Valentine’s Day is a day full of tradition: red roses, chocolate and of course, dinner at a nice restaurant with fine linens. Risk taking is not high on this day for me and I usually will pick a place that I know has excellent food and solid service.
During the time when I was deciding where to go, I observed this in my twitter feed:
I acted on impulse and did not consult my wife about the possibility of celebrating Valentine’s Day with food from a food truck. Ok, it’s a gourmet food truck, but given the amount of trucks trying to pass as “gourmet”, the entire food truck industry has taken a hit on credibility.
The Slummin’ Gourmet truck is not foreign to me: hamachi crudo with watermelon, pain perdu-apple stuffed cinnamon raisin french toast, duck ropa vieja arepa, grilled lamb lollipops are just a few of the items that Slummin’ Gourmet has prepared since they first hit the streets in 2011.
In fact, I attended their first anniversary dinner.
The popup event was held in a flooring showroom in Diamond Bar. This was the first time that I invited my daughter to our Valentine’s Day dinner. I allowed her to invite a friend so that she wouldn’t become a reason why we suddenly needed to go home.
The menu consisted of:
Oyster Two Ways
Crudo of Hamachi
Choice of Miso Glazed Black Cod or Roasted Tenderloin of Prime Natural Beef
It seems to me that more restaurants are serving smaller appetizers or what is referred to as amuse bouche. I’ve always appreciated smaller portions because it allows you to sample a greater variety of the restaurant’s offerings.
“Fancy without the Schmancy” is the heartbeat of The Slummin’ Gourmet. As a result, value is emphasized on everything they do. The tables were decorated in a Valentine’s Day theme with paper plates, plastic utensils and plastic cups.
Walnut shrimp taco was the first item served. This is a variation of a classic Hong Kong dish. Crispy shrimp with candied walnuts, melons, crispy rice sticks, honey lemon dressing wrapped in butter lettuce as a taco made for a delicious beginning.
The second item was a mini arepa filled with pulled pork made with jerk rub and pineapple salsa. The spiciness of the jerk seasoning worked well with the sweetness of the pineapple salsa.
My daughter and her friend were served a special kid friendly meal – two pulled pork sliders with french fries. I was grateful to The Slummin’ Gourmet team for making a special meal them. After eating the sliders, my daughter’s friend exclaimed, “your food is so good; you should open up a restaurant!”
Oyster two ways was served next. This consisted of two separate oysters on a plate prepared in distinctly different ways.
A live, freshly shucked Fanny Bays oyster from British Columbia was rolled in panko and flash fried, then served it on the shell with fresh pico de gallo and a smoky chipotle crema. The panko created a nice crunchy exterior; the chipotle crema paired nicely with the panko.
The other presentation was a live Kumiai oyster from Baja California that was served as a shooter with an Asian pear mignonette, wasabi tobiko caviar, and chives. When I looked at the mignonette, I observed sesame sized white square objects in the sauce. I later found out that this was an Asian pear minced ultra fine. Of the two oysters, I preferred the Kumiai as the mignonette was absolutely delicious!
Crudo of hamachi consisted of citrus, jalapeno, avocado, crispy shallots, yuzu vinaigrette. The balance of flavors and the spiciness from the jalapeno did not overpower the hamachi.
For the entree, diners had a choice of either a miso black cod or a prime tenderloin steak.
The miso black cod had a crisp texture on the outside and was delicate and moist on the inside. It was served on top of a mound of cold soba noodle salad. The soba noodles consisted of slivered cucumbers, sweet peppers, carrots and sesame. This salad is one of my all time favorite summertime salads because the sweet peppers and sesame elevate the Japanese buckwheat noodle.
The prime tenderloin steak was initially prepared sous vide and as a result, my wife was able to cut through it with a plastic knife. She also marvelled at both the texture the flavor with the cabernet reduction. The steak was surrounded by a wasabi pommes puree, farmers market vegetables and a shiitake cabernet reduction.
Berries compote with a decadent warm caramel sauce was an excellent addition to strawberry shortcake. Vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream rounded out this delicious dessert.
The bill for the adults: only $50 per person.
“Fancy without the Schmancy”.
- The Slummin’ Gourmet