St. George Cocktail Dinner Last Night at The Gladly Featuring Chef Greg Casale
If you've been around long enough to remember Gregory's World Bistro -- it closed in 2004 -- then you probably won't be surprised to hear that Tuesday night's dinner at The Gladly, which featured chef Gregory Casale, was a sold out event.
Lauren Saria Chef Casale's olive oil braised pork shoulder with white bean and piquillo pepper puree.
To a whole generation of today's tops chefs -- people like Bernie Kantak and Cullen Campbell -- Casale is like a god, a culinary hero. In the 1990s, Casale was a pioneer, turning out innovation and delicious food way ahead of its time. These days, he's the director of culinary innovation for Peter Piper Pizza but partakes in events like these every so often.
"They know I want to come blow off some steam," Casale says of his corporate bosses.
But Casale wasn't the only star on Tuesday night's lineup of talent. He was joined in the kitchen by Citizen Public House and The Gladly chef Kantak and Kelly Fletcher. In February, Fletcher left Tempe's House of Tricks, where he had been executive chef for more than 10 years.
Lauren Saria Micah Olsen's cocktail, with beet and watermelon syrup, was our favorite of the night.
And because it was a cocktail-focused affair, you can bet the mixology was in good hands. In addition to The Gladly's Brian Goodwin and Citizen Public House's Brandon Casey, Micah Olson of Bar Crudo shook up a few boozy creations for the event. All the cocktails featured St. George Spirits of Alameda, California. In 2007, the distillery became the first in the country to produce absinthe since the lifting of a 1912 ban on the drink.
Fletcher, who created the first two courses of the night, started the dinner with a delightful cauliflower bisque with toasted pine nuts, basil syrup, melted aged Manchego, and micro basil. The pairing with Goodwin's take on a French 75, which featured pine nut fat-washed Botanivore Gin and sparkling brut rose, made for a slightly oily though still enjoyable course.
The second course of a perfectly seared scallop with creamy parsnip puree, coriander-citrus gastrique, baby kale, and sweet popcorn shoots was one of our favorites of the night and came with one of the more unique drinks we tasted. Goodwin put forth a Salt Water Sazerac, featuring barrel-aged Breaking and Entering Bourbon with St. George Absinthe Verte, bitters, and lemon peel. We got a lot of anise in both the smell and taste, but not so much that it overpowered the saltiness from the barrel-aged bourbon.