12 days: on the fourth day of christmas: vallejo… (2015)

Canapé mise-en-place.


One of the most memorable meals I’ve had in Mexico City was at Quintonil in the city’s posh Polanco district. The cooking there combined the saturated flavors and colors of Mexican cookery with the ingredients and sentiments of cultures abroad.  In particular, I remember blushing slices of ahi tuna with warm pico de gallo and an inky sauce made from pig ears, and a bowl of Iberian pork jowl marinated in achiote with beans and pickled onions (see all of the photos from that meal here).

Not having had the chance to return to Quintonil since, I was particularly excited to see chef Jorge Vallejo on the list of guest chefs for this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas, where he was the fourth to cook with Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood.


1st Course: Tomato


Vallejo brought his colorful cuisine to The Restaurant at Meadowood.

He collected a rainbow of herbs and blossoms and put them in a garlicky bowl of nopale ceviche with milky burrata.  This was a terrific canapé that he served at the pre-dinner reception.

In another bowl, he blanketed tomatoes and garden herbs with a generous grating of cotija cheese.  Over this he poured a warm, emerald green cactus sauce brightened with the fragrance of cilantro and lime.


Pig "rostizado"


There were some dishes that were more recognizable to me as Mexican, like a crab tostada with avocado that Vallejo served as a canapé, or a salbute (a masa tortilla fried until puffed and crispy) filled with wild mushrooms and creamy escamoles (ant eggs).

Perhaps my favorite dish from Vallejo at this dinner was his chicken in almondrado. The chicken had been baked in bread, keeping it especially moist and juicy.  It was brushed with schmaltz, and served with an incredible mole that was sweetened with raisins and thickened with almonds.




In the spirit of collaboration, Kostow worked to reflect a bit of Vallejo’s Mexican spirit in his cooking.

In the afternoon, Kostow roasted slabs of pork belly on a rotisserie spit set up outside the restaurant. This pork “rostizado” was served with leeks and wild mushrooms. Kostow also served tripe with a sauce of clam, chorizo, and celery.

Cheesecake is one of the last things I’d normally order voluntarily.  But the queso fresco cake that Kostow served this night, with a crust made from ground peanuts and topped with preserved cherries and a raspado (shaved ice, like granité) of the preserved cherry juice spiked with mezcal, was fantastic.




Below, you’ll find the menu from the fourth night of the Twelve Days of Christmas featuring Jorge Vallejo.   To see all of the photos from this dinner, CLICK HERE.


Nopale Ceviche
Leche de tigre.

Corner “Truffle”
White truffle.

Crab Tostada
Avocado, radish, and burnt onion


First Course 
Onion, cotija, garden herbs.

Second Course
Clam, celery, chorizo.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Third Course 
Wild mushrooms, escamoles.

Fourth Course 
Potato and Sturgeon
En “chinga.”
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Fifth Course 
Chicken in Almondrado
Mole, raisins.

Sixth Course 
Pork “Rostizado”
Leek, black trumpet mushrooms.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Seventh Course 
Queso Fresco
Peanut, raspado of preserved cherries.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Eighth Course 
Poached Gooseberries
Grapes, rhubarb, cream lemongrass, and lemon thyme.


Albarino, 2014

White Blend, “On the White Keys,” 2012

The Scholium Project
“The Sylphs,” Chardonnay, 2012

Mocking Bird
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011


Team Shot


Below are links to my posts and photos from all of the Twelve Days of Christmas dinners I have attended over the past four years at the Restaurant at Meadowood.  Each chef is listed with the restaurant with which they were cooking at the time they participated in the event (some have moved on to other projects and restaurants).


Scott Anderson (Elements; Princeton, New Jersey)
John & Karen Shields (Formerly of Townhouse; Chilhowie, Virginia)
Phillip Foss (EL Ideas; Chicago, Illinois)
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions; San Francisco, California)
Jason Franey (Canlis Restaurant; Seattle, Washinton)
Matthias Merges (Yusho; Chicago, Illinois)
Mori Onodera (Formerly of Mori Sushi; Los Angeles, California)
James Syhabout (Commis; Oakland, California)
Nick Anderer (Maialino; New York, New York)
David Toutain (Agapé Substance; Paris, France)
Josh Habiger & Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat; Nashville Tennessee)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon & New York, New York)
Rodolfo Guzman (Boragó; Santiago, Chile)
Carlo Mirarchi (Blanca and Roberta’s; Brooklyn, New York)
Tim Cushman (O Ya; Boston, Massachusetts)
Ashley Christensen (Poole’s Diner; Raleigh, North Carolina)
David Chang (Momofuku; New York, New York)
Matthew Accarrino (SPQR; San Francisco, California)
Mark Ladner & Brooks Headley (Del Posto; New York, New York)
Rasmus Kofoed (Geranium; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine; San Francisco, California)
David Kinch (Manresa; Los Gatos, California)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Matthew Orlando (Amass; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Frank Castranovo & Frank Falcinelli (Frankies 457, Prime Meats; New York, New York)
Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf; Dranouter, Belgium)
Alexandre Gauthier (La Grenouillère; La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France)
Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn; Lummi Island, Washington)
Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s; Portland, Oregon)
Virgilio Martinez (Central; Lima, Peru)
Grant Achatz (Alinea; Chicago, Illinois)
Corey Lee (Benu; San Francisco, California)
Esben Holmboe Bang (Maaemo; Oslo, Norway)
Ignacio Mattos (Estela; New York, New York)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, NoMad; New York, New York)
Nenad Mlinarevic (Focus; Vitznau, Switzerland)
Christian Puglisi (relæ; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil; Mexico City, Mexico)
Joshua Skenes (Saison; San Francisco, California)
Matthew Wilkinson (Pope Joan; Melbourne, Australia)
Kim Floresca and Daniel Ryan ([One]; Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
Isaac McHale (The Clove Club; London, The United Kingdom)
Kyle Connaughton (Single Thread; Healdsburg, California)
Atsushi Tanaka (A.T. Restaurant; Paris, France)
Justin Yu (Oxheart; Houston, Texas)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Photos: The colorful mise en place for Vallejo’s nopale ceviche canapé; Jorge Vallejo tableside; pork belly on the spit for pork “rostizado;” Jorge Vallejo, with Christopher Kostow, at kitchen line-up; wine pairings; and Jorge Vallejo, with Jorge Lara Goribo, Christopher Kostow, and the kitchen staff of The Restaurant at Meadowood.

~ by ulterior epicure on December 16, 2015.

One Response to “12 days: on the fourth day of christmas: vallejo… (2015)”

  1. yum

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