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Posts Tagged ‘Quinto Quarto’

But I mean that in the most positive way possible.  In fact, Campagnola Roma’s recent Quinto Quarto: No Guts, No Glory dinner was perhaps the best offal dinner I’ve had.

There were actually TWO offal dinners happening in Vancouver that night and, while I was greatly tempted by the 7:00 p.m. seating at the other place, I elected to attend the Roma feast, despite the 8 o’ clock kickoff, because the menu appealed more.  Crispy pig ears?  Lamb neck?  I’m in!

Also “in” for the feastly festivities on this night was our friend, let’s call her Agent 17, but you know her here on this blog as kathode, two other Katherines, and Akemi who enthusiastically committed to the dinner after misreading a menu item as Peking Duck instead of Pekin Duck.

The night in pictures…

K2 armed with her superior camera

K2 armed with her superior camera

Agent 17 with her better-than-my-iPhone camera

Agent 17 with her better-than-my-iPhone camera

Let the eating begin…

1Course #1: Crispy pig ears and geoduck with lemon aioli and green tomato chutney.

The thought of eating a pig’s ear and geoduck (elephant trunk clam) may be off-putting to some but those willing to venture into uncharted culinary territory were well-rewarded here.  It was Akemi’s first time having geoduck and she ended up zeroing in and helping herself to the pieces on my plate.  The accompanying tomato chutney was good, but the lemon aioli was unbelievable.  In fact, after our plates were cleared, we refused to let them take the aioli, keeping it for the subsequent courses.  My only quibble was the uneven preparation of the ear.  Some was crispy, some less so, but it was all very tasty nevertheless.  Despite Akemi’s warnings, I admittedly overdid it on the ears.

1Course #2: Pekin (not Peking!) Duck three ways – spicy duck feet, duck heart tartare alla putanesca, and duck gizzard fritters.

The tartare was a hit, gorgeous flavors perfectly complimented by the smoky beer accompaniment.  Everyone liked the gizzard fritters – but, let’s be real.  It’s deep fried something.  Of course they’ll like it!  Not much love for the duck feet that most found too lacking in meat.  Mainly skin and bones and not worth the effort for many of my table mates, but I liked the flavors and bold spiciness.

1Course #3: Roasted lamb kidneys with pine nuts, fennel, and tarragon.

Next to the promised plums in the pork crackling dessert, this was the only menu item that gave me pause.  As much as I love my nose to tail dining, I’ve never been a big fan of kidneys that, I’ve found, have always possessed a certain…funkiness. But, surprisingly, this version was actually quite nice.

1Course #4: Pacifica octopus with fregola, black pudding sausage, and peas.

This plate was the big winner among my table mates.  The octopus was perfectly tender, the sausage savory with a hint of sweet.  Plenty of raves for the couscous lookalike fregola, a Sardinian oven-toasted pasta.

1I’m not a huge beer guy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones we were served, compliments of the R&B Brewing Co.

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Course #5: Braised lamb neck.

I had a feeling this would be my favorite plate of the night and – guess what?  It was!  Akin to an ultra-tender, slow-braised short rib.

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Roasted bone marrow, drippings, with grilled black kale and celeriac.

Accompanying the lamb neck were these delectable-looking marrow bones.  After the ladies helped themselves, I ended up with the biggest piece – which, unfortunately, wasn’t cooked through, so this one was a miss for me.

1Course #6: White chocolate caramelized crackling with plums, black cherry pana cotta with honeycomb and crystallized mint leaves, strawberry custard and meringue.

1And foie gras and mission fig soft serve ice cream.

Probably the best dessert I’ve had at one of these events.  Yes, better than the brain pana cotta that one time and the blood-chocolate ice cream the other.  I could take or leave the cracklings but, overall, very nicely done.  And the soft serve!  Who would have thought a foie gras ice cream would actually be good?!  Well, me.  But it was great to have my suspicions deliciously confirmed.

1And, when all was said done (and eaten), we were ready for bad.

A fabulous meal!  Apparently, another blog semi-regular was also in attendance (Nicole) and, even though she recognized me, she was too shy to approach and say hi.  I’ll admit, I can look pretty fearsome when I’m eating but next time, Nicole, stop on by and introduce yourself.  Just don’t put your fingers near my mouth.

You’ve been warned.

Thanks to Agent 17 for some of the pics!

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Last night, Campagnolo Roma hosted another one of its famed Quinto Quarto dinners, an offal-themed culinary extravaganza inspired by the Roman “fifth quarter” feasts of yore.  I was flying sort of solo as Akemi had bowed out on account of the far-too-late-for-her 8:30 p.m. seating. That and the emphasis on liver.

