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Old-world style blush wine in Oregon and Thai food wizardry brought to a University of Texas tailgate.

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Transcript

- Hey, I'm Jax and welcome to The Grill Iron. We're heading to the best college football tailgates across the country and drafting amazing local chefs to step into our Tastemade kitchen at the Hyundai field house and redefine the art of tailgating. While the teams fight it out on the gridiron, our chefs turn up the heat on The Grill Iron. Off the misty shores of the Pacific Ocean a very special place brimming with the most magnificent and delicious ingredients our country has to offer. And that place is Oregon. Fall in the Pacific northwest brings a bounty of greatness to eat. And the Ducks bring the feast each and every Saturday. As the leaves change to rich reds and vibrant oranges, Duck fans flood Eugene with yellow and green. A stately pride declares that a game is afoot and a feast is imminent. Behind the grill this week is a chef who's proudly taken the reins of a restaurant that was a pioneer in putting Oregon's glorious wine country on the world map. - Hi, my name's Eric Ferguson and I'm the Chef at Nick's Italian Cafe in McMinnville, Oregon. Nick's Italian Cafe has been an institution in Oregon wine country since day one. It's been embraced so well over the last 38 years. From the first minute I walked in, it was all about, the history and about the love and passion for this area. Nick started this with the food from his family and from what he knew from northern Italy using local producers, local farms, local vegetables for everything before anyone knew that's exactly what you had to do. On the plate, you really feel like you're in Italy like all the ingredients just came from the Pacific northwest. So you have that feel of locality. And that's what Italian cuisine is. It's cooking from where it's from. Time's were changing, so we changed the menu, made it a little bit more comfortable, made it a little bit more casual so that people felt like they could always be here with us. And we added a wood oven pizza, it was a game changer. Napoletana style pizzas coming out of the oven so hot, so fresh, so good. When you come into Nick's, this is Nick's. This is the Nick's from 1977. Every single day, we make the bread and every single day we make the pasta and everything starts with these. You're gonna feel it, you're gonna smell it, you're gonna taste it, this is still home. Ducks games are electric. It's being with friends, being with family, it's being at the game, it's feeling that energy of what's going on and it's all about the food. When I step into the Grill Iron, we're gonna go local meets the grill. You're never gonna see anything like this. This is Oregon in its glory. - These endlessly rippling hills of pristine Oregon grapes are the unsung heroes of American wine. Here every drop is meticulously tended to. Atop a winding hill on the highest peak in sight is Soter Vineyards, a splendid place, that preserves and honors wine making's most cherish rituals. I love the spirit of this place. You feel it as soon as you step on the property. - This location, this place, they really do it right. They do the old world technique. They do everything with an exact purpose and I'm gonna show you a really special process that's gonna make the magic happen. The incredible thing about Soter is that they do something that very few other people do, bubbles. So these are the Pinot Noir grapes that they go into the Soter bubbles. - They're so incredibly sweet. It's like one of those moments when you eat a grape that's destined to be something beautiful and crisp and bubbly. Oh wow, this place is magnificent. This family of vineyards keeps ancient customs out of duty, out of romance. I've seen a lot of wine made, I've never seen this much precision, it's like a science lab in front of us. - It's a very complex process that takes a lot of effort, a lot more expense and time. Nothing better than sparkling wine. It's like under a microscope in terms of its intensity. - Soter's signature Brut Rose is a careful blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Look at that, it's so beautiful. - Now to add the bubbles, we have to add some biology. To this base, we're going to add some sugar. Now the sugar is really just an opportunity for the yeast to have something to eat, right? So here's our little biology experiment. We've hydrated some yeast. These guys are kind of superstar selected yeasts that are really good at fermenting under duress. These yeast that I have just added to the bottle are going to consume the sugar that we added. We will now cap this bottle and trap all of the byproducts of the yeast in the bottle. So it's going to get really bubbly. The yeast slowly evolve the flavors and create layers of complexity. So over three years letting nature run its course and they give us something really rare and extraordinary. - Where the industrial process can produce sparkling wine in seconds, Soter's way takes three years and ends in a tradition that's been all but extinct. - I've been trying to see this, asking and begging for years. - I'm walking across a drawbridge in the attic of a barn right now. - This is amazing. - Everything you dreamed of? - Everything. - This is where we do the riddling. Riddling is the process of taking the yeast deposit from the belly of the bottle all the way to the neck. Agitating it ever so slightly without disturbing the yeast. All 6,000 bottles are touched every day for four to six weeks. - [Jax] Meet Aquiles, Soter's master riddler who puts the hand in handcrafting. - This is what you get when you come to Soter, it's all about the passion, it's about doing what they wanna do, the way they love to do it. - There is something special and magic about the traditional ways and we try to emulate