Last Saturday marked the date of yet another incredibly delicious food battle. Battle “Street Foods.” The challenge was to create a dish based on a common street food – could be from any region of the nation, or the world. Sounds easy, but I think when you have SO much to choose from, the decision becomes extremely difficult. The four courses were all so unique, and showcased flavors from all over the world.
The hors d’oeuvres and and drink course was created by Piyush an Jigna. They decided to do a scrumptious trio tasting of eastern flavors. A traditional Chinese pork bun was steamed to perfection while the sweet and savory filling was making me want more. Lucky for me, there were two more items to consume! Bombay Chaat was cleverly stuffed inside a curled Banana Leaf. Such delicate flavors and just the right amount of spice. The third part of the dish was a Vietnamese pork “Slider.” Perfectly spiced (with a little extra Sriracha “shmear” on the plate for those of us that needed more,) these sliders were accompanied by a sweet and tangy slaw and a smoky mayonnaise. They paired a dark aged ale to drink with, and it was perfect. And that was just course ONE!
Chirag and Priti’s dish was fresh off the “street” with the packaging perfectly depicting where the food was from! Mouth watering Empanadas filled our plates for this course. Two flavors at that! The Beef and Vegetable Empanadas were beautifully prepared, with delicious and authentic Puerto Rican flavors. The Spicy Shrimp Empanadas were also incredibly flavorful, the heat exploding in our mouths, and allowing us to chase it down with some Tecate… 🙂 A fresh salsa accompanied, and the entire package was adorably presented in disposable street food containers. We had to take a break at this point – we were all stuffed and extremely satisfied!
Manish and I were in charge of the entree this time. We wanted to come up with some sort of creative take on hot dogs and fries. But we only thought up some ridiculous options, and finally became exhausted with those ideas. We still wanted to stick to an American theme, and ultimately decided upon the idea of “New England goes to the Movies.” Yes, quite the corny theme. Here’s what we did… Our take on the Maine Lobster Roll – We made a Lobster Salad which was folded together with some tarragon aioli. We topped the salad with a toasted brioche disk. We served this alongside our version of a classic New England style chowder. Instead of clams, we used Nantucket Bay Scallops. The “popcorn shmear” was the “movies” part of the dish. Manish and I once tasted Wylie Dufresne’s popcorn puree at WD-50. This inspired us to create something similar, and the shmear is our version of it. Quite time consuming but it actually tasted like buttered popcorn in the end! If we do it again though, we will heed to the “best when served warm” theory, as once it cooled down, it lost a bit of its savory quality. We served this dish with a the 2005 Peter Michael Point Rouge Chardonnay. I wanted to serve White Burgundy (you know ME,) but decided to stick with the American theme 🙂
For the 3rd time in a row, Dessert took home the prize! Rick and Sejal stole our hearts with their gorgeous interpretations of the classic Mexican Street Dessert…. Churros con Chocolate. Pumpkin Churros were accompanied by a Mexican Hot Chocolate, Cinnamon ice cream, and a spiced chocolate custard. First of all, I could have eaten everyone’s plate of churros. Not only is that one of my favorite desserts, but accompanied with decadent chocolate!? Fried to perfection, these “crispy on the outside, tender on the inside” pastry strips were dusted with sugar, cinnamon, and salt. The pumpkin flavor complimented the spices in the rich, luscious custard and the creamy and subtle ice cream. And to think – we still had something to pair with it… The 2002 Elk Cove Vineyards ULTIMA Viognier from the Willamette Valley. Congratulations to the Jains!
Once again, thank you to my fellow foodies – for you bring such 5 star quality to our monthly dining Battles! Here’s to all of you… Cheers!