Like I said, I was flying “sort of solo” because, even though I didn’t have a date, I had plenty of company in the form of some adventurous friends.  There was Robert of course, a mainstay at these events (in fact, we met at one of Roma’s Whole Hog dinners) who was, in turn, joined by his buddy, Dave.  Longtime dining companions Jodi and Steve also put in a surprise appearance.  And, since the meal was family style (meaning you’re sharing a table with strangers), we ended up making some new friends as well: Barbara (whose husband used to work in the local t.v. industry and was also flying solo), Rosita (an accountant with a taste for adventure) and Su (who runs a catering company).

Now, the last Quinto Quarto dinner I attended was full of surprises (most of them good) so I wasn’t expecting this one to beat it.  But, damn, if the gang at Roma didn’t surprise me yet again.  The meal broke down as follows:

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Beef tendon, honeycomb ripe, tongue.

That’s the way it was listed in the menu.  Rather uninspired, I thought. And I was thoroughly prepared to be underwhelmed given how much I loved the appetizers (spleen sliders!) from the last Quinto Quarto dinner – and how much I don’t like tripe.  But this dish turned out to be one of the highlights of the night, an outstanding combination of textures and flavors.  The addition of parsley and mint brought it to a whole other level.

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Cavatelli all’anatra with duck gizzard sugo and crispy sage and chicken skin.

Speaking of outstanding – I could have eaten a double portion of this and the appetizer and gone home singing the praises of “My best meal in recent memory!”.  The pasta was perfectly al dente (can’t tell you how important that is).

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Sauteed calves liver, sauteed onions, aceto tradizionale.

Okay, let me start off by saying that this was, without a doubt, the best calves liver I’ve ever eaten – sweet, tender, but intense.  No second helpings for me.  Growing up, this was one of my father’s favorite meals, and mom would prepare them the same why: fried with onions.  It took me back.

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Roasted brussels sprouts with cured pork.

This is the only way to eat brussels sprouts = with bacon!

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Pork kidneys, mustard greens, and extra virgin olive oil.

Hmmm.  This one didn’t do it for me.  The salad was interesting, the mustard greens possessed of a nice little kick, but those kidneys were akin to oversauced mushrooms.  Not my thing.

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Sweet black pudding, pannetone, marsala zabaglione.

As much as I applaud the courage and creativity that goes into an offal-inspired dessert, I can’t really say I’ve ever had one that made me say: “Wow!  They’ve got to put this on the regular menu!”.  Not the black pudding and chocolate ice cream I once had at Refuel with Marty G. and Jewel.  Not the ricotta and pig brain cream in the cassata siciliana served at the last Quinto Quarto dinner.  And, to be truthful, not this sweet black pudding with pannetone and marsala zabaglione. Nevertheless, it WAS good.  The hazelnut black pudding and chocolate cake was reminiscent of fruit cake – but in a good way.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the meal and, based on those first two dishes (appetizer and pasta) have to give the edge to last night’s Quinto Quarto dinner over the previous one I attended.  Can’t wait for the next one!

Jodi and Steve

Jodi and Steve surprised me by joining me – and genuinely enjoying the dinner.  Didn’t realize they were such culinary daredevils.

David and Robert

David and Robert enjoyed the meal as well – but weren’t quite as enamored of the liver.

Rosita and Su

Rosita and Su = new foodie friends.

Barbara

Barbara.  Since everyone else but the two of us were paired off, that made her my date for the evening!

Special thanks to the gang at Roma – especially the two individuals who created the menu and cooked the food: Chef Nathan and Chef Ted…

Chef Nathan and Chef Ted

Chef Nathan and Chef Ted

Thanks, guys!

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“In the cuisine of modern Rome quinto quarto (literally the “fifth quarter”) is the offal of butchered animals. The name makes sense on more than one level: because offal amounts to about a fourth of the weight of the carcass; because the importance of offal in Roman cooking is at least as great as any of the outer quarters, fore and hind; and because in the past slaughterhouse workers were partly paid in kind with a share of the offal.

Until modern time the division of the cattle in Rome was made following this simple scheme: the first “quarto” was dedicated to be sold to the Nobles, the second one was for the clergy, the third one for the Bourgeoisie and eventually the fourth “quarto” was for the soldiers. The proletariat could afford only the entrails.”

Quinto quarto – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Well, whaddya know.  Just the other day, I was discussing adventurous dining and my fruitless attempts to acquire duck hearts for a dish I was looking to prepare (September 22, 2012: Heart of Duckness).  Five days later, I’m sitting down to one of my most unique meals of 2012. Last night, Campagnolo Roma hosted their annual Quinto Quarto dinner with Chefs Ted Anders and Nathan Lowey serving up a Roman style feast highlighting “the odd bits”.     The menu…

The dinner was served “family style”, so Akemi and I ended up sharing a table with three other diners, some friendly fellow foodies (two of who happened to be big Stargate fans).  The meal started with the antipasto:

Arancine al sugo (risotto balls stuffed with fifth quarter sugo) and  stioghiola alla griglia (charred intestines).

Akemi quite enjoyed the former (Of course.  She’s Japanese!).  The charred intestines I thought lacked the headlined charring and were possessed of an underlying gaminess that I, well, didn’t love.

