I have to admit I was a bit curious about my invitation to Haddingtons for another foodblogger event. I felt like the last one was only a few months ago and checking my post, yup March was my last visit. Turns out Haddington's has relaunched with a new chef so there's new items to be had! I have to apologize in advance about the blurred picture i'm still getting the hang of my new camera and although it all looks good on the tiny LCD i should have re-checked it. I may have to reconsider either carrying an LCD booklight or using the flash (or try to find a lower light lense). It didn't help that the party room was dimly lit, but were it not a photographing event it would have been considered a cozy pub so you can't knock the lighting that bad :). The decor is the same but apparently the guys in the kitchen and bar aren't. I guess that's why we were invited.
New ideas and new menu items and this time I got a chance to speak with our host, Chef Jimmy Corwell (again, sorry for the blurry photo it's the only one I got apparently. Chef Corwell took the time to mingle with the crowd and I got a chance to ask him a few questions. He's from New Orleans and wanted to bring some of the familiar ideas from there and transform it into his interpretation of "American pub", he described his take on the oysters rockefeller a wonderful oyster poached in bacon fat topped with roasted pepper bacon and basil (YUM!) unfortuenatly that wasn't on the tasting menu for the evening, but you can bet I'll be back to give it a try. Chef Corwell also professed a love of lamb which is heavily featured in his new menu. He's a really nice guy that's totally approachable and clearly loves to talk about food. He seemed very excited to make sure everyone got a taste of everything making frequent trips to the kitchen to hussle things along as well as making lots of time to meet all his guests.
Chef Jimmy definitely wanted to show off his new menu with an impressive series of little bites. The presentations of all of these were wonderful My only regret is the few photos I was able to salvage. I'm really going to have to RTFM as I know my new Sony Nex-3 has some features that can help me fix this stuff on the fly. Anyhow to start we have Gourgeres on the left and the lamb meatball sliders and tartare. All three were quite delicious, the Gougeres were nice and crispy on the outside and perfectly airy in the center. The meatballs were something else, I'm not what's in them and they're not even on the menu (at least from their website) but when they get there you need to snap some of them up. I believe this was my girlfriend's favorite of the night, well one of them anyways. The lamb tartare was very nice, I really liked the presentation. Next up a corn fritter and cured salmon topped with creme fraiche and chives.
We restart things off with a nice agua fresca to freshen up our palates for our next scrumptious treats.Duck liver mouse was extremely tasty, there was a nice creamy texture and although I *am* a big fan of liver the usual liver taste that would put off non-liver lovers was nicely mellowed out. (still there just not as pronounced). The duck breast over melon ball was a cool sweet and salty taste paired with three different types of textures, you have the meaty duck breast, the softer melon ball, and the chewy almost tapioca topping.
Ok this was by far my favorite of the evening (I believe my girlfriend commented "wow, that look on your face") and I'm sure to get my share of grief about it: Duck and Foie Gras Meatballs it was covered in a nice sour cherry mostarda (mustard with fruit flavored syrup). In the previous Haddington's event they featured a Foie link. This is a massive improvement on the former dish (if there is any link at all). The meatball had a nice meaty meatball texture not bogged down by a lot of filler/breading and the foie gras flavor really stood out. I love it and would be a very happy guy if I had a plate of them right in front of me to scarf down.
Finally dessert the dessert tasting. (I can't wait till they produce the macro lens to this camera of mine...) On the left you'll see a nice strawberry covered in a honey gelatin. I actually liked this one, the slightly tart somewhat crisp fresh strawberry topped with this light honey jelly. The texture of the jelly was more like a tapioca jelly with a good subtantive chew, I thought it was pretty neat. The shot to the right was a "milk punch" to me it tasted like a adult milkshake (does that make sense?) , the shot of bourbon on the bottom is covered with a freshly whipped cream (no sugar) the rich cream is instantly cut when the liquor hits your mouth. I'm not sure I could drink a whole one of those but I bet a glass of that before bed will knock you out.
Great thanks to Chef Corwell for having us I really enjoyed visiting with him. (Sorry again about the blurred photo). I got a bento post to put out while I'm out on vacation (I'm at the airport now finishing this one.) Hopefully I'll get to post a shot out of my trip to Legoland!! Anyhow more soon.