|(from Origami USA)|
Leap year come but once every four years. The rest of the time it does not exist. Why shouldn’t we do something grand and adventurous to celebrate this ephemeral ghost of a day? This year I did just that. No, I didn’t propose to a man in Ireland or jump from a high cliff, I attended the Leap Year Dinner at One Eared Stag with a collection of some of the finest cooking talent in Atlanta and I had a transcendental experience doing it.
trotter fritters with honey (I think I had 180)
head cheese with minute pickles
Someone clinked on a champagne glass and Robert Phalen welcomed us to One Eared Stag and introduced us to our chefs for the evening. Our three tables were already having a wonderful time engaging in conversation. It is such a positive experience to dine in a restaurant when everyone is delighted about the evening and there to support the ensemble of chefs. Bring on the first course
Buttermilk fried white Georgia shrimp heads with romesco aioli-such a great way to start. So crispy with a flavor of the sea. From Robert Phalen-One Eared Stag
1st course wine pairing: Domaine Ostertag Les Vielles Vignes de Sylvan
Crisp and bright with a minerality that played well with the shrimp and the roe.
Fine herb custard with asparagus, roe, pork fat croutons
Easily my favorite dish of the evening and perhaps so far this year. The photo doesn't do it justice but this dish was creamy, but not heavy, and layered in textures and flavors. The bacony pork fat croutons were a flavorful end component to each bite and the 'pop' of fresh caviar tantalized my palate.
From Drew Belline of 246
Braised Eden Farms bacon, bacon brodo, kale
Bacon in bacon broth paired with bourbon. You already know this is good, right? Our table was silent while we finished this dish. We savored every bit in the bowl.
From Robert Phalen- One Eared Stag
The bourbon pairing: Black Maple Hill 8 year small batch
Incredible delicious, warm and smoky on it's own and paired so wonderfully with the bacon and the duck. It really cut the richness of both and added another dimension. I really love that this course was paired with bourbon.
Scallops, crispy smoked duck salad, burnt maple bourbon
My first bite was of the duck and it was a spectacular mouthful; so smoky and rich. This was such a mix of texture and flavor, warm and cool, soft and crisp, and sweet and smoky. Really makes me look forward to the opening of STG.
From Josh Hopkins of STG Trattoria
Brasstown Beef heartare, bottarga, southern giant, toast
I love dishes with unexpected ingredients married together and this certainly qualified. The dense, rich, and a lil gamey (good gamey) beef heart finely minced with salty bottarga (poor man's caviar) and southern giant greens on the thinnest sliver of delicate toast is a preparation that underscores the unique texture and flavor of the heart.
3rd Course wine paring: Domaine de Nerleux Saumur- Champigny Clos des Chatains 2006What a great food wine-dry, tannic, savory. It tasted of plums or cherries with notes of spices and a hint of roastiness. Terrific Cabernet Franc.
Sea Island red pea consomme', skin, bloodogna, crisp garlic
This dish was beautifully pulled together and playful. The consomme' arrived in a small mason jar. I tasted it by itself before pouring in the dish of spring veggies and pork. It was vibrant yet simple; uncluttered would be a great descriptor. Once added to the pea shoots, crispy garlic, rich and flavorful bloodogna and crispy pork skin, it transformed as a carrier of incredible flavors. I need more bloodogna in my life.
From Ryan Smith of Empire State South
Barley fed chicharrone with powdered kimchi
Crispy, salty, interesting.
4th Course pairing: Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
Japanese hamburg, poached egg
A delicious play on a Japanese hamburg, a popular Yoshoku (Japanese western-style dish), only this version is way more delicious with the addition of a poached egg. This bento box staple usually is accompanied by a thick brown, Salisbury steak-like sauce. Guy's sauce was delicate and slight. Every person around me cut into the egg and watched it ooze over the tender meat and then we sat together in absolute silence. So very good.
From Guy Wong of Miso Izakaya
Sweet Citrus Cream
Ambrosial, light, citrusy (obviously). Loved the thinly sliced dried slices on top.
We also enjoyed a cornmeal cake with confit citrus and honey cream from Stuart Baesel of Community Q. My photo is blurry (ahem, 6 drinks) and I apologize. It was a great way to end the meal. Super light and sweet but not over bearing.
I left with a huge grin on my face and a satisfaction of money well spent. Such a great evening was had by all. Atlanta really showed its culinary chops and I was a lucky girl to be there. Leap year lucky, even.