Tuesday, September 2, 2014

whole garden dinner | Alden & Harlow

The ladies and I planned our August get together at Alden & Harlow for a Whole Garden Dinner, a summer dinner series which has since wrapped up, but in July and August featured a produce-centric menu from a different local farm each Tuesday. The Chef's preparations on this evening beautifully showcased the bounty of fruits and vegetables from The Food Project farms. 
Seated comfortably in a gray booth and thick leather chairs set against the restaurants leafy green live wall, we opted in for the wine pairings, starting with pink bubbly from France -  NV Cote Mas Cremant de Limoux, Brut Rose, a chardonnay/pinot noir blend. (See the rest of the wines, below)
 To begin the feast: Pickles! Then, plates of Fried Shishitos with anchovy and grated egg yolk and a gorgeous Vegetable Crudite with Bagna Cauda (a garlic and anchovy infused olive oil for dipping.) The Bagna Cauda was a sensational compliment to the french radishes, snap peas, heirloom tomatoes, and slivers of summer squash and zucchini. We had so many vegetables between the ten of us, I got to take a large portion of that plate home and I made an incredible salad with it the next evening. Vegetables that beautiful could not be wasted.

Next, heaping vegetarian plates of Stewed Pole Beans and Seared Japanese Eggplant arrived (we didn't initially realize the entire dinner would be completely void of meat, then again "whole garden") - but to my delight, as I am happy to take on a herbivore status for an evening. The Japanese Eggplant was insanely good with crumbles of sheeps milk cheese, basil, fregola and garlic. The pole beans proved flavorful and hearty with cherry tomatoes and torn crouton hunks. 
After we polished off the second course, a platter of Grilled Potatoes smothered in Za'atar aioli with a pickled pepper and corn relish and a Kale Creste de Gallo with egg and fresh milled tomato arrive. The grilled potatoes were tasty but the Kale pasta overcooked and soggy. The latter plates outshined these. 
For the finale, a dreamy Apricot Parfait with cardamom cream. It was perfect!  
Alden & Harlow brilliantly showcased the freshness of the farms produce, inventively dressing them up and incorporating flavors that shined, and then expertly paired them with delicious wines. Bravo! 

See my first Alden & Harlow post here.