Foodblogger Event: Parkside

It seems like there's just a stream of these events recently. It's a nice way to get to know some of the restaurants I don't get a chance to frequent. I've gotten to know quite a few new foodblogger friends and it's fun to see familiar faces at these events. As usual I had plenty of camera envy and my photos (and skills) are a pale shadow to them.

Our hosts for the evening: Allison Gueli the Events Manager and Chef Shawn Cirkiel. We got a chance to meet Chef Cirkiel at the very end of the evening as he was nice enough to pull away from his busy kitchen to say a quick hello to everyone. It easy to forget a busy restaurant lurks beneath your feet when there's a busy staff buzzing around catering toward making an enjoyable evening for a bunch of foodbloggers. As always, I appreciate the staff and Chef for inviting us to check out their restaurant. I for one ended up at the bar after the event to order a huge bag of food to go.

Fluke with lemon and almond is the first item up. This was probably in high contention for my favorite for the night, the flavors were very complex and delightful. The bite played out like a symphony, you start with a heavy lemon essense, a nice light salty flavor followed and it finished with a sugary flavor that hit you at the end. I think that the dish had some large sugar crystals that were sprinkled on, it took a sec for the sugar to melt in the mouth which was neat because it caused the sweetness to hit you at the very end. If this was done purposefully, I have to marvel at the technique and care to attention of flavor, simply amazing. We follow with Crab Fritters, let me say, the first three items pretty much made up the top three favorites for the evening. The crab fritter was delicious, it's not like a crab cake, which tends to be drier, it had a creamy soft texture that I'm amazed that could hold a ball shape for frying. The greens were a nice slightly spicy bite to give an accent to the creamy crab.

This is a number one favorite. I specifically had to order a full serving to bring home to my wife. I present: Green garlic soup with duck confit. The garlic was not overwhelming and when you have a sliver of the confit with a spoonful of soup it had a wonderful creamy garlic, that was accented with a salty smokey spike. If you go to this restaurant you *must* have this soup. I could use order of this soup right now!

The bites came as waves and as each came out we ran to take pictures, many of the pictures were taken outside to take advantage of some natural light. The Cotto salami with house pickles was interesting. The Salami was plain kind of a let down, the pickle on the other hand was awesome, I wish there was more of a focus on these pickles. The salmon on the right was quite good. The linguisa sausage was a nice bit of flavor towards a *perfectly* cooked salmon, very delicious. Again, how do they do this? the perfect bite?

The onslaugh continues with Lamb belly sweet potato puree with chili oil. I confess this was what I was waiting for, lamb belly, I don't think i've ever encountered this delight. I was a trifle disappointed, don't get me wrong, it was yummy, it didn't hit me in the ways I expected. I thought, salty, crispy, maybe spicy. It was a tasty bite, just not in the ways I expected, the fat melted in your mouth but it can be a little much for some. We finished the savory tasting with a bar steak with roasted mushrooms in a red wine sauce. Again, perfectly cooked medium rare steak. I tried to take it one small bite at a time, but without a knife it proved diffcult. The roasted mushrooms were a nice complement to the sauce and the meat. It was like a nice mini-steak and in a larger version a perfect meal, definitely a fork and knife bite that was a bit too large for my mouth :)

Finally we finish things off with dessert. It's rare that I eat dessert, I don't like sweets, in fact this sweet was everything I normally hate about dessert, chocolate and ice cream. As a dutiful blogger I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. I actually ate most of it. At first I thought the crunch of the dessert was from the chocolate wafer featured on top, as I kept eating (and ran out of wafer) it was apparent the crunch came from the bottom layer. The melon ball of ice cream was banana which I mistook for vanilla (I'm not use to all the sweets at once) fortunately a fellow blogger was there to corrected me.

Once again thanks to the Staff for making an enjoyable event. Hopefully, I did the food justice with my comments. Parkside is a wonderful restaurant that I hope to visit again soon. The menu is full of interesting items that would challenge any foodie, think fried headcheese, veal tongue, and a full cold bar with the variety that would challenge even Harolds raw bar in merry old London.

No post for Monday, bentos are postponed as the wife is out of town. I've been invited to a blogger event at Shoreline Grill, if I go expect a post as a replacement.


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