On March 24th, we will partner with the Specktator for a special event. We’ll re-create classic TV dinners Here are the details:
As a kid, who didn’t love TV dinners? Dining on mushy and/or flavorless food on a TV tray while watching your favorite show was pretty much a rite of passage (unless, you were the neighborhood kids whose parents wouldn’t let them watch TV).
Chef Dennis Chan remembers those days fondly and wanted to re-create the TV dinner experience but for an adult palate. The TV Dinner Dinner is a three-course meal featuring two of the most popular entreés, along with grown-up-kid-approved appetizer and dessert. (Kerry “The Specktator” Speckman was a big fan too, but she can cook about as well as Cindy Brady could say, “She sells seashells down by the seashore.”)
Mille Feuille-enrobed mini-link sausage with mustard dipping sauce
Salisbury steak with forest mushroom demi-glace
Buttermilk fried chicken with country gravy
and duchess mashed potatoes flavored with Parmesan
Molten-center brownie bundt
I look forward to seeing you!
This year, the lunar new year begins on January 31.
It’s the Year of the Horse, and according to astrologers, it is a year of unexpected adventures and surprising romance.
We are celebrating with a Chinese New Year cooking class on January 25th,
Dim Sum on Sunday, January 26th,
Dinner Specials on January 31st and February 1,
and Dim Sum on February 2.
Join us as we ring in the year of the Horse!
This week, I spent an afternoon cooking with Heather Crawford from First Coast News.
She asked if I would be able to cook a gourmet meal with food purchased from a dollar store, and spend less than $10. Although I had my own doubts about what I could possibly buy at the dollar store to cook a decent meal, I was ready for the challenge.
As we walked around the store, I didn’t want to select anything that wasn’t wholesome, because that is just not how we cook with at Blue Bamboo. That meant all prepared foods, mixes, and canned foods were out. As tempting as it was to pick up a bag of seasoned rice or pasta to cook, I passed on all of that stuff too. Anyone can open a package and make those things. There were canned veggies and fruit. Some were packed in juices or water, and not heavy syrups, so I could have cooked with them, but I decided to pass on them too. I couldn’t imagine that starting with those ingredients would have given us a meal that we would be proud of.
I struck gold when I came across their freezer and refrigerated sections. I found frozen peas, frozen berries, milk, eggs, and sausage. I found some flour, and some cocoa powder caught my eye.
All of those groceries ended up costing $9.07. Under our budgeted $10.00, and now I had a bout an hour to prepare our gourmet meal.
Here’s the final menu:
Pork and English Pea “Love Letters” with Green Pea Sauce
and Cool-Hot Cocoa Creme Brulee with Berries.
The ingredients actually could have fed 6 people, but we had to save a little for us to taste.
See the video clip of our shopping and preparing this meal at firstcoastnews.com.
We’ll celebrate with our WAG salad, created especially for our 8th Anniversary tasting menu. This salad has all the goodness of watermelon, asparagus, and grapes, dressed in our house-made soy-balsamic vinaigrette. Stop by today and celebrate national watermelon day
This Easter Sunday, we’ll be open and serving our Blue Bamboo Favorites alongside our monthly Pajama Brunch specialties.
- Served – 10am-2pm
- Menu service, starting from $7.50
- All are welcome
- In order to provide proper service, we are not able to offer individual separate checks.
- There may be a long wait during peak times. Please call for us to set a table for you!
Please call if we can be of service. 904.646.1478
We are honored to be included on the inaugural ”Best Chefs America” list.
Here is a link to the Jacksonville Business Journal’s story about the 19 local area chefs who made it on the list:
Alongside our regular menu this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we will also offer a Lover’s pairing menu where we’ll feature 4 romantic-themed courses paired with 4 glasses of wine for $80. Menu specials this weekend will include Thai Basil Whole Snapper, Sous Vide Curry-Rubbed Filet, Vahlrona Chocolate Terrine, and Southern Strawberry Tarts.
Thanks to all who selected us as “Most Romantic Restaurant in Jacksonville,” on researchpaperkingdom.com, and one of the top restaurants in Jacksonville on opentable.com.
This Sunday,February 10th, we will serve up a very special Chinese New Year Edition of Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our previous Dim Sum Sundays, we are more excited than ever that we are able to offer it on Chinese New Year. During Dim Sum Sundays, we offer a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only.
If you are new to Dim Sum, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full according TermPapersForSale24h.
Looking for a new brunch place to try? This Sunday, we will serve our first ever Sunday Brunch, offering a la carte service of traditional brunch favorites, including cornmeal blueberry pancakes, maple chicken and waffles, fluffy omlettes, and crispy bacon and egg skillets during a monthly special event which we call Pajama Brunch Sundays.
