Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Island Escapes Best of Flavor 2017

Captain Barbosa and Whole Fried Tai Snapper

JT Walker

At the newly opened Pacific Hideaway in the Huntington Beach Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel, Executive Chef JT Walker pulls flavors from Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Latin and South America. His Tai Snapper is one such menu item that embraces this modern-global appeal.

Crispy pieces of snapper are plated with a bevy of accompaniments—green mango-papaya salad, seasoned rice, fresh herbs, sauces—all for the guest to tuck into lettuce cups. It’s interactive, customizable and seafood-centric—three wins in today’s marketplace. “The guest is given complete control of how they want to enjoy this dish,” says Walker.

“They can make it spicy with our house kimchi and special hot sauce, or take it to the sweeter side with Thai basil, seasoned rice, and green mango-papaya salad. You get sweet and savory flavors from the assorted sauces, and a sense of freshness from the herbs and lettuce cups.” The shareability of this dish naturally brings dining parties together, helping Walker foster a neighborhood atmosphere for the concept.

Casey Lyons

Lead Bartender Casey Lyons oversees the bar program, keeping within Pacific Hideaway’s exotic flavor theme. One of the cocktails he is most excited about is the Captain Barbosa, a hickory-smoked rum drink with ancho chile and a hint of cinnamon syrup.

“It’s a show cocktail—from the flavor to the glassware, followed by the showmanship and garnish,” says Lyons. “It’s savory, sweet with a hint of spice. We use cream sherry, aged rum, ancho chile liqueur, a dash of cinnamon syrup—stirred—then smoked with hickory chips and slowly poured over one giant pineapple ice cube. The cream sherry is dry and sweet with an incredible, soft mouthfeel. Enhanced with Ron Zacapa 23-year aged rum, it brings notes of butterscotch, oak and raisins to the palate. Together, this cocktail is aimed to be a ‘Swashbuckling Stir,’ perfect for a pirate and palatable for a patron.”

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