The Morning Chew – Breakfast with Carla Hall: Cooking For Solutions 2013, Monterey CA

cooking with love

It was hard to wake up early Sunday morning after two busy days of Cooking For Solutions.  But the third and final day had us jazzed for breakfast with Chef Carla Hall, so we were eager to enjoy a meal with her before exploring the aquarium.  She energetically chatted with us and other patrons, posed for photos, signed her book, and danced with the live band.  She was very welcoming to all who attended, and everyone had a wonderful time.

Local and organic, Clover produces some of the highest quality dairy products available in our area.  The toppings included gorgeous fruit and Earthbound Farm Organic granola to add to peach, forest berry, and vanilla yogurts.

brown sugar cured niman ranch bacon

brown sugar cured niman ranch bacon

Niman Ranch is famous as a leader in livestock sustainability, producing beef, pork, lamb, smoked, and prepared meats.  This bacon was sweet, smoky, thick, meaty, and amazing.

poached shrimp and grits

poached shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits is not what first comes to mind when we think of breakfast since we don’t have a lot of experience with Southern cuisine, but it was totally appropriate here.  And of course, we’re at a seafood sustainability conference, so how could we not have had something from the sea?  The grits were buttery, rich, and creamy, perfect for each bite with a succulent shrimp.

smoked salmon asparagus frittata

smoked salmon asparagus frittata

With asparagus in season right now, we’re seeing it on so many menus and in so many items, but that’s okay because we like asparagus.  We wish this frittata recipe was in Carla’s Cooking With Love!  The eggs were velvety in texture and the smoked salmon had a great flavor.

carla's fried apple pancakes

carla’s fried apple pancakes

GMO-free and hardly your standard box variety, Carla’s fried apple pancakes were the highlight of the buffet.  Crisp and tart apples broke up the texture of the pancake, and the apple-cider syrup on top was delicious.  Compared to maple syrup, the apple-cider syrup was sweet yet a little tangy, but just as good with bacon as maple syrup is.

august's spread

august’s spread

August admits, she’s not a fan of yogurt so she swapped that out for a shipped-in mini chocolate croissant and fresh apricot.  But you have to admit, that’s a breakfast that hugs you.

fennel-dill brined and poached iceland arctic char served with horseradish-flavored sour cream, honey-citrus dressing, mustard cress, and almond crumble

fennel-dill brined and poached iceland arctic char served with horseradish-flavored sour cream, honey-citrus dressing, mustard cress, and almond crumble

Immediately outside the dining area, the aquarium opened up with a few food tables.  On the aquarium’s first floor, a small number chefs and businesses were preparing for the onslaught of aquarium patrons who would get a taste of what we had experienced the last few days, but we got first taste.  Chef Hákon Már Övarsson was back, this time with char and a whole lot of hyphenated extras.  Fennel and dill are wonderfully earthy herbs which enhanced the char’s natural taste, and horseradish is a favorite additive in our house, so the combination of flavors was particularly enjoyable.  August has always wanted to go to Iceland, but if this is a representation of the gourmet possibilities that await, then that dream had better happen sooner than later.

mini penny pops

mini penny pops

Thank you, anonymous rep for The Penny Ice Creamery, for posing so well with your yummy ice cream pop!  The strawberry ice cream was made from scratch with locally farmed and organic ingredients, then dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in cookie crumbs.  The equivalent of about three bites, this was a great dessert to round out our morning meal.

Since all of the animals were tucked in with the lights out on Friday, we were happy to see them today.  Buffet breakfast was bountiful, and we met a fellow writer who passed on invaluable knowledge, so our morning was all-around amazing!  Please enjoy an assortment of our favorite animal sightings of the day.

goodbye, monterey!

goodbye, monterey!

Posted on May 20, 2013, in Event Coverage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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