It's a nearly religious experience when Pax Americana's chef, Adam Dorris, takes one simple ingredient and builds a dish around it that highlights its inherent goodness. Take, for example, the beautiful deep red confit carrots, lightly sweetened with sorghum, that recline in the most lovely way atop a carrot purée enhanced by lemon, lime and orange zest and their respective juices. The whole is elevated and brightened further with a dose of Banyuls vinegar. The finishing touch? A smattering of delightfully crunchy granola of caraway and almond.
"Pax Americana" means "American peace," but the phrase is much more historically significant than that. The term entered the world's dialogue just after World War II, when the United States spent $13 billion to rebuild devastated regions of Western Europe. It was a benevolent act, but more important, it was a stroke of savvy diplomacy achieved by virtue of the country's strong economic position.
The restaurant of the same name highlights the strength of American wines and ingredients. Domestic meats and local produce are used in the most savvy of ways. Expensive European wines are eschewed in favor of stellar Rieslings from New York's Finger Lakes to California's Central Coast and respectable Sauvignons Blancs from Santa Barbara.