Pajama wearing by our guests is encouraged, but not mandatory. Our servers do wear their pajamas at work on Sunday. We make them come in early to take care of our guests, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to just roll out of bed to come to work? Otherwise, they would show up late, and you know what happens when you can’t take care of people when they are hungry… GRRRRRR!
- Served – 10am-2pm
- Menu service, starting from $5.95
- All are welcome
- In order to provide proper service, we are not able to offer individual separate checks.
- Often there is a long wait during peak times. Please call for us to set a table for you!
Although May and Michele have officially retired from the restaurant business, they have been begged out to partner with Chef Dennis to offer this once a month brunch event.
Please call if we can be of service. 904.646.1478
We wish you a very Happy New Year. To our guests and friends, we wish you good health and good cheer.
We often are told that we have good people working with us here at Blue Bamboo. You, our guests, keep us loving what we do. Our business is a big source of pride to us, and we find going to work each day a rewarding experience, thanks to our guests.
We raise our glasses to you. Thanks again for another wonderful year.
Chef Dennis Chan
Today is National Taco day. A classmate from culinary school had the pleasure of working with Roy Choi, who started the whole Asian Taco craze in LA. Roy is also a fellow Culinary Institute of America Graduate. My classmate shared the technique, and a similar recipe to what he made so popular in Los Angeles. In our Blue Bamboo version, we use an Asian pear for sweetness and add a kiwi to help tenderize the shortribs in our recipe.
Tomorrow is our next Dim Sum Sunday special event, and we’re debuting a brand new cocktail: The Sriracha Splash. Think lightly flavored beer with a spicy and savory kick. Join us and try this new specialty drink! Dim Sum Sunday is from 11AM – 2PM. Call us if we can set a table for you.
We did it again… 4 Courses, paired with 4 wines!!!
This Tuesday, we served up:
Please Join our mailing list if you’d like us to keep you informed about events such as this one.
Today would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. We all know what this lady has done for those of us in the food world, and she has become such a big part of American History.
When I worked at Blue Ginger in Boston, we’d see Julia come in about once a month. She lived in nearby Cambridge. The open Kitchen in that restaurant allowed me to work less than 5 feet away from the living legend everytime she came in. When someone who has paved the way for what I wanted to do was so close, I couldn’t help but get goosebumps every time she was near.
Many of her recipes and techniques are the benchmark of how chefs, both professional and professional in their own minds, cook today.
Cheers to the life of Julia Child, and her 100 years of contributions to our American food culture!
Today, August 8th, is National Zucchini Day! As you know, we use this green squash to make our signature appetizer, Dragon Whiskers! Abundant in late spring and summer, zucchini is both versatile and delicious. Since our favorite flavor is “fried,” that’s the way we like to serve it.
We named this appetizer to honor our restaurant ancestors, which occupied the space where Blue Bamboo is currently.
Today, we got a batch that were just HUGE! Each squash was even bigger than our knives.
What an Honor! Go Magazine has listed us as one of the top 10 things to do in Jacksonville, Florida this month! Here’s the link if you want to see the rest of Jacksonville must-do’s…
We are in good company, too. A few of the others listed along with us are Jaguar games, The Soul Food Bistro, Butterfly hollow at the Jacksonville Zoo, and the Riverside Arts Market.
Occasionally, we get asked to create special dinners for guests. Tonight was one of those nights.
Here’s the photos from the evening:
Grilled Lamb T-Bone
Seared Filet with Chile Dusted Onion Rings
and Poached Jacksonville Sand Pear with Almond Whipped Cream
Although we love the food that we serve daily at Blue Bamboo, it is always a treat for us to have the opportunity to prepare items not on our menu from time to time also!
Many of you know that my favorite flavor is… FRIED!
Here’s a fact for you… French Fries were actually invented in Belgium, not France. They’re called Pommes frites, or fried potatoes, in both conutries, since they speak the same language. We can probably blame Thomas Jefferson for the mix-up here in America, since he called them ”potatoes in the French way” when he brought the recipe home with him after a trip to Paris. We also have him to thank for waffles, the yummy stuff we at Blue Bamboo serve with fried chicken, but that is another holiday we will have to talk about later.
I can’t imagine a single American sandwich that would not taste better with fries. Chefs all over the country serve up recipes with all kinds of French fry creations. Here at Blue Bambo, we simply serve our fries with salt, cracked black pepper, and some rosemary fresh out of our garden upon request. We serve them alongside our Chinese BBQ Spareribs, Peppercorn Crusted Beef Filets, Chicken Sandwiches, and Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwiches.
So come on in and celebrate National French Fry Day with us!
One of our first courses was a Porcelain egg with liquid yolk. We followed that course with a Southern-inspired dish. Creamy potato-dusted grits with Chinese XO sauce.
