Monday, January 4, 2016

Chef Mendin Takes Grapes From California To A New Level at Pubbelly

Cheers with a Holiday
Sake Sangria
Exciting Night Ahead
Now that the holidays are over, it's time to start redeeming ourselves from all the culinary sins we committed through the month-long stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Having said that, I have to admit I don't think twice about enjoying myself and worrying about those few extra pounds later. I started my foodie celebration with an invitation to a Holiday Soiree at the PUBBELLY Miami Beach, located at 1418 20th Street. Hosted by Grapes From California and featuring dishes especially prepared by popular Chef Jose Mendin, the intimate dinner was a gastronomical sensation, showcasing the goodness and versatility of grapes in the kitchen.

Grapes from California

We started the evening with a refreshing Holiday Sake Sangria, prepared with California Grapes. The cocktail was sweet and mild and had a holiday flair to it. As we sipped, Chef Mendin came out to our table and chatted with us about how he likes to incorporate grapes into many of his creations and explained how he prepared the dishes we would be enjoying that evening.

With Chef Jose Mendin

The first course was the Seared Sea Scallops, a sweet and salty textural delight made with tender scallops, cauliflower puree, a delicate vintage beurre rouge, and pine nuts, then topped with a raw California grapes salad. It was fantastic. I had to ask Chef Mendin if he'd be so kind as to share the recipe with me because I can see myself scoring brownie points with the family if I whip up this dish at home.

Seared Sea Scallops

Figuring the first course would be the highlight of the meal, I was ecstatic when the second course topped the first. It was the Duck "A la Grape" and it was insanely delicious. I would have never thought of incorporating grapes with duck, but Chef Mendin hit it out of the ball park with this course once again. The roasted breast was cured with California grapes and served with leg confit, a bold grape gastrique, grilled cabbage and saba, that deliciously thick syrup made from grape must. All the flavors came together in sweet harmony and I couldn't help but notice how the combination of grape textures and preparations elevated the dish to a whole new level.

Duck "A la Grape"

The last course was dessert and this was a sight for all the senses. Beautiful in its presentation and playful in its taste, the Texture of Grape consisted of a berry sponge, served with meringue made with California Grapes and red wine reduction. The plating was so appealing, it took all of us a while to stop admiring it and dig right in. They couldn't stop me though after I started spooning with the bowl.

Texture of Grape

Besides the incredible experience I had enjoying the special treats prepared by Chef Mendin using Grapes from California, another great plus I got out of the evening was a selection of new dishes to try at home using these plump, healthy grapes. And the best part is, the recipes are very easy to follow. So much so, I am sharing the recipe for the Seared Sea Scallops with you in my Recipes page. Go check it out, and let me know how much praise your family gives you when you serve them this foodgasmic dish.

For more information on the nutritional value of grapes and other ways you can incorporate them in your cooking, visit their website at Grapes From California.

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