We left you with a teaser on Friday of Part 1 of our “Evening at Markham’s” at Disney’s Golden Oak Club. There were a lot of photos to go through and writing to accomplish, so let those pictures load and let’s jump right in!
Of course, there was bread! We were presented an assortment of Whole Wheat, Brioche, and Lavash with Himalayan-salted Butter.
I went straight for the Lavash. I love its crispy snap! Matt knew I was going to go for it when he saw it in the basket.
Matt tried the brioche and it was quite good, but we knew very well we shouldn’t be filling up on bread. There was so much more to come!
Here’s a look at the menu to refresh your memory from Friday, but we’ll have everything typed out for you with the respective photos.
If you’ve been reading the blog a while, you likely know we’re not wine buffs. Yes, we like wine, but we’re not the type to wax poetic about their nuances. If we like it, we like it. So I’ll just say we liked all the pairings throughout the evening. I’ll have the descriptions we were given accompanying each wine in case you’re curious. 😉
Hues of pale yellow-green hint at the aromas of grapefruit, guava, ripe melon, lemongrass and orange blossom. This wine has a full mid-palate: crisp with a balance between the grass notes and tropical flavors. Full of varietal purity with a remarkable natural acidity, closing with a long lemon-rind finish.
Chef Piasecki of the California Grill presented us with Asian Compressed Pork Belly with Spring Peas, Petite Yukon Gnocchi, and Natural Cooking Lacquer. We both LOVE pork belly, and this was no exception.
The edges had a wonderful crispness to them, and the fat melted away. The lacquer was a bit sweet and a little acidic to cut through the richness of the pork. I would have happy enjoyed another plate of this!
We both are fans of peas, and the puree with which this dish was served was fantastic. Smooth and bright in flavor, Matt would have eaten a whole plate of it if given the opportunity. The gnocchi were delicious as well, with a bit of chew and delicate crunch from the caramelization.
From the Southern Burgundy commune of Davayé, near Mâcon, this wine has a refined personality and a somewhat more opulent flavor on the palate. Appreciated for a complex bouquet of peach, pear, white flowers, almond, and honey, with overtones of minerality.
Chef Clark prepared Maine Lobster with Coconut, Peanuts, Lime, and Thai Spices. Matt’s not a lobster fan, but he tried and made it through 3/4 of the dish. He noted he would have like to have seen some claw meat as well. The tail meat was was nicely cooked and hardly had any ocean-y flavor I often taste with lobster. The coconut cream didn’t really work for me – it was like an extra thick sour cream with an unsweetened coconut flavor. The smear was peanut and spices, and I liked the flavor of it alone, but felt the peanut and lobster combination wasn’t my favorite (though I liked it better than the coconut). In its entirety, I felt like the dish was almost there.
What I absolutely loved on this plate was the paring of the lime caviar with the lobster. So much lime flavor packed into those little pearls! But even when I got a bite with all of the components together, I just felt there was something missing. Of course, that didn’t stop me from finishing Matt’s last bite of lobster. 🙂
The aroma is intense and striking with blue violet, lilac and dried rose petals accentuated by black plum, sarsaparilla, boysenberry and cassis. Sweet hoisin, savory notes and finely integrated oak add depth and complexity. The aromas fully translate into opulent flavors. The fine-grained grape tannins, combined with the essence of new French oak, create a seamless palate. This Pinot actually seems to gain weight and richness from the first sip through the long, extended finish.
Chef DeLuca prepared Farm-raised Duck with Stone Fruit, Morel Mushrooms, and Almond. This was probably the best duck I’ve ever had. The fat was rendered out and the skin was almost like bacon. I would definitely order this as an entree.
Apart from the duck, the parsnip and almond puree was fantastic and had a seasoning in them – possibly nutmeg? – that paired nicely alongside the duck.
The tart provided a light sweetness to this rich dish and was delicious on its own.
Chef Lazo presented a Cucumber Sorbet with Elderflower Liqueur as an intermezzo. I love cucumber, so this was a wonderful bite: light and refreshing. I would absolutely order a cup of this on a hot day walking around the parks, especially Epcot! *Hint, hint, Chef!* 😉
Full bodied, brimming with depth and concentration, this Southern Rhone wine presents with aromas of ripe and juicy, red plum, black raspberry, pepper, and eath, with hints of green olive. On the palate, the dark ripe berries, cherry, and spicy aromatics open to a lush, forward-style Chateauneuf-du-Pape, exquisite to drink today, but with enough structure to age beautifully.
