Running from the Law: S'Hells Kitchen

Thursday, June 10, 2010

S'Hells Kitchen

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a shellfish cooking class at Kitchen Conservatory, to be taught by the amazing Josh Galliano from Monarch.  S'hell's Kitchen was a demonstration class, which meant I'd be doing zero cooking and just had the delight of sitting around the table and watching the chef and asking questions.  Plus, getting to eat all the food, of course, otherwise, what's the point?  The menu included scallop ceviche with cilantro, orange and red pepper, Maryland soft shell crab po-boys, and paella with chorizo, clams and mussels.  Needless to say I was pumped.

Ryan and I decided to make a Date Night out of it and go to the class together.  Isn't that adorable?  Don't we just make you sick?  We're so damn in love.  Barf.

Anyway, I'd been tweeting with Kitchen Conservatory (@kitchenchef) and at Josh Galliano (@cookingkid) (I say "at" because he doesn't follow me on Twitter (sad face) and therefore probably didn't see any of my tweets) all day long about the class and I was really excited.  Maybe a bit too excited?

We show up at Kitchen Conservatory and walk really really slowly into the store (because my husband suffered a nasty fishing-related injury the day before and could barely walk).  On the way in he said, "So do they know you here by now?  You've taken about a million classes here and you stalk them online."  I just smiled at the thought of being known or recognized for my blog and said, "I seriously doubt it."

But guess what...she recognized me!!  As we walked hobbled up to the counter, here's what happened.

Ruth: Hi! You're Sara. 

Me: (internal dialogue: ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, this is so cool, I'm famous, SO COOL, don't be a dork, don't be a dork, don't be a dork) Uhhhh.

Ruth: We love your blog!  (ok, maybe she didn't say this, but let a girl dream)

Me: (ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, someone actually reads my blog, I'm famous, this is so cool, don't be a dork, don't be a dork) Thanks!  Uhhhhuhuhhaahahaha. (big smile!) 

Ruth: You're going to love this class with Josh.  He's just the best.  He's one of our favorite chefs.

Me: Uh huh.  Cool.  (stop being a dork, stop being a dork, stop being a dork)

Ruth: Did you bring your camera?

Me: (holy shit I forgot the camera, what's wrong with me, why can't I speak, where's the camera, did I bring the camera, please say I didn't forget the camera) I think I brought it.  Not the big one, but the little one.  The little point and shoot.  I didn't bring the big one.  It's too big.  I thought it might get in the way.  It's big.  And the other's little. I think I brought the little one.  The little point and shoot. (shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up)

Ruth: Ok...well, you're back this way.  Here are your recipes and just seat yourself anywhere.

Me: Uhhhhh...ok. (trip) (damn it!) (look cool) (urgh, I'm such a disaster) (what the hell is wrong with me) (stop being a dork, stop being a dork)

Meanwhile, Ryan is looking at me like I'm batshit crazy and wondering what the hell has happened to his wife.  At this point I can't form sentences or make eye contact and I'm trying to just walk on my own two feet and not directly into any displays or shelving.  Wouldn't that just be great. 

But we made it to two empty seats without too much damage done and prepared for class to begin.  This is when I would normally take out my camera and get it ready and take some pictures of the ingredients and the menu, but I couldn't do.  I was too scared!   Ryan took the camera from me and started taking some pictures.  I was nearly paralyzed. 

Josh started class and damn he's cute.  Mental note to self: do not take husband to classes taught by hot chefs.  He was cool, calm, collected.  And kinda dreamy.  Hmmm.  I started to relax a bit.  He knew some of the people in the class and chatted them up.  So nice.  Oh, he's a refugee from Hurricane Katrina.  How sad.  He mentioned his pregnant wife and baby at home.  Oh, melt my heart.  And we had a birthday group there, so he said he added a dessert to the menu in honor of the birthday girl.  Wasn't that sweet?  He's so thoughtful. 

Again Ryan is looking at me and horrified.  I must have looked like some star-struck love-sick teenager.  So I snapped out of it and finally started taking some pictures.

