Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Chef JEFF TUNKS takes us to the top at a private dinner (2-7-12)

Each year Food & Friends invites its major donors to a private dinner
cooked in their facility in NE Washington. This year I chose the
dinner cooked by Chef JEFF TUNKS, who is a well known fixture here in
Washington one third of the Passion Food Hospitality Group where he
oversees DC Coast, Ceiba, Acadiana, Passion Fish, Distict Commons and
Burger Tap & Shake (
passion_food.html) as well as the late Tan Penh. Joining Chef Tunks
was Executive Chef Chris Clime (who is at the helm in Reston's Passion
Fish) making a dream team for any cooking event.
On arrival we were treated to superb mini CRAB CAKES, some of the most
divine DEVILED EGGS each with a small upright piece of crisp bacon and
SHORT RIB SLIDERS each with a mini-pickle on top. I could have made a
meal of these, but was forewarned that the dinner menu was intense.
After raving to both chefs about the passed hor's d'oevres, we sat
down in the Food & Friends kitchen to a truly mouth-watering meal with
some truly tantalizing tastes!

First came a creamy rich heavenly Roasted BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE with
Kaffir Lime and TONS of Butter Poached LOBSTER. At the end of the
meal, I complemented the chefs on their excess of tasty tender lobster
easily beating our one measly piece of shrimp in the Lobster Bisque at
Blue Fin in NY the other night!
Domaine de Cassagnoles 2010 Vin de Pays de Cotes de Gascogne was a
citrus-infused wine with lots of acidity that complemented the soups
creaminess and brought out the lime even more.

Next came a GRILLED OCTOPUS with Baba Ganoush, Toasted Coriander
TZATSIKI and Pomegranate. These flavors mingled on the plate and
totally wowed everyone at our table for sure. The octopus was tender
and the bursting flavor-crunch of the pomegranate was an added treat.
Chateau Riviere La Coste Graves Blanc 2010 was a smoother white with
lots of flavor that I chose to drink alone later as well.

The main course was a PORCINI Crusted HALIBUT with Yukon Gold
Potatoes, OXTAIL and Black Truffle Jus. The Potatoes were pureed and
the jus drizzled around them for more flavor, while the Oxtail was a
small rich patty with tones of flavor. Some of the folks at our table
had never had oxtail before and truly were amazed by its burst of rich
meaty flavor. I would have liked a red wine, but the white served
Domaine Alary Cotes du Rhone-Villages CAIRANNE La Font d"Estevenas
Blanc 2009 was a very rich creamy wine with (according to the
description) "Cavaillon melon flavors+ which I have never even heard

Dessert was a CHOCOLATE PRALINE BOMB which I limited myself to simply
one bite of as it was oh so rich, albeit divine. The nice fruit and
caramel sauces were worth an extra finger taste of as well.

While this event is limited to major donors, you could always head to
DC Coast or Passion Fish for similar tasty seafood dishes like these!