On April 21st, 2 of my favorite Top Chefs, my homeboy Arnold Myint, and our household favorite Tiffany Derry, offered a 6 course sake pairing dinner for Tsunami Relief. The event was held at Arnold Myint's Cha Chah restaurant, which I enjoy on any day of the week. The proceeds went to JETAA USA Japan Earthquake Relief Fund to help rebuild affected areas in Japan, and you can learn more by visiting www.JETAAMC.org; and went to Japan America Society of Tennessee which administers the Tennessee Tomodachi Fund for Earthquake and Tsunami Relief and you can learn more by visiting www.JASTN.com.
Arnold also arranged for a silent auction including obis, tee shirts, art, kimonos and other really lovely Japanese clothing and art. I won a lovely orange obi with a golden ginko leaf on it. Yay me! OK, onto the highlight - the 6 course sake pairing meal.
Poochi Poochi Sparkling Nigori sake
perfect pairing with both being citrusy
My favorite dishes of the evening was Tiffany's halibut ceviche and chicken liver with risotto, and Arnolds "fruit salad" dessert. The ceviche was lemony and citrusy and fresh with the perfect pairing with a light lemony and citrusy and bubbly sake. I loved this pairing. Tiffany's chicken liver was so delicate and rich, making it so irresistible. I loved the chicken liver. I normally don't like eating fried chicken liver, but if it is Tiffany making it for me, I am loving it. Oh, and Arnold's dessert was beautifully striking on the plate that I had to keep photographing it over and over again form different angles. Not only was the dessert striking to see, it was a blast of real fruit flavor in every bite. None of the components were over sugared (yay! I hate icky sweet) so the flavors of the fruit can come through honoring the traditions of Japanese food where the natural flavors of food are allowed to shine. I think Arnold's dessert was a nice light way to end the meal.
The sakes served with each course were more like wine varieties rather than the USA boxed sake I know and have grown to hate. Yes, I don't drink much, so the sake I know from USA Japanese restaurants is some terrible boxed sake run through a heater, taking on the taste of aluminum and rubber. Well folks, there are many sakes out there, and the ones paired with this fund raising dinner were so delicious like a good French wine. I think I love sake rather than loathe sake! I can't wait to go back to Arnold and ask him about sakes and maybe go to a sake tasting. I am still not going to drink that terrible boxed sake, but I would like to learn more about small bottle sake and find a couple new ones to try.
AND last but not least, Tiffany came out of the kitchen to say hello to some tables including ours. So, our impression of Tiffany on TV was that she has an inviting and magnetic personality, she is a heart of the south, and she is fairly laid back. We watched her as at other tables and the body language of the guests were all leaning in to get that little bit closer to Tiffany. They want to be friends with Tiffany and go hangout with her. When she came to our table, I was just star struck, and thrilled to meet Tiffany. Then she moved on. Then, everyone at my table nearly said at once, Tiffany has that aura that pulls you in and you just find yourself really liking her and wanting to be around her. She is was probably that kid who had all the neighborhood kids hangout at her house after school. The other big news about Tiffany Derry is that she is going co-open the all new Private Social, P.S. for short, Dallas Uptown restaurant. Keep an eye open for it, due to open in August. Break a leg Tiffany, and the next time I am in Dallas, save a seat for me at P.S.