What's Cookin, Chicago?: California Fig Dinner at Girl & The Goat
Figs were once deemed the most hated fruit in the U.S.... how could that be? Perhaps this was due to the lack of knowledge of figs in general. But I for one love figs and this year happens to be the Year of the Fig! It's the Year of the Fig and the start of the California fresh fig season and to celebrate, I joined the California Fig Advisory to a special dinner at the ever popular, Girl & The Goat restaurant.
After going down some stairs, passing the restrooms, storage doors and even an exclusive staff only security door, we were brought to a dimly lit, secret room. It was beautiful, quiet and perfect for our dinner away from the loud, bustling main dining room upstairs.
And we were graced with Top Chef Stephanie Izard's presence as well! Although she was to prepare our special dinner for the night, she was caught on a late flight from Vegas. So instead, her sous chef David Ochs prepared and presented our delicious meal.
- Figs made their first commercial product appearance in the 1892 introduction of Fig Newtons® Cookies. (See http://www.nabiscoworld.com/newtons/.)
- Figs provide more fiber than any other common fruit or vegetable. The fiber in figs is both soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber are important for good health.
- California figs are the only fruit to fully ripen to complete sweetness and semi-dry right on the tree before falling to the ground to continue drying.
- Figs are harvested in the late summer and early fall, but because they are dried and conveniently packaged, they are available all year long.
So with all this talk of figs, let's get into the meal we enjoyed. For each course, we were presented with figs prepared in various ways. Everything from a fig mostarda, fig & olive oil vinaigrette, sliced figs in salad, stuffed figs, cooked & spiced figs, fig sauce, and caramelized figs were represented. Each course was beautifully presented, as seen in the pictures below. I thought everything tasted wonderful, given the focus of incorporating figs.
paired with '08 Lemelson Six Vineyards Williamette Valley Pinot Noir
mission figs ~ queso de mano ~ ginger maple dressing
Escargot Stuffed Figs
smoked tomato ~ bacon ~ mizuna
Grilled Baby Octopus
guanciale ~ wax beans ~ radish ~ favas ~ pistachio-lemon vinaigrette
fish sauce vinaigrette ~ cashews
smoked goat ~ spiced figs ~ cucumber
paired with '07 Larachette Manciat Les Vielles Vignes Pouilly-Fuisse
Rogue Smokey Blue Cheese
fig sauce ~ Marcona almond florentine
paired with '08 Hedges Family Estate Mountain Cab-Merlot
Pork Fat Donuts
caramelized figs ~ candied eggplant
paired with NY Louis Boillot Crement de Bourgogne Blanc de Blancs