HOT Chocolate!Posted: 02/13/2011
It was billed as The Haute Chocolate Affair, and chef Amy Jurist delivered just that, right in time for Valentine’s Day. She’s the chef behind Amy’s Culinary Adventures, a monthly “underground” dinner event. If you live in Los Angeles, and have never been to one of her events, then I must share this experience with you. I did not attend as one of her loyal foodie followers, but instead, assisted her in the kitchen, plating the meals and baking the bread for the event. Each of her dinners has a theme, and this one, as I stated, was chocolate. And boy, did she deliver!
Each one of Amy’s dinners is held in secret locations throughout the city. This one was held at The Woman’s Club of Hollywood, an airy, historic pink building right in the center of Hollywood. As the diverse group of guests mingled, they were served the night’s special cocktail that Amy called a “Snickertini”. This was a mesmerizing concoction of Vodka, Godiva Liquor, Bailey’s Caramel and Amaretto. Needless to say, there was nary a drop left at the end of the night.
She began the evening with a series of appetizers. First, fried to golden perfection by chef Stephanie, was the shrimp tempura with a white chocolate, mango and white balsamic sauce. It was as good as it sounds. She followed with grilled chicken in a dark chocolate cherry port sauce, and my favorite the cocoa, maple and brown sugar glazed pork belly. I feel naughty just writing about it.
Amy seated all her guests at long tables draped in chocolate-brown tablecloths, and served the first course which was a spicy black bean and milk chocolate cassoulet. I love how she layers her flavors. I should add that all the courses are paired with a specially chosen wine that complimented each dish beautifully.
For the entrée course, this is where I will gush about her culinary talents as a chef. She served a pan seared salmon, perfectly cooked, with a Cajun honey white chocolate sauce atop a wild rice and cocoa nib medley. Yes, the crowd went wild. Each table had a basket of the homemade breads which were a white chocolate and golden raisin brioche, and a bittersweet chocolate-cherry boule.
So no one should have felt chocolate deprived, Amy ended the evening with two dessert courses…after all, it was Valentine’s Day. The first was a peanut butter mousse and chocolate crunch tart. And, just when you thought you couldn’t eat another bite, she made her presentation of Chocolate 3 Ways. A beautifully plated trio of chocolate creme brulee, espresso toffee ice cream and a dark chocolate, pecan caramel turtle. I’m having a sugar high right now as I write this.
I hope you’ll check Amy out at amysculinaryadventures.com, and try one of her upcoming underground dinners in the near future. It’s an experience I know you will enjoy. I promise!