Thursday, July 04, 2013

Smallwares and Domaine de Canton Dinner

4605 NE Fremont St.
Late Night Happy Hour 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

Disclaimer: Our dinner was complimentary, but all of our opinions are our own. We were not under any obligation to post a blog entry or advertise for either Smallwares or Domaine de Canton.

We were fortunate enough to be invited to a delicious evening of dinner and spirits hosted by Domaine de Canton and Smallwares. Every drink and course that was served used the sweet, spicy ginger liqueur of Domaine de Canton.

We started the evening with a welcome drink of Domaine de Canton straight.  This wonderfully smooth, versatile ginger liqueur is handmade in small batches in France. The Vietnamese baby ginger gives this liqueur a softer ginger flavoring. Take a whiff and sip, and you will surely smell and taste the undertones of the vanilla and honey. This is by far one of the best liqueurs I have ever tasted. It's very versatile too. It can be enjoyed straight or mixed with many other ingredients to take on a whole new flare. Plus it comes in a gorgeous bottle! The price point for a bottle ranges from 25 - 35 dollars, and it can be found in most liquor stores.

Course one, prepared by the wonderful chef of  Smallwares, was spot prawns, citrus juice, pickled sea beans, shiso, red onion, Domaine De Canton and yuzu kosho dressing. The prawns were not cooked but were more like ceviche. Personally, I do not usually like raw food because of the texture. The flavor of this dish was amazing. The sauce was sweet, and it was offset by the light flavor of the prawns and the occasional hint of spice from the sea beans and onions. I ate every bit!

We then transitioned to the next drink, "The Whey." This was my least favorite drink. It was very strong and stiff. It had very little of the great Domaine de Canton, and you could tell. I actually talked to the bartender after the event and asked him what drinks were going to be on the menu and he suggested this one and one other. I emphatically stated that the other drink should be on the menu--NOT this one!

The next course was an octopus salad (octopus, pickled cherries, Domaine de Canton pickled ginger, scallions, mint, cardamom, greens, and crème fraiche). I'm not an octopus fan, but this salad was good. The saltiness of the octopus was a great pairing with the lightness of the greens and crème fraiche.

"The Miso" was the overall favorite drink of the night (not just by us, but also by the staff of Smallwares). It has 1 1/2 oz of Corner Creek, 1/2 oz of lemon juice, 1/2 oz den miso, and 1/2 oz of the great Domaine de Canton. This drink was very refreshing; it tasted a little like a grapefruit punch. I would love to go back and drink a couple of these on a warm day. Look for this fabulous drink soon on Smallwares' drink menu.

Our third course was a halibut dish. It included: halibut, Domaine de Canton sweet miso, tarragon, fennel, raisin, togarashi, puffed rice. This dish was also very delicious. When I order halibut in most restaurants, I get an overcooked, under-flavored rubberery fish. This halibut was cooked right! It had a delicious sweet sauce with a hint of spice, and the fish was cooked to perfection!

We prepared our palates for the last dish of the night with this wonderful drink, "The Punch." Personally, I think this was my favorite drink of the night. It was sweet and spicy at the same time, and it included pineapple juice, lime juice, chili and fresh grated nutmeg. YUM!

The previous drink's flavors were a perfect match for the last course, which was an oxtail entree (oxtail arepa, hoisin, star anise, smoked pineapple habanero jam, cotija, avocado, and plantain chips). Just from reading the ingredients from this course and the previous drink, you can tell they go hand in hand (or mouth in mouth)! All the previous entrees of the night had a seafood theme--and they were great--but I really loved the southwest/Caribbean take of this entree and drink pairing. I had never eaten oxtail before and was a bit nervous, but it was DELICIOUS! It was just like tender roast slices. The flavors were a mix of sweet and spicy. This was definitely the theme of the night! When you think of plantain chips, you may think of small pieces in the food. This had a large plantain patty under all the meat. It was great to have enough plantain to pair with each bite of the oxtail.

Smallwares restaurant was not only fabulous in the creations of these drinks and entrees, but their ambiance was also relaxing and chic! There is a private back room that you can rent for private parties, and it even has a couch and a large television. If you haven't visited Smallwares I would definitely recommend it, especially since it has a late night happy hour! How often do you get that great opportunity?

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