Chefs Rumpler and Gonsalves prepared Bison Loin with Fava Bean Nage, Fiddlehead Ferns, Tortellini, Nasturtium, Summer Truffle, and Chive Blooms. If Bison is on a menu, you can almost guarantee Matt will order it, so we were both happy to see it.
The bison was so incredibly tender and juicy, we almost didn’t even need a knife for it.
As much as we both loved the bison loin, I had a fondness for the bison tortellini. I think I might have a project to tackle at home, putting my pasta press to good use! Neither Matt nor I like fava beans, but the puree here was really good. I ate some of the smaller beans and liked them, but some of the larger ones had that grainy texture I don’t care for.
I was so happy to see fiddleheads! I lived in Maine for 10 years, where they could be found being sold roadside when in season. In all that time, I NEVER HAD THEM. They taste similar to asparagus, and now I know why people up there went so crazy over them! 😉
When we saw there was truffle incorporated with this dish, Matt smirked at me, thanks to my Great Truffle Caper at Remy on our cruise on the Disney Fantasy…
This classic port shows brooding black cherry fruit with an impressive cedar laden core. On the palate, elegant and complex flavors of red fruits with a spicy character are met with soft tannins and great depth. A straightforward wine with a fine dark color, ripe and mouth filling, rounded off by a sweet finish.
While we’ve yet to dine at Victoria & Albert’s, we are no stranger to Chef Hunnel’s creations, thanks to our visits to Remy. He presented us with an English Stilton Cheesecake with Poached Pears and Arugula. We’ve enjoyed many cheese plates and courses, but they pale in comparison to this dish.
While I don’t mind blue cheeses (Matt is more of the fan), this English Stilton had the rich flavor without the inherent “stinky” quality associated with it. The sweetness of the pears, while a traditional accompaniment, was perfect with the cheese. Sometimes you don’t need to be too finicky with what works.
The cheesecake. I was almost rendered speechless at the cheesecake. Served with (what I believe Chef said) was a peppered Parmigiano-Reggiano crisp, this is a classic recipe of Chef Hunnel. The crust was reminiscent of butter cookies at Christmas, and the cheesecake was rich and savory. I was actually a bit sad after I took the last bite. Chef, if you’re reading, would you mind forwarding the recipe along? It would be much appreciated. 😀
The Arugula Flan was interesting, providing a slight peppery bite and fresh, green element to the rich cheese. But I wouldn’t have minded another cheesecake in its place. 🙂
Chef Lazo returned for dessert, where she presented a Matcha “Opera Cake” with Meyer Lemon Crémeux, Basil Sugar, and Beet Meringue. Accented by gold leaf, this cake was an interesting and delicious dessert. There was a lot going on flavor-wise, but it all came together.
The cake was moist and had more of a green tea flavor than many other green tea items I’ve tried around property, which was greatly appreciated. Matt loved the Meyer Lemon Crémeux with its bold lemon flavor. I love basil, and the basil sugar was an unexpected element to incorporate with a dessert, but for me, it definitely worked. I noted to Matt that the basil sugar would make an awesome rim for a Bloody Mary, and he agreed. The Spice and Tea Exchange should make it – I’d definitely be buying it from them! Even though I’m not a big dessert person, this is one I’d happily order.
We were then surprised with a Chocolate Truffle with Dulce de Leche. These final few bites were the bow on the present, bringing an end our evening and absolutely amazing experience at Markham’s.
Everyone who made the evening happen received a much deserved standing ovation.
This wall of the restaurant was dedicated to Walt and his Golden Oak Ranch, where scenes from Spin and Marty were filmed.
While we’ve been Tables in Wonderland members for several years now, we often pass on the experiences that come through. It’s not that they don’t seem interesting to us, but we feel a bit underwhelmed by the offerings that typically run around the $100 mark (the last TIW at The Wave was $110). This dinner, on the other hand, was one we couldn’t pass up. At $195 per person, it didn’t come cheap for the two of us, but apart from the menu, we considered the value of this being essentially a once in a lifetime experience, and took a “We’d be stupid NOT to!” mentality. The dinner by far exceeded all of our expectations, and should the opportunity arise that a similar dinner is offered, it’s probably a safe bet we’ll be at our computers with fingers hovering, ready to book. The only “issue” encountered is that now I’ve been spoiled by Golden Oak and want to live there (even more than before). 😀
Again, the greatest of thanks to everyone that made this dinner possible. I can’t wait to see you all again soon!