Neal Fraser Showcases California Avocados at BLD
The presentation included a story from VP of Marketing Jan DeLyser about the avocado equivalent of Johnny Appleseed, Rudolph Hass, who moved from Wisconsin, developed his very own varietal by grafting the Fuerte varietal in La Habra Heights, and delivering seeds on his postal route. Hass is now the global standard, with approximately 80 million trees worldwide.
Fraser started BLD guests at the bar. Yes, we each shook our own Pisco Sours, including 1.5 ounces of Pisco, 1 ounce of lime juice cut with lemons, egg white, and a float of anejo tequila. Since this was an avocado event, the surprise was a sinker of California avocado “caviar.”
Fraser said the goal for the rest of his avocado offerings (and his cooking in general) involves “getting really great ingredients and not taking them too far out.” He started with a hearty amuse bouche: Chilaquiles de Avocado. Crispy tortilla chips hosted smoked chicken, mole, eggs, chorizo, cotija cheese, and of course California avocado.
Bloody Mary Ceviche was a fun play on a brunch cocktail. The bowl contained shrimp and scallop ceviche with vodka and spicy tomato, but the prominent element was California Avocado Soup. The homage to a recipe from famed Sydney chef Tetsuya Wakuda was nice and simple, with blended avocado, salt, pepper, Merken (a Mapuche spice mix from Chile) and milk.
Pork Shank Benedict was a play on a popular dish at the restaurant Fraser used to own with wife Amy. He described the dish as “GRACE on a bun.” Pain de mie, a French white bread, supported pulled pork, a poached egg, a crispy California avocado (coated with flour, egg wash, panko, paprika and chile flakes), and citrus Hollandaise.
California Avocado Olive Oil Cake, my choice for Food of the Week, also involved Mascarpone ice cream and crunchy peanut brittle, a fitting finish.