those so we can discover that uniqueness. - After three years of patience and months of daily care only one final step. Woo, oh wow, that's the beautiful bubbles we were looking for. Wow. - That's perfect. - He's so happy, I love it. When you do it a long, arduous beautiful way, you can taste it. - The cool thing about wine is that it always is a time machine. It takes you back in a moment when there's a season captured in a glass. Chef, here it is, the Brut Rose, ready for tailgating. - Yes. - It's on, we're doing it. - Yes. Game day just got delicious. Cheers to you guys. - Cheers. - Coming up, our beautiful Rose takes a trip to the tailgate as we make an amazing coastal-inspired feast. We have ducks up there, we have ducks there, we have ducks there, but perhaps my personal favorite is the duck right there. - We've got a little bit of local duck from here in Oregon, local organic stuff, coming from a local farm right outside of McMinnville. This stuff is amazing and I'm gonna do something to it today that you've never seen before. - Oh really? - I think so. Here we've got a cast-iron pan, inside sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves - Keep going. - Nutmeg, coriander. We've got all these amazing spices and we're gonna put it in the fire. - This is the fanciest tailgate meal our tailgaters will have ever consumed myself included. Oh my god, I smell the anise, I smell the sugar. I smell the caramelization on the duck. I have never smelled anything like this in my life, it is phenomenal. - Sugar-smoked duck breast, throw it on the grill. - Oh man, look at the color on those, they are literally sweating juice. - Sugar-smoked duck breast at the Ducks game finished on the grill. - I am in awe of this duck. From the plate to my mouth, I like the juices. I don't know how it's gonna get better than that. - We got a little pancetta affumicata as my friends in Italy would say, right? - Thickly cut, pre-smoked, fatty, marbly, bacon. - We got a little Carlton Farms bacon right here in Oregon about five miles away from where we're at. We're gonna grill this up until it get just a little bit crispy but we still want all that good chew and all that good baconness. - This is my happy place right now. It is salty, smoky, oak berrily and gonna be gone real fast, oh my god. It has the best crunch out of any bacon I could have ever eaten. - Oh, but there's more. - Of course. - Three, two, one. And that is how we get down. - That has never been done at a tailgate I can assure you. - So here we have shallots, fresh cracked black pepper, sea salt. We're gonna add some of the beautiful Soter Brut Rose. We're gonna mix it with a little olive oil for a tasty vinegarette. So we're gonna cut up our bacon here and we're gonna go ahead and do some nice thin slices of our sugar-smoked duck breast. We got a little local frisee, nice bitter green to accent all the fatty goodness that we have going on in this bowl. Oregon hazelnuts we're gonna throw in there. - [Jax] I love hazelnuts. - Nice little crunch, a nice little nuttiness with that. We're gonna take our vinegarette, we're gonna throw that in there. You know what I think will go the best with bubbles and this salad? Grilled oysters. - Oh! - We've got fresh out of the water Netart Bay oysters. - Look at how huge they are. - First of all, I just wanna thank you guys, this is awesome. I am so excited to be here right now. We've got grilled oysters, we have sugar-smoked duck breast, thick, fat huge grilled bacon over frisee a little salad. Made the dressing out of Soter Brut Rose. And we've got a special treat. - We drove two hours with a wood-burning pizza oven to feed all you hungry fantastical fans. The best thing is it cooks you pizza in one minute. That is pizza, these are some lucky ducks. I love when people get that excited for food. - Go ahead, enjoy. - What's it like to be able to cook for all these people with the stadium right over your shoulder? - This is awesome, I'm having so much fun right now you can't even stand it right. - Up next, we're heading to Austin home of the University of Texas Longhorns where local chef Alexis Chong is giving us a unique look at the city and showing us a cutting edge aquaponics farm. Look at that, it is beautiful. Forget Friday Night Lights, in Austin, Saturdays are the holy days. In the land of the Longhorn, you throw up these and go down with something meaty on the grill. The only thing that rivals the state pride here is the absolute devotion to your team. Hook 'em horns echos all around the stadium. Baseball cap or 10-gallon hat, football is not just a sport it's a lifestyle. Yes, Texas, oh my god, yes. And what a tasty way to live, because when it comes to game day grub don't mess with Texas. - Three racks of baby back. - Oh my god, everybody is just a representation of the gloriousness of this state. Bigger is better in these parts, especially when it comes to flavor. And stepping into our kitchen today is a chef who is ready to spice up tailgate time. In a city and state that's known for all things big and beefy a young chef is drawing crowds with her delicate mastery of Thai cuisine. - Hi, my name is Alexis Chong, Executive Chef here at Sway in Austin, Texas. We definitely are trying to invoke a sense of harmony in your mouth while you're tasting all of the bold flavors. We're trying to make people experience things outside of their comfort level and make it their new favorite place to go. - And this exotic taste goes way beyond the plate. Much like the menu, the decor is a glowing shrine. It's a ray of southeast Asian influences. And within those beautifully appointed walls each delicious bite bursts with freshness and color. With ingredients that could easily overwhelm there's a unique sophistication and restraint and your taste buds quickly tell you. This is an absolutely modern take on something you thought you knew. It's perfection, you