Cochinita Pibil from Tacolicious
Surprisingly bright, this achiote- and citrus-marinated pork shoulder tostada from Chef Telmo Faria rested on a black bean spread and splotch of guacamole with a garnish of pickled red onions.
Three Little Pigs from Incanto
You can depend on Chris Cosentino for shock value. He presented three skinned Berkshire suckling pigs with their little heads facing the crowd. Each had been de-boned and crammed with a stuffing of truffle mortadella spotty with pistachios, pâté de campagne, or smoked liverwurst. "There has to be a joke," Cosentino said of his choice of dish. "It also has to to taste good," he added while sprinkling sea salt onto someone's pâté. “Otherwise, what the f@%k is the point?”
Peach Cobbler from Tyler Florence
Representing Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco and El Paseo in Mill Valley, Tyler Florence tweaked a homey Southern dish with two savory components: Smoked Virginia ham similar to prosciutto and peppery crumbled biscuits baked with herbes de Provence.
Crab Cake from One Market
It almost feels inelegant to call this one-bite scoop of fresh crab a "crab cake." It was pure Dungeness crab bound with a little scallop (no bread crumbs allowed) with a saffron aioli. And in the most verdant presentation of the evening, Chef Mark Dommen presented each of his spoonfuls atop a hedge of microgreens.
Caviar from The Plumed Horse
I lucked into Chef Peter Armellino's luxurious caviar cannoli as my first bite of the night. At one end peeked a black head of California Hackleback caviar, donated by the California Caviar Company. At the other, diced chives decorated the filling of smoked sturgeon mouse, creamy with mascarpone and crème fraîche.
Cedar Plank Salmon from EPIC Roasthouse
Smoked in the oven on a cedar plank, the salmon had a raw-ish coral middle with a slightly sweet and smoky flavor. An heirloom tomato salad in a corn vinaigrette kept things fresh.
Salame Duo from Columbus Salumeria
This specialty meat company based in South San Francisco produced two bites that showed their products could play in a top chef arena. One was a crunchy peanut brittle with pistachios and chewy bits of slow-aged, smooth Felino salame; the other was a sweet fig smeared with goat cheese and a slice of pepper and garlic Crespone salame.
Corn Vichyssoise from Baker and Banker
The puréed corn that formed that base of this cool soup smacked of sweetness while chopped smoked mussels and black-eyed peas added body.
Whole Hog Terrine from Spruce
Who knew a terrine of pig trotter, shoulder, and head could be delicate? A briny pickled carrot was the perfect chaser.
Salmon 'Pastrami' from Water Bar
Pepper-crusted smoked salmon graced a corn cake juicy with plump corn under squirt of a little brown butter-miso aioli.
Pork Terrine from Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
Diced pickled green peaches riffed on a Thai green papaya salad accompanied this lovely terrine of smoked and confit pork with a chicharrón on top. The peaches, like all the produce served at the Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, came from the restaurant's farm.
Desserts from Morimoto Napa
Of the four different desserts sticking out from Morimoto Napa's display tree, two required second helpings: a super soft, chewy, salty miso and peanut butter cookie and single-malt Yamazaki whiskey fudge (pictured) which was served cold. You didn't taste the whisky until the fudge practically disappeared down your gullet, making it almost as if you were taking a shot after each smooth bite of chocolate.
Let's Toast...and Toast and Toast again
Sponsors for the evening included Livermore Valley Wine Country, Wines of Portugal, Rhône Valley Wines, Washington State Wine, and Wines of Chile.
Big smiles from a well-soused and well-fed crowd.