Expanding Our Horizons… PAZAZ™ Style!

If there was a place that could take you to a dimension in which everything was perfect (in your mind) what would that look like? Would you be surrounded by friends and family, scholars that could broaden your scope of learning to answer any questions you might have, a chef that could produce any dish you ever dreamed of, a home that looked out to the ocean surrounded by waterfalls, and of course a car that fit your style and comfort perfectly?

Or, is it better and more rewarding to learn things the hard way so that when good things do happen you truly appreciate the hurdles you leapt over to achieve the miracle that is your life? I submit to you that even though it would be more convenient to know ahead of time the variables that draw the picture that is our life we are a species that can thrive within the framework of the unexpected.

Having said that we must have the tools to achieve the life we dream of. We are the books we read and the people we associate with. Outside of that we must be motivated to grow as people to become better and stronger both mentally and physically. The total package includes our health, intellect, and ability to earn the type of living that provides a life that enables us to go where we want with whom we want.

Freedom is a term bandied around very much like hero. However the spectrum of freedom for some is the opposite for others… and that is part of the beauty that is the human race. It probably would be very boring to have everyone alike because as we all know variety is the spice of life.

Here is a poem by Jon Coe

“Expanding Horizons”

Take away the landscape from my mind

Construct an horizon for my blind

Peel down the slats when I unwind

Uncover that picture from behind

Set me a backdrop that will blend

Let my eyes digest what will mend

Divide up the sky from where which end

Allow my spirit to rest at each bend

Paint this scene with tranquil blue

Get the grey out of the slated hue

Carve facets in its linear construe

Watch the light refract and renew

Put another dimension in my sight

Take the people across in my flight

Let me see how I feel with my delight

Walk me through the changes in this light

For some freedom is an expression that means going to the same job every day providing a wonderful comfort zone. For others it is the extreme adventure of different experiences that adds dimension to our personality and lifestyle. For most it is a combination that lies between the mundane and the intrepid spirit.

When we speak to expanding our horizons as chef Dave Adlard who owns Candle in the Woods did for me last week…we have to be open to risk the safety of knowing for the reward of discovery. Our expansive search for beauty, knowledge, and reward must continue into our twilight years. It is then we age like a fine wine that continues to evolve into a gift that is realized because we took the road less traveled without fear or trepidation.

 

The Greatest Meal I’ve Ever Experienced!

Several months ago I was on the commode (where I do my I best thinking) and I decided to look in an old issue of the Wine Spectator, I believe it was 2017. I was interested in looking up the top wine lists in the country. I gravitated towards Idaho as this will be our second home and a place to explore its grandeur and natural beauty.

As I was rifling through the pages of the Spectator I expected to see wine lists recognized in Idaho within the spectrum of tourist enclaves, Coeur d’Alene, Ketchum, McCall, and of course the larger city of Boise. I suspected I’d find WS recognition in the above cities representing some of the finest restaurants/wine lists in Idaho.

I was a bit taken back when I saw a wine list with two wine glasses (exceptional wine list) in a little town I’d never heard of, Athol, Idaho. When I googled the restaurant (Candle in the Woods) I was surprised to see it was in between Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene. Then I became intrigued when I googled Candle in the Woods and read the reviews. Could it be I stumbled upon a gem in the gem state?

Nancy and I were going to stay in Sandpoint anyway and so this would be a no brainer to go to Candle in the Woods for dinner. After some wonderful repartee with the chef/owner Dave Adlard I made reservations not knowing what the menu would be or the wine pairings. He was quite excited to hear I work for Jean George in Las Vegas. This opened a wonderful dialogue between the chef and I leading to my first understanding that this was going to be something very special.

Part of the service extended to their guests is limo service. The dinner as I understood was going to be 8-10 courses (turned out to be 12 courses) with wine pairings… and so the limo service was a perfect compliment to the experience.

On October 8th (a day that will live in infamy) we were picked up by Benjamin Givens (the nephew of the chef) at the Best Western in Sandpoint. What a fine young man, so well mannered and polite. The perfect beginning to this memorable night.

