Mad Fresh Urban Bistro and Take Out in Fort Myers, FL. I walked into the cheery, cozy restaurant and saw a half dozen ladies at the bar, armed with pens, notepads and of course wine. My kind of party! They graciously allowed me to pull up a stool next to my new best friend for the next hour; Kathy. Kathy is a snow bird from Massachusetts, a self proclaimed foodie, wine lover and the leader of the pack.
As we watched Chef Partner, Xavier Duclos, chop the ingredients for his delicious salmon cakes, Kathy also revealed what a huge fan she was of Mad Fresh and how badly she wanted them to do well, one reason she organized the gathering. Oh yes, and what a treat it was to watch someone so handsome in the kitchen. Nods of agreement by all.
Chef's salmon cake was full of flavor, a little heat and cooked perfectly. Accompanied by a slightly sweet Asian Slaw that I could've eaten all day, the dish was just the right size for a nice lunch. The Luzon Blanco wine was a nice crisp accomplice to the spice and fresh herbs. What I learned about making the salmon cakes: use wild salmon, don't chop ingredients TOO small and don't let the mixture sit for long to avoid a ceviche effect.
The lesson continued with Xavier's creme brule that he was certain would be the best we've had in Southwest Florida. He was right. And he made it look so easy, I may just give it a try in my own kitchen. What I learned about making creme brule: stir the mix as little as possible, the toothpick test is best for determining if it's done and an easy way to caramelize the sugary top is to heat a metal spoon in the flame of your gas stove, then press it on to the dessert. Viola!
Both of these dishes are regular menu items.
More to follow on Mad Fresh. For now, know that it is mad hot, mad cool, mad delicious!