As some of you may know from my overzealous tweeting last week, Team Oldways was in Houston recently with our good friends from Kwik’pak Fisheries. This was my ﬁrst time visiting the great state of Texas, and I was excited to discover how fabulous Houston truly is. The buildings are new, the weather is warm (God bless it), and the food is outstanding. Plus, Houston is among the ﬁrst of a handful of U.S. cities to get a taste of the sought-after Wild Yukon River Salmon, which is only being sold in limited markets. All of these reasons are why Oldways, Kwik’pak and Chef Robert Del Grande decided to host a Wild Salmon Dinner at RDG + Bar Annie. Everything is bigger in Texas, and this dinner was no exception!
We certainly didn’t waste any time getting the party going. Among the attendees were bloggers, members of the local media, RDs, and nutrition fanatics. Wild Yukon River Salmon from Alaska is tasty, sustainable and is twice as high in Omega-3 fatty acids as any other ﬁsh in the USDA database. The folks from Central Market, a grocery store in Texas that carries the salmon, were also in attendance. I personally couldn’t wait to start eating (shocking), and the appetizers did not disappoint. A crowd favorite was the Wild Yukon River Salmon Beignets with Buttermilk Sauce. I might have had one, or two, or seven.
I then accepted a temporary position as “paparazzo” and pounced upon unsuspecting invitees. No one was safe!
On the left are special guests Humphrey and Ellen Keyes, Yupik Eskimo ﬁshermen who live in Emmonak, Alaska and catch the Wild Yukon River Salmon for a living. They were on hand to talk to the crowd about their way of life and about how important the salmon is to their livelihoods. On the right is Jeanne McKnight (President of McKnight & Co.).
I think this picture screams, “Brunettes have more fun!” From left to right: Ruth Carter (Sales Manager, Kwik’pak Fisheries), Marti Castle-Bickford, (Sales, Yukon Wild), and Kyle Potvin (Principal, Splash Communications).
I got to meet some awesome media people/food bloggers at the dinner, and I’m so thankful they came! From left to right: Sarah Rufca (Culture Map Houston), John DeMers (Radio Host, Delicious Mischief), Nishta Mehra (Blogger, Blue Jean Gourmet), and Ruthie Johnson (Blogger, Great Houston Food). I think it’s also important to note that Albert Nurick, from the wonderful blog, HTown Chowdown, makes a brief but notable cameo in the back of this picture (I told you, no one was safe).
Then it was time to eat! RDG + Bar Annie is a beautiful restaurant, as you can tell. We all had name tags and were randomly seated so we could meet more people, and each placemat included a copy of the special menu.
Show time! The ﬁrst course was Cured Wild Yukon River Salmon with Creamy Avocado Dressing and Mache & Frisee Salad. This was, without a doubt, my favorite dish of the night.
Second course: Steamed Wild Yukon River Salmon in Fennel Broth with Giant Corona Beans & Black Olives. I would never think to pair salmon with olives, but they made a surprisingly perfect team.
Third course: Wood Grilled Wild Yukon River Salmon in Banana Leaves with Dark Roasted Tomato Salsa. Again, I would never think to pair salmon with banana leaves, but obviously I’m not Chef Robert Del Grande. Delicious! Sidenote: I take full responsibility for the poor quality of this picture. The salmon is usually quite photogenic. Side sidenote: Thank you Cindy for ﬁxing it up a bit!
Last but not least, dessert! And no, it wasn’t salmon ﬂavored. Thankfully, Chef Del Grande decided to serve Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mousse and Persimmon Vanilla Bean Soup. I already knew that chocolate cake and I got along, but the soup was a great new taste for me.
In between courses, Dun & Sara got up to speak about Oldways, the Oldways Traditional American Table, and our involvement with Kwik’pak and the Wild Yukon River Salmon. Delicious, nutritious and sustainable – a perfect Oldways combination. Ellen & Humphrey gave a short presentation about their life on the river, and John Foreyt from the Baylor College of Medicine spoke about the health beneﬁts of salmon. All in all, the night was a complete success, and I want to give a shout-out to everyone who came and to all the people who made this event so special.
Dun salutes you.