E THEL HAMMER IS A wRI TER, LEC TURER AND CAR TOONIS T BASED IN CHICAGO.
At Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawaii, executive
chef Craig Dryhurst’s classy cauliflower dish stacks purple,
yellow and white cauliflower, evoking the sunset he displays
on his Twitter feed. In Los Angeles, chef Tony Esnault has
powered his legumes de saison into a legend at Spring, his
Southern French restaurant. He has compared his palette of
colored foods, which has included purple cauliflower, to a
painting created with a variety of in-season vegetables cooked
separately in a variety of ways.
Offered since it first opened, Chicago’s Prime &
Provisions features pickled purple cauliflower with carrots, shaved
fennel, candied pecans and local feta, a dish so popular it can’t be taken
off the menu. Meanwhile, in Dubai, Paleo guru Christopher James
Clark has fixed purple cauliflower with poached eggs jazzed by purple
from the cauliflower and yellow from the eggs.
And one can only imagine how the violet/purple in Filipino yams
(ube) are thrilling patrons at owner/founder Ginger Dimapasok’s
Café 86, where a mania of purple pastries and milkshakes have
coconut. People get intimidated when I tell them it’s a purple yam. Their eyes
get big. Then they are surprised by the flavor, which tastes nothing like what
they were expecting. When they come back, they thank me for encouraging
them to taste it.”
The flan ube cupcake and ube truffles are the most popular items. “The ube
crinkle is a soft chewy cookie with powdered sugar on top. It’s purple inside, and
my personal favorite—so good,” Lopez says. Other choices include halo-halo
bread pudding with coconut and jackfruit topped with ube ice cream. There’s
also cheesecake, vegan Bundt cake, madeleines and so much more among the
ube surprises. Café 86 gets ube from the Philippines, cooking it down into a
jam, which it also uses in milkshakes.
At the wildly popular Beatnik in Chicago, Spanish chef Marcos Campos offers glorious fried
baby eggplant with Dijon mustard/date syrup sauce, fresh oregano and za’atar. His half duck is
prepared with mole, pickled blackberries, orange-glazed endive and parsnip. He has offered his
pluma iberica with both a gel of pickled plums and smoked grapes.
At Seattle’s JuneBaby, the 2018 James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant, chef Edouardo
Jordan explores the African origins of Southern food, offering red cabbage on JuneBaby’s hot link
sausage and fried chicken special. Loved in Africa, China, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia,
Poland, Norway and Denmark, red cabbage graces roasted goose with steamed Czech dumplings
(knedliky). Purple-leafed red napa cabbage is used in Korea to make kimchi, which can be found
in bibimbap. Germans find it a spicy playmate for roast Christmas goose. And Poles top sausages
with it while the Chinese use it to add splashy crunch to salads.
Around the world, purple foods create a purple rain as edible purple pansies, violets and Karma
orchids fall into cocktails, into salads and onto our plates.