Chef Chat, Part 3: Randy Evans of Haven

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In this week's chef chat, we caught up with Randy Evans of Haven (see our conversations here and here. After listening to him talk about all the local ingredients being incorporated into the menu, I was dying to sink my teeth into a few of them. Before we got started, Randy was kind enough to take me outside and show me the beautifully manicured garden that produces some of the menu items.

First, Randy brought out some of that spectacular yeast bread with course salt. Good luck finding better bread out there, you won't. It's super-soft, piping hot, and topped with a course, locally-mined salt that brings this bread to a different stratosphere of taste.

I resisted consuming the entire mini loaf of bread, and before I knew it, out came the garlic veloute. The sauce was poured over a soft quail egg, and mixed with tiny pumpernickel crumble. I popped open the egg with my spoon and mixed all of the ingredients together. It was a perfect harmony of flavors, as the sauce and egg yolk melded together nicely, and that pumpernickel provided the perfect little crunch.

Next, I sampled the quail--served with jalapeno sausage dressing and green tomato golden raisin chutney. The dish was beautiful and tasted even better. The simply seasoned quail was tender and played off nicely with the tomatoes, which tasted like apples. How Randy got those tomatoes to taste so sweet is beyond me.

Like with any good Thanksgiving meal (that's what this dish reminded me of), I mixed all the elements on my plate together. A small piece of quail, a little dressing, some raisins and tomatoes, and a dip in the demi-glaze--this created a perfect fork-full of food. I was happy.

I decided to stop there. Sometimes gluttony knows no boundaries, but on this day, I refrained from overdoing it.

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