I had first sampled their "small bites" at the Freedom to Marry event a few weeks ago and was delighted when I was invited to attend their winter tasting event. Other menus you can view on the Joshua Charles.net website include their: Cocktail Party, Garden Party Tea Sandwich Luncheon, Vegetarian Gathering, Wedding Reception and Summer Barbeque.
It was a busy night for Executive Chef Jonathan Veenker and his team as they prepared both small bites and a buffet for their appreciative and very hungry guests!
The Gravlax of Arctic Char was my favorite of the hors d'oeurves. It was a tender strip of gravlax rolled up around the tastiest "eggplant caponata," crème fraiche and black pepper that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I mean eating. Oh and if you aren't sure what gravlax is? It's salmon that's typically been cured in a dry marinade that's comprised of a mixture of salt, sugar, and dill, under a heavy weight that presses the water out of the fish.
Here's a close up in case that first picture didn't make your mouth water. I swear I could have eaten about 30 of them. I LOVE GRAVLAX!!! I can still remember my introduction to it years ago at a high tech Christmas party. I parked myself by the gravlax buffet station and just sat there surrounded by little pieces of bread, salmon, capers and créme fraiche and just kept eating them... one after another... Yes I'll admit it, I can be that uncouth around unattended hors d'oeuvre stations whenever gravlax or caviar are involved... I can't help myself.
And this was Rabbit Cacciatore Spoons with creamy soft polenta. To be honest I didn't try it. Having had pet bunnies for much of my life I just couldn't do it. It sure did look good though and I'm certain it tasted good too.
And I ate Venison Tartar served on a Potato Gaufrette with Romesco Sauce. Yes you read that correctly, venison tartar. I tried it because I assumed it was ahi tuna. LOL. It was really good and was the first time I'd ever tried venison in my life. I didn't realize I'd be having such an exotic dining experience when I accepted the invitation.
And another first for me: House Smoked Sturgeon with apple-mint "caviar" and creme fraiche on thin little slices of walnut crostini bread. I'd never had sturgeon before either. I liked it a lot. It was my second most favorite bite of the night.
I took this shot shortly after I arrived. A small tent with lights and a very nice bartender were set up to greet us. I had a great time but couldn't stay long, as in I missed enjoying the buffet, because I had to be back to San Jose that evening to be a guest speaker at a meeting... So back in the car I went and headed back down HWY 280...
As I drove away here's what I missed out on at the buffet. *Sniff sniff* I could almost cry just thinking about it:
Grilled Striped Sea Bass with Olive Tapenade
Grilled New Zealand Lamb Rack
with marinated feta, Mediterranean herbs, and pomegranate molasses.
Spicy Pulled Pork Sandwich
on a hoagie roll with wild arugula and house made aioli.
Roasted Baby Beets with Chevre, Parsely and Shallots
Organic gold, pink, and purple Baby Beets dressed in Lemon Vinaigrette with crumbled Cowgirl Creamery Chevre
Baby Artichoke Bruschetta...
Artichokes in Lemon Confit and Cured White Anchovies
And the desserts?
Chocolate-dipped Organic Raspberries
Luscious square of brownie with emerald cream and scharffenberger fudge.