are a spice wizard chef. You might think you've had Thai food, you've been doing it wrong, trust me. Austin is definitely a farm-to-table town. But what chef had in store is no ordinary farm. When it comes to urban agriculture, this is the new and necessary landscape. - We're not a conventional farm by any means. But we've got some containers full of fish. - Fish? - Wanna go say hi? - I'm intrigued, let's go find out more. So what is aquaponics? - So aquaponics is where you combine aquaculture, which is raising fish with hydroponics, which is raising vegetables in water. It's kind of an ancient concept, but it's got a new technology to it. So this is kind of the hub of the whole operation here at Agua Dulce. We have native Bluegill, it's a Texas native fish. This is what makes it all happen. These guys are fertilizing the water. So we call it sweet water, Agua Dulce. The fish are feeding the plants. There's a bacteria that converts their waste into plant food. - And then eventually we also eat the fish. - We eat the fish, so it's creating an environment that is very sustainable because it's using about 90% less water than a normal farm would. This is adaptive agriculture. - Born out of necessity. - We can fit this entire operation on half an acre and it produces about 10,000 head of vegetables a month. So this is the other half of aquaponics. - Aww, look at the little babies. - We just planted these, they've been here about a week. This is our soil-less, water-efficient growing of plants. - It's growing in a little sponge. It looks like dirt, but it's not. - [Jack] They start off as these little babies, put a seed in there and they grow up. We put them into our growing bed and they get bigger and then they finally reach this large size over here. - And it stays in that pretty much the whole way through? - Stays in there its whole life and then it's roots will grow down into the water and absorb all the nutrients. - So there's water under all these pots? - There is. You can see the roots just dip right down. - Oh my god. - And they absorb all of that nutrient rich water from the fish. - Look at that, it is beautiful. It's like beautiful braid, it's like a twist of roots. They're so strong. - So the water comes out of the fish tanks goes through a filter so we get rid of the solid materials and bacteria convert everything over into plant food. And everything flows down to the end of the line and gets pumped back to the fish tanks. - Which is why this is so drought friendly. - The main reason why we are here is for this man's lovely shiso. - It's so huge and beautifully green. Oh, I know why you're using shiso in your dish that smells amazing. - Part of the reason that we love Jack and what he's doing over here is the fact that when the plants arrive to the restaurant they are freshly plucked from their existence here. - Gets your cheffy stamp of approval? - It sure does, freshest shiso you've had since you were in Japan. - Yeah, I'd say so. So it shows up to the restaurant like this? - Correct. - We're taking this beautiful three foot tall shiso tree to a tailgate. Nobody's done that. - Only in Texas. - Only in Texas. This is gonna be a flavorful Saturday. - It's gonna be great. - [Jax] Next up, we're bringing our special Thai ingredients to a good ole Texas tailgate. - Texas fight! - It's Texas, it is game day. Everybody's gonna be cooking beef but we're bringing something different. We're gonna surprise 'em with some Thai flavor and with this guy right here. - So this is our Texas redfish. This guy came to the restaurant yesterday. You can tell that he's super fresh. His eyes are nice and clear. - He looks happy? - Strong lookin'. - He looks like he wants to be eaten stat. - Ready to go on that grill? - Yes. - We're gonna cut him into filets, chop him up, and add the flavor. Look at that, perfectly minced, almost looks like ground chicken. So chef has this glorious cornucopia of Thai flavors that we're gonna build into the fish. - Our ginger, Thai chilies, Chinese long beans. - So this is the aptly named Thai long bean. It's like a foot and a half, it's green and it's fresh, it's delicious. This is our damn near perfect shiso from Agua Dulce. It is, I mean, I wish you could smell it, it's just ah. Here is the shiso chiffonade and chiffonade means ribbon. They are the coarsest ingredient that's going into the fish so you can really taste all of that flavor. Now we gotta get that onto this and how do we do that? - Delicately, just kinda form it around that skewer. - You can see every single one of our ingredients. They're all vibrant, they're all alive and you're gonna taste all of them when they come off the grill. Oh man, you can smell all those Asian flavors. Look at all that beautiful Texas redfish. We spiced it to perfection, we grilled it to perfection. - So now we're take our tapenade plas skewers and dress them up with a little bit of salad. - Give 'em something to rest on. - This is our Thai basil and cilantro. To that we will add some green onions, pickled Fresno chilies and our dressing. The dressing is a secret family recipe. - Mm, that is so good, so great, crisp, that dressing your family did good. What do I have to do to get the secret. - Just come spend Thanksgiving with us. - I can do that, just got invited, woo. - The final touches are Thai basil aioli. It's gonna add a bit of flavor, fat, tie everything together break up that acid, bring that charred fish. Here's our finished tapenade plas. - Wow, I just love how you take a traditional Thai dish and you've really infused it with a taste of Texas. Well done. - Thank you so much. - Cheers. - Cheers. - All right, who's hungry? You're doing some of the craziest flavors that have ever passed through my lips. Just so much wonderful spice that all comes together beautifully. - [Group] T-T-T-E-X-X-S-A-S, T-E-X-A-S, Texas fight.

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