Sunday, August 21, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Dinner, The Terrace at The Langham (Pasadena)

'Tis the season for heirloom tomatoes! These red pearls were the theme of The Langham Pasadena's latest Farm to Table dinner at The Terrace.

Tomato Gazpacho

Before the dinner, we had a wine reception in the lobby lounge with creative appetizers such as the "pizza chips" (airy pizza-flavored chips made from tapioca) and macaron with a guacamole center.
Pizza Chips
Avocado Macaron

Chef Erik Schuster
All the passed appetizers and the dinner courses were prepared by Erik Schuster, the Executive Chef of The Terrace, while the wine pairings were done by Eric Espuny, the GM of The Royce upstairs.

After appetizers and glasses of wine, we move downstairs for our dinner.
As soon as we sat down, we all fell in love with the tomato tapenade they served with the bread. We had to ask how they made it and while I don't remember many of the ingredients (beyond the obvious tomato and olive oil), it apparently involved anchovies.
Tomato Tapenade

Amuse bouche of Sliced Tomato, Olive Oil, Maldon Salt
Tomato Amuse

"Ceviche": Hamachi Sashimi, Purple Cherokee Tomato and Avocado "Dippin Dots"
paired with Esk Valley Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
My favorite component in this dish is definitely the avocado "dippin dots" which was not only fun but added creaminess while its cool temperature kept it from overwhelming the fish. I did wish the tomatoes would be more prominent though, since this is an heirloom tomato dinner after all.
We also really liked the crisp Sauvignon Blanc that was served with this dish and the subsequent two courses.

“BLT Gazpacho”: German Stripe Green Tomato Gazpacho, Corn Bread Nitro Croutons, Herb Salad, Bacon Dust
Tomato Gazpacho
A nice, lightly spicy gazpacho. Oh, and bacon dust FTW.

“Classic": Watermelon, Sweet Gold Tomato, Cabrales Chip, PX Pearls, Wild Arugula
Tomato, Watermelon
PX is a Spanish sherry that's been aged for 25 years. In this dish it takes center stage with its strong flavors.

We had a choice between three entrees and it was a hard decision (for me). I brought Wandering Chopsticks as my guest and she had already decided on the halibut. I wanted the corn cake that came with the roast chicken, but was intrigued by the ricotta gnudi.

I finally decided to go with the Ricotta Gnudi with Roasted Celebrity Marinara, Iberico Ham
paired with Hubert and Bleger Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France
After looking at the other entrees, I realized my choice was probably not the best one. I would've preferred the gnudi as a side, but not a full entree (looking around, the roasted chicken might have been the best choice after all). I liked my first couple of pieces, but it got boring by themselves.

WC's Local Halibut, Squash Blossom Fritter, Black Garlic and Bruno Russo Romesco, Shaved Fennel
paired with "G" of Chateau Guiraud, Bordeaux

Turns out all of us wanted to try the sweet corn cake and the server was nice enough to bring out a plate of them for us. I'm glad she did. Sweet corn anything= love.
Corn Cakes

I loved the palate cleanser of White Heirloom Tomato Strawberry Shiso Sorbet and Basil Seed.
Tomato Sorbet
The spice flavor of the shiso came through in this sorbet, which was sweet yet tastes very much like tomato. I'd like to eat a whole cup of this if I could.

Pineapple Tomato Upside Down Cake, Candied Tomato Chip
Pineapple Tomato Upside Down
I haven't always had good luck with pineapple upside down cakes, but this one was a winner. It was moist but unlike most others, it was not too sweet. Aside from the crispy chip, there were also strips candied tomato "leathers".

Tomato Tapenade JarSo on the way into the restaurant we noticed jars with ribbons tied around them. We were hoping all throughout dinner that it would be the tomato tapenade we had with the bread earlier and sure enough it was! Yay!

What a great souvenir that we can all enjoy over and over again. I had been spreading this on my Old Town Bakery's honey grain bread. It makes for a perfect lunch on a busy day while I reminisce about fine dining at The Langham.

Disclosure: this meal was hosted.


Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital