Monday, May 21st, 2018 8:00PM – 11:00PM
Event held at: Bubbles + Pearls
2037 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 3330563
We have adventured through several FoodieFreaks events and now we were all ready for the next. Close to 30 people joined together to get a taste of what Chef Josie had conjured up for this evening. High-top tables were tightly arranged in this quaint restaurant to make for an intimate evening of fun, food and friends.
Chef/owner Josie Smith-Malave has been involved in the restaurant scene since the early 1990’s. Early on, she had the opportunity to work/study with some well-known chefs in NYC and even appeared on Season 2 of Top Chef. Now Bubbles + Pearls is the place food lovers come to experience her wondrous food creations.
Working together with Marcy Miller, they prepared and presented a wonderful array of dishes and wines for this FoodieFreaks event. With no menu for us to follow – we were anticipating an evening of luscious surprises.
To start, a Grandial Brut Sparkling Wine with lychee paper bobas was served. Tiny round gelatinous bubbles sat on the bottom of a champagne flute that gently floated to the top over time. Sipping on the crispy bubbly and eating the sweet and fruity bobas got us all energized for the evening.
As we enjoyed the elixir, Chef Josie took a moment to come out of the Kitchen to greet us and provide an overview of what she had planned. She explained that fresh products from great purveyors help connect people with food. What more could we ask for?
Raw sushi-grade tuna and radish was set as the first course. The plate was painted with a sesame paste dust and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Two types of radishes were intertwined in the dish, red and daikon. The red radish was sliced paper thin and the daikon was finely cut into long strands – more like a pasta than a vegetable,
The dish was then topped with fire-roasted onion flakes, a drizzling of ponzu sauce and then finished with a sprig of micro-greens. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious was the description provided by fellow FoodieFreaks about this dish.
Paired with a Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
Next up was a shallow bowl filled with finely cut and sliced heirloom vegetables. Heirloom baby carrots, smoke roasted Brussels sprouts were tossed together with a pomegranate reduction then gently sprinkled with a fluff of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
All of that was nestled atop a small helping of nuts to provide the dish with a crunch and then garnished with a parsley leaf and sweet pepper brushed slide.
We continued with the Sauvignon blanc with this course.
Umami was the taste sensation for the next offering. Earth-on-Earth was the name that Chef Josie gave to this heaping pile of mushrooms.
Enoki mushrooms, known by the Chinese as golden needle mushrooms, were simmered in a rich beef base that was soaked with ginger. The bold reduction that resulted held a mountain of enoki mushrooms that were topped with a whole shiitake mushroom cap. Intermingled in the mushrooms were layers of shredded ramp. Ramps are a type of onion, part of the alliums family only available for a short time during the spring season.
Served with this deeply flavorful dish was a Gruet Sauvage, Sparkling Chardonnay from New Mexico.
A crowd favorite was presented next. Holding this dish together was a layer of adzuki beans that was reinforced with a peach puree. Resting on top of that was a health slab of pork belly. Oh so crispy on the outside and as tender as can be on the inside. With each bite a range of flavors exploded. From salty/savory to sweet with a hint of earthiness flavor added from the beans.
Shredded and mashed Brussels sprouts were delicately placed on the side of the dish to add one more flavor sensation. Finished with micro-basil and an oil drizzle, this dish left us wanting for more. A well done combination that deserves serious acclaim.
Accompanying this dish was a Sparkling Pinot Noir from Argentina..
Monkfish!!!! This was a real treat as it is not often seen on menus in South Florida. Vibrant colors on this plate were meant to be both artistic and appetizing. Starting from the bottom: A patch of piquillo pepper relish was swiped on the plate that acted as a mount for the fish. Resting on the perfectly prepared monkfish was a large sweetened and blackened shrimp. Capping the dish was a crunchy piece of speck. Bulgar wheat garnished the dish to add an additional crunch. The range of flavors and texture profiles of this dish were outstanding.
(Speck is the most treasured food product of the Südtirol, a distinctly flavored, smoked, cured ham that represents well the character of Alto Adige’s cuisine, Italy’s most northern region)
What would be next? How could Josie top that?
Well, she did! Dessert was on the way. Sourdough bread pudding with elegantly set atop a layer of thick, freshly crafted caramel. Sugar smacks and cashews were sprinkled around the dish and a dollop of freshly whipped ginger cream was added. The bread pudding came out warm from the oven with a crunchy exterior and a soft and runny middle. Think of it like a molten lava bread pudding cake. Lemon zest, egg, vanilla and cinnamon flavors were all throughout this marvelous dessert.
Of course the best way to top this was with a fresh cherry – which was a fitting end to a wonderful meal.
Served with this dessert was a Francois Montand Ice Edition Demi-Sec.