis Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, took some of that knowledge and invented a new liqueur. He combined cognac and oranges, and Grand Marnier has been known as a drink of goodness since that day.Add it to some bread pudding, and you have a dish fit for French aristocracy.
The Gasparilla Inn & ClubChef Peter Timmins
Smoked brisket sliders, duck confit cornets, tequila key lime tartlettes.
It may not be hard to smoke a brisket, but it is difficult to fit in a pipe. That being said, the cut of beef from the breast of a cow, behind the first five ribs to be exact, is good eating. It is the daddy of corned beef as well.It’s almost impossible to imagine why, but when you look up the word “slider” in the Barron’s Cooking Guide, it isn’t there. Most people know the word from eating a lot of White Castle burgers, but sliders have gained in popularity over the last few decades.A slider is actually defined as a North American fresh water turtle, or a type of pitch ion baseball. You have to search a bit to realize that it’s also a square little hamburger on a square little bun, served with dice onions.But, in this case, a top choice of beef like brisket is used. And with Chef Timmins cooking it, you can be be sure it won’t be just another White Castle burger.Duck + confit + cornets = huh?You either love duck or you don’t. If it wasn’t cooked right the first time you tried it, now is the time to give it another chance.A duck confit dish is French, and is made with the leg of a duck. The French preserve the meat by salting it and cooking it in it’s own fat. It is then packed into a pot and covered again with its own fat, until it congeals and forms a type of natural barrier against bacteria.And you thought fat was all bad. Apparently it can preserve us as well.The word “cornet” basically just means “horn.” It can be made of pastry, of ham, or even filled with candy. In this case, we’re betting Chef Timmins is going to stuff that lovely confit into the cornet, and produce a cone of savory delight.While a “tartlette” may be what you called your sister-in-law at the last family party after she drank too much tequila, these tarts are nothing but positive and pure.Take some good old Florida tequila (which should have been created here, not in Mexico, as so much is consumed in this state) and key lime filling, then put it in a tiny tart.That’s a refreshing way to cleanse your palate after it massages some sliders and confit cornets.
Boca Bay Pass ClubChef James A. Searle III
Pulled smoked pork shoulder pizza with sublime barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, pineapple and pickled Brussels sprouts slaw. Also, house-cured and cold-smoked salmon, celeriac remoulade, micro basil and ciabatta crostini.
Pulled pork is a type of barbecue. When you eat at the Pass Club, though, there isn’t a grinning pig on a sign beckoning you in, so you may not automatically think it’s a specialty there. For Chef James Searle, it’s a work of art, especially when it’s on a pizza with onions, pineapple and shredded Brussels sprouts.Slow-cooked in special sauce, the flesh is eventually pulled apart when it’s tender. It’s connotated with the south, so it suits us here just fine.By the way, if you grimace when you hear the words “Brussels sprouts,” you shouldn’t. They are incredibly savory if cooked properly, and promote lower cholesterol through binding your bile acids correctly. They also act as DNA protection by blocking sulphotransferase enzymes and their sinister activities.As if that weren’t enough, the tiny cabbages are a cruciferous vegetable, making them almost holy. Please, eat your Brussels sprouts.Celeriac, or “celery root” remoulade (ray-muh-LAHD) was an old-time hors d’oeuvre that was made famous during the 1930s. It’s only been recently that celery has been commonly eaten raw, and it’s always been the understated veggie in soup.While celeriac is a pretty unattractive type of vegetable, it tastes like a cross between strong celery and parsley.Remoulade is a French sauce made from mayonnaise, mustard, capers, chopped pickles, herbs and anchovies. It is usually served cold.Micro basil is, well ... tiny basil. Can’t get much more succinct than that.Ciabatta Crostini, when broken down by definition, is bread and bread. Ciabatta (chyah-Bah-tah) is the Italian word for “slipper” and describes a long, wide loaf of bread.Crostini is Italian for “little toasts,” usually brushed with olive oil. So enjoy some slipper toast from Chef Searle!
See next week’s Boca Beacon for Part II of the Taste of Boca menu.
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