Saturday, March 15, 2014

Torches - Bourbon Social

"Whisky is liquid sunshine" - George Bernard Shaw

Torches Restaurant is special to me because JJ catered my wedding.  Ah, shameful wedding picture plug, but I want to share because it's so apparent how much love they put into their food.  Everything they put out was so beautiful and creative.
 
As a family, the restaurants they're running now, Torches, Smoke on the Water and The Garage, all put out food that is appealing to both the eyes and the tastebuds.  From their hosts, to the bar, to the table, I've never experienced the slightest break down in service.  They do a great job of making their food feel special and making their guests feel special as well.

For the bourbon tasting, there were ten of us.   For 'some reason' we were seated in a separate room which we had almost all to ourselves.  'Some reason' may be the fact that we're all a little loud and a little vulgar often with very little notice of who else might be within earshot.  Smart move, Torches, because this night was no exception.  The food was classy.  Our table... well, let's just say this won't be on any of our 'classiest moments' lists.  (You all keep a 'classiest moments' list, right?)  Anyway, I was laughing all night and thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the company.  Thank you, PJ, for planning this.

Bourbon Street Gumbo Ya Ya
shrimp, alligator, house andouille, fried okra, crawfish, rice, crystal pipette
Makers 46
Like, I said, I am always impressed with JJ's food presentation.  The fried okra were puffy golden islands in the dark reddish-brown soup.  We even had a pipette of hot sauce sticking out of the rice and a bright red crawfish giving the whole dish a happy hug.  I picked up little Sebastian with enthusiasm because I couldn't wait to test my my crawfish-cracking skills.  I quickly remembered that I couldn't actually remember the proper way to break my small friend down.  Luckily, we were given some guidance:
  1. Off with his head!  No, seriously, pull off his head.  Suck out the organs and salty head juice or discard it. 
  2. Pinch the body and tear away the first 2-3 segments of tail.
  3. Pinch the meat with one hand and pull the shell near the flipper with your other hand. The meat should pull away from the shell and you should put the meat in your mouth.
Turns out this is so much easier said than done! I wish I had asked for a few more bowls of gumbo so I could try to get it right... Ok, really I just wanted a few more bowls of gumbo because I wanted to eat a few more bowls of gumbo.  It was delicious.  Seriously though, JJ, we could have used a wetnap after that one.


Surf and Turf Carpaccio
smoked sea salt filet mignon, sesame sashimi tuna, grilled asparagus, toasted nori, miso vinaigrette
Basil Hayden
I'm such a sucker for sauces.  I love the way they can make a plate look all artsy and the way their flavors can truly elevate a dish.  When this carpaccio dish came out, I immediately dipped the back of my fork tines in the sauce and tasted it.  This is my first move any time I get a plate with a sauce element.  I always try the sauce alone first and then together with the other components.  Everything on this plate was delicious.  I think I liked the tuna slightly more than the filet, but only just.


Sweet Potato Gnocchi
elk and currant sausage, radicchio, lychee, parsnip and vanilla puree, chorizo vinaigrette
Jim Beam Signature Craft Cocktail


Cocoa Crusted Lamb
lamb chop, cocoa coffee crust, curry roasted cauliflower, black cherry gastrique
Isle of Jura 10 Year
I'm not a coffee drinker so the thought of a cocoa-coffee crust didn't exactly have me salivating in anticipation.  But after a single bite, I am a convert.  Maybe not to drinking coffee, but I would eat this meal every night if I could.  The lamb was so tender and that earthy, sweet crust went so well with the tart, jammy sauce.  I want to give this a try at home sometime.  Stay tuned.


Braised Beef Short Rib
boneless short rib, smoked gouda polenta, tobacco onions, honey bourbon carrots
Knob Creek


Bourbon Poached Pear
savory puff pastry and vanilla gelato
Tap 357 Maple Rye Cocktail



JJ and Kevin stopped over to our table at the end of the meal, which, as you might know, I really respect.  If you were drooling through this post, get excited!  They told us that Torches is going to do more events like this around the first Monday of each month.

16 comments:

  1. Everything looks and sounds delicious! How was the gnocchi? I'm also curious about the bourbon pairings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The gnocchi was tasty. Denser, slightly, than some other times I've had his gnocchi, but still good. The sauce was on the sweet side, a little different, which I liked, but some other people weren't as fond of it. I thought the heartiness of the sausage and the vinaigrette cut the sweetness so if you ate a little bite of everything all at once it was a great mix of different flavors that worked really well together.

      I should have Doug chime in on the bourbons. I enjoyed them all, especially the cocktails, but Doug would be able to give better feedback since he's had more bourbon experience.

      Delete
  2. loved the wedding plug too.

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