Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Surprise Guest Chef at 305

Monday night at Cafe' 305 found a guest chef in the kitchen! Lucky me! Marc and Sara came over with their adorable monkey and I got to sit on the patio and drink while Marc prepared dinner. Well, OK, not really. But I did get out of the main course. Marc's fishmonger brought him a 5 pound striped bass that was too small to use at the restaurant and obviously since they were coming here on their one night off, there wasn't going to be a chance for him to cook it for home consumption. So he brought it here. I handled soup, salad, side dishes and dessert. (None of which were as good as the bass he prepared - for the record. Why am I even bothering to say that?)

Here is my special guest preparing the fish. First he made the salt crust for it by mixing kosher salt, egg whites and a little water to the consistency of wet sand. I would have filmed that, but I was busy making cocktails for him and Sara. Priorities. Professional commentary compliments of the monkey.

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I thought they both did a respectable imitation of Julia. Here's the crusted fish.

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Marc stuffed the cavity with oranges, lemons, fennel and parsely. Then he put the roasting pan on my gas grill on high heat for about 40 minutes. While the fish cooks, I'll show you the rest of the very unremarkable menu.

Carrot-Lentil Curried Soup

Mixed Herbs and Greens with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Marc's Salt-Crusted Bass

Whole Wheat Couscous
(OK, for the record, this is NOT as good as regular couscous.)

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Rolls
(Sara liked these, Pootie was grateful for whole wheat, but again, I don't think these were as good as my regular ones.)

Mocha Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Andie's Award-Winning Apple Squares!
(booyah!)

Now that's been about 40 minutes. Here's the fish, all crusty. No, the taste wasn't the least bit salty. It was moist, tender, delicately flavored, and delicious. And that's coming from a non-fish person.

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I'm not going into great detail on the side dishes because I don't want to steal Marc's thunder. Yeah, that's it. You can't see me rolling my eyes here. It was just pretty lacklustre. Well, hell, with a real chef loose in your kitchen, there's not a lot of hope. I cannot run with the Big Dogs, which is why I usually just stay on the porch.

We had a great time, though, and ate outside in the pavilion. It wasn't cool enough for a fire, unfortunately. The monkey collapsed on the couch outside with a blanket and a pillow and was down for the count. He got hauled off around 9:00 and loaded into the car. There are still nights I wish someone could do that for me.

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