With his move to glorious Boston getting ever closer, Adam said this last boozy Thursday Club was to be his very best. We were to witness his coming of age, to gaze on as he demonstrated the glittering zenith of his culinary talents. The Buffalo Kid makes some delicious American-inspired food and on this occasion as before, he did not disappoint.
The party began with a very amusing anecdote from one of the chaps, who had, the night before, made Thai food with a wheelbarrow full of Scotch Bonnet chillies, scarfed it down and then performed an act of oral love on the lady he was with. With watery eyes and considerable embarrassment, the young lady announced that she had "the fire of Hades" between her legs, and politely asked for ice cubes and lots of cold yogurt. Of course, our friend obliged. He might have caused the lady less pain had he casually inserted a pair of fresh Red Savinas into her vagina. I had my own anecdote about marinating some chicken for a party Pistol Pete and I catered a couple of days before. I made a jerk marinade which contained two punnets of Habaneros and thought nothing of turning the meat in it, sans gloves. What a prize knobscotch I'd been! My hands fizzed for about 6 hours. I doubt Wilbur Scoville would have made a similar mistake.
Balancing flavours and taming heat (whether it be that of the cooking range or Scoville-measured kind) is what cooking is all about. Those who master these skills will become very good cooks indeed. I do believe Adam is getting there.To kick things off, after a couple of bottles of delicious Loose Cannon IPA from Clipper City in Baltimore, he surprised us with some of the best shrimp cakes I've ever eaten. With crunchy jackets and soft, perfectly seasoned interiors mined with chunks of shrimp, they were little miracles, exhaulted further by their marriage to a clever remoulade of coriander leaves and lime zest.A chilled smoky tomato soup had serious depth of flavour with a fair whack of heat and might have been a one-note battering ram of spice and smoke were it not for the thoughtful addition of a paprika-flecked sour cream. I will admit that I am a bit of a sucker for heat and ate the soup slavishly, saving the orange blob of dairy for the last pain relieving mouthful. Yin. Yang.
For his entree, chef had cooked a stew of chicken and served it with warm tortillas with the classic Mexican/SW accoutrements. The chicken was braised until it literally fell apart in the braising liquor, and absolutely packed full of flavour. I could taste cumin, paparika, chilli, garlic, some brown sugar. This was one serious dish. Crisp tortillas were strewn with guac, some onion, a slick of sour cream and a spoonful of the sauced meat. I don't think anybody uttered a word for a few minutes, until one of us said proudly "that's the best damn tortilla I've ever had!", and nobody could deny it. Fucking superb.Those chicken tortillas would be a hard act to follow, so I don't admitting that I was a touch dissapointed with the pork ribs up next, with pineapple and jicama salad. The sauce sticking to the ribs was excellent though, a playful mixture of soy sauce, tangerine, ginger, garlic, pepper flakes and brown sugar. He struck a perfect balance with sauce, but there just wasn't enough of those flavours actually in the meat. (Maybe he should have flash-braised the ribs in that sauce and then crisped them up?)A satisfying seasonal dessert of watermelon ice was flanked on either side by some beautiful home-flavoured vodkas: A pear & ginger and a blueberry-lime. The ice was OK, but the drinks were the real star of the dessert packing huge amounts of their advertised flavours with every sip.A cigarette was all that was needed then, to finish off what was without a doubt, the best meal I've ever had at Adam's. He shall be missed, and I do hope that before he goes, he'll give us the recipe for his signature chicken tortillas.