The corn chowder: Seemingly simple. Lots of corn kernals at that wonderful point somewhere between tender and crisp. I assume there was milk in the broth. Sweet, gentle, and topped with generous amounts of chunks of crisp bacon, and the crunchiness and saltiness and fat of that added wonderfully to the effect. Actually 3 more cups of that chowder and a good salad and I'd have been happy enough.
The wonderfully and delicately seasoned quail was accompanied by wild rice with cranberries and toasted pecans, served warm, and roasted butternut squash with rosemary, served at room temperature. Both delicious, as was the freshly-baked cornbread.
Dessert was freshly made strawberry shortcake. Now here in the South, too often strawberry shortcake is a slice of (usually) store-bought angel food cake or pound cake topped with frozen strawberries and Cool-whip. I don't knock that. I've been known to serve it myself. And it is always pretty damn good. But this! That wonderfully crunchy non-sweet homemade shortcake biscuit cut in half, topped with fresh strawberries (which I believe had been treated either with a simple syrup or possibly a bit of liqueur), topped with non-sweetened freshly-whipped cream, the other half of the biscuit on top, all dusted with confectioner's sugar, well, it was just wonderful. The textures, the tastes, the presentation, all superb.
Admittedly, a few people near me thought it was pretty good but they preferred their strawberry shortcake sweeter. Still, I noticed that most of them cleaned their plates. As did I.
And when I was leaving, chef Kelley asked if I'd like to take some home with me. I'm no dummy! I said yes. She was going to give me 4 biscuits with the proper amounts of strawberries and cream, but I begged her not to. One good serving was more than I needed. And when I got home, I set the 3 containers on my kitchen counter, looked at them for about 30 seconds, said what the hell, and immediately assembled me another serving. I discovered I had no confectioner's sugar, but I sprinkled a little regular sugar on it (I'm nothing if not improvisational). And it was still great!
Seaborn and Kelley, you are doing a wonderful job. Keep up the good work!
Seaborn Whatley, co-owner and co-chef, Pie Lab, Greensboro, Alabama