Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chobani Greek Yogurt Dinner at The Federalist

I received an unexpected surprise in my inbox a couple weeks ago – an invitation to a dinner at The Federalist with dishes specially prepared with Chobani Greek Yogurt. Umm hello yes please! It was scheduled for our moving day, so SpeedyKate came along for the ride, and what a ride it was. We arrived at a very fancy restaurant in The Madison Hotel, a place I often walk past but have never been inside.

The décor is really cool – and by that I mean, our private room was lined with red built-in bookshelves!!! Swoon. (Further inspection determined that the old artistic-looking books were in Swedish, so that’s weird.)

Anywho, I met an assortment of DC food bloggers (8 of us total) and spent a lovely evening chatting about blogging, cooking, the DC food scene, and Greek yogurt of course! Chobani worked with the chef to develop a menu that incorporated Greek yogurt in every dish and wow it was fancy and delicious. 

We started with a cornbread basket that contained the best cornbread I’ve ever had. Cornbread is often dry and requires a lot of butter, but this was suuuuuper moist just the right amount of corny sweetness. 

Next came the soup, which I think was the most creative and most delicious course. Our menus described it as White Gazpacho: Poached Laughing Bird Shrimp, Minted Yogurt. That nebulous description does not do it justice. It was thick and creamy (but the waiter said no cream) and the top was speckled with sliced green grapes, slivered almonds, tiny croutons, olive oil, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. 

Every course the chef presented was accompanied by a flurry of shameless food photography - gotta love food bloggers! (I was the only one without a fancy camera...maybe someday I'll invest? But for now you'll just have to compromise with my point-and-shoot images, eloquent descriptions, and your own foodie imagination.)

For my entrée I chose the Yogurt Poached Alaskan Halibut: Rose Finn Potatoes, Fava Beans, Globe Artichokes, Yogurt Emulsion. Clearly I was drawn to all the extra stuff. The fish itself was ok but not amazing, I think poaching is not my favorite way to cook things – it results in a one-note texture that is fine but not extraordinary. I think the artichokes and potatoes were the best part. 

SpeedyKate got the Slow Cooked Spring Lamb: Gin Soaked Cucumber, Spring Herb Salad, Espelette-Yogurt Emulsion that was prepared two ways and was allegedly fantastic. (Fyi, Google tells me that espelette is a variety of chili pepper.)

They also brought us two yogurt-less sides for the table: Fricassee of Wild Mushrooms, and Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower. Both were good, probably because I suspect they were marinated, roasted, and subsequently drenched in olive oil.

And dessert, oh dessert! It was a Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta: Strawberry Preserves, Shortbread Cookie, Long Pepper Syrup. I realize this is an excessively gushy post, and I apologize for that, but every part of the dessert was divine. Panna Cotta is almost like cheesecake, the cookie was just the right amount of crumbly and almost a little salty. The contrast of the sweet strawberry sauce and peppery syrup was super-sweet but balanced everything out quite well. 

My brand-new roommate and I called it a night around 10:30, bellies full, tastebuds happy, and generally post-move exhausted. What a win! 

And Emily and Lindsey, the Chobani representatives, said they would send around the recipes the chef developed…so White Gazpacho and Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta are very real possibilities in my future! 

(Though I don't think I'll ever be able to make it look this pretty...maybe? Fancy dinner party in the new apartment?)