Friday Night Dinners

At Mealtime Market, every Friday night Chef Thomas hosts a private dinner for about 8-10 people, reservations only.  The menu, which changes weekly, features a 3 course menu that also includes wine tasting!  At $70 a couple you start off with a choice of appetizers and soup, followed by an exquisitely prepared entrée by chef and ending with an array of sweets designed by yours truly :).

For an appetizer we had a Pan Seared Ahi Tuna served with Micro Greens and a Crisp Sesame Cracker drizzled with a Wasabi Vinaigrette.  I really enjoyed the delicate tuna with the crispness and the fragrance of the toasted sesame seeds on the cracker — it made a great combination of textures and flavors.

If you are not a fish person you could choose the second option which was a Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup — ooooh man this soup is delicious!  Being a huge fan of mushrooms I couldn’t help but sneak a bowl of this soup.  It was rich and decadent, with a delicate earthiness in every bite.  Also since the weather is cold, nothing soothes the soul like a bowl of warm soup.

It pairs perfectly with some freshly baked bread (which we offer)! Now let’s move onto the fun stuff — the beautiful entrees!

First choice of entree would be — Pan Seared Salmon served with Braised Spinach, Potato in a Blood Orange Bur Blanc.  The Bur Blanc sauce was rich with bright citrus notes which went perfectly with the tender salmon.  The spinach was braised with a little bit of garlic and olive oil served along side of some fluffy whipped potatoes.

Enticing, no?  The colors were really nice too, the creamy orange sauce contrasted with the blood orange slices made this dish very appealing to the eyes.  The salmon was seared to the perfect tenderness, the delicate flakes of salmon immersed impeccably with the decadent citrus bur blanc — I would’ve cleaned the plate but there was another entree that needed to be tasted!

The second entree was my favorite one of the night — Pan Seared Greek Chicken Breast in a Lemon Cream Sauce with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes Kalamata Olives and Spinach topped with fresh Feta Cheese.  Talk about an amazing flavor combination!

The chicken was cooked perfectly, the meat was juicy and tender and immersed in the amazing lemon sauce that really gave this dish a kick.  Topped with the colorful vegetable medley and the fresh crumbled feta cheese,the only thing you’d be missing was a glass of ouzo and a loud and glorious “OPA!”.

I thought the fried lemon slice was a creative twist on using the fruit, it gave the dish a nice rustic appearance (I had to ask chef if it was edible and he said it definitely … was not 😦 ) The combinations of colors were beautiful, it was a color explosion on a plate!

I save the best for last of course — DESSERT! For the dessert trio we had Huckleberry Empanadas with a Huckleberry Vanilla Coulis, a Dark Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Chantilly Cream and Chocolate Shavings and Toasted Spiced Pecans.

I really loved the empanadas, I tucked fresh huckleberries and ricotta cheese into each one.  The result?  An ooey gooey filling paired with the flaky emapanda crust, it was almost like a miniature huckleberry pie!  The smells were absolutely amazing while baking these and the huckleberry vanilla coulis further accentuated the empanada.

Next we had the Dark Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Chantilly Cream — I love this mousse, it’s fluffy and airy yet rich and decadent.  The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate and espresso was calmed by the sweet Chantilly Cream and served alongside some fresh berries and chocolate shavings? MMMM HMMM!

I whipped some up to put in our cases as well, so if any one of you are around the neighborhood you should definitely stop by and visit 🙂 I even took it a step further and added some brownie chunks (From scratch of course!) and folded it into the chocolate espresso mousse.  Oh yeah, that’s right — Bad is my middle name!

Then we had the Toasted Spiced Pecans — these are always wonderful as a dessert, or ontop of another dessert, or makes a wonderful mid-afternoon snack.  I like to add a kick of cayenne since the Pecans have such a high oil content, it kind of wakes up your mouth a bit.

This is usually what I do to any innocent bystanders that I find sound asleep, I simply take out a Sharpie and scribble on their face, but since I am no longer in college and rarely have sleepovers my only options are my pets.  Don’t worry, I didn’t draw on Lily’s face THIS TIME, but next time instead of photoshop it’ll be a big BLACK MARKER face 🙂 I kid, I kid! Happy Friday folks, next week I plan on featuring an Indian Feast, Portabello Mushroom Risotto and last but not least…Turtle Cheesecake Cupcakes.

(image from

Now I usually don’t enter contests and sweepstakes because honestly I never win anything so I save myself the disappointment.  HOWEVER, this contest that I got through FoodBuzz just seemed to good to pass up so here it goes.

