Basking in the afterglow of a great Basque dinner

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that Gastrolust headquarters moved—albeit just a short distance in Seattle. Selling and buying a house wreaked havoc on the summer, such that I fell far behind in my restaurant reporting.

Less than two months into the new home, the roof leaked. This has been a major disruption the past few weeks, and repairs will likely extend into the new year.

Despite this hardship and other current challenges, I feel grateful on this Thanksgiving day for so much—especially all the great people in my life. And I’m thankful for a life that allows me to enjoy spectacular food, especially since “daily bread” is a struggle for so many people in the world.

The food writing will resume with more regularity, I promise. Fingers crossed, I’ll catch up on a lot in the next month. And I’m hoping to have a year-end review of highlights (and maybe some lowlights!).

For now, I’d like to share a bit about my most memorable meal of the month. It’s quite an honor, since we had to vacate the home much of the month, which meant a lot of meals out. (We had dehumidifiers on all three floors, and fans in every room, driving the interior temperature to 90 degrees and driving us away. Our delayed housewarming party will likely be renamed a “housecooling” party.)

The meal of the month was at Olivar. I’ve enjoyed great meals there in the past, but this occasion was a kind of “buy one, get one free” affair in terms of two of my favorite chefs. Of course, Philippe Thomelin was doing his usual quality cooking in his own kitchen. Joining Thomelin was Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez; recall that he wowed me earlier this year at Harvest Vine with an amazing menu of organ meats for the Dish-Off competition, including a Rocky Mountain oyster sorbet that will forever be one of the most memorably meaty desserts of my lifetime.

Not only did I get to enjoy my time with Thomelin and Jiménez de Jiménez, but I got reacquainted with Pedro Jiménez, which appeared in the braised oxtail cannelloni dish. It was one of my favorite dishes of the night, but in truth, I enjoyed all six dishes. The wild mushroom consommé was delicately gorgeous, and the piquillo pepper jam that accompanied the spicy tuna empanadas should be bottled and sold everywhere.

Congratulations to the two chefs for a phenomenal collaboration. With Jiménez de Jiménez now a freelancer of sorts, I’d love to see him working his magic again with Thomelin, and perhaps other chefs as well, until he opens a new place in town (hopefully).

Here’s the menu, in case you missed it:

  • Golden Beet Ravioli Filled with Txangurro Donostiarra, Truffle Mayonnaise & Infused Chervil Oil
  • Spicy Tuna Empanadas with Piquillo Pepper Jam, Herb Sea Salt
  • Wild Mushroom Consommé with Scallop Mousse & Fried Leeks
  • Duck Breast with Black Cherry Compote, Carrot & Cauliflower Coulis
  • Braised Oxtail Cannelloni with Aged Mahon Soufflé & Pedro Jiménez Vinegar Reduction
  • Goxua Vitoriano




  1. Chorizo Caramel Confit | Seattle Food Geek - December 2, 2009

    […] parties.  If you’re interested in hearing more about the wonderful dinner at Olivar, Jay has a great writeup on his blog.  And, many thanks to Frantic Foodie Keren Brown for organizing the dinner! Tags: caramel, […]

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