Wednesday, April 28, 2010

oh Peaches!

Been too busy with my THESIS animation lately to post. (If you are interested in checking out some of my work, go here.) Instead of whining about my huge amount of food notes, I will jump right in and post. This one is dedicated to my friend Jeanette!

Last month, I found out about a Peach Tasting Dinner on April 11 at Flea Street Cafe through my Slow Food Chapter. Peaches are my absolute favorite stone fruit (I hope any Pluots had their hands over their ears...) and this was prefect for a late birthday dinner. I had wanted to get a Peach tasting menu about 2 years back at Craft since they had shares in a peach orchard, unfortunately I missed it. So this dinner looked like it would fix that incident, plus it looked even better with the ultimate Peach Farmer Mas Masumoto being in attendance.

We arrived at Flea Street the night of the dinner to find an anxious crowd all trying to fit in the tiny hallway while they waited to be seated. (It was sooo cold, so I can understand the push and shove not to be outside.) As we were seated, my dear Mr.Phi was handed a glass of Copain Rose, since he had chosen the wine tasting menu. This Rose had such brilliants overtones of peach that it set the perfect mood for the meal. (I actually called and found out I could buy it at the Whole Foods in San Mateo)

I almost ordered a glass of the Rose for myself but instead I requested a cocktail in peach form which our waitress excitedly provided as a peach martini. This was not as good as the Peach Sangria I had at Craft but I think that was because I was craving more peach flavor/sweetness.
They gave us the menu which sometimes I think is more exciting for me then getting the food. I get pretty giddy with anticipation!! Flea Street Cafe had adopted one of Mas Masumoto's peach trees last year and received 600 pounds of peaches from it!! All the peaches were from this harvest and had been dried, or frozen.

The first dishes to arrive at our table were a trio of amuse bouches. The Chef chose a perfect start for the meal with the Boccolone Salumi Mini Wrap. So perfectly seasoned. Just how you want your first bite to be of a tasting menu. The other items of Mini Dungeness Crab Cocktail and a Peppered Harley Farms Goat Cheese Turnover were excellent as well! (On a side note, I LOVE when they name the Farm where the cheese is made at. Way to give props to the cheesemakers!!)

Then the first course of a Suncrest Peach Soup with Spicy Short Ribs was served. I think this is where I ran back into the problem of wanting items to have more peach flavor. I know they were going for a hint of peach but I wanted full on PEACH lol. But it was still a yummy soup and I'm all of for more spicy in tasting courses.

The Second course was a Chicorie Parsley Salad with Elberta Peach Fritters (My other favorite thing is when they identify fruit varieties!!) Andddd omg, I love anything that involves fritters and then when you combine it with peaches. I actually ate a whole fritter before I took a picture and ended up grabbing one of Mr.Phi's for the picture. Plus I have to say I thought Parsley Salad sounded disgusting but once I took a bite, it was L-O-V-E! Maybe it was the shaved egg....I wonder where they get their eggs....

The entree course arrived which I always find makes me sad....BECAUSE it means the meal is almost over!! le sighh....But once I taste the entree all is forgotten and I went into complete anmesia after the Marin Sun Pasture Raised Loin of Pork was served. (AND OF COURSE, I love when they say where the meat is from. Saves me the trouble of asking but I trust Flea Street to choose sustainable food) The sides were Carrot-Potato Cake, Wilted Greens with Pork Belly and Marcy Masumoto's Peach Chutney. All I can say is when you say a dish has pork belly, add a LOT of pork belly lol. My Mr.Phi didn't get any and I hate to share! (But I diddddd...)

For the Finale aka dessert aka my favoritest, they served a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. I have had a long standing love affair with crisps. From being raised on my Mama's peach crisps in Texas is where the root took deep hold of me. Since then, I can never pass up a peach crisp or cobbler. BUT this is a strawberry cobbler with peach cream. I hope the next peach tasting dinner they will CAN some peaches so they can serve it in the dessert. Though I understand not wanting to do the Canning, sometimes its such a hot mess of a chore. And then I thought about why is Rhubarb so HARD To find!! I looked and looked for it at Farmers Markets but have not been able to find any.... I didn't toture myself much more with these thoughts after they served the Chocolcate Sunset Peach Truffles. The silky chocolate and deep peach flavors melted away any ill thoughts and just ones of anticipation for Peach season to actually begin!!

So the overall meal was amazing but I have to say the peaches that were dried had way more flavor than the frozen peaches. I'm not sure if they were frozen too long but just didn't seem like enough flavor. BUT maybe my palette is still too young and wants too MUCH peach flavor lol.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention how I loved that Marcy Masumoto handed out her homemade Suncrest Peach Jams for everyone to take home. Was a perfect treat for the next morning with a hot scone!! (Reminded me of how we handed out our own homemade jams at our wedding!)

Through out the evening, they handed out Mailing List Cards which we filled out and then I doodled peaches on. (See above and over to the rt) Mas & Marcy Masumoto and the owner Jesse Cool came over to our table after we turned our card in to tell us how funny they were. During the night, all 3 of them spoke which provided great info about where our food was from and the work involved so all of us could enjoy it! Also I really enjoyed hearing Mas Masumoto reading from his new book "Wisdom of the Last Farmer" We liked it so much we bought the book! I wonder if he does audiobooks.....

The dinner reminded me of how Mr.Masumoto runs a Peach tree adoption program at his farm. Basically you pay $500 to get a beautiful Elberta Peach Tree that will yield 400-600 pounds of fruit. With the small fortune I spend on peaches every year, this seemed like a great deal to me and a fun activity to share with others. So I did a peach video for my group's application and luckily was able to squeeze in to be one of the lucky adoptees!!