Txoko @ Txikito with Dave Cruz and 2001 Nobu Crew

When Txikito sent an email telling us that Dave Cruz from Ad Hoc restaurant will be cooking as guest chef at the next txoko, we just had to sign up. Dave Cruz is the chef de cuisine at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller's more casual, family style comfort food restaurant in Yountville, California. Ad Hoc was originally a temporary restaurant until Thomas Keller opens his hamburger and wine restaurant at the location, but due to popular demand, it became permanent. The restaurant has since received three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s also listed as one of the Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants. The Calis love Ad Hoc for its daily changing menu and legendary buttermilk fried chicken (we were hoping that the chef would make some for us at the txoko!)

The txoko couldn't happened at a better time; my sister was visiting from Australia, and since Gan and I had a great time at the last txoko, I thought this will be a good experience for her, and a chance for her to soak up some yaokui atmosphere.

With the help of the 2001 Nobu crew, Chef Dave Cruz prepared a three-course menu and a dessert for the txoko. Our first course was a salad with multi-colored beets, medium boiled egg and German butterballs (potato) with mustard vinaigrette. It was my first time trying Chioggia beet (Italian Heirloom beet) and Gold beet, although they are similar in texture compared to red beets, they are milder in taste. It was a nice salad that showcases the color contrast of the beets and their subtle differences in taste.

The second-course was the Alaskan wild halibut with mussels, shellfish cream and sauteed liquidized leek. I thought the fish was poached flawlessly, it may be the best fish dish I've had since Le Bernardin two years ago. Who knew shellfish cream could go together with the fish so wonderfully! The chef also served some grilled sesame toast on the side to use for soaking the shellfish cream and they were fantastic! Our third course was the skirt steak with morel mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke and sun dried tomatoes. The steak dish was so tasty that we all wished we had another serving! The dessert was a simple almond wafer, strawberries with pyrat cream and valhrona chocolate sauce dessert. The same as the rest of his dishes, the dessert was simple yet satisfying.

After the dinner, the chefs came out to meet/greet the customers and had a short Q&A session. Many people were asking about the Wild Alaskan Halibut dish, I guess they liked it as much as I did!

I think it’s important to point out that txokos like this will never happen if not because of Alex Raij. Alex’s ability to invite important chefs from around the country to cook as guest chefs in her restaurant is a testament of her reputation as a respected and beloved chef and person. And because of her good relationship with other chefs and poveyers, we were able to experience really amazing food at txokos, and for that we applaud you, Alex!

Brian makes the nicest drinks. But I had to drink KAS since it's allergy season and alcohol makes me feel more miserable. I'll be back for some txakoli and kalimotxo next time.

Gold, red, cioga beets with German butterballs, arugula, medium boiled egg (from Violet Hill Farms) with mustard vinaigrette

Alaskan wild halibut with mussels and shellfish cream with french breakfast radishes and sauteed liquidized leek

Skirt steak with morels and peas, spring onions, Jerusalem artichokes, oven dried tomatoes

Almond wafer and California strawberries with Pyrat cream and Valhrona chocolate sauce

The Multi-talented Brian

a collage of the yaokuis

Chef Alex Raij and Chef Dave Cruz's Q&A session after the dinner

Chef/owner of Txikito - Eder Montero with the 2001 Nobu Crew

Chef/owner of Txikito - Alex Raij

Chef Dave Cruz

The 2001 Nobu crew (from left: Marlowe, Danny and Frankie) chilling after dinner service


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