a delicious goodbye

last night, after much anticipation, we had dinner at woodfire grill.  it was a bittersweet occasion as we were saying goodbye to some dear friends who are moving to columbus in a few weeks, but 1. we had a babysitter and a night out! and 2. the dinner was AMAZING!  seriously, we may have been ruined forever by food this good. we started our night at the bar while we waited for our 8:30 seating.  i enjoyed a delicious bourbon-based blackberry muddled seasonal cocktail that featured fresh blackberries and mint and a locally made ginger ale.

every night, a five course chef's blind tasting menu is offered in addition to the regular dinner menu.  the tasting menu is composed of dishes that are not on the regular menu, and, if you are lucky enough to be eating with other adventurous diners (since the whole table must opt for the tasting menu), you will be treated to much more than a meal...it's really an incredible, unplanned dining experience where each course builds on the next.  in addition to the five courses, the chef also throws in little suprises in between.  the wait staff presents each course, being careful to lay it in front of you in unison so one diner does not get a peek before another, with a thorough explanation of what the chef has prepared paying particular attention to ingredient detail.  it kind of makes you feel like gail simmons on top chef (i would have said padma, but i don't think anyone could feel quite like her in all of her beauty and elegance...). 

this dinner was such a treat! 

first taste and palate cleanser: the inspiration for our humurous amuse bouche were the candies, fruit_gushers.  on a cute white spoon, we were treated to a pickled dried cherry stuffed with a thai basil relish served on top of whipped sweetgrass dairy chevre and dusted with cinnamon.  it really was one perfect bite and an excellent way to jump start our taste buds.  we were also delighted to a champagne toast, compliments of the chef.

first course - a soup and salad of sorts: a wild porcini mushroom and asparagus salad served on top of  a roasted corn puree.  the flavors were intense and perfectly balanced. 

second course- cornmeal breaded rainbow trout (caught in north carolina) topped with sugar snap peas and an avocado mousse served on top of a sweet and sour tomato relish,  the plate was dusted with curry powder.

next, another surprise course and, for me, it may have been the highlight of the meal given its uniqueness.  a liquid caprese salad.  yes, that's right...a LIQUID salad served in a shot glass.  a tomato water- made from local heirloom tomatoes and spiked with an amazing basil oil.  we were instructed to take a few sips and then to try to capture the last of the tomato water with the buffalo mozarella bite and the cantaloupe pieces that rested in the bottom of the glass.  nothing quite captured our imagination or pleasured our palates as much as this did.  the salad was served with a nice, crisp rose, another chef compliment.

at this point in the evening, we all opted for the half-glass wine pairings with which to end our meal.  we were served two reds- 2008 rhone varietal and blend- (grenache/syrah/mourvedre) an old world and new world meant to be tasted next to each other: one cline- cashmere, california and the other domaine de la janasse- cotes du rhone, france.

third course --an ode to the chef who is so fond of pig that he sports a hog on his forearm.  pork two ways...green chile sausage and, one of my all-time favorite foods, smoked pork belly, which was so succulent and crispy.  i LOVED this course.  the pork sat on top of tomatillo salsa verde and smoked pork jus, topped with a fresh herb and roasted green bean salad.

fourth course- sous vide ("under vaccum") lamb with fig puree served in a cute cast iron skillet on top of potatoes, frisee, radishes, and a farro risotto topped with panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  this dish got the most "first place" ratings at our table of four.

fifth course -- coca-cola cake served alongside a coffee caramel mousse, salted pecans, and an inverted root beer float.  david said that even though it was good, after the amazing meal, the dessert was anti-climatic.  i agree that it wasn't the most inspired of our dishes, but i thought it was a nice end to the most delightful of meals. 

i am already dreaming of going back for another tasting!  next time, i hope kevin will be there...

and, a funny aside.  a framed children's drawing of kevin was hanging in the bathroom with the caption "Tell the Voltaggios: Tricks & Foams may break my bones, but bacon will never hurt me!"  LOVE it!