On today’s Cooking Channel episode of “Chuck’s Eat the Street,” Chef Chuck Hughes is still in sunny southern California. This time he is on restaurant row, 30th Street in this episode titled, “Simply Delicious San Diego.’
The first place he visited was the Roast Coach, a unique coffee bar where he met with co-owners, Jenna Woodruff & Salpi Sleiman. They do a brisk business in pour-overs, non-alcoholic coffee drinks that are served like cocktails and their famous aebleskivers. They gladly made a batch of this Danish delight made with pancake batter and delicious fillings. Chuck got to try the blueberry ones with lemon curd topping before he went upon his way.
His next visit was to Alchemy, a restaurant specializing in local produce. Chef Ricardo Heredia works with the best and probably most unusual farm in San Diego, the San Diego City College Urban Farm and Seeds @ City. As Chuck got a tour of the farm, that was the idea of students and teachers there, he saw edible flowers, pods and several varieties of tomatoes. They found radishes and even nectarines for their upcoming creation. Chef Ricardo took a nice chunk of white sea bass and got it going. Then he told Chuck that he was working with miracle berries. Unknown to Chuck, he presented these berries that contain a protein that coat the receptors of one’s taste buds that changes sour to sweet. He uses them in cocktails and desserts. For about twenty minutes after eating them, your taste buds change. After eating one berry, Chuck then sucked on a lemon, which now tasted like lemonade. Then he tried an unripe tomato, and it tasted like a sweet peach. The berries focus your taste buds to divert acidity and bitterness. When the sea bass was ready, he used Greek yogurt, lemon zest and some borage they picked to artistically create a plate that looked like a painting. He used the radishes, nectarines, a lovely black tomato and topped it off with the bass. As they both feasted on the finished product, Chuck was thrilled that he got to take part in such a wonderful creation.
In the city of San Diego, many of the people are transplants. One transplant is owner and chef Fred Piehl of The Smoking Goat. He is a New Englander, who received his French culinary education in Paris. Here, he marries old-school technique with California cool. He showed Chuck how he makes poulet Basquaise, or chicken with peppers. He demonstrated how he made the brine to soak the boneless chicken overnight, then took the chicken and cooked it in oil with a bit of butter. Then he created the stew using peppers and tasso ham and jus of the chicken bones and roasted tomatoes, Fresno chilies and roasted peppers. When it was just about done, they made cheesy polenta. Chuck feasted on the finished product, declaring he will certainly be the wing man for Fred.
In his last venture of the day, Chuck visited Urban Solace and met up with chef and owner, Matt Gordon. Matt showed Chuck a summer specialty at the restaurant, their watermelon, cucumber and tomato salad. First, they made the dressing using a combination of herbs, spices and citrus with some special ingredients like pomegranate molasses. For the salad, he used several different kinds of watermelons, pineapple, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, basil, mint and arugula. Chuck loves arugula so much, he showed Matt his arugula tattoo! Then added feta cheese, toasted pine nuts dusted with chipotle powder and currants. Mixed together and topped with the dressing, it was a heavenly delight of flavors and truly a salad for people who do not like salad. Chuck called it California in a bowl on this episode of “Chuck’s Eat the Street.”
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