Could this be one of the best night’s of eating in Des Moines? I’m guessing that it will be – and you shouldn’t miss out. April 12th, 2015, is going to be a night of elegant food and wine at Embassy Club West featuring central Iowa’s top chefs. The event that I’m talking about is the 2015 Culinary Affair. The Iowa Restaurant Association puts on several great events each year. One of their other popular events is the Iowa Restaurant Association Grand Tasting Gala. There is no doubt that the Culinary Affair is going to be a hit. In fact, you better act quick because this event sells out every year. Get your tickets here.
Let’s take a look at the menu and a review of the event!
Scott Carlson of Americana and Court Avenue Brewing Company emceed the event.
2015 Culinary Affair Chefs & Menu
There were award winning chefs and ProStart Culinary teams helping out – which made me jealous. What a great experience to work with some of the best chefs in Des Moines.
Prepared by Chef John Andres and the Des Moines Central Campus High School ProStart Culinary Team
- Pesto cream stuffed tomatoes with balsamic glaze
- Braise short rib on polenta cake with parmesan gremolata
- Bay scallop ceviche with avocado and cilantro
Prepared by Chef Don Garrett – Two Rivers Grille at the West Des Moines Marriott, West Des Moines
- Celery root and pear soup with house-made truffle herb raw cashew goat cheese
- Wine: La Marca Prosecco, DOCG, Italy
Soup was a great way to start off the night. Rather than a warm soup, it was a cold soup. The house-made truffle herb raw cashew goat cheese, in the center of the soup, was a great addition. You could really taste the cashew which was really enjoyable with the pear flavor. The one thing that really set the night up was the wine pairing. Pear and apple flavors exploded and added another level of flavor to the soup.
Prepared by (2014 Restaurateur of the Year) Chef George Migliero – G Migs 5th Street Pub, West Des Moines
- Spring salad with roasted fennel, grape tomatoes, roasted peppers, grilled asparagus, shaved red onion, prosciutto crisps, smoked portabella mushrooms, herb goat cheese sachet and truffle sherry vinaigrette
- Wine: Laguna Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
If you couldn’t tell already by the picture, the salad had a great presentation. Three things that really stood out in the salad were the prosciutto crisps, smoked portabella mushrooms and the balsamic grilled asparagus. The wine was fruit and had hints of spice. It was a great pair because the leafy flavor of the greens with the spice was bold. It also helped cut the intense vinaigrette flavor.
Prepared by (2014 Chef of the Year) Chef Dominic Iannarelli, Splash Seafood Bar & Grill.
- Tuscany style sea bass with white bean & polenta cake, and warm escarole salad
- Wine: Allegrini Valpocella, DOCG, Italy
Oh, this sauce! It was magnificent. At first, I could pick out what the flavors were in the sauce that made it a little tangy. After discussing it with the table, we determined that there were green olives in it – which I loved. Imagine tomato basil soup and you’ll get a sense of what the sauce tasted like. The polenta cake was warm and I used it to soak every last drip of sauce. The sea bass was enjoyable too. I’m going to look for that on a menu the next time I’m out, or visit Splash Seafood Bar & Grill. The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this dish was the wine pairing. I thought that it brought out too much of the fish flavor.
Intermezzo – Palate Cleanser
Prepared by Chef Jason Attig, HOQ, Des Moines
- Organic cucumber and Lee’s Farm Raddish
- Wine: La Marca Prosecco, DOCG, Italy
Thank goodness this was a small dish. Just a couple scoops with a spoon and we were on to the next entree. Though small, this palate cleanser was bold. The chili was just strong enough to make your nose run. Lemon and mint were also notable.
Prepared by Chef Michael Holman, Dos Rios Cantina & Tequila Lounge, Des Moines
- Confit cumin rubbed pork loin with gingered carrot puree, mole negro, grapefruit and jicama salad with honey jalapeno vinaigrette
- Wine: Gascon Malbec, Mendoza
Tender piece of meat, delicious fat took center stage on the plate for the main entree. I loved this entree because there were so many flavors going on. The pork rested on a gingered carrot puree, mole negro, topped with grapefruit and jicama salad with honey jalapeno vinaigrette.
Prepared by Chef David Baruthio, Baru 66, Des Moines
- Degustation of chocolate, strawberry & rhubarb
- Wine: Ghost Pines Red, Sonoma County
So, degustation basically means sampling small portions of all of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting. This was necessary for a dessert because we were on our 7th plate and 7th glass of wine. I’m not sure how much more I could’ve taken. I’m glad that they had seats with rollers on them because most people had to get rolled out of there ;). The while chocolate ice cream was outstanding. I’d like to get a pint of that. I’ve never had cotton candy before with wine but when you have a long, lust finish with something sugary – it’s delicious.
I absolutely loved the presentation of the dessert.
Sunday April 12, 2015
Embassy Club West
West Des Moines
5:30 Hors d’oeuvres
If you’ve never been to an Iowa Restaurant Association event, you’re missing out on a lot of fun! Get your tickets here.