This dish was called, “Watermelon bulgogi.” In order to get the texture just right, we dehydrated watermelon slices, and seasoned them as if they were beef. We grilled up the slices, then served them in a lettuce cup. Next, we served a Curry potato dosa, or Indian crepe, with spicy mango chutney.
Often, guests who visit us at Blue Bamboo write online reviews to share their experiences with others. I appreciate each and every visit our guests make to our restaurant, and every review that is out there. It is our pleasure that our guests include Blue Bamboo in the online community. Most of all, we appreciate the support during our first 7 years in business. There is a plethora of review sites out there, and the fact that our guests take the time to share the word about Blue Bamboo is heartwarming.
Those who are new to Blue Bamboo ask us about the kind of food that we serve. We call it hip Asian comfort food. When I worked up in New England with my mentor, Ming Tsai, at Blue Ginger, he taught me to learn how to cook food with cultural accuracy before making it my own. I always keep that in mind with every dish that I create. That’s what you will experience when you visit Blue Bamboo. We’ve taken what we like about Asian dishes, and present you with our interpretations, which I hope you’ll agree are pretty darned good. Some people call what we do “fusion.” Call it what you want, but I just hope you’ll like our food.
There is local history in what my family and I do. My grandfather’s very own restaurant was right here in our neighborhood 40 years ago. Even though the type of food that we serve is different from what grandpa served, some of his customers and their families are now our customers. It’s a great feeling to have that history. With all of our busy lives, often we settle for what’s convenient, and not what has meaning. Only decades of service can build some of these relationships that I value so much today.
These days, I am thankful to be a part of the Jacksonville community again, taking part in local charity events and teaching food classes at the local culinary college. The restaurant gives me the opportunity to do these things.
As we approach our anniversary, i am thankful for all out there who have included us in the online community during Blue Bamboo’s first 7 years, and every one of us at Blue Bamboo takes your reviews to heart. We constantly evaluate our internal operations and change when we need to. That agility is one of the benefits of being a single unit, local, and family restaurant operation.
As much as I’d like to, I simply don’t get to personally say hello to everyone that comes through our doors. I do try to speak with our guests and actively seek feedback when they are in the restaurant. If you would like to contact me, I can always be reached at the restaurant- 904.646.1478.
Going forward into our next 7 years, I promise we’ll continue delivering fun, one-of-a-kind, casual experiences inspired by our travels and experiences worldwide to you at Blue Bamboo. I look forward to meeting all of our new guests and strengthening relationships with our current guests.
Chef and proprietor
July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day.
For us at Blue Bamboo, there is nothing more comforting than a piece of juicy and crispy fried chicken. This Southern specialty is found on the plates of both humble food trucks, shacks, and fine dining places alike, all over Jacksonville. The oldest fried chicken place around here is Beach Road Chicken Dinners, which opened right here in our neighborhood in 1939. Here’s their website:http://beachroadchickendinners.com
The trick to our crispy fried chicken at Blue Bamboo is our Japanese panko breading. We dip our chicken (breasts only) in Buttermilk before coating to keep the meat moist. An alternating dip between wet and dry ingredients ensures that the breading doesn’t separate from the meat, and seasoning each step in the process keeps it flavorful. When frying, we won’t ever overcrowd the fryer, and we make sure that the oil is at just the right temperature.
We serve our fried chicken many ways. Currently on our menu, we are offering general’s style fried chicken, sweet and sour fried chicken, fried chicken pot pie, and best of all, we make a peachy southern fried chicken and waffles.
So, happy Fried Chicken Day! Come on by if you are in the neighborhood. We’ll be happy to whip up some of our fried chicken specialties for you.
It is our 7th anniversary, and we are celebrating with an evening of lucky 7′s.
Here’s an preview of what we are practicing to bring you the newest of techniques. We are cooking a few eggs sous vide, then soaking them in some beet juice to get a beautiful marbling on the outside.
The eggs are cooked until they still have a liquid center, allowing them to ooze a little onto the plate. We consider this a “rough draft” of one of the 7 courses we will be serving.
Thank you for your support over the last 7 years. We look forward to seeing you soon!
One of the local charities that we support whole-heartedly is the Ronald McDonald House.
This year’s theme was Magic, which is surely something that they know a lot about, since our local Ronald McDonald House brings Magic to so many lives every day every day.
We were happy to be on-hand to serve our Chile Noodle Salad to atendees as they bid on some pretty cool donated merchandise and vacation packages.
The evening allowed us to visit with a few of our favorite guests in the community and support a great cause. Every year, we look forward to this wonderful event!
This is the second year that we participated in the Great Chefs of Jacksonville event. I, along with Mathew Medure, Tom Gray, and Scott Ostrander made up the City team. We went up against a team of chefs from the beaches to create 4 courses, matched up against one other.
