Hi everyone, it’s Chef Shawn Quinn again, talking to you about how to incorporate seasonal changes into food. As a chef, it’s important to create dishes that pay homage to the time of year because people’s palettes change with each season. What is so great about fall is that it’s very much a comforting time – think orchards, pumpkin patches and warm apple cider with loved ones. That comfort translates to food – root vegetables, braised meats, baking spices and great herbs like rosemary and thyme somehow taste that much better during this season. Fall can also be a hectic time – whether it’s re-adjusting from your summer state of mind or gearing up for a lengthy holiday season, sometimes it’s hard to fit in a hearty, comforting meal.
These new items are a way of showing my appreciation for the fall, while also giving you folks a way of enjoying seasonal cuisine when you are too busy to create it at home. And because a meal is even better when accompanied with a glass of wine, our lovely somms took the guesswork out of finding the perfect wine for each course.
Alright, enough of me talking, we know why you’re here – let’s get into the food:
Cider-Glazed Heritage Pork Chop
Arguably the star of this seasonal menu, our pork chop is not to be missed. Pork chops are notoriously difficult to prepare as chefs need to be careful not to over or under cook and the window for error is small. After spicing it with a barbeque dry rub and broiling it, we glaze it with a cider reduction made in-house daily and finish with a sweet potato & apple hash where the sweetness compliments the savory pork chop perfectly.
*The Erath Pinot Noir is bursting with juicy red fruits like cherry and pomegranate and has just enough subtle caramel notes to balance. It’s an elegant pinot that lets the pork chop shine.
Truffled Mushroom Gnocchi
While fall screams hearty dishes often with meat, this is a great option for vegetarians or anyone who isn’t a heavy meat eater. A rich, wild mixture of shiitake, Portobello and oyster mushrooms in a ragout-style porcini cream sauce is poured over gnocchi and topped with white truffles for a decadent touch. Touches of ricotta salata, arugula and lemon give the dish a nice balance. This is something that would get even a meat-eater like me to turn away steak for!
*The Cune Crianza Rioja wine was selected for this pairing as the plum and toasty wood spices perfectly complement the savory, earthy mushrooms.
I knew for this menu I wanted to give a nod to our heritage of steaks but find a creative way to incorporate the seasonality of fall flavors. Using two 4 oz filet medallions, the first one is topped Oscar-style, using asparagus, crab cakes and béarnaise sauce – the combination of tarragon, shallots and chervil in the béarnaise is perfect for fall. For the second medallion, I created a more unique topping of garlic blue cheese and chive-infused butter that creates an umami-taste when paired with the richness of the filet.
*The Orin Swift, one of our featured bottles this fall, is being poured specially via Coravin to compliment this dish. The Abstract is rich and balanced with cassis and dark chocolate, perfect for the steak and letting the featured toppings steal the show.
Butternut Squash Bisque
Everyone these days seems to be doing a bisque and a butternut squash one is perfect for fall, but I wanted to take ours up a notch. I love experimenting with contrasting flavors, so I matched the savory bisque with some sweeter flavors. It took some time to come up with the perfect balance, but a hint of maple mascarpone prepared in-house daily and spiced pumpkin seeds proved the winning combination with their crunchy texture and creamy finish.
*The Huber Sparkling Rose is a new wine we are offering this Fall by the glass and part of the inspiration was the perfect pairing with new dishes like the bisque. The bright fruit and freshness perfectly cut through and balance the creamy bisque.
Sticky Toffee Cake
Dessert is always a fun one to experiment with and I knew I wanted this one to be something with sentimental tones. This one reminds me of fall hayrides, warm whiskeys and fireplaces. The cake is made with dates and baking spices, soaked in bourbon caramel syrup overnight and finished the next morning with whipped mascarpone and candied pecan. A great ending to any meal, especially as the weather gets colder.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie
To balance the Sticky Toffee Cake, I wanted there to be a chocolate option, and what combination is better than chocolate and peanut butter? This is a play off the traditional pie with peanut butter mousse on top of a graham cracker crust, then layered with house-made hot fudge using famous chocolatier, Callebaut. It’s finished with crunchy white and dark chocolate pearls on top for a multilayered and complex dessert. We loved this dish too much to see it go away, so we’ve decided to add it on to our main menu – may your sweet tooth rejoice!
*A classic dessert wine was selected to accompany both pairings. The Taylor 20 Year Tawny Port is rich and packed with toasted walnut and deep caramel character, it has the perfect sweetness to stand up to both desserts and makes for a great ending.
While I had so much fun creating dishes that were inspired by fall, we also worked on a few other dishes that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Baked Goat Cheese
While I’m not allowed to pick favorites, if I could, this would be mine. Cheese boards can be a dime a dozen, but this one is definitely a standout. I selected baked Boucheron goat cheese as the center for a modern play on a classic American party dish, baked brie cheese with nuts and jam. To bring in the autumn vibe, it’s topped with a mixture of apricot jam, pistachio, pomegranate and dates to mix in. Perfect to share with friends over a bottle of wine!
Harvest Chicken Wrap
I have been wanting to innovate around a new wrap for our menu for years, specifically finding a way to make it both healthy and indulgent which is a tough combination. Within the wrap, you’ll find root vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower with quinoa as well as locally-farmed chicken as a base. Then we layer in a goat cheese & beat spread for more flavor complexity and finish off with a sherry vinaigrette I designed specifically to add the right amount of acidity. Once rolled inside our spinach wrap, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the colorful and flavorful experience.
Roasted Wings have been a big trend lately and we wanted to capture that on our menu. Inspired by dry rub barbeque sauce and the flavors that happen when you allow time to cure the chicken, these wings are slow roasted and then finished in the oven to get the desired crispness and served with house-made avocado ranch. Overall, the crispy wings and “buffalo” dry rub gives you the familiar flavors of football season with a modern take on the classic tailgate food.
There are a lot of ways to do a veggie burger these days, but we selected the Impossible Burger as it is the leader in high quality, plant-based, environmentally-conscious meat substitutes. For all my vegetarian lovers out there, now you can enjoy our Quinn Burger or Grille Cheeseburger without missing a beat.
That’s our new fall lineup, I really hope you enjoy it. Grab some friends, family, co-workers, etc. and check them out. I hope to see you all soon.
Peace and happy eating. -Shawn