Vasteddo piccolo (spleen sliders).

Similar in flavor to liver but, I found, far less intense.  Also, somewhat chewier, but served slider-style, these small bites were utterly delicious.  I ended up eating four in all.

Rounding out the antipasti was some very good sfincione con nduja (sicilian flatbread seasoned with soft liver sausage).  Akemi and I were never actually served this dish but our table mates had been given a plate and they were more than happy to sure (Ah, the perils of family-style dining). 

spaghetti con le cuore de salmone
nass river salmon hearts, garlic confit, saffron

Now THIS dish was the highlight of the night.  The pasta was a perfectly prepared al dente, the accompanying sugo sweet and smokey from the shaved salmon hearts.

A whole salmon heart we brought back home as a keepsake – and, later that night, dog snack.

polpette quinto quarto
pork meatballs with everything, lemon zest, mint

The “everything” included heart, liver, and kidney.  If you had served up these meatballs to someone like, say, my unadventurous buddy Carl, and not told them what they were eating, they would probably declare them the best meatballs they’d ever eaten.  And they were: incredibly moist and utterly delicious.

il caponata bianca
vinegared celery, eggplant, pine nuts

I’ve never been a big fan of anything marinated but thought this was a nice change of pace for the meal.  Akemi particularly enjoyed the pickled celery.

pomodoro misto e orecchio fritto
milan’s tomatoes, crispy pig’s ear, basil

Also a nice little detour.  The crispy pig’s ears offered a nice, crispy textural contrast.  That being said, I still prefer them sliced thicker and served with salsa verde like Refuel used to do back in the day (and I believe Fat Dragon still may do).

cassata siciliana
marzipan, ricotta & pig’s brain cream, marsala

Yes, the inclusion of pig brain gave me pause as well.  I’m not a huge fan of brain (I’m not a fan of its metallic aftertaste), but it was inoffensive here.  So inoffensive, in fact, that it felt a little unnecessary but for the simple fact that it maintained the dining theme and, hey, diners could tell their friend that they’d had a pig brain dessert – and liked it.  Which I did.

Dining opportunities like this one are a rarity and, while I’m sure that’s a-okay for many more conservative diners, I, for one, would like to see more of these daring dining events.

A huge thanks for a job well done to Ted, Nathan, and the gang at Campagnolo Roma.

This morning, Paul swung by and we worked through the day -stopping only for tacos – to finally finish that outline.  Well, more or less.  More in terms of structure and less in terms of detail, but I’m sure all the minutiae will work itself out in the next couple days when I get it all down on (virtual) paper.  It’s a pilot for a fantasy series and, while I have high hopes it will go to series, I’m being realistic as well.  In this business, everything is a longshot.  It and the potential Dark Matter series are purely speculative at this point and, even if they do come to fruition, production wouldn’t get underway until well into 2013.  This is why I’m not giving up my day job (a.k.a. focusing on winning the lottery).

Paul gives the outline a thumbs up.

Continuing our trip down Stargate Atlantis memory lane…

KINDRED I (418)

According to the trailer that the network ran for this episode: “You won’t believe the last five minutes”.  These words were uttered as viewers were shown the deceased but very much alive-looking Carson Beckett looking up as someone says: “Carson!”.  My question was: “Why won’t they believe the last five minutes.  You’ve already ruined it for them.”  It was reminiscent of the network trailer for SG-1’s The Curse that showed Osiris, eyes glowing, blasting members of the team – effectively ruining our end of episode reveal.  Which was, in turn, reminiscent of the TV Guide blurb for SG-1’s Solitudes: “Jack and Sam are stranded in the Antarctic”, an episode in which Jack and Sam believe they’ve been stranded off-world until they discover they’re actually been on Earth all along.  In the Antarctic!  Surprised?  No?

At the SGA season 3 wrap party, I informed a glum Paul McGillion that I had a great idea to bring Carson back.  It involved cloning, Michael, and a shocking and unexpected appearance by the beloved Scot.  Well, in the end, cloning and Michael anyway.

The placeholder title for this episode was “Rise of the Googlions”.  Why? Because that’s the title fellow Executive Producer/writer Carl Binder suggested and it stuck.  From a former blog entry: “Oh, dear. This is what happens when you hang on to a gag title a little too long. Sooner or later, it makes it onto the schedule, the Art Department starts using it in their design updates, and producer John N. Smith can be heard uttering the words: ‘We should check out that location. We might be up there for Googlions.’ For all of you who have been racking your brains trying to come up with the hidden meaning behind the ‘Rise of the Googlions’ title, allow me to reveal it for you. … ‘Rise of the Googlions’ was nothing more than an inane title Carl came up with off the top of his head. To all those who wasted any amount of time searching the Internet for clues about the googlions, blame Mr. Binder who unwittingly sent you all out on a wild goose chase.”

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