Chef Daniel Barron and his team of culinary mad-men-- that is, mixologist Mike Yen and pastry chef Jeff Bonilla-- led diners through a nine-course, oceanic feast for the senses with the pop-up concept's latest, The Cambrian Event at Fixtures Living (3/30).
For those of us that slept through geology class, let's review: the Cambrian was the first period in the Paleozoic era during which time all animal life was aquatic.
Barron's main ingredients came from local seafood purveyor, Catalina Offshore Products, with additional sourcing from Santa Monica Seafood, Direct Ship Sitka Alaska, and Better Halfshell. The culinary experience was remarkable and challenged my perception of seafood, how it's prepared and the accompanying flavors and textures that I wouldn't expect to work based off menu descriptions alone.
With each course there was a gasp and then silence, followed by foodgasmic noises-- moaning, giggles and even rounds of applause. The Evolve Cuisine Forward team certainly thrilled us by way of delicious intricacies; Yen's mid-meal cocktail course elicited screams from the ladies; and Bonilla's sweet, shrimp cake confection was a mind-boggling, delightful finale.
Modernist cuisine is something I've experienced only a handful of times, so I'm afraid that my words and photographs do little justice in recapping The Cambrian Event. Days prior, Barron advised that I just sit back and enjoy, not bothering with writing down descriptions and taking the perfect pictures. I controlled myself to an extent, and enjoyed myself wholeheartedly.
Evolve's next event will be announced this week sometime, with another scheduled for Fixtures Living at the end of May. Rumor has it that Barron and his crew will be opening and temporarily occupying a new restaurant with their pop-up concept for 2-3 weeks, also sometime in May.
The Cambrian Event recap:
|One of Yen's cocktails: a take on the Bay Breeze. What I found particularly remarkable was that its capsule had the texture of a ripe piece of fruit's skin when bitten into. Ten more, please.|
|Second: venus clam wrapped in kelp with Sunomono gelee, fermented black bean sauce, Bac-Ha, raddishes, Wasabi agar agar and lotus root chips. The dish was salty, vinegary and plentiful texture-wise.|
|Spot prawn close-up.|
|This was crazy: Mike Yen's margarita, made to look like sushi. Nectarine posed as ginger, and fish eggs were not-- they were balls of tequila! All of the drinks traditional flavors were here, just in costume. Lime and salt included. *Applause*!|
|Barron and his team of mad-culinary-scientists plating his second to last course.|