12 days of christmas: avillez… (2019)

In the garden.

The Portuguese empire spanned the globe, from Brazil through southern Africa all the way to the warm waters of the South China Sea, where it held the last European colony in Asia until 1999, when it relinquished Macau to China.  To understand Portuguese cuisine today, is to understand the trading routes that made the Iberian peninsula an important hub of ingredients, spices, and culture for centuries.

Jose Avillez traces these flavors in his cooking.  He is the chef and owner of over 20 restaurants in Portugal, including the two Michelin-starred Belcanto in Lisbon. And he was the fourth chef to cook at the Twelve Days of Christmas hosted by Christopher Kostow at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

7th Course: Beef Coulotte

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive on the shores of Japan.  And, according to Avillez, it was the Portuguese who introduced the technique of lightly battering and frying to the Japanese. So, for one of his canapés, he served a sliver of tempura avocado, with a warm soup of lupin beans on the side, a Portuguese staple.

Avillez’s canapés also included a playful take on chicken piri-piri, a popular Portuguese dish that launched the wildly successful, global restaurant chain Nando’s. Traditionally, the chicken is marinated with piri-piri – a bird’s eye chili introduced to the Portuguese from its colonies in lower Africa – and barbecue roasted over fire. Avillez’s abstract version included corn nuts and crispy chicken skin.

Scarlet shrimp head emulsion.  6th Course: Baked Pigeon

There were more straightforward depictions of Portuguese cooking, like a comforting course of cabbage stewed with Portuguese sausages, which imparted a salty smokiness.  Avillez shaved black truffles over this.  And Avillez expressed the abundance of fresh seafood in Portugal with a simple dish of lightly poached scarlet shrimp.

For dessert, he served a take on the Portuguese “toucinho do ceu,” which translates roughly to “bacon from heaven” because pork lard is traditionally used to make this almond cake.  Avillez brightened his version with raspberry sorbet.

Scarlet shrimp heads. 3rd Course: Scarlet Shrimp with

Throughout this year’s twelve nights, Christopher Kostow gifted us with a parade of spectacular beef dishes. And his coulotte with grape pomace on this night was among the very best of them.

I also loved a mosaic of California citrus Kostow and his team served for dessert.  This set would reappear again in the dinner series, but this version included kalamanzi curd, a section of clementine, and angelica cookies.

This is the menu from Day 4 of the Twelve Days of Christmas with guest chef José Avillez (click here for all of the photos from this dinner):


Chicken “Piri Piri”

Kale Chip
Flavors of chorizo.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Tempura Avocado

Lupin Bean
Leche de tigre.

1st Course
Caviar, beans, bone marrow.

2nd Course
Potatoes Cooked in Beeswax
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

3rd Course
Scarlet Shrimp
With “ashes.”

4th Course
Portuguese Cabbage

5th Course
Black Cod
Squid rice, grapes.

6th Course
Baked Pigeon
Truffle, hazelnut.

7th Course
Beef Coulotte
Grape pomace.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

8th Course
Local Citrus
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

9th Course 
“Toucinho do Ceu”
Raspberry sorbet, yuzu.

Wine pairings.

Les Pentes Pouilly Fumé, Serge Dagueneau & Filles, 2018

Peugh Vinyard, Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2017

Território Vivo, Baga, Tinto, 2016

Brovia, Barolo Riserva, 2005

Corra, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2008

Day 4: Jose Avillez

Below are links to my posts and photos from all Twelve Days of Christmas dinners I have attended. 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)


Mark Lundgaard Nielsen (Kong Hans Kælder; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Manish Mehrotra (Indian Accents; New Dehli, India; New York, New York; London, U.K.)
Jeremiah Stone & Fabián von Hauske Valtierra (Contra & Wildair; New York, New York)
Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon & Tallula’s; Santa Monica, California)
Ben Sukle (birch & Oberlin; Providence, Rhode Island)
Sean Brock (McCrady’s, McCrady’s Tavern, Husk, & Minero; Charleston, South Carolina)
Yoshiaki Takazawa (Takazawa; Tokyo, Japan)
Thomas Keller (The French Laundry; Yountville, California)
Eric Werner (Hartwood; Tulum, Mexico)
Jock Zonfrillo (Orana; Adelaide, Australia)
Alexandre Couillon (La Marine; Noirmoutier, France)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique; San Juan, Puerto Rico)
David Pynt (Burnt Ends; Singapore)
Jessica Largey (Simone; Los Angeles, California)
James Lowe (Lyle’s; London, The United Kingdom)
Kamilla Seidler (formerly of Gustu in La Paz, Bolivia; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Byung-jin Kim (Gaon; Seoul, South Korea)
Wojciech Modest Amaro (Atelier Amaro; Warsaw, Poland)
Justin Cogley (Auberine; Carmel, California) & Trevor Moran (Nashville, Tennessee)
Michael Tusk (Cotogna and Quince; San Francisco, California)
Ana Ros (Hiša Franko; Kobarid, Slovenia)
Sota Atsumi (Maison, opening in 2019; Paris, France)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Gabriela Camara (Contramar; Mexico City, Mexico/Cala; San Francisco, California)
John and Karen Shields (Smyth, and The Loyalist; Chicago, Illinois)
Daniel Calvert (Belon; Hong Kong)
José Avillez (Belcanto; Lisbon, Portugal)

Photos: José Avillez with his sous chefs Miguel Gomes and João Leitão in the garden; beef coulotte; Gomes and Leitão looking at shrimp head juice; Leitão shaving truffles over baked pigeon; grilling shrimp heads; Avillez at the pass inspecting the scarlet shrimp course; wine pairings; Avillez, Christopher Kostow, and the team at The Restaurant at Meadowood.

~ by ulterior epicure on February 21, 2020.

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