Saturday, August 6, 2011

California Fig Dinner at Girl & The Goat

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Figs were once deemed the most hated fruit in the U.S.... how could that be? Perhaps this was due to the  lack of knowledge of figs in general. But I for one love figs and this year happens to be the Year of the Fig! It's the Year of the Fig and the start of the California fresh fig season and to celebrate, I joined the California Fig Advisory to a special dinner at the ever popular, Girl & The Goat restaurant.

After going down some stairs, passing the restrooms, storage doors and even an exclusive staff only security door, we were brought to a dimly lit, secret room. It was beautiful, quiet and perfect for our dinner away from the loud, bustling main dining room upstairs.

And we were graced with Top Chef Stephanie Izard's presence as well! Although she was to prepare our special dinner for the night, she was caught on a late flight from Vegas. So instead, her sous chef David Ochs prepared and presented our delicious meal.
 
But before I share our wonderful meal, let's talk about figs! Did you know that although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself? The seeds inside are drupes or the real fruit. I learned so much about figs during the dinner including these fun fig facts:
  • Figs made their first commercial product appearance in the 1892 introduction of Fig Newtons® Cookies. (See http://www.nabiscoworld.com/newtons/.)
  • Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable. The fiber in figs is both soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber are important for good health.
  • California figs are the only fruit to fully ripen to complete sweetness and semi-dry right on the tree before falling to the ground to continue drying.
  • Figs are harvested in the late summer and early fall, but because they are dried and conveniently packaged, they are available all year long.

So with all this talk of figs, let's get into the meal we enjoyed. For each course, we were presented with figs prepared in various ways. Everything from a fig mostarda, fig & olive oil vinaigrette, sliced figs in salad, stuffed figs, cooked & spiced figs, fig sauce, and caramelized figs were represented. Each course was beautifully presented, as seen in the pictures below. I thought everything tasted wonderful, given the focus of incorporating figs.

Pretzel Ring Bread
whipped butter & fig mostarda

Goat Carpaccio
fig & olive oil vinaigrette ~ smoked whitefish roe
paired with '08 Lemelson Six Vineyards Williamette Valley Pinot Noir

Kohlrabi Salad
mission figs ~ queso de mano ~ ginger maple dressing
paired with '09 Graham Beck South Africa Chenin Blanc

Escargot Stuffed Figs
smoked tomato ~ bacon ~ mizuna
paired with '07 Conde de San Cristobal

Grilled Baby Octopus
guanciale ~ wax beans ~ radish ~ favas ~ pistachio-lemon vinaigrette

Green Beans
fish sauce vinaigrette ~ cashews

Seared Scallop
smoked goat ~ spiced figs ~ cucumber
paired with '07 Larachette Manciat Les Vielles Vignes Pouilly-Fuisse

Rogue Smokey Blue Cheese
fig sauce ~ Marcona almond florentine
paired with '08 Hedges Family Estate Mountain Cab-Merlot

Pork Fat Donuts
caramelized figs ~ candied eggplant
paired with NY Louis Boillot Crement de Bourgogne Blanc de Blancs

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