I close on my house today. So, naturally, I’ve been freaking out a bit. But my freak-out does not make for good writing, and in order to distract myself from going down that path yet again, I’m going to tell you about the most fabulous dinner I’ve ever eaten.
If you watch Top Chef at all, you’ll know exactly who Kevin Gillespie is. If you don’t, I’ll tell you that not only is he the Executive Chef and Partner at Woodfire Grill here in Atlanta, but he is one helluva good cook and nice guy.
CB surprised me with reservations there on Friday. I was giddy because I’d get to eat at another Top Chef contestant’s restaurant (the first being Richard Blais’ Flip Burger, where I promised I’d take Kristabella when she’s here this week). Yet I had no idea that I would be so completely blown away by the food.
I couldn’t even do justice to the food with a description. But let me state that CB totally let me dork out, foodie-style, and talk about every nuance of the ingredients, how each complimented and contrasted, and how the wine pairings brought an even different layer of flavor to the palette. I don’t think he could’ve anticipated me in full-out foodie mode. And he enjoyed himself as much as I did.
Oh, and our wonderful waiter, Brandon (who I recommend if anyone goes), brought me a signed menu from Chef Kevin when it was all done AND introduced me to him so I could express my complete pleasure in the meal. If you think his dishes look good on TV, trust me when I say, they taste AMAZING.
Here is what we had:
Amuse Bouche: Fried Okra with Sweet Corn Aioli
First Course: Oil-poached shrimp on shrimp toast (me); Salt-cured watermelon with aged balsamic and basil pesto (CB — he’s allergic to shellfish, so we had different meals for the 1st two courses)
Second Course: Seared diver scallop with bacon (me – and OMG, that bacon was a campfire in my mouth); Farrow risotto with roasted squash (CB)
Chef’s Tasting: Flash-pickled green beans with roasted celery puree
Main Course: Maple grilled quail over kale and peppered grits (the hands-down favorite for both of us)
Main Course Part Deux: Braised pork belly with creamed arugula and dried cherry sauce
Dessert Course: Chocolate crepes with molten lava cake, java sauce, chipped whipped cream and cocoa nibs (me); Deconstructed key lime pie (CB)
Seriously, folks, I can’t sing this guy’s praises enough. The only dish that comes close to this was the one me, CB, Lana & Billy enjoyed after our marathon – and looking back, even that pales in comparison (though don’t get me wrong, it was a DAMN GOOD meal after finishing 27.7 miles the day before).