Here’s the link to the event information about the annual event:
There were 200 guests, so we had to perform as efficiently as possible.
Happy first day of Spring!
I stopped by the WJXT studios to share our technique for fresh spring rolls. These fresh rolls are easy to make, and the arrival of Spring is the perfect excuse to eat them! They are flavorful, fresh, and healthy.
Here’s the link to the little segment that aired this week:
See you soon at Blue Bamboo for some spring eats!
This week, our monthly cooking class was called, “Hot Pot Cooking across Asia.”
To start the day, we made a Japanese Berry Cobbler.
Our first dish was Shabu-Shabu, Sukiyaki style.
Next, we made a curry Mongolian Hot Pot, with chicken tenderloins and raisins, seasoned with turmeric and tomatoes.
Korean Bibimbap had fern heads, spinach, and bean sprouts.
Sauteed shitake mushrooms gave the bibimbap a little extra umami flavor.
For dessert, we made a black sesame-Korean Pear Tea Cake. Before serving, we whipped a little almond cream, which made the cake even more irresistable.
Our next class is on April 14th, 2012. The theme is Spring Market Cooking. In that class, we will visit our local produce market, make a few selections, and come back to cook what we find.
This Sunday,February 26th, we will serve up our next Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our previous Dim Sum Sundays, we just couldn’t wait to do it again. During Dim Sum Sundays, we offer a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only. This year, we have comitted to offering Dim Sum Sundays once every month, for as long as it is still fun for us.
If you are new to Dim Sum, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full.
Mark your calendar for our next Dim Sum Sunday if you can make it, and come on by from 11-2 on Sunday, February 26th. Better yet, call us if you can make it. We will set a table for you.
Here’s a sampling of what we made in today’s ”spicy in the kitchen” cooking class:
Kimchee Mandu-Fried Dumplings
Chocolate Terrine with Jalepeno Jam
In every one of our dishes, we made sure that the heat in each dish added flavor, and lots of it! Some of the peppers that we used to add that flavor were grown on site, right here at Blue Bamboo. Each dish in today’s class showed a different technique of developing heat in cooking. Visit the “Cooking Class,” section to the right to see what classes we have coming up next! We’d love to have you with us in class.
Love is in the air at Blue Bamboo, so let us make your Valentine’s day romantic and easy this year.
Alongside our regular menu this Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, we will also offer a Lover’s pairing menu where we’ll feature 4 romantic-themed courses paired with 4 glasses of wine for $80. Menu specials this weekend will include Whole Snapper Cantonese, Spicy Curry-Rubbed Filet, Vahlrona Chocolate Terrine, and Passionfruit Creme Brulee.
Book your table today at www.bluebamboojacksonville.com, or call us at 904.646.1478.
For something fun this Valentine’s week, join us for our next cooking class, Hot and Spicy in the kitchen on February 18th. We’ll start class at 10AM, and be done by 12 noon. It’s the perfect way to start your weekend. Tuition is $42, which includes lunch and a handcrafted cocktail. Call to reserve your space today!
Happy February, and thanks to all who selected us as “Most Romantic Restaurant in Jacksonville,” on urbanspoon.com in 2011, and one of the top restaurants in Jacksonville on opentable.com.
We hope to see you soon!
People often compare us to the hottest Asian restaurnt in their favortie cities. In those cities, modern Asian takes on a whole new meaning, with tacos added to menu mixes, and pork belly and steamed buns taking over entire bar scenes.
This weekend, some of our Blue Bamboo friends challenged us to cook the recipes from the hottest Asian restaurants in the country who happen to have cookbooks.
Never one to turn down a challenge, especially when food is involved, We did just that. There was only one condition, though. My friends had to cook along with me. I wasn’t about to do all of the work myself. We took four days to source ingredients, prepare recipes, and cook our ultimate Hot Asian spot tasting.
In the end, my friends and I prepared Pork belly tacos, Sous vide glazed chicken wings, Ham hock rillette, Ground chuck-short rib-brisket burgers, and Passionfruit-coffee chocolate chip cake.
Every bit of work that we did to make buns from scratch, roll out taco shells, hand grind beef cuts, and hand-pick ham hocks to puree was worth it. The meal was delicious, and I even learned some new techniques that will probably make its way on to our menu in the near future.
Recently, I added some fun new equipment to our collection to better the way that we cook at Blue Bamboo. This equipment is made for laboratories, and since cooking is science, I thought they’d be perfect toys for our kitchen. These toys really did come in handy for our menu. We were able to cook our chicken wings to the exact temperature that we wanted them to be.
We hand rolled and then braided buns for our burgers.
That made for an intersting pairing of flavors, that really worked. All in all, the recipes that we made were delicious! Look for some of these borrowed flavor combinations to appear on our Blue Bamboo menu soon!
