Greens Day and Chocolate

April 14, 2008 at 5:15 pm (food, restaurants)

I went to the SF Chocolate Salon yesterday. There were lots of chocolate makers and confectioners and there were lots of chocolate to sample, but that wasn’t the highlight of my day. I’ll get to the highlights of the day later.

A ceramics buddy of mine who is a Guittard of the Guittard Chocolate Company had given us a tasting tutorial one night at the studio, so it was nice to have that preparation when sampling more of their offerings and other companies’ chocolates as well. Guittard had the widest variety and I enjoyed their flavors the most. My head and mouth and nose were all very stimulated and each variety was very different from the next (anything from berries to bananas to anise and more) and also very good. I really liked the Sur del Lago from Venezuela. Scharffen Berger’s chocolates are good, but they don’t have a lot of variety and there’s only really one bar (70%) that I really enjoy. The 60% bar is kinda dull and not as bright as the 70%. Amano might have more bars that they make, but they didn’t have many for us to taste. While they were interesting, many of the bars had weird plastic or gasoline flavors and that overwhelmed the chocolateness.

A photo of some of what Guittard had to offer at their table.

Guittard samples

Most of the tables had chocolate treats. They were pretty tasty, but there were no confectioners that really distinguished themselves and their products in my mind. Christopher Elbow’s chocolates might have been the best, but still nothing blew me away. I got tired of eating these and I kept wishing that there were more chocolate bars for me to taste and compare. A big problem was that everything was so sweet! I think that the confections would have been tastier and more interesting if the sweetness didn’t overwhelm the other flavors. If I ever get into the business of making chocolate confections, I would make things much less sweet!

Christopher Elbow’s chocolates, for display only. They showed us all these varieties but they were only letting people sample three kinds.

Christopher Elbow Chocolates, for display only

They also had chocolate-inspired hair style demonstrations from a salon that specialized in multi-cultural hair. I think the multi-cultural thing is supposed to be the connection to chocolate. While we were waiting to get a table at Greens Restaurant (hold on, hold on, I’ll get to that part soon!), we sat through a chocolate body frosting demo. They had chocolate, paint brushes, and stencils and I guess it’s supposed to be romantic and fun, but the final result looked like moles.

chocolate swirl hairchocolate body frosting stenciles

We also tasted some wine with chocolate, but the wine wasn’t very good. And the wine was causing some weird reaction in my mouth when it was mixed with chocolate and it was not enjoyable at all. I’ll just drink wine (good wine) and eat chocolate separately from now on.

chocolate and wine

We were quite exhausted after eating all that chocolate. Many of us were in chocolate comas:

chocolate comachocolate coma 2

But one of us couldn’t get enough chocolate and needed a take out box:
take out box

The real story is that he couldn’t finish the samples that he was getting and needed a place to hold the chocolate overflow.

Okay, on to Greens! I’ve been wanting to try brunch at Greens and since the chocolate affair was at Fort Mason, we decided to hit Greens. So did a lot of other people. We wound up waiting 2 hours, but it was worth it. It gave us a chance to rest after eating so much chocolate. And the food was really good. Since Christina was complaining about some people having nicknames on the blog while she didn’t, I’ll start referring to people with nicknames. Bourbon Red and Poblano had a Mexican-flavored scramble with the fluffiest tastiest eggs that I have ever tasted. Big Ben had fettuccine with asparagus. And I had a butternut squash gratin with the squash and other vegetables (including poblanos) topped with a fromage blanc custard (I guess that’s the gratin part). There were also cipollini onions and polenta cakes on the side. It was amazing. Unfortunately, there are no photos partly because Poblano was making fun of me for taking so many pictures of food. So I kept the camera in my bag and just enjoyed my food. Number Seven and his Wifey decided to leave before we could get seated at Greens, but hopefully they’ll have an opportunity to go back and have brunch at Greens sometime! With a reservation made in advance!

My Greens Day didn’t stop there. One of Deborah Madison’s (original chef at Greens) recipes from her Local Flavors cookbook was included in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. And it was perfect for this time of year. Asparagus and Morel Bread Pudding. Yes, a savory bread pudding! Brilliant! I couldn’t find morels (I’m so jealous that Bourbon Red got to go morel hunting when he was in middle school. That sounds like fun!) so I used enoki and what I think were oyster mushrooms instead. I made some modifications (soy milk instead of cow milk, two extra eggs because four didn’t seem like enough). The bread was dark so that’s why it looks so dark in the photo.

The resulting bread pudding was delicious and I will be able to enjoy delicious leftovers for a while:

asparagus enoki oyster bread pudding

Next time, instead of soaking the bread in the milk and then adding the eggs later, I will try mixing the eggs into the milk first before soaking. I think that will make the bread more custardy. There were walnuts in the bread that made it extra tasty, so next time, if I use bread with no walnuts, I might add some on my own.

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1 Comment

  1. Finally, a tasting event that didn’t leave me disappointed! « Babbling Blueberry said,

    […] into going to these tasting events.  Like Ghirardelli Square’s annual festival.  Or the chocolate festival.  There have been others.  I wind up thinking that I paid too much to enter and the things that I […]

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