A Day in the Life

Every once in a while, someone will ask us “So, what do you guys do on your days off?”  We usually respond, “Day off?  What the hell is that?”  Kidding aside, for the most part, our lives revolve around and are driven by all things edible.  So even when we are not preparing for dinner or pop-up, our minds are still in search of new ingredients to test and challenge our skills and palates so we can have something special to share with you, our guests.  It is important for us to seize ingredients when they are at their prime peak of freshness, ripeness or rarity -even if they’re discovered by accident.  As most of you know, we create new dishes for each dinner that we host, so it’s nice to stay on top of what’s in the markets.  Plus, we might just be culinary junkies.

Here’s an example of such a serendipitous occasion that happened on one of our recent “days off”:  Fresh Farms is a pretty awesome supermarket that our friends John and Rachel tipped us off to a while back, so we go there a lot.  Perusing the produce department while running some errands the other day we happened upon some lovely fuyu persimmons that we thought would add a nice element to our pumpkin and pineapple parfait.  It’s in season, it’s reminiscent of pumpkin, and it starts with a “P”… perfect!  So, we picked ‘em up even though they weren’t ripe yet.  They have a sweet, snappy jelly-like flesh that looks like a precious stone when they finally ripen, and we think they’ll be ready just in time to be candied for our parfaits for Saturday.

fuyu

And while we’re here, let’s just take a quick peek at the seafood department for fun.  This is pretty much our main spot for fin fish big and small. The place is always bursting with gorgeous fish from all around the world. They get new stuff almost every day and have a high turnover of product, so it’s just about always fresh as can be.  Cruising and perusing, looking for nothing in particular and just trying to waste some time really, we fell in love with a big, beautiful Bonito fish.  And we mean LOVE!  We have seen plenty of these guys before, but maybe never this sexy looking!  Bonito is canned in Spain and Portugal, much like tuna, and dried, smoked and shaved to make Dashi in Japanese cuisine.  So, since our Pop-up at Dodo@Dino’s is themed around Spanish and Asian flavors, we decided to net this fresh little beauty. You just can’t say “no” to love.  We couldn’t stop thinking of how nice it would be to cure and smoke this bad boy like pastrami and make an awesome pintxo of bonito pastrami with kimchi kraut, dried tomato, and aioli on rye.  Needless to say we had to scoop him.

bonito

We also grabbed another King Mackerel with some seriously piercing eyes and vicious teeth.  This guy was a beast in his day and he’s still handsome as all hell.  He’s going to be awesome: brown sugar smoked with roasted pears.  Or, maybe we’ll just take a picture with him and pretend we caught him.  He’s pretty enough to put up on a wall, really.

king mackerel

Later that day, while breaking down these two beasts and getting our brines and rubs together to start the preservation process, we received a call from our friend Laura at Susanna Farms who told us that the goat they’d been raising for us was going to slaughter on Wednesday and that we could pick it up on Thursday.  Ok, we weren’t necessarily expecting “Mister” (the goat) to be ready until early next week, but que sera!  We immediately started planning some cuts for this Saturday’s menu as pintxos or shared plates.  We also had the crazy idea to concoct a very limited head to tail tasting menu for Dodo@Dino’s this weekend to celebrate the life and legacy of this magnificent beast.

mister

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There it is: a typical “day off” in the lives of people who can’t for the life of them stop obsessing about food.  But really, what are you gonna do when all this great stuff keeps jumping into your lap?!  Sometimes, you just fall in love at the supermarket and you get caught up.  Sometimes, your day off unexpectedly turns into a treasure hunt and you come home with a bag full of goodies and a head full of ideas.  Lucky for us, we’ve got a lot of people to feed and we’re damned happy to do it, day off or not.

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