We created some unique dishes, all in our Blue Bamboo signature style.
We started with an earthy mushroom-veggie wonton stack.
The next course was a leek risotto cake, with a sherry sauce .
To finish off the meal, we created a chocolate-bruleed-banana mousse torte, drizzled with a cherry glaze.
It’s not often enough that we get asked to do custom dinners like this, but we look forward to the chance to practice our craft, and create new items for our menu.
Happy New Year!
To ring in 2012 at Blue Bamboo, we are bringing you more unique events than ever this January! We are going to kick it all off with our regular First Thursdays Wine Tastings from 6-8. We pour at least 4 wines on the first Thursday of each month, and we offer special pricing on everything that we pour.
On January 18th, we will have a very special wine blending event featuring Franciscan Magnificat. This event is very limited, and each guest will blend their own bottle of wine. A representative will be on hand to guide you through, and explain to you why each varietal belongs in the wine. This very limited event is $42 per person, and will include wine tastings and appetizers that will be especially created for the evening.
Our cooking class, Asian Street Eats, will be on January 21st. Imagine traveling to any Asian country and experiencing a street market. The smells, the fresh produce, and the best part of it all, we will get to taste the food! Without having to leave the city!
The very next day, we will have our now monthly Dim Sum Sunday. Dim Sum is the way that Cantonese people conduct business over brunch. Baskets of dumplings and pastas are created to order until you are full.
Join us for all or any of these events.
This year, we served up New Year’s specials, our regular menu, and for those who wanted something a little extra-special, an exquisite 4-course tasting menu.
On our a la carte menu, we offered Lobster Cantonese and Whole Snapper with Black Bean Sauce in limited quantities alongside Blue Bamboo menu favorites.
We also shared our new molecular gastronomy skills this weekend! Our tasting menu featured a “Good Luck Hoppin’ John Cake,” Crispy Oysters, Sous Vide Chimmichurri Ribeye, and Pistachio Air Cake. Each course was paired with a wine selection from our extensive cellar.
Look for more exciting specials every time you visit Blue Bamboo for Hip Asian Comfort Food in 2012!
On behalf of our entire family at Blue Bamboo, I’d like to wish all of our Blue Bamboo guests a happy and healthy holiday season.
We are grateful for your support of our restaurant community, and we look forward to making more Blue Bamboo fans in 2012!
My father, who many of you know from dining here at blue bamboo, told me we needed an update to our gift certificate presentation. He said, “No-one uses certificates anymore!” It took very little convincing on my part, and now our gift card system is up and running!
We’ll even wrap them and make them gift-giving ready for you.
Gift cards are available in any denomination for $5 to $500.
Gift certificates are valid for cooking classes, merchandise, and of course, food and beverages. Come on by and pick up some today!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our guests!
This Sunday, November 27th, we served up our third Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our previous Dim Sum Sundays, we just couldn’t wait to do it again. We offered a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only. Previously, we had done Dim Sum Sunday only once every quarter. Going forward, in 2012, we hope to offer it monthly.
If you have never heard of it, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full.
Mark your calendar for our next Dim Sum Sunday if you can make it, and come on by from 11-2 on Sunday,January 22, 2012. Better yet, call us if you can make it.
Tonight we catered a birthday party at one of the best places in our city to have a party… on the Southbank of the Riverwalk in downtown Jacksonville. I’m sure that this place sees many parties, but tonight, wishing our special guest a happy birthday in such a perfect setting made our food seem that much more amazing. This private residential building has views of Jacksonville from 38 stories up. You could probably even see Blue Bamboo from that location, but I was busy looking at all of the other scenes around the city.
The space is caterer’s dream, with a modern working kitchen. With such a wonderful kitchen, we were happy to prepare our Chile Noodle Salad, Veggie Fried Rice, Ginger-Garlic Marinated Chicken Wings, Spring Rolls, Lump Crab Rangoons, Sweet Chile Meatballs, Hoisin Lettuce Wraps, and Fresh-Steamed Shrimp Dumplings.
The evening was everything that I envision to be a perfect party. DJ, Bar, and lots of tasty food.
Some of you already know that my former career was a VIP tour guide for the Walt Disney World Resort. Along with that title came the responsibility of making sure that VIP guests had everything that they needed to enjoy their Walt Disney World experience. I met a lot of neat people through working the many special events that happen year-round for the Disney Company. Back in 1996 and 1997, I was one of the few lucky tour guides chosen to exclusively work the first few annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festivals.
