My Last Days….

I forgot how fast a whole week can fly by. It felt like yesterday that I worked my last shift at the Harvest Vine but it was actually a whole week ago.

IMG_7980

I couldn’t have asked for a better day of service before hanging up my apron and tie for the last time until July. it was a gorgeous day out, it happened to be one of the busiest days of brunch we’ve worked in a while, and best of all, I got to see so many familiar faces to say goodbye and farewell before I left.

sundaybrunch

The next day, Monday, marked my last dinner service i’d work in Seattle. it was the last Monday of the month so that means it was time for another Irbille Edibles Pop-Up at Olivar! (Check out my post on Irbille Edibles and the Evolution of Filipino Food Here)

This was a pretty exciting night as it was the 1 year anniversary of Irbille Edibles Pop-Ups and we were fully booked. I’ve had the pleasure of being in the kitchen with Irbille since day 1 and I can’t thank him enough for letting me sit shotgun in this incredible ride we’ve been on as his sous chef. He is the Shawn Kemp to my Gary Payton. The Timbaland to my Justin Timberlake (this is probably the most accurate analogy I’ve made in my life). We just work really well together. I’m so excited for him and the IE crew to tear it up in the kitchen the next 3 months and especially excited for his new venture in Kraken Congee. You are doing some big things my Friend and I’m proud of all that you’ve accomplished.

irbilleedibles

On Wednesday, my chef, Joey Serquinia, had told me to come in to eat at the Harvest Vine. It was National Paella Day and he wanted to make sure he sent me off right and cooked a Mega Paella. And with no surprise, the paella was perfect, as is all of his paellas. It was a special night as I got to be around everyone that I have spent the past 3 years of my life with. I had my beautiful family with me, my work family (there’s no such thing as ‘co-workers’ at the Vine), some of my favorite regulars, and some new and old friends that i have made while cooking at the Vine. The amount of love and support that I was surrounded was something can’t even describe. I am so grateful for everything that everyone has done for me. Especially Joey, Carolin Messier, and Jeffrey Watanabe. I couldn’t ask for better managers. Thank you for guiding me and taking care of me and my family. I love you guys and can’t thank you enough!

Photo Taken from Brandon Patoc!

Throughout the week, I also made sure to eat at some of m favorite places since I know i wont be able to enjoy them in Spain. So i was fat kid for the past week!

fatkidfood

Fast forward to Saturday. My last official day in the great North West. I had spent the whole day with he people most important to me, my family. All gazillion of them! it was the day before Easter and we were celebrating the 3rd birthday of my daughter, Tegan! It was another beautiful day that was filled with Easter egg hunting. filling up plates upon plates with food, passing around all the babies to different family members. This is all i wanted before leaving.

Easter

It was a very bittersweet moment for me as everyone congratulated me and expressed their excitement for me, but at the same time, it means that I was leaving one the biggest part of me behind, my family. This is the hardest thing i’ve ever had to do, but I know in the end that the outcome of this will be greater than anything I Can imagine and everything I do is for them.

As of right now, I’m sitting in the apartment that I will be occupying for the next 3 months with the current Basque Stage and my new roomie, Susy Santos, and the most recent Basque Stage Rising Star, Clifton Su, as he packs and leaves tomorrow at 4 in the morning. Good luck on that 17 hour flight home dude! It’s the end of my first day in San Sebastian and am looking forward to sharing all of my experiences in my next blogs!

Advertisements

Back to the posts, Food Blog Post Progress, and Paella!

It’s been another long work week so I haven’t been able to post. I am still really surprised that I started a blog because I’ve actually been pretty eager and antsy to write in this thing! I finally admit it…… I really enjoy blogging. Even if no-one is reading, I get a great feeling being able to write out some thoughts and feelings about the things going on in my life. I find the things in my life pretty exciting and I’m really happy about that!

This work week has been pretty eventful. I was able to get the cooking portion of my ‘Food Blog Post’ (which is coming real soon!) for my Basque Stage application done at work. The dish was actually part of the brunch menu at The Harvest Vine, so I was glad to be able to kill two birds with one stone!

But on Friday, I was able to experience something at my work that I have never been so excited to see and take part of in my 2 and a half years of working there.

It was around 5:45p.M. when the the diners in our restaurant grew almost silent as they turned away from everything that was happening in that moment. Right outside of the opened garage door that exposes the  patio area, my chef had just added the onions to the beginning of an epic paella, as requested from a couple and 30+ of their closest friends and family.

Joey making the Paella!

Just from the sound of the sizzling onions along with the aromas of the  sweet onion smell, the attention of every diner sitting in the room had been focused on the paella pan. Next comes the peppers, pimenton, saffron,  and garlic making the smokey sofrito.

Sofrito!

The energy in the room had never felt like this before. There was excitement in the room. Everyone had so much interest in something that they weren’t even able to experience. The aroma filling the room was indescribable. I had felt that this was the closest to Spain that someone could possibly get. It was a glorious feeling.

Me giving the paella a thumbs up!

Joey adds the rest of the ingredients (bomba rice, fish stock, etc.)  and left the pan over a warm flame to simmer and develop those flavors . He then adds the main ingredients on the paella with the fresh seafood carefully placed all around the pan. and covers it with foil to finish.

The hand of Joey placing the center clam!

The moment finally came and the foil comes off of the paella and i’ve never seen anything like it. It was beauty at its finest. Or I guess I could say, probably food porn at its finest. It was sad that I couldn’t even taste some of it (especially the best part, the crust on the bottom.), but my excitement for delivering it to our special guests made up for it. We put on the finishing touches of parsley and sliced lemons. And sent it off.

Me trying to look busy. =P

I’ve seen my chef, Joey, make pleanty of paellas. But I’ve never seen him make a paella like this. He was in the zone. Just watching him, I knew that it would turn out to be an amazing dish because of the care he had put into it. And this was something I, and I’m sure everybody else, really admires about Joey. I someday wish to cook with the finesse and ‘swag’ that Joey has.

The Finished Paella minus the lemons.

Thanks for reading!

-Justin

P.S. Thank you Mara Lang for the great photographs!