dream house event series: dinner party. part II

Here is the menu and collection of pictures from the night. I don’t have pictures for every dish unfortunately. Next time I’ll be sure to take photos of each dish. Also my pet peeve… not all the rims are clean.

Amuse- Salmon tartare, seaweed salad, miso foam, tobiko

Salad- Garden greens, purple carrot gelée, tapioca, mustard red wine vinaigrette

Cold soup- red beet, pear, chevre, mint, walnut oil

Hot soup- beef and mushroom consommé, Chinese five-spice, wheat noodles, shiitake, raw egg yolk

Seafood- Prawns, lemon yogurt, saffron caramelized onions, torn mint

Meat- braised smoked pork shoulder, pork jus, carrot puree, sauteed brussels sprouts and radishes, bacon foam, and salicornia.

Dessert- Peanut butter pudding, granola, amarone frozen yogurt, orange, basil, honey syrup, cherries macerated in: sugar, pimm’s, orange, bourbon vanilla

Cheese course


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One year ago today.

One year ago today I arrived in San Sebastian Spain. My 4th of July last year was spent in the air between Europe and America.

This 4th of July was quite a bit different. I joined friends up north in Tawas, Michigan. We stayed in their cabin on the beach for about 3 days. It was a fantastical time with great weather, classic VHS movies, too much food, swimming, and games on the beach. I love my life now, but I’m also very nostalgic for Europe…

Every moment from now until January 25th 2013 will have been a year exactly from a moment in Europe.


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dream house event series: dinner party, part 1

Yeah, I haven’t posted lately, so here’s a post my friends.

My best buddy Aren Stobby, and I are starting to host various events at the Dream House. The sky is the limit on the kinds of events we will put on. Anything from dinners to wine tastings, classes, ice cream socials, and so on.

First Question. Who is Aren Stobby? I’ve known him for the past 7 years. We discovered the restaurant industry and our love for food, dining, drinking, and service together. He stayed living in Ann Arbor, MI while I moved to Portland, and subsequently Spain. We met again two and a half years since we last saw each other. He flew out after my stage at Martin Berasategui to travel in France for 3 weeks with me. Meanwhile he’s been working in the industry in Ann Arbor, including working as a bartender, kitchen manager, FOH manager, catering and most recently as a wine director. Aren is my partner in crime.

Second Question. What is the Dream House? Aren lives in a house with two super house mates. Dave who is a musician/sound engineer/marketing guy, and Tony who is a bartender/server beast. The Dream House is a great place to be hosting events we have plenty of equipment and space. Dave, Tony, and various other close friends assisted in the production of the whole event. Oh, and why is the name the Dream House? Well actually I’m not 100 percent sure, I know mostly but I want to know the whole story before a tell it.

The first dinner was kind of a trial dinner to figure out the best way to use the space and what we can put out. We served 19 people an 8 course menu with wine pairings. We also had two beers, and 3 signature cocktails invented by Dave. To help fund this event we suggested a donation of 25 smackers for the dinner, and 10 cash dollars for beverages.

This is a three part series. The second part will have more photos, and a description of the menu. The third part will have conclusions and future plans.

Our first dinner party was quite successful and now I can’t wait for more events and dinner parties that will do even better! And it’s all because of these amazing people who helped out so much!  Tony, Dave, Brooke, Michelle, M, Bill, Michael, Connor, and Scotty. And my brother Simon for taking photos. I hope I didn’t forget anyone. Thanks!!

Subsequent posts will follow soon.  Here is a taster.

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Wood fired ovens!

I’ve been pretty busy settling into life here in Ann Arbor. I’ve been biking everyday into work at Mani Osteria which I’ve been working at full time.

This past week I was “promoted” from Garde Manger station (salads, cold aps, and desserts) to working our 2 wood fired ovens. this Tuesday and Wednesday were my first days working the ovens and getting trained. It’s a lot of fun and is pretty difficult to get the hang of, but by my second day of training I was pretty much handling the the oven on my own.

We have two ovens- one which primarily fires pizzas (the one I was working,) the other fires the hot appetizers, toast for cold appetizers, the whole roasted branzino (fish,) chicken, and ribeye. The ovens are a pretty integral part of the kitchen.

I like working with a wood fired oven (my first time is here at Mani) because it requires a lot of focus and the need to take a lot of variables into account. How much over flame do I have? too much? Move the wood and coals around to reduce the amount of oxygen. not enough? Adjust to get more oxygen and air flow through the flame and/or add more wood but just the right piece of wood for the right amount of flame. Then there’s the hearth of the oven, which has different temperatures which are always changing depending on if a pizza was just cooked on it, also depending one how cold/wet the dough is. And more and more variables.

As I said it’s a lot of fun to get the hang of. Right now the most pizzas I’ve had working at once is four, and each pizza takes about 3 minutes to cook (depending on variables… Of course.) Also I find it interesting our hearth retains so much heat it’s always hot, We spread the coals at night, and restart a fire in the morning. Since we are closed Monday the ovens are colder than usual on Tuesday (another variable!)

Here’s a quick photo from my phone. Coals are spread!

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Storm in Michigan

Whew! Something I had missed being away from Michigan were thunderstorms. Well today we got thunderstorms in unseasonably warm March weather (70’s F all week,) but we didn’t just get thunderstorms. Hail, flooding, and tornadoes in all of 30-60 minutes of storming. I prefer just thunderstorms, which are also more enjoyable when not hunkering down in our basement because of sirens and tornado warnings. I’m very sorry for the people who got their homes destroyed not but a short drive from my home.

No thunderstorms in either Portland or Basque country, just rain.

Here is a picture of my dad holding the biggest hail he’s ever seen.

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Getting settled in- Ann Arbor, Michigan

I just got into Ann Arbor last week. Within about four days I had a stage at Mani Osteria, which was followed by them offering me a job. Mani is one of the busiest restaurants in Ann arbor. When I was working there Friday they were packed all night, and they tell me that they have waits most days of the week. It’s going to be fun to do some higher volume cooking that at Martin Berasategui’s where we capped at 50 guests a service.

The style is definitely more rustic than MB or Castagna in Portland which is great because I want the experience of both rustic cuisine and the super fine dining that I’ve already done. Also I’ll get a lot more line experience here, which is one thing still lacking on my resume. Straight up unadulterated line experience. I can have as much culinary exposure in the world but a lot of chefs don’t care unless I’ve done my dues on the line and shown I can do it.

It’s been nice getting settled in my new home, and really glad it didn’t take to long to get a job. There will be more to come! And I’ve been sitting on a lot of photos and stories of my past travels… I should get around to it soon enough. Oh and don’t worry… I still haven’t forgotten about Spain. Mmmmm Jamon y vino!

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Foodporn and markets

I’m playing around with my blog format to make it more photo friendly. I realized my photos just weren’t looking as good as they should be. Hopefully less stuff on the sidebar, hover captions, and larger images with a more pleasing aspect ratio will do the trick. I’ll be playing around with it as I have lots of photos to share.

What’s better to try showing off photos than some foodporn? Yes please.

Many of these pictures come from the market (mercat de la boqueria) on the main Rambla in Barcelona. My friend Aren and I bought copious amounts of fruit and fresh squeezed juices there. The juices are something like 10 oz cups for 1 euro each, so every time we’d go to the market we’d start buying a bunch of juices trying to find our favorite combination. And if you go late in the day sometimes they start giving you deals; one evening I got 5 juices for 2 euros. Serious score, kinda like getting the whole can on a airplane flight. One day we also bought 8 kilos (about 18 lbs) of fruit for just 6 euros. Mandarins, lychees, mangoes, and pomegranates oh my.








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