When we arrived we were greeted by the hostess and sommelier, Noelle Loparco. She was so kind and extended the warmth and graciousness which was such an integral part of this experience. I could go on and on but what is really important is what I’m about to share with you… The meal.

But first, a quick background on the chef, Dave Adlard. From military service to world class gymnast coach to chef extraordinaire… all of these professions have one thing in common, attention to detail.

Dave Adlard and his band of Merry Men and Women include Sous chef Sarah Kitchings (18), Chef de partie/ Chief in charge of the line David Sharon, Commis Benjamin Givens (19), Commis Ethan Storm (16), and Commis Simone Venengo from Italy. This is one of the most professional, humble, and talented group of young chefs I have ever met.

The table was set for just twelve guests. Each place setting was a work of art configured for the first couple courses perfectly aligned with napkin ring, silver ware, a copper water glass and the wine glasses. I will not spoil the culinary wine, food and social nuances before, during, and after that add to this experience… because some things are better left to the imagination.

The introduction “nibble” was an “impossible” Nacho & Caviar blini served with a sparkling wine infused with Grand Marnier and gold dust. This provided the affect of a snow globe as the edible gold dust floated through-out the beverage. This was quickly followed by Asparagus in Prosciutto with Huckleberries and the Candle in the Woods signature dish, Steak Smores.

1st Course – Ahi Tuna Tartare with Avocado in a mold lifted as your fork is positioned for immediate extraction. Paired with the Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel Rose (Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Clairette)

2nd Course – Homage to the Masters Trio: Poke Langostino inside Cajun Whip Cornets, Snow Crab, Truffle Custard Egg (topped with caviar and chive) and Marrow. Paired with Jules Berthier Methode Traditional Brut Champagne and Vignobles Lachateau 2018 Vouvray

3rd Course – APPB&J which is green apple, prosciutto, mixed seed butter, strawberry jam, bruleed raisin bread, ancho infused maple syrup (I fell off my chair and cried like a small baby when I tasted this course). Paired with a Pajzos 2017 Tokaj Furmint

4th Course – Smoked Scallop in Phyllo with a Vodka Sauce and Pesto (this dish was brought to the table enshrined in an enclosed glass dome filled with smoke that was lifted as the smoke enveloped the scallop). Paired with Marques de Caceras 2017 Verdejo de Rueda

5th Course – Lobster Cappuccino with Cajun Foam and Sunflower Microgreens. Paired with Isenhower 2019 Roussanne

6th Course (Intermezzo) – Pickled Strawberry and Huckleberry Nitro Ice Cream with Balsamic and Pepper Medley (Huge bowl of smoking nitro Huckleberry made ice cream at the table) Paired with Candle in the Woods proprietary 2016 Lumiere Alborino

7th Course – Mozzarella Ravioli with Candied Bacon and Flash Fried Cajun Prawn in Lemon Sambuca Cream Sauce. Paired with Craftsman Cellars 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir (drank like a Zinfandel or a Grenache/Syrah

8th Course – Lamb Medallion, Tabasco Grits, and Gnawing Bone (All meats were cooked Sous Vide style to 130 degrees). Paired with Charles Krug 2010 Merlot

9th Course (Intermezzo) – Lemon Zest and Olive Oil Sorbetto with mint leaf and pop rocks. Paired with Candle in the Woods 2018 Candle-Abra Bordeaux Blend (Cabernet, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc)

THE MAIN EVENT

10th Course – Surf and Turf (Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail in Parsley Butter with Asparagus). Paired with a Raymond 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon

11th Course – Balsamic Creme Brulee Stuffed with a Mascarpone Poached Pear. Paired with Trockenbeerenauslese 2010 Eiswein

12th Course – Smoked Gouda and Chocolate Truffle. Paired with a Meneres Tawny Port

Each course was magnificently described and orchestrated by Chef Adlard. Each wine pairing was described with expertise and nuance by Sommelier Noel Loparco.

To book a reservation go to the “Candle in the Woods” web site or call 208-664-0135.

Somewhere between JRR Tolkien’s Lorien and Peter Pan (the boy who never grew up) lies a culinary experience that is infused by the love of family and friends and the devotion to create a magical experience that is unparalleled in scope, imagination, and technique.

I will never be the same after this meal…