Fast forward 15 years, and today, I took a day trip to this year’s International Food and Wine Festival. I had the pleasure of attending a forum with Huma Siddiqui, a self-taught cooking instructor who was born in Pakistan, moved to London for a few years, and now lives in Madison, Wisconsin. The one thing that resonates in my mind from her discussion was her explanation of why she cooks. It’s not a chore, or something she dreads. She simply does so to remind her family of her home, their family traditions, and her travels. I imagine that if she had her own restaurant, it would be just like Blue Bamboo. We call the kind of food that we make, “Hip Asian Comfort Food,” because through our food, we share our traditions and flavors so that our guests may experience our restaurant’s roots, great local fare, and inspirations from our travels.
After Huma’s session, I attended a Champagne seminar given by an exclusive Champagne house, and a demonstration by a pastry chef from Barbados named Noah French. In the latter, the chef shared his technique for a Caribbean Shortcake with a Coconut Haupia and a Passion fruit curd that was intriguing.
This “homecoming” was a fun day, and it was refreshing to see the festival’s evolution after all of these years. Look for some of the things I learned today to show up at Blue Bamboo soon.
My only experience with travel to Korea has been nothing more than a layover in Seoul on my way to Hong Kong. Although I could never call myself an expert on Korean cooking, I have had some incredible dining experiences that allow me confidently talk about this country’s wonderful food. In preparation for today’s cooking class, the Blue Bamboo staff and I went to several Korean restaurants in our area, just to make sure we had our authentic flavors down pat. Over a lifetime of visiting Korean restaurants and tasting Korean foods, I never felt a connection as strongly as I did when I was cooking the food that we made today.
sweet and savory marinated and grilled Shortribs called Kalbi
sesame-seaweed sushi called Kim Bap
pork and beef pan-fried dumplings called Mandu
A cocktail made with Soju and Seju, Korea’s answer to vodka
These foods are addictive, and we will be weaving some of them onto our menu in coming months. I’m sure that Korean flavors will be next big culinary thing! Well, at least for Blue Bamboo it will be.
Every year, we look forward to Caring Chefs, benefiting the local division of Children’s Home Society. It is our favorite food event, and we believe in the good that the organization does wholeheartedly. This year’s event was held on October 23rd, and we offered samplings of our Blue Bamboo Peanut-Lime Slaw, Veggie Spring Rolls, and Chile Noodle Salad, which is a recipe straight out of our cookbook- Hip Asian Comfort Food . It is our chance every year to re-connect with guests that we have not seen in a while, and to meet new guests. It also gives us the opportunity to connect with other restaurateurs in the community. The festive evening is the Children’s Home Society’s main fundraiser every year, and just as we expected, the attendance was amazing this year. Thanks to all who stopped by our booth to say hello!
This week, I was asked to give a cooking demonstration at my alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York. While up there, I worked in a couple of days of eating in New York City before and after my demonstration. I thought I would just share with you some of my food inspiration while up in New York.
My alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America has asked that I return to do a cooking demonstration on campus. It is a big honor, and I am excited to be up in the Hudson Valley again, even if it is for just a short time. I thought the best dish to demonstrate and represent our part of the country will be Blue Bamboo’s definitive signature dish, Red Curry Shrimp and Grits.
Since it is going to be such a faraway trip, I thought I would try to squeeze in some serious eating while up there. For the next few days, I will be in New York city trying new places and getting new ideas. My last trip up to New York a few years ago involved two days of eating in at least 15 places per day. Let’s see if I can match that this time. I will report back with some of the best things I see and eat as soon as I get back to Blue Bamboo.
October 15th, 2011-
About 80 people came for my presentation of Red Curry Shrimp and Grits at the CIA:
Here are a couple of pictures from the event and a video link:
For the record, Rocco Dispirito’s demonstration was before mine, so I guess that mades him my opening act???
This past week, one of our wine distributors put us to a big test. He said, “How about we put together a wine dinner for next Monday?” Being one not to turn down a challenge, I jumped at the chance. He invited both the French representative of the wineries and the US representative of those same wineries to be present at our festivities, and they accepted!
That day, we had the chance to entertain 18 new guests who had never been to Blue Bamboo. Many of them had heard of us, and never made it in to check us out before. It was a perfect opportunity for us to show off a little, and create some food that we normally don’t get to do.
We started the evening with an artichoke salad topped with some pink sea salt, served with a French muscadet.
The third course was a lean veal loin chop with shanghai choy and cucumber salad on a piece of chicken “toast” all paired with a glass of cabernet franc rose.
To complete the evening, we served a tropical fruit and berry soup with a quenelle of coconut custard and a classic Chinese almond cookie. A grand cru Champagne seemed to be the right pairing for this course.
All in all, it was a fun evening for us and our guests. We had the pleasure of meeting some new guests, and because they were such a fun group, we can’t wait to see them again. We also had the pleasure of sampling some incredible French wines and making some food that we simply forgot we had the skills to make.
