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Culinary Corner, week of April 17-22

Hello! So I am in San Antonio this week, training and comparing notes with all the other Chefs. David Meraz will be holding the Culinary Corner meeting on Monday and has written the majority of this menu, so please attend and show support for one of our younger but very talented chefs.

I want to remind you that on April 28, we are serving an adaptation of the final menu of the Titanic when it sank on April 14 1912. This will be a prix-fixe dinner, five courses served in two seatings. Please get your reservations set up with the Dining Room, plan on formal dress, and join us for what will be a lot of fun. This is the only meal being served in the dining room that night, and takeout options will be limited.

The soup of the week is Chicken Chili. This is tomato and chicken based, not too different from a beef chili but with a bit more lime and herb flavor, and of course a lot less saturated fat. Try it, I think you'll like it, of course sour cream, Cheddar and chives will be available. Speaking of things that go well with chili, if you like your food spicy, just ask. We always have hot sauces available and if you really like spice ask for the chef's secret stash of habanero sauce...

We have a Tomato and Cream Cheese Bruschetta this week: basil pesto, cream cheese and olive oil are spread on grilled ciabatta bread, and toped with fresh tomatoes before being browned under the broiler and sprinkled with sea salt.

The Cheese this week is a triple cream brie style known as St. Angel. This cheese is as rich as butter, soft and tangy. Not the lowest calorie cheese out there for sure, but very delicious and honestly I could make my meal out of just this cheese course. This is served with a caramelized onion jam and French bread. Try it with Pinot Noir.

At Dinner, there is Pan-Seared Trout with a Tomato Vinaigrette. This time of year, we start looking for lighter fare such as this when the weather turns warmer but of course last week we went from 85 degrees on Wednesday to snow and sleet on Friday so we really don't know what to expect. Try this no matter what the temperature, it's served with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted asparagus. The trout is from Frontier Trout ranch in the San Luis Valley. Check them out here to see some of the dedication to not only fresh quality seafood but sustainability. This would be really good with Sauvignon Blanc or even Albarino.

There is a Mole-Roasted Chicken this week. Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce originating in the Oaxacan region with pre-Columbian roots but a very definite European persuasion like many Mexican cuisines. Different Moles are found all over Mexico and can vary wildly, but have several things in common. In general the ingredients of mole can be grouped into five components; heat from chili peppers, sour as from a tomatillo or lime, sweet as from fruit or chocolate, spice like cinnamon or anise and thickening like tortilla or pumpkin seeds. David's Mole sauce is a bit of a mystery since he refuses to tell me the ingredients but if you attend the Culinary Corner on Monday he might share with you. This dish is served with spring vegetables and rice pilaf. Try it with a Gewürztraminer or Riesling.

We have a Grilled New York Strip Steak, center-cut and delicious. We have a compound butter with horseradish and chives on top, steamed broccoli and a twice-baked potato studded with Cheddar cheese. This one is always good, try it with Cabernet Sauvignon.

By request we have Butternut Squash-filled Ravioli, tossed in browned butter and topped with crispy sage. Browned butter is just about exactly what it sounds like, we put a pat of whole butter in a hot pan, first it melts, then as the liquid cooks out the butter solids brown in an aromatic glaze. We add a few herbs and some garlic and pour it over the cooked raviolis. This classic taste combination would be great with Chardonnay.

Finally on the weekly dinner menu we have a classic Baked Ziti with tomato sauce, sausage and lots of bubbly cheese served with garlic bread. Yum.

For nightly specials look for Veal Parmesan, Carved Pork Loin, Grilled Wahoo, Sliced Flank Steak, Mango-Barbecued Ribs, Crispy Snapper and Chicken Cordon Bleu.

For Lunch this week, we're offering Carved Meatloaf, Barbecued Salmon, Pot Roast Sandwiches, and Carved Prime Rib.

At the Social on Thursday we have

Grilled Chorizo and Shrimp Poppers,

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus,

and Roasted Oysters.

Thank you all, and I'll see you later in the week!

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