FOX’s long-gestating Animation Domination HD block will launch on July 27 with the comedies “Axe Cop” and “High School USA!,” but FOX began the promotional rollout for the late-night block this past week with a series of high profile dinners at the ADHD offices.
The dinners were run by Los Angeles chef Craig Thornton’s Wolvemouth. You can read all about Thornton and Wolvesden in this rather exhaustive New Yorker profile. To appreciate the challenge Thornton and his culinary cast faced at the ADHD office, you have to know that while the ADHD offices include room after room of brand, spanking new computers that represent the epicenter and totality of the animation operations, they don’t include any kind of true kitchen space.
ADHD moved into its Sunset Blvd digs earlier this spring after extensive renovations to a space that can feature as many as 110 workers. Each upcoming show has its own computer space, while a high-ceilinged library features both coffee table-style art books and vintage early addition Hardy Boys mysteries. Previous in-house dining endeavors in the ADHD offices seem to have been limited by the power of two microwaves, but Thornton’s team came equipped with a small deep-frier and toaster ovens and they were able to produce a seven-course meal that I assure you that I could never produce with all the deep-friers and to toaster ovens in the world.
Calling it “a weird partnership that you wouldn’t expect,” Thornton explained that he knew ADHD head Nick Weidenfeld from multiple Wolvesden meals and relished the opportunity to create a dinner that embodied the spirit of the yet-to-premiere ADHD, while also playing off the limitations to the kitchen space.
The non-edible highlight of the evening was a screening of the first installment of “Axe Cop,” which Widenfeld boasted “never left the building” in its production process. If you know the conceit behind “Axe Cop” — it comes from the mind of six-year-old Malachai Nicolle and adheres to exactly the loopy internal logic that implies — you’re likely to be amused by the animated result, which features a fine lead voice performance by a certain “Parks and Recreation” star who will go uncredited for confusing contractual reasons.
I’ll have more on “Axe Cop” and ADHD when we get a little closer to premiere, but for now, I thought I’d use this blog as an Instagram page to post some iPhone photos of the Wolvesmouth meal, along with complete descriptions of the myriad ingredients and preparations. [These pictures are from last Wednesday night’s dinner, which was followed by five subsequent dinners…]
Cocktail (above): The Bee’s Knees – Scotch, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and honey, all “agitated” (to form the froth) with a couple dashes of bitters.
Course 1 (above): That’s a ribeye cap on top of hen-of-the-wood mushrooms, on top of a pea puree, with a layer of rhubarb puree. Those are two types of cherries, Ranier and Bing, with cheddar fritters. Thornton likes to do bold artistic presentations, obviously, and he likes for the protein to just compliment the other elements. In this case, the three layers of sauces and the delicious fritters.
Course 2 (above): Thornton described this as the soup version of sour cream and onion potato chips and… Wouldn’t you know it? Sour cream and onion potato chips, only with fresh cream and fresh, spring-y onions. Mmmm.
Course 3 (above): That’s halibut with two slices of beets on top. That’s a fried squash blossom to the left and the sauce is a poblano sauce. Under the fish was the most delicious corn salad, fresh corn, with pureed corn as a base, positively exploding with corn. “Positively exploding,” but not “literally exploding,” because that would be dangerous. The color bursts are two dashes of cabbage juice.
[Four more courses on Page 2…]
Course 4 (above): Lots of little elements. Those are maza sopes, balls of corn flour, onion and garlic, perfect for eating with the chipotle and cilantro causes. You also have a grilled scallion, moist and perfectly seasoned rabbit meatballs and cherries, again, as well as avocado and pungent rat-tail radishes. So many elements and it works completely as both a visual and compositional plate, but also as an assortment of yummy flavors.
Course 5 (above): Obligatory pork belly, as custardy and perfectly caramelized as I’ve ever eaten, on mint and lime aioli, with a snap pea remoulade, fresh Dungeness crab and grilled zucchini and squash, plus a grilled tostone (plantains).
Course 6 