I am by no means a food photographer. However, I love taking pictures and I love to eat, so what better idea then to combine the two. It was like I had died and drifted off into the clouds of heaven...bliss. I had done a small wedding at the iorio restaurant about a month ago and the owner, Chris, had asked me back to take a few pictures of a food event he was putting together. I didn't even know all the logistics going into it, he just said I would be able to eat each course after I photographed it, so naturally I was in. The best way to a man's heart is his stomach and he hit me at my weakness...food! He could have said it was a pizza party and I still would have shown up with my camera ready for action.
At any rate, my immature palate was in for an experience. Hawaiian was the theme and after looking at the menu and unable to pronounce most of the food, I knew I was in for a treat. I always say, the better the food, the more difficult it is to pronounce (mainly because it's exotic).
Take the journey below and let your salivary glands open up for some good eats!
The event took place at the iorio restaurant owned by Hilary and Chris Thompson. The menu was by Alejandro "Aker" Briceno, Lindsey Ozawa, and Kevin Lee.
During most of courses being prepared, I would go back in the kitchen and watch. These guys know what they are doing, huge stress yet they all had a huge sense of, "I got this" attitude. Reminded me a lot of wedding photography.
The first course was basically sushi in a shot glass. I will have to apologize because while I have the menu that told all the food, this one does not seem to be on the list. Or if it is I dont know if it's the drink or the actual appetizer it is describing...
"Oregon" Crudo. While this was primarily food inspired by Hawaii, the chief being in Portland, wanted to bring a little Oregon flair to the table. With Konbu cured Opah, Black Berry, Dill Flower, Lambs Leaf Lettuce, and Spring Onion Vinaigrette, the chief put together a symphony of taste and texture. This was one delicious appetizer and leaves you wanting lots more! It was a sad moment when I realized I had none left.
This appetizer was paired with one of Dave Power's Cocktails, the Cherry Allspice Manhattan.
While all the food was great, there has to be one course that was on the lowest points in my "grading book" and this one was it.
While the textures were very exciting and enjoyable, the taste was not as complementary. This was the Coppa di Testa "Adobo." I would like to state again I am by no means a food connoisseur nor am I that educated in the topic. I simply enjoy food and love the experience of cooking as well as eating. So speaking to the foodies out there that do know their stuff and are reading this, please take what a say with a grain of salt (pun intended).
Cavatelli. Chantrelle, Snow Peas, Hijiki, Cherry Tomato. The texture of this one was probably in my favorites category. With the fresh crunch of the greens, the warm al dente pasta, and the soft cherry tomatoes, you get a nice pairing of all three in one.
Chris (wearing the black iorio shirt) introduces the honored guests of the evening that will be cooking dinner for everyone. Usually after each course Lindsey would come out and explain what the dish was, how it was inspired, and a little bit of what was involved in making it.
I won't lie, when I saw this course I was genuinely afraid to eat it. I am not a big sea food guy and this was the "Panang" Curry Clams and Dungeness Crab, Dried Shrimp, Potato, Lime, Chili, Lemon Verbena, and Ikan Bilis, which all equals seafood. With my sister's wisdom ringing in ears "don't ditch it till you try it, peter," I dove in and to my surprise, I loved it! The flavors were magnificent and very powerful in a good way. The Chili gave it a very nice spice, and the lime gave it nice notes of freshness. With the added soft potatoes and perfectly cooked clams one could not go wrong. I would like to say my palette grew that night, and this dish aided me in that!
This one you just can't go wrong, it was the Indian Spiced Venison Sausage and Loin, Polenta Cake, Cucumber Raita, and Garam Masala Jus. The most surprising thing of this dish was the Spiced Venison, it was cooked on the more rare side of sausage which I did not know you could really do. It was very exciting and a completely different experience then I was used to.
Jasmine Rice, Black and White Sesame, Basil, and Nectarine.
This was called "Kulolo". Kalo, Coconut, Smoked Macadamia Nut, and Banana. I didn't know bananas could taste so good ;)