[This is not your standard press release; it’s much more interesting than most. So even though it is long, I’m running it because it’s good reading and details an upcoming dinner at the impressive Berlu popup at Langbaan. on February 11th – an omnivore menu, and February 18th for a vegan menu. FD]
I recently went on a trip to Southeast Asia with my girlfriend Mallory. This was a trip based on luxury and relaxation as she had just spent the last four months in rural Nepal working with an organization that offers acupuncture to the regions indigenous people (She wrote an awesome blog piece about her experience if you’d care to check it out here).
This trip carried a far different narrative than my last trip to SE Asia, as that trip was definitely done so on “the cheap.” I was in my mid-20’s, stayed in hostels, bussed everywhere, and ate a lot of street food. Some would say this is the best way to experience SE Asia. My stomach would say otherwise, as I got food poisoning and had to get my stomach pumped in the hospital twice….stupid American. More recently, I stayed in resorts and enjoyed the amenities these resorts offered (we still did our fair share of exploring and motor biking).
Although I was in very different places in my life during these two trips, what remained constant was my experience with super tasty food and beautiful culture based on family and respect. I visited Vietnam, Myanmar, Kuala Lumpur, but the country that left the most profound impact was Thailand.
I’ve always been drawn to Thai cuisine and feel its high acidity and herbaceousness is similar to the food I cook. Over the years of holding my pop-up at Langbaan, I’ve inherently become inspired by Earl Ninsom’s (Chef of Langbaan) cuisine and Thai culture, as most of his staff are from Thailand. I often found myself combatting this desire to include these flavors/techniques as they often did not coincide with the goal of Jolie Laide, to create a menu reflective of the Pacific Northwest.
Like I’ve said in the past, although we’re experiencing some delays with the restaurant space, I’ve been reluctant to hold any pop-ups as Berlu represents a more stable, refined experience, something a pop-up could never be. I do, however, see this as a great opportunity to merge the Thai inspirations from current and past with the soul of what I offered with Jolie Laide.
I’m excited to say that on February 11th and 18th I’ll be offering a tasting menu experience inspired by the flavors and culture of Thailand.
With this menu, I won’t be replicating classic dishes, rather, try to recreate an experience within that dish I found captivating, whether it be a flavor, texture, or style of eating. Ingredients from our local farmers, fields, waters will be heightened by Thai flavors. The dinner will be as thoughtful and creative as you would expect from me, but be a lot more spicy and fun. Thai style.
Take for example a “rice salad” dish I had as an appetizer while in Bangkok. A large spoon of steamed rice was placed in a bowl and accompanied with different flavors/textures, each spooned alongside the rice. You’re then meant to pour a dressing over the ingredients and mix. It was really fun and super tasty. The act of mixing and the bites of so many different textures was what I enjoyed most. I have plans to make something similar, only as a dessert. Another dish will express the balance of extreme spice with sweet peanut brittle in the form of a crisp/herbaceous salad. The food I typically cook tends to be more subtle and singular in texture, rarely spicy, and never too sweet, so this will be a fun challenge (I hope I don’t offend Earl).
February 11th will showcase an omnivore menu ($75), with February 18th a vegan menu ($65), each over two seatings, 5:45 and 8:30. Gratuity is included in the ticket price and wines will be offered by the glass. The dinners will be held at Langbaan, with tickets available through Tock.
For those of you that have joined us in the past, it will be great to see you again. I’m realizing that my abilities as a chef shine brightest in a tasting menu format, so I’m excited that these dinners will go in that direction. For the newbies, hello! These dinners won’t be as ambitious in technique/texture/flavor as what I will be doing at Berlu, but it will be far from traditional. (To be honest it will still be strange and unusual as that is the only way I know how to cook. Beyond any uniqueness, the goal of my food is to be delicious. Hopefully you’ll find this to be the case).
It’s nice to have a reason to reach out. I’ve written about 3 newsletters since the last, just wanting to say hi and give you all an update on the space and my life. For some reason I never sent them. I probably felt many would unsubscribe due to its lack of content.