Evolve Cuisine – Explore Your Senses

by Rodzilla on June 5, 2012 · 7 comments

Smoked Duck Breast, Bing Cherry, Spicy Coconut Milk
What’s the point of covering an event that may not be around any longer? For those who haven’t heard, the Evolve Cuisine team decided that this past Exlpore Your Senses event would be the last before  taking some time off to focus on their primary cooking gigs.

Tequila Shooter

If it’s any consolation, most of the team can still be found around San Diego, but I can’t imagine that will compare to getting them all in one kitchen or cram-space.

Lemon Cranberry Cosmo

Like all prior events, we started with Cocktails from the only man who can make me like tequila, modern mixologist Mike Yen. The Cosmo was my favorite to date, and I don’t care how girly that makes me.

Yellowfin Tuna Yuzu Aioli - Sheena Villegas

Duck Confit Ravioli - Tiffany Senin

Next came three hors d’oeuvres, each having been prepared by one of the loyal Evolve Sous’ (Alex Emery’s “Smoked Duck Breast, Bing Cherry, Spicy Coconut Milk” pictured at top). Guests were then asked to vote for their favorite. I technically did, but I’m still undecided.

Smell - Crab Consume, Sweet Pea, Truffle

As this was an event to “explore the senses” the meal proper started with  Smell. As pictured there wasn’t much of an aroma, but once the crab broth was poured over top a strong truffle aroma rose from the consomme.

Sight - Sculpin, Honeysuckle, Red Chile

Sight was based on the visually striking Sculpin.  Like all the fish for the evening, this came courtesy of Tommy Gomes at Catalina Offshore. The freshest fish available combined with great technique -a barely there crispy crust, slight sweetness, and gentle heat. This was one of the best cooked fish dishes I’ve had, and my second favorite of the evening.

Sound - Lavender, Pork Jowl, Mustard

Sound - on account of the “pop rocks” and yes you could really hear them.

Touch - Chicken Liver, Ahi, Pumpernickle, Peach

Touch was named because of the way a certain ingredient “touched the heart” of many guests in attendance. The title may have been a stretch, the dish was not. My favorite component was  what looked to be a standard liver terrine, but was actually seared liver made into a panna cotta. Definitely not your average chickenliver.

Acid Rain

The dry ice effectisn’t exactly novel, but always fun, and especially with vodka.

Taste - Beef Cheek, Uni, Lima Beans

Taste - the beef cheek was perfect, sous vide and finished on site. I wouldn’t have been upset if it was presented by itself, but sitting atop a bed of creamy hominy pumpernickel grits, and covered  with the sweet brine of an uni emulsion, this edged out the Sculpin for my favorite savory of the evening.

Sensory Overload - Duck Confit, Spot Prawn, Blackberry, Horseradish

At this point we ran out of senses, so Chef Barron and team tried to hit them all. “For this dish we utilized every part of the duck, including the chicken liver” Seared liver, spot prawn stuffed with duck confit, duck prosciutto, blackberry sauce and horseradish. That’s quite a lot for one dish, quite a lot of awesome.

Dessert - Watermelon, Prosciutto, Basil, Love & Break Dancing

Dessert is not a sense, and I couldn’t find break dancing anywhere in this dish. I may have tasted love in the olive oil corn cake, but honestly, Chef Bonilla could have called this ass-crack and razor blades and I would have eaten it. His desserts are some of the best I’ve tasted anywhere, and this was my favorite yet.

Like all the Evolve events prior, the atmosphere could not have been better. Interaction between guests and staff is as casual as can be. Guests are seated with friends, or make new ones by the end of the night, and I can’t think of anywhere else to find this level of food at this price point. So back to the original question - Why cover an event that’s not going to be around? To document a great experience, rally for the comeback, and most of all let the Evolve team know that if this was the last one, they went out on top.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrew

” … could have called this ass-crack and razor blades …” — that’s a great line!

And every dish looks delicious.

2 kirbie

Wow you’re fast. I havent even uploaded my pics to my computer yet. Thanks for letting me know this would be the last one for a while. I would have hated to miss out.

3 Chuck

I love these recaps bro- your descriptions are awesome and writing style is great. And no, it doesn’t make you sound girly lol

4 sir kj

We were there Sat night. Great review and pics. I do hope they continue and do more down the road. All the people involved are very talented and know how to have fun….

5 Chefprotoss

Dude, how do you get your pics to look so damn awesome? Lighting is always my problem. I’m assuming these weren’t taken during the day haha

6 James

Great review as usual. Really enjoyed sitting next to you and SDGourmand.

Kirbie – sorry you couldn’t sit with us also, but I guess technically you were still at the table.

While Evolve may be shelved for a bit, it will still definitely be possible to visit the chefs individually, and I plan on doing that.

7 Rodzilla

Andrew – thanks my man, I meant it. Most all of the dishes were great, but that Dessert would make a lasting impression even on you. If you make it to SD we’ll go to 1540 to check Bonilla’s dessert tasting.

Kirbie – glad you got to try it, hopefully we’ll be at the same end of the table next time!

Chuck – thanks broski. I don’t think the cosmo is girly either, I’m just that confident.

Sir KJ – thanks for reading and I definitely agree – what was your favorite course?

James – I don’t know who SDgourma…oh you mean Bobby? Haha, had a great time. We’ll do it again soon.

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