“… Foodbuzz has partnered with S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water to provide the opportunity for two Featured Publishers to attend The S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. The Almost Famous Chef Competition gives top culinary students from around the world a chance to showcase their skills to top chefs, culinary experts and media and the opportunity to win cash and a paid apprenticeship with a top chef to jumpstart their career.”

Now I am suppose to tell you guys why I’d like to attend.  Well the better question should be WHY WOULD I NOT WANT TO ATTEND??? What could honestly beat eating food artistically crafted by top chefs in NAPA VALLEY? That’s right, nothing.  I would spread the word by painting my entire body like the san pellegrino bottle and walk around with a huge sign that says “PICK ME TO GO TO NAPA VALLEY” — now granted I do not have a professional body painter on hand this will just have to do…

I think if I were chosen to attend I would do a fantastic job of keeping fans posted, a play by play if you will, on this fabulous event through numerous pictures and writing.  Did I also mention that Mealtime Market uses ONLY San Pellegrino to make our Italian Sodas??? That’s right we only use the best!

So San Pellegrino and FoodBuzz, pick me, Joy Zhang, to be YOUR guest at the S.Pellegrino Almost Chef Competition, I assure you you won’t be disappointed 🙂

22 responses to “Friday Night Dinners

  1. Joyyyyy, you eat such delicious-looking meals… how are you not 500 pounds? I mean this in my sweetest, hey-I’ve-known-you-since-we-were-in-elementary-school-together kind of way.

    Good luck with the Pellegrino competition!

    • hahaha Elissa you’re hilarious, my trick is you see I have this food vacuum, upon eating all this delicious food I simply vacuum it out from the other end. HAHA it’s Friday and I’m feeling inappropriate! Okay obviously kidding — I honestly just try to eat everything in moderation and work out a few times a week, though I’m not 500 pounds my ass still packs some heat 🙂

      You are sweet, perhaps that’s why I love you so much 🙂

      • Haha, awesome. I feel like people see me the same way. I’m always talking about my love of baked griddle goods like pancakes and waffles (and also cookies and cakes… my favorite things!) but I’m not obese or anything. You are right – everything in moderation, and exercise regularly! 🙂

      • *drools* waffles… You are indeed far from obese, I find your bum to be very adorable ^_^

  2. |Pearl Steffen-Ashe

    good luck with the contest! I would vote for you any day.

  3. The tuna n the dessert look just right for me !
    The last pic … lol … very creative !

  4. Oh Joy, I’m wishing the best of luck in that contest! Btw, I love the Pan Seared Salmon ….Hmm….mmm… Looks soooo delicious. And the dessert, of coz, absolutely gorgeous. mmm…mm….
    Have a nice weekend!
    Beset wishes, Kristy

    • Aw thank you for your kind words Kristy, hee hee hee 🙂 I love all the noises you make in between, the whole time I was tasting everything I kept going mmmm MMMMMMMM. Thanks for making me laugh as always!

  5. Good luck with the competition.
    The food looks divine and all so pretty. Especially the look of that seared tuna… yum

  6. Those photos just take my breath away!!! Really amazing series and such great combinations of flavors!!

  7. Such a teases with the food!

    S.Pellegrino Almost Chef Competition–you should pick Joy!

  8. wonderful. your photography is brilliant. which make the food more and more tempting.. cool…

  9. Wow…..what fabulous food! Now I’m drooling! I thought you were only on a healthy diet 😀 A break is good for the soul. We all need that 😛 Oh yes, I’m sure you will have lots of fun and do well in the contest. Best of luck, Joy!!

    • Oh Mary, granted I “try” to eat a healthy diet most of the time, I DEFINITELY take SEVERAL breaks in between 🙂 I am all about instant gratification hahaha. Thanks for the congrats, I’ve been thinking all week and I have finally picked the perfect dessert for you!!!!

  10. Love the presentation of the tuna and the photos are purtee as always 🙂

    I made a similar wild mushroom amuse bouche for new year’s eve this year with a drizzle of truffle oil. I heart soups and mushrooms and truffle oil!

    Good luck to the both of us with the San Pellegrino contest. I wonder when they’ll make a decision? The suspense is killing me! :-/

    • Gosh okay??? I wish they would make a decision already too! Thanks for the kind words, chef put together the tuna and the soup — wild mushrooms are seriously some of the best things in the world. Maybe it’s taking S.Pellegrino so long to decide because they’re thinking ” Maaaan Dhale and Joy are so bad ass maybe we should take them both…” hahaha good luck love I have a good feeling for you!

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