Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dinner with Chobani at Parkside

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to dine with Chobani during South by Southwest in Downtown Austin at Parkside. Of course my answer was YES!

 Great food and great company? Count me in anytime. 



For those of you who aren't familiar with Chobani, they are the Greek yogurt company who makes yummy authentic Greek yogurt you find at the grocery store. 

For dinner, they invited us to Parkside on 6th Street in Austin for a Chobani inspired menu. Each of the 5 courses featured Chobani's Greek yogurt within the course. I loved how creative the menu was! Have you ever thought about yogurt jerky? Me neither! 



It was such a wonderful evening getting to know Emily and the girls from Chobani - they were awesome. Not to mention getting to hang out with some fellow Austin food bloggers. 

 I loved that I could haul out my huge camera AND my iPhone and no one minded since they were all food bloggers too! We all had fun analyzing, photographing and discussing food. Basically my dream evening.

Ok onto the food! 


Appetizer Course:

Chilled avocado soup, blood orange, smoked trout caviar, calabrese chili 

I hate to start with this one because it was my least favorite dish out of all 5! This was my first experience with trout caviar and I can't say I was a big fan. It was like liquid fish exploding in my mouth. And avocados? In cold, liquid form? Not my favorite either. But I did love the contrast of the blood orange with the avocado and the "chili" aka fresh vegetables were crunchy and fresh and were delicious. 

First Course:

 Local beet salad, celery root, mache, coriander, yogurt jerky, puffed mustard seeds 

 Okay, I loved this course! I didn't know I liked beets so much! Fresh, colorful beets, were the star of this dish and I ate every bite. The yogurt jerky was fun and playful but I'm not sure if I ate every bite! :)

Second Course:

Grilled prawns, caramelized yogurt, petite carrots, Ras el Hanout 

  I loved the presentation of this dish-so many colors and textures. The shrimp was great! 

Third Course: 

Braised beef short ribs, yogurt farina, morello cherries, and green garlic. 

 This might be my favorite photo I've ever taken. Ever. 

Also, this may be the best thing I have ever eaten. The beef was so tender it feel apart and I loved the green garlic and the contrasting sweetness of the cherries.
 What an absolutely beautiful dish! I nearly licked the plate...


Dessert Course:

Yogurt custard, Texas strawberries, compressed mango, almond soil, basil ice cream

First of all, why have I never thought of almond "soil"? They might as well have called it crack-it was both sweet and salty and it was the perfect complement to the tangy yogurt custard and the sweet strawberries and mangoes. 
And that basil ice cream? So refreshing and palate cleansing.
 I wasn't able to eat all of it but I definitely licked the plate clean of that "soil."

At the end of our meal we were lucky enough to hear a few words from the Chef himself!

Shawn Cirkiel is the head chef and basically a culinary genius. He has been honored as Austin’s youngest five-star chef from the Austin American Statesman. He spoke genuinely of his love of fresh local ingredients and his love of Chobani yogurt and what fun he had incorporating it into our dinner. 

Honestly, it was such a wonderful evening. I loved eating amazing food but also hearing about what an awesome company Chobani is and how they are committed to real food. not to mention Emily was lovely and so were the other Chobani crew members.

 Natalie from Food Fetish, me and Emily from Chobani
 Jeanine and Jack from Love and Lemons
 Chatting it up after dinner

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Here are a few photos of the restaurant:

photo courtesy Parkside
 
View from the private room we were in upstairs

 Their second floor patio. As you can see, Sixth Street was a LITTLE busy that night!

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Thanks so much to Chobani and Parkside for an amazing dinner! In case you want to learn more about their philosophy and their yogurt check them out here

Also, if you are ever looking to make some healthy changes to your cooking or baking, they have this helpful little graphic that shows you how to convert from less healthy options. 

 I love the idea of replacing butter and mayonnaise with Greek yogurt in baking and cooking!

Disclosure: Chobani invited me to dinner with them at Parkside but didn't ask anything of me in return. I simply loved my evening with them and their products. All opinions are my own honest ones :)

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