We do these special dinners every so often. If you’d like to hear about them in advance, please sign up for our mailing list.
This Sunday, September 18th, we served up our second quarterly Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our last Dim Sum Sunday, we just couldn’t wait to do it again. We’ve had multiple dim sum cooking classes at Blue Bamboo, but we only serve it to our guests once a quarter. We offered a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only.
As I have mentioned before, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full. Customarily, the table will order a stir fry plate of noodles to finish off their brunch experience.
Mark your calendar for our next Dim Sum Sunday if you can make it, and come on by from 11-2 on Sunday, November 27th.Â Better yet, call us if you can make it.
A few months back, I went to Los Angeles on an 18-hour eating trip. One of the experiences that was on the top of my list was checking out the original Korean-Mexican taco truck that has changed the face of food finds all over the country.
The mastermind behind the Kogi Taco Truck is Roy Choi, a fellow Culinary Institute of America graduate and twitter idol. His 5 food trucks roam LA, find places to set up shop, and then they tweet about where they will be, and for how long. Their food is so good that the lines of people who wait for these Korean-Mexican goodies just goes on and on, no matter where in town they happen to be.
On a recent visit to a friend’s house for dinner, my friend and culinary school classmate made shortrib tacos… just like the ones that Mr. Choi started the great American food truck phenomenon with. This friend worked with Mr. Choi at an event where he shared his recipe for his famous shortrib tacos. Lucky guy.
Here’s how we put them together… We start with a little slaw made with some napa cabbage (the stuff they make Korean kimchi out of), add some marinated and grilled shortribs, a little spicy aoli, place it all on our grilled corn tortillas, and serve them with some dressed greens or fries.
Although we’d love to have you follow us on twitter or facebook also, you won’t have to do so just to try our tacos. Just come on in for lunch! We’re open from 11AM-2PM Monday-Friday.
In many kitchens, you’ll often hear the phrase, “save for stock,” when someone just doesn’t know what to do with extra scraps of still good trimmings. That simply means they are going to place the scraps into the kitchen’s stock pot to enhance their base stock’s flavor.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from R. Davis, asking us if we’d be willing to save scraps for some pigs that he is raising.
Personally, I couldn’t ask for a better partnership than one like this, and I love the fact that we are helping a farmer out.
Here’s what Mr. and Mrs. Davis have to say about our new partnership:
This weekend, we deep cleaned our bar, painted our dining room, scrubbed our kitchen floors, high-dusted our vents, and painted our patio accents.
We cleaned windows, ceiling tiles, scrubbed under machines, shampooed carpets and chair cushions, and steam cleaned candle holders.
We always want an atmosphere that is clean, and inviting. The staff worked extra hard this weekend, and just gave Blue Bamboo some extra lovin’.
We just do these little “extras” so that we can always feel good about welcoming our guests into Blue Bamboo.
The Blue Bamboo crew feels a renewed sense of camaraderie after each of our cleaning sessions.
Although it takes a lot of hard work to maintain an atmosphere like ours at Blue Bamboo, we’re excited to be able to present a clean restaurant when our guests visit.
All shelves, inside and outside of cabinets, coolers, and freezers were fair game.
And all of that hard work is why I say, it takes A LOT to be Blue Bamboo, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! We can’t wait to have our guests return and check us out!
Six years ago, Blue Bamboo opened its doors for business right here on Southside Boulevard. In those short six years that we have been open, we’ve developed some really great relationships in this community that we love.
Although the food that we prepare at Blue Bamboo is very casual, we stepped it up a bit to celebrate and to give thanks to our community. Here’s the play by play for our 6 course dinner paired with exquisite sakes from our collection:
Tuna Ceviche with Wakame Sushi, Ginger-Soy Foam, Pickled Ginger, and Wasabi Aoli.
Sake Miso Risotto, Fried Leeks and Leek Green Emulsion with Cornflake Katsu Chicken.
Duo of Osso Buco Spring Roll and Duck Spring Roll, Mustard Vinaigrette, and Canton Red Pepper Duck Sauce.
And to finish, we made a Filipino Banana-Peanut Cake with Caramelized Bananas, Rum Whipped Cream, and Nut Tuile.
It’s Independence day, and every year, we look forward to this day because it means the one-week countdown until our next anniversary begins. Let’s just say that the fireworks on July 4th get us excited about our upcoming anniversary on July 11th every year!
This year, to celebrate being open 6 years, we are serving up a 6 course tasting menu for a very special price on Monday, July 11th. (That’s our actual anniversary date.) As an additional benefit for celebrating with us, we are pouring our guests 6 tastes of exquisite sakes to pair with each course, on us! Call it an American Omakase if you like, but this event is going to be pretty neat. We’ll take reservations for the time of your choice anytime between 5 and 9PM.
