Thursday, August 27, 2009

Graham Elliot - Foodiebia in Heaven

Yes, that's Anika and I standing in the kitchen of Graham Elliot. I'll get to that soon, but for now, let me start at the beginning of an amazing night. You can read Anika's account here.

Look at me, grinning already, when we were staring at the menus. That's the face I give when I see salmon on the menu.

I bet you've never had this at a restaurant before - unless you've been to Graham Elliot of course. They serve gourmet popcorn instead of bread and they keep it comin'. We had three baskets worth. One for each of us (Anika's hubby, Justin, was there too).

Here I am chowing down on the popcorn. The variety we had (they rotate it) was popcorn with truffle oil, Parmesan, and chives. This was by far the best popcorn I have ever had. I think I can safely claim it is better than any popcorn you've had too. So there.

The slogan/tag line/something of Graham Elliot is "fine dining redefined." This was Justin's lobster corn dog. He was pretty blown away by how good it was. This lobster corn dog is the perfect example of a lot of the food here - kind of a whimsical take on a mix of gourmet food and comfort food. Anika and I had a sweet corn bisque with corn nuts in it. I'm not sure I've even had corn nuts before, but I loved the crunch in the soup. They always flavor their soups with an infused marshmallow, and we had a garlic marshmallow in ours. You swirl the marshmallow around and it imparts the flavor throughout your soup. Genius.

Anika had been to Graham Elliot a few times already, and every time she's gone, Graham Elliot Bowles has been MIA. You might remember him from Top Chef Masters, where he was awesome and adorable. He also plays Sufjan Stevens on his website and fabulous music in the restaurant (Jeff Buckley, etc.). Clearly this is my kind of chef. Let's just say Anika didn't hide her disappointment when we were told GEB was gone again (subtlety is not her forte). Our waitress was so sweet and felt horrible about it! As a consolation prize she gave us an amazing extra dessert (sesame shortbread) AND invited us to tour the kitchen. Yes, please!

I was told this helpful fellow was responsible for my salmon.

Thank you, kind sir, for that deliciousness! I also really loved the potato pancake that came with it. I love potato pancakes. I need to start making them.

I would have sworn there were no women in the kitchen had this woman not ended up in a picture. When we walked back there the words that popped into my head were: small, clean, and organized. It was so small - at least half the size I imagined it. I guess they don't give you tours of the disgusting kitchens, but this one was immaculate and so orderly. Everyone was incredibly busy of course, but each item had its place and every person back there knew what was going on.

And they were all so friendly and gracious to us. It probably helped that Anika and I were beaming with excitement. I felt like a groupie or something.

Speaking of orderly, I loved all the labeled spices lined up. I need to do this in my kitchen. I also need to buy some fresher spices. Bad foodie.

Here is our tour guide, John, showing us how they made beer foam (for a specific dish). To his left are the garlic infused marshmallows. I asked someone how they became infused and during his explanation I realized "Duh. They make them from scratch, that helps infusing them." I was totally imagining them getting garlic flavor into Jet-Puffed marshmallows from Safeway. Pathetic.

Do we look giddy? Because we are giddy. I'm not sure if everyone reading this will understand why this was so exciting to me, but it was.

And this is the lovely little package we were sent home with - homemade caramel corn. I pretty much ate this the second we got home. Not that I needed dessert since I already had deconstructed strawberry shortcake and part of the sesame shortbread. That didn't stop me though!


  1. haha, you're right, subtlety is not my forte! What an amazing night!

  2. very cool. sounds interesting. also interesting how excited you are about salmon these days. you were always very much not excited when i made it. i absolutely love salmon, but honestly, i think i love it the most when it is completely plain!


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