By Julie Vitto
In this epic edition of Food Fight, it’s a battle of the booze, wherein our contenders serve up a one-two punch of food and drink using a five-category flavor wheel for a proper tasting of the secret ingredient. Each pairing incorporates palate-pleasing notes of grain, wood, sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit/florals that make our taste buds want to sing karaoke and make inappropriate phone calls. Without further ado, the secret ingredient for FLL issue 42 is Woodford Reserve bourbon.
Chef Alex D’Innocenzo prepares a foraged feast of elk and charred kalettes over a sunchoke shiitake puree and parsnip cake flavored with juniper and nutmeg. A purified demi-glace is infused with bourbon and sumac (the non-poisonous variety), while a Woodford-infused, Pink Lady apple and smoked honey bourbon gel dots the plate, which is garnished with purple mizuna and yellow brassica. Hearty, elegant, and impactful in its use of fruit, floral and spice notes, the dish is countered with bar manager/co-owner Tara Welsh’s bourbon sumac tea. The cocktail combines local, raw alfalfa honey, red rooibos tea, grilled orange juice and lemon, sumac from Field’s Edge, Angostura bitters, and Woodford Reserve, offering citrus, honey, and herbal notes.
Chef Terence Reed makes an ideal hair-of-the-dog breakfast dish hitting notes of sweet aromatics and spice. Fresh cut Irish soda bread with Woodford in the mix lays the foundation for Irish butter, rashers, and a Woodford-smoked maple syrup reduction that’s drizzled over top with a garnish of garlic shoots from the rooftop garden. Bartender Kate Cannon-Davis proves the best part of waking up is notes of sweet aromatics, spice, and citrus in your cup.
Coffee steeped with Woodford, maple syrup, and orange bitters are blessed by owner Joe Devoy and served French press style. A dollop of bourbon-smoked maple whip is drizzled with maple syrup and sinks into the drink like a dream.
Chef Corinna Killian comforts the soul with her cocoa-rubbed, Chinese five-spice short ribs in a Woodford demi-glace of blood orange and red chili flakes with smoked grits, braised collard greens, and flash-fried carrot garnish. General manager John Costanzo ties in corresponding notes of fruit and spice with his smoked whiskey and Chinese five-spice punch. Blood orange, pineapple, and carrot juice sweeten up the five-spice blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and allspice. The Woodford is house smoked with apple wood chips, adding depth to this fruity cocktail garnished with jalapeno and dried blood orange.
Chef Ian Newman and bar manager Lee Noble make edible art with a salty-sweet dessert and cocktail combo that incorporates sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit notes. The Drunken Monkey is an abstract arrangement of chocolate ganache, glazed bananas, Good’s pretzel crunch and peanut butter powder, bourbon whipped cream, meringue, and variations of Woodford-spiked caramel. The half-salted rim of the Simian Sot echoes the pretzel crunch of the dessert and combines cacao juice from Repurposed Pod with yogurt from Rice & Noodles (whose owners have used their grandfather’s recipe for 30 years!). Aztec chocolate bitters and Boker’s bitters highlight Woodford’s notes of chocolate, vanilla, and citrus for a sweet, tart, and creamy experience.
Stay tuned for more from this edition of Food Fight!