Our anniversary tasting is our one-time chance every year to “show off,” and create courses that we simply cannot do during regular business hours. We push our own boundaries every tasting to create flavorful dishes that delight and renew our guests’ faith in our ability to WOW them.
Space is limited for this event, and we are taking phone reservations only, so call us soon at 904.646.1478 if we can save your seat! You won’t want to miss us on the evening of July 11th.
For a few years now, I’ve loved listening to the music of The Shanghai Restoration Project in my car, at home, and on my personal headphones. The music is best described as retro-jazzy but contemporary, and super chill with a touch of Chinese tradition. What you hear in these tracks is classic Chinese instruments with modern hip-hop and electronic beats.
I recently made contact with Dave Liang, the incredibly creative producer and founder of The Shanghai Restoration Project, and I asked him if he’d be OK with us playing his music at Blue Bamboo. He replied positively, and so we began playing his music exclusively in our dining room. Personally, I can’t wait. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice a great comparison between the music and the food that we serve atÂ Blue Bamboo. Both are contemporary interpretations with elements of comfort classics.
If you want a preview, check out the offical website at www.shanghairestorationproject.com. Or better yet, come on in to Blue Bamboo, and take a listen!
To add the music to your personal playlist, look up The Shanghai Restoration Project on Itunes, and Amazon.com, where the works are available for downloading.
This past weekend, we had our first Dim Sum Sunday. Until that event, I thought I might be the only person who had been starving for dim sum here in Jacksonville. Many of Jacksonville’s well traveled and dumpling-starved came in to feast on our “Asian Tapas” selections.
Thanks to our regular guests, a few head swelling compliments, and a landlord who wants us to do this more often, we’ve decided to make Dim Sum Sundays a quarterly event. Look for the next Dim Sum Sunday to be on September 18th, 2011.
I love Latin food. The flavors and ingredients are similar to the Asian food that I grew up on, but with different preparation methods. Naturally, the two pair well because of those similarities. Over the years, we’ve dabbled with Chino-Latino flavors. Both on our menu and in our cooking classes.
During the last three days, I took a quick trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. While there, I experienced Chino-Latino cooking at its finest. My grandfather was the master of Chinese proverbs, and he once shared this one with me: reading about something for 20 years could never measure up to experiencing a culture for one day. This trip proved his proverb to be true.
Here’s what I learned, from masters of Chino-Latin cooking… Soft plantains, or amarillos, make a perfect slightly sweet stuffing for dumplings when paired with pork. A short-cut way of making Mofongo, or mashed root veggies, can be had by using a food processor. Mojitos, can be enhanced with Asian or tropical fruits, such as pineapples, guavas, and lychees. Tembleque, a coconut pudding, is made just like a Chinese mango pudding, but topped with cinnamon. Pegaito is a Puerto Rican dish made the same way that my grandmother used to make a crispy rice snack.
Look for this new knowledge to work its way into our offerings at Blue Bamboo soon!
On Sunday, June 5th, we are going to serve our first Dim Sum Sunday ever from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum. We’ve had multiple dim sum cooking classes at Blue Bamboo, but we’ve never served it to our guests. So here it is. We’ll offer a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for one day only. We’ve had many guests ask us where they can go to enjoy Dim Sum, and for a one-time special event, that place will be Blue Bamboo.
Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business over brunch. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets. It’s traditional to consume your dim sum dumplings with a good pot of tea. Â Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full. Customarily, the table will order noodles to finish off their brunch experience.
So mark your calendar, or stop by from 11-2 on Sunday, June 5th. Better yet, call us if you can make it. We’ll save a table for you.
Often people ask how long we’ve been in business. Our menu is delightfully delicious as we serve Hip Asian Comfort food where we married bold Asian flavors with traditional Southern dishes. Well, we’re coming up on our 6th anniversary in 2 months, and there have been many memories and we are very grateful for all our wonderful customers. During this time, we’ve written a cookbook, held countless cooking classes, hosted business dinners, celebrated bar/bat mitzvahs, christenings, births, weddings, and even deaths. We have established some really close relationships, and we have gained fabulous loyal supporters.
My own boredom keeps us changing things here at the restaurant. We keep our guests favorites on the menu such as Red Curry Shrimp and Grits, and add some new menu items every month such as Joe’s Filet with Shitake Bacon in a Burbon Cream Sauce.
We constantly refresh the dining room so that our restaurant always looks warm and inviting. As I start this blog adventure, My hope is that our guests will get to know us as well as our best friends do.
About the Blog
Chef Dennis Chan is the creator of Blue Bamboo, a great restaurant. He writes this blog as an outlet for his food ideas and to keep fans of Blue Bamboo, Hip Asian Comfort Food and his cooking classes up-to-date.
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