Sunday, May 4, 2008

Where the Group Sallies Forth to Celebrate at Avenue Sea

Birthdays come and birthdays go. Some celebrated with extreme style and others take on no special meaning.

Not so with Groom’s.

Every year we are at the beach with a dear group of people and every year we celebrate his day in style.

This year, the celebration took place on my dad’s birthday as well.

So our celebration doubled in meaning.

And style.

Avenue Sea is a gem in the land of fried seafood.

It’s one of those places that you want to tell people about and then again you want to keep it to yourself. But not so much that no one will go there and not so much that everyone will.

Chefs David and Ryanne Carrier direct this wonderful place located in the Gibson Inn in Apalachicola, Florida. A large dining room with creamy walls and dark wood flooring, it’s the perfect room to enjoy food prepared by these talented chefs. David Carrier was chosen by Thomas Keller to work at French Laundry after he graduated from the French Culinary Institute. After several years he moved to Illinois and then, with his wife, Ryanne, a noted pastry Chef in Chicago, to Apalachicola to take over the dining room at the Gibson Inn.

And take it over they did.

Concentrating on locally grown ingredients these two talented people have created one of the best dining experiences you will ever have. They state on the menu that “all of our food is prepared a la minute. Please take advantage of the time spent preparing your food to enjoy those who are in your company.”

Not a problem.

I took pictures finally at dessert. I was too busy enjoying the seven course tasting menu and a delicious Hubert Brochard Sancerre.

This was our second visit to Avenue Sea. It won’t be our last.

Happy Birthday, boys.

Avenue Sea Seven Course Tasting Menu

Sunchoke Veloute with Marjoram and Curry Scented Crème Fraiche..served warm in espresso cups, this was at once buttery, earthy and rich.

Sashimi of Cobia with Bok Choy and Thai Peppercorns…three diamonds of fresh cobia, a fish that is sweet and lemony, on top of shredded bok choy and fleur de sel flavored with seasoned rice vinegar and florally Thai peppercorns…like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.

Olive Oil Poached Oysters with Garlic, Nicoise Olives and Sourdough Crisp Topped with Shaved Fennel…tiny poached oysters, roasted garlic and Nicoise olives in a warm, fruity olive oil..the fennel stirred in at the last minute.. The sweet crunch of the fennel just the perfect touch.

Roasted Alligator Harbor Clams with Roasted Garlic, Chorizo and Preserved Lemon..face down in this one, the clams tiny and sweet, the chorizo hot and spicy and the preserved lemons..ohhhh mama.

Sweet Grass Dairy Chevre Agnolloti with Golden and Red Beets and Chervil…tiny puffs of fresh pasta filled with creamy chevre on top of the roasted golden beets and a red beet reduction topped with chevre was sheer bliss.

Roasted Rib Eye with Young Onion, Pomme de Terre Puree and Sauce Bordelaise..a beautifully braised young onion on the side of slices of perfectly roasted rib eye that melted in your mouth on top of a creamy buttery puree of potatoes..the bordelaise rich and brown.

Soft Shell Crab atop Creamy White Grits with Country Ham and Sauteed Kale..just when you think you're done, out comes the tiniest soft shell crab perfectly cooked served with the most familiar ingredients.

Cheese course

Sweet Grass Dairy Lumiere..with ash..creamy from Thomasville, Georgia
Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill Cow, triple cream from Thomasville, Georgia
Berthaut Epoisse, Washed Rind Cow from Burgundy France stinky stinky cheese!No gray area like it or you hate it.
Haystack Mountain Queso de Mano Goat Cheese from Colorado.. A firm cheese, could be grated..parmesan like..
Roncal Sheep Valle de Roncal Spain..Manchego in the house
Cabrales Sheep and Cow from Asturia the blue family
Shropshire Blue from Nottingham England…
All served with toasted pecans, sliced apple and pear.

Then we died and went to heaven with the desserts.

Pistachio Mousse Crepes with Strawberry Compote..sugared berries along the side of small sweet crepes filled with creamy pistachio mousse

Panna Cotta, Apalachicola Elderberry Gelee, Elderberry Sorbet, Linzer Cookies..creamy custardy panna cotta topped with the gelee, sorbet on the top side, tiny linzer cookie..fabulous flavors .

Milk Chocolate Souffle Tart with Salted Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream..with candle aflame for the birthday boy…nothing like it in the world.

Apalachicola River Tupelo Honey Pecan Baklava with English Style Iced Tea and a Pecan Cream..
Sweet Iced tea with a frothy nutty cream on top to sip while eating the sweet baklava.

Thank God his birthday comes just once a year!



kate said...

Happy Birthday to Groom! I can only hope that when my birthday comes, I can have such a lovely dinner.

Kim said...

I have heard about the Gibson Inn, it looks simply wonderful. Such a beautiful part of the country too.

fluffernutter said...

So many comments! Your photos are just breathtaking. How did you shoot so well in that light? And that food -- what a great job you did describing it.
When I read the previous post, I wondered if you were at ST Geo Is. My cousins are going next week and invited us. Too bad we can't go -- eating at Avenue Sea would be at the top of my list.

Mary Coleman said...

Kate: Groom says thanks so much. If you go to Avenue Sea, you'll have one great dinner.

Kim: It is that!

Fluff: Why thanks, honey. I didn't do anything special to take the pics at all. Literally pulled the camera out of my purse and prayed for focus! Yes, SGI is our place to come..have for years. Too bad you can't come down with your cousins!