Savoring sustainability

In case you missed it, here is my roundup from this year’s Cooking for Solutions event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium that appeared in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald. I’ll be reposting my reviews and stories from my weekly column for the Herald here on my blog along with extra photos that didn’t appear in print.

This past weekend, the Monterey Bay Aquarium hosted its annual Cooking for Solutions event celebrating sustainable cuisine.

Foodies lined up for bites of food and sips of wine at Friday night’s Cooking for Solutions gala.

The highlight of the event, as always, was Friday night’s gala. The aquarium was transformed — gone were the crowds of tourists, replaced with foodies lined up for chefs serving up small bites and wineries pouring sips of wine.

This shooter with bay scallops in Thai curry with truffled popcorn was one of the best bites of the night.

One of my favorite bites was the bay scallop “shooter” with Thai curry and truffled popcorn, from Truckee’s Dragonfly Restaurant and Sushi Bar. The combination of Thai flavors with the savory truffle was unexpected — and delicious!

Former “Top Chef” contestant served up a great bite of Gulf shrimp with jalapeños and mint.

Former “Top Chef” contestant Sam Talbot served Gulf shrimp with jalapeño and mint — definitely another winner for me. The hot kick of pepper and the cooling touch of mint were a great combination.

I stuffed myself silly on lots of sustainable seafood at the gala, but some of my favorite bites actually came from the land, not the sea.

Charles Phan’s fried chicken was delicious, especially drizzled with spicy Sriracha butter.

Charles Phan from San Francisco’s Slanted Door served fried chicken with Sriracha butter, and pork belly was a popular offering too.

It was nice to see local chefs at Cooking for Solutions, include Ted and Cindy Walter from Pacific Grove’s Passionfish.

Local chefs were well represented: Ted and Cindy Walter of Passionfish in Pacific Grove brought a spicy red curry calamari salad; Montrio Bistro’s Tony Baker dished out slices of an English meat pie featuring his Baker’s Bacon; Thomas Snyder from Estéban Restaurant served succulent beef short ribs.

The weekend was jam-packed with other events too. Other highlights for me included a lively ceviche cooking demo with Rick Bayless and a cheese-tasting lesson from the California Artisan Cheese Guild.

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