First up, was the scallop ceviche.  Ceviche is basically raw seafood marinating in citrus juices.  They're really popular in Latin American countries.  Ryan and I had about a million ceviches in Belize and fell in love with them.  Josh's scallop ceviche had a coconut milk base and was absolutely incredible. 
Next, Josh started preparing the soft shell crabs for the Poboys. 
Check out this cute little crab! 
Doesn't he just look adorable?  And delicious?
(I'm talking about the crab, not Josh!  Get your mind out of the gutter.)
We next learned how to clean them, which basically consisted of cutting their face off with a pair of scissors. 

I won't show you that part.

You can thank me later.

Once they've been de-faced and die a slow painful death, they're ready to be battered and fried!  Yee haw!
Then they're placed into a big hunk of chewy bread, with lettuce, tomatoes and some spicy mayo.
And here's what you get...
Heaven in a bun.  Without a face.
And then it was on to the main course, paella.  I've never made paella.  I have fond memories from eating it about 800 times when I studied abroad in Spain.  Mmmm...the best paella I had was at this little waterfront cafe in Barcelona.  It was a warm day... Sorry, I digress. 

Paella is actually on my list of the Ten Most Difficult Recipes, so I will be making it soon.  I was excited to see how Josh did it and get some tips and pointers.  Basically, he poured in some rice, added broth and some spices, threw in a shit-ton of seafood and some big-ass sausages* and called it a day.  He made it look so incredibly easy I don't know why I don't make this every single night.  

*He made the sausage himself...of course he did.
For real. 
It was around this point where Josh noticed that I was taking a lot of pictures and made a comment that many chefs are now forbidding people to take pictures of their food in restaurants.  Of course, this automatically made me self-conscious and then I was convinced that Josh hated me.  Why Josh?!  I'm sorry!  But then he said that people that participated in social media were actually giving chefs and restaurants free publicity and it was good for the industry.  Saved!  Your welcome Josh, anytime.

And then he asked me if I was a food blogger.

What I should have said: Actually no, although I'd love to be.  Basically I'm just an amateur blogger that loves to write and take pictures of the things I do and my hobbies.  Food, of course, is a big part of my life.  I love to cook and these classes are great because I've still got a lot to learn.

What I actually said: Errrr, urgggh no.  I, umm, just, ummm, have a blog.  You know. 

What can I say?  I'm an idiot. 

So, onto dessert. 

Ha!  Does this process look familiar
Happy Birthday Girl-At-The-End-Of-The-Table! 
Your cake was delish!
And that was basically it.  The food was great.  The class was awesome.  And I'm a total idiot.  Cheers!


  1. LOL...looks like you had a great time! I have a paella pan just like Josh's! We don't cram that much in there, though. And, you are right, he is cute. Don't feel bad. I once called my husband Bobby (after Bobby Flay). My husband's name is Jeff. He wouldn't speak to me for the rest of the night.

  2. You are hilarious. And this food looks delish.

  3. That looks like a great class!!

    I like how he used the little pull-out counter thingy to set his Blackberry on. Gotta keep that away from the live seafood!

  4. Yay! You're back! You're too funny! You're not a dork, I'd prolly do the same.

    I can't lie - I scanned through the pics 1st & thought "ooooh, HOT chef!" before I even read the post. LOL So, yeah - agreed.

    I'm a full blown meat eater - the redder the better - but I can NOT eat softshell crab. It seems to cruel to me to prey on them at their weakest. I bet the suckers were delish though. ;)

  5. LOL! You're hilarious, why would you ever get nervous in front on anyone?!

    I love soft shell crabs, I could eat them all of the time. The paella also looks amazing!

  6. WHAT

    This is the best blog post ever. I can't believe you learned how to make all that stuff, what a wonderful place you live near. I wonder if there is something similar around here. You've inspired me to look! So great!

  7. I love this post!!! I'm sure you were much more graceful than you thought - and hey, if not, you got a great blog post out of it. And if they're reading, they'll like you even more b/c you're a badass blogger!

    The food looks amazing - almost as delicious as the chef!

    This Kitchen Conservatory place sounds fabulous. You must take me there when I come visit you. :)

  8. I really don't if that soft shell crab (the fried one on a sandwich) or Josh looks more delicious. Hee.

  9. wow - we have incredibly similar inner dialogues!

  10. That looks fantastic! I love/miss Kitchen Conservatory. Would you actually make soft shell crab yourself? I love it, but I think cooking/killing it would freak me out!

  11. Cute boys will always paralyze a normally smart, witty, funny girl brain. Always.