On August 16, a fragrant green garden, home to six different types of basil, four different types of mint and lemon verbena, balm and grass will serve as the palate-piquing starting point for a five-course, seasonal dinner highlighting local produce and other sustainable edibles.
Essensia, The Palm's Hotel and Spa's soothing farm-to-table eatery and its menu master, chef Julie Frans, are the forces behind this gourmet tour de force.
The summer installment, with a theme of tropical fruits and fishes, is the third incarnation of the concept.
Frans chooses a central focus for each seasonal supper based largely on what's being grown or produced locally, as well as through input from the purveyors themselves.
"Since the dinner is really to highlight local farms and products, what better way to collect ideas than to ask the specialists what they think is best during the season, and what ingredients will be most unique and fun to feature," she says. "Purveyors are the closest to the products, and are often underutilized. I love their input in developing the menu."
Many of these local purveyors will be on hand for a pre-supper Q&A and education session. These include The Fresh Farm, Little Haiti Community Garden, Florida's Finest Seafood, NorthStar Seafood and Paradise Farms.
The evening will begin in the restaurant's garden, where diners will snack on hors d'oeuvres and experience an edible tour of the assorted greenery, led by Frans.
Guests will sip mango-dragon fruit mojitos and learn how the kitchen utilizes this living resource. From there, the crew will move into the dining room for the five course, approximately two and a half hour dinner.
The $95 per person (not including tax or gratuity) eating experience will also include wine pairings, selected from Essensia's sustainable vintner's list. The total guest list is limited to 50 people, so booking well in advance is recommended.
The five-course menu is as follows:
Little Haiti Garden Eggplant served with Thai Green Curry Sauce, Kaffir Lime & Lemongrass Black Rice Cake and Green Papaya
Florida Spiny Lobster Salad Stack featuring Avocado, Mango, Watermelon, Cucumber, Garden Micro Greens, Cayenne Creme Fraiche and Spicy Cilantro Lime Dressing
Dragon Fruit Sorbet
Pan Seared Pompano served with Asian Guava Chile Sauce, Pink Guava Longan Lemongrass Salsa, Hearts of Palm Puree, Malibar Spinach and Grilled Starfruit
(Vegetarian option also available upon request)
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Florida Mango Four Ways
The dinner kicks off at 7 p.m. on August 16. The cost is $95 per person, not including tax or gratuity, and payment must be made in advance to secure a spot. Call 305-908-5458 for reservations.