Wednesday, June 24, 2015

duck inn does salmon too!

So we were doubly psyched about the salmon bake last night at the Duck Inn because the weather was absolutely perfect- could not have been better! AND then we had a meal that was the same way. Although things looked a little sketchy at first - the alder stakes we know from the "professional NW grill masters" which are split down the middle and then hold the sides of salmon in place - were not exactly replicated here in the urban environment- LOL

But I will give them their due- despite the challenges - they pulled off a perfect meal.  The wines from the Sanford Winery were a good combination with the food.  The hosts from the wine side Heidi, accompanied by Jo Terlato, both from Terlato Brands and the winemaker Steve Fennell were extremely welcoming and fun dinig companions.  The Duck Inn crew including Chef Kevin and his lieutenant Nicole (who handled the kitchen  part of the meal) created a lovely evening for the lucky ones who signed up for the meal... excellent evening all around!

so on to the photos! The tables are set and ready for the event!

they have the idea/concept but these are trees - LOL - not stakes- but they work it!

this is what we are going for in the way of stakes- you can see how the wood piece is split up the middle and the salmon inserted and supported by the structure - which is then roast over the fire- 

the fire part they have handled completely!

and the salmon part they have accomplished as well!

another option we have seen uses planks (Helsinki at Herring Festival) and perhaps this is a more optimum choice for city dwellers without alders growing in a grove beside their Bridgeport locale- LOL

but never fear- we were well fed and "watered" as we awaited the outcome of the experiment -

they started passing bites and these were completely yummy - but it got better when the next rounds came out!

yes - Chef Kevin and sidekick Nicole had my number all evening- OYSTERS!!! three kinds! and lots of them!

but just when you thought it couldn't get much better, it did- because dinner was ready and waaay good!

oh YUM! fiddleheads! with morel mushrooms and aged feta and olives - this was worthy!!!

excellent potato and crab salad- went back for seconds on that one!!!

the salmon was fabulous- wild Copper River - flavorful and cooked exactly the way I like it-  don't be fooled by the hot mess at the serving board- this was dynamite tasting and worth heading back for seconds (which our group did without any prompting whatsoever!)

Nicole made a green goddess sauce and a Japanese BBQ sauce - both of which were really nice but the salmon was perfect just the way it was...

two hearty breads to choose from if you felt the need- but with so many other great choices I think this was the last thing eaten (at least it was for the four of us who went together)

Steve comments about the wine as the evening starts to darken-

although the photo is dark - we had plenty of light on the patio space!

and a kick butt dessert to end the meal!

Loved this meal and love this place- eating outside on a summer in night in Chicago - life doesn't get much better!

Monday, June 22, 2015

salmon bake - the back story

We have a fair amount of experience with salmon bakes done in the Pacific Northwest style... Phil is a nearly twenty time IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) alum and I have done a rough dozen of them myself. We also had the good luck to run into the Herring Festival in Helsinki one October, where they too were grilling salmon on wood over an open fire-

so - when I got an email from Duck Inn that they were doing the salmon bake thing - and I knew they have this fab outdoor space I signed us up right away...

here are some years of salmon bakes from the IPNC- some of the earliest photos were non digital (1998) and then the earliest digital had less data than we are used to now- 2001 (Chuck's first digital camera) and I have a fab photo - right now the blog header from 2007 and another example from 2011.... then Helsinki photos as well LOL-

so let's get to it- in prep for tomorrow night's salmon bake! totally psyched-

first my fave from 2007-



2007  - I have 3 shots-

grilling away (above)  and awaiting fire (below)

possibly the most mouth watering salmon photo ever taken (LOL)

20011  and the fun happens every year on the last Saturday in July in McMinnville Oregon!

the technique is used world wide I guess because these shots are from Helsinki Harbor - during the Herring Festival in October- if you don't have alder stakes the planks from ships will do....

the end result- Finish style salmon bake!

personally I don't like my salmon cooked through so I would opt for Oregon over the Helsinki result but either way it's a fun time- and I will report back to you on the evening at Duck Inn

- of course I will - LOL

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Ramen Battle 13!

So tonight it was a ramen battle- actually ramen battle 13 at Yusho... where two Chicago chefs do a face off for charity - for $35 you get two bowls of ramen (the competitors) and a drink and soft serve for dessert... add some appetizers and you have an evening out and entertainment to boot!

here are the battling ramens -

and the ballot (shown in the order of the ballot - left and right)

the original flyer-

the whole deal for 35-

the entire menu for the evening-

excellent bun selection- we chose the fried Chicken and they kicked butt- however- I have no photo (we were in the middle of something else when they arrived and I missed the opportunity- guess I will just have to go back next month for Ramen Battle 14!)

the watermelon, grilled turnips and grilled beef-

the ramen came - two styles- two distinct flavor profiles-

the ending- softserve-

the ballots were cast- our table of eight were split 4/4 - the other tables of 6 and 7 had five votes each for Van Lente and 1 and 2 respectively for Zaragoza- making our group total 14 Van Lente and 7 Zaragoza... my vote went for Zaragoza...

a fun night- and good group- skip ahead 48 hours and we will be back "at work" for the salmon bake at Duck Inn-

more to come....