Return to the Wolvesden
The night after my birthday last year, I checked into Wolvesmouth and his supper club, the Wolvesden. It was one of my favorite meals last year and as the days, weeks and months rolled by, I happily ate up photos of others’ meals. I was completely satisfied to just look, half afraid if I went again too soon, the brilliant memory would start to fade. The appeal of that superb meal would lose its luster. I wanted to keep my opinion clear and strong, it was really one of the best meals. Ever.
It also helped that every date put forth was otherwise occupied with roller derby and other various things I had going on. But this is a new year and when Catty, a food blogger from London asked if I wanted to go to a private dinner she had organized while visiting LA, I found myself agreeing without even thinking about it. I knew it was going to be great and besides, I was curious to see what Chef Craig Thorton was up to. The season had changed and what bounty would be offered this time?
There were some familiar ingredients; scallops, crab, pork cheek and lamb saddle but the preparations were entirely different.
We brought wine, mingled a bit and then got down to dining. The first course was a creamy soup featuring celery root and parsnip with so much Dungeness crab on it, I think I may have been entirely happy to only have the soup. But luckily for me, there were many more courses to enjoy. Next was a lovely scallop with cauliflower and bacon. The man knows how to perfectly cook scallops.
I have to give the best presentation award to the black bass dish. It was like a botanical painting. You could almost imagine it as a 3D painting. The skin of the fish was just so amazing looking. Down Catty’s end of the table, they were describing it as a deconstructed fish taco. I have to say this is even better than a taco, even Ricky’s because this was a massive bit of fish. [reconsiders- okay, it’s different. It was as good as Ricky’s fish tacos]
Our next course was the skate with chorizo, potato, piquillo and young garlic. I liked this as it was very delicate but with a punch of chorizo.
I found it fascinating to watch the Wolf pack work. Watching them make pasta was a process. The result? Great mouth feel and so fresh! While I’m no bunny fan, I force myself to eat it and only a few have made me forget it’s actually dear ol’ Thumper. This dish was very good, if a little salty for me. The rabbit hardly needed to be chewed since it was so tender and I liked the contrast of this particularly crunchy mushroom. It reminded me of some Asian mushroom.
After an amazing 5 courses, we were presented with small bowls of a palate cleanser, banana coffee pop rocks! Craig mentioned you can buy plain pop rocks and then add your own flavoring. I had just a tiny bit and it was enough. I wished I had a dime bag to pack up the rest.
With an Eastern European background, Craig came up with this pork cheek pelemi dish. Everything about it reminded him of his childhood. More refined though. I might have to take the best presentation away away from the black bass to give to this dish.
With stops to Mexico, Eastern Europe and now we’re delving into the Middle East. Baharat is a spice traditionally used there and the lemon, yogurt and pita chips are very familiar. What was cool about this dish was the lamb saddle as came with two small pieces of lamb belly.
I’m very certain Craig made this dessert specifically in mind for Catty. Reading her tweets about green tea must have somehow winded up in this dessert. I was blown away how delicate and lovely this was. It was my favorite dessert. While I loved the next and would have similar flavors in other desserts anywhere, I highly doubt I can find another amazing panna cotta.
Mmm. mmm. Mmmm. Oh, I’m sorry, you’re still reading? The evening ended with the Elvis dessert. Inspired by the legendary singer’s love of peanut butter and banana, we had a more genteel version but completely loaded with bacon.
What an inspiring dinner party. Thanks to Catty for the invitation! I’ll gladly return to the Wolvesden anytime.
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