I’ve been a huge fan of Chef Jacquelyn Nabong, way before I even met her in person, which is, recently at the Tommy Bahaha Wine Dinner featuring Master Sommelier Peter Neptune with a menu created by Executive Chef Jacquelyn Nabong.
The setting was beautiful, with community tables set up on the outside patio. The weather couldn’t have been better, just cool enough but not so cold that we needed the space heaters turned on.
After a quick intro from Peter and Chef Jacquelyn, we were quickly brought our first course of the night. Honeydew & Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio paired with Desiderio Jeio Prosecco — thin slices of the tastiest heirloom tomatoes with a drizzle of spicy watermelon puree and mint.
Micro candlewood nut dust was sprinkled over the top and although the menu states gorgonzola cheese, there wasn’t enough on the plate for me to register. I loved the spicy watermelon married with the tomatoes. It was refreshing and a great start to the meal.
Our second course was Carabbacia & Egg Soup paired with ‘09 Carpineto Vernaccia di San Gimignano was a rich soup infused with caramelized sweet onions, peas, pan croutons and a drizzle of olive oil. The soup was a tad too salty for me but when eaten with sips of the wine in between proved to be very pleasing. I wanted more of the gooey runny quail egg though!
Intermezzo came in the form of Lemon Sorbet. The citrusy tangy sorbet was a welcome palate cleanser after the last dish.
Goat Cheese Ravioli & Crispy Shiso Salad was too subtle in flavor after the soup but the frisee lettuce tossed in a brown pine nut butter vinaigrette was absolutely to die for!! I wish Chef would bottle it up and sell it but she was kind enough to divulge the recipe to me — I’m planning to make it once I have some time! ’10 Toscana Vermentino La Spinetta was chosen as the wine pairing for this course.
Our last savory course was Rosemary Roasted Wild Boar Tenderloin paired with ’06 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino. The boar was insanely delicious, so tender with a great sear on the outside. Chef Nabong had brined it first, giving it an even flavor throughout. Served with a fabulous house marinara with tempura portabello and zucchini as accompaniments, I would come here JUST for this dish if they put it on the menu!
As usual, by the time it came round to dessert, I was full and honestly, not all that interested. I definitely don’t have a sweet tooth and desserts are always the last thing that ever crosses my mind. Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake was nice, but it was the pineapple tuile cookie I couldn’t get enough of. It reminded me of my days in Hawaii!
Peter’s selection of ’05 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico was a perfect finish to a highly memorable evening!
Tommy Bahama Grille
854 Avocado Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660
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