Valentine’s Day & My Vietnamese Grandmother
February 5 | 2013
When I was little, mom and dad would pack up the car on weekends and drive us to my grandmother’s for dinner. As we walked in, the smell of beef stock, anise and ginger washed over us. On the table was a cup of tea, fresh spring rolls and ingredients for a multi-course feast. And there was my Vietnamese grandmother working her magic at the stove.
Okay…I don’t have a Vietnamese grandmother.
But I do get really excited by authentic culinary traditions and the ways those are interpreted at the family dinner table. That is my primary inspiration to cook professionally. As opposed to the pleasure of learning special restaurant techniques, the rush of being clobbered by a mountain of tickets or the romance of fine dining. I think that much of the food we make at the bakery traces back to somebody’s grandmother’s house and sharing food which is simple, honest and traditional. Of course, my own family has roots in Ireland and England with a smattering of other places. But we look to France, Italy and the Mediterranean for ideas — with respect for tradition and a careful eye to our own regional context.
In that spirit, this week we are making a Vietnamese cabbage roll soup. It is simple and delicious. Individual leaves of Boggy Creek Farm cabbage are filled with Richardson Farms’ ground pork and wild gulf shrimp, along with lots of chopped cilantro. These are folded into neat packages and poached in a broth made from chicken stock with a splash of fish sauce & topped with early spring garlic from Kris at Milagro Farm.
Also on this week’s menu: spinach salad with hot bacon dressing and a six minute egg, as well as an appetizer of seared Spanish mackerel with fennel potato salad and horseradish creme fraiche.
And join us Valentine’s Day! We’re offering 3 courses plus an amuse bouche for $45 & waiving the corkage fee. Email us this week to reserve, and we’ll take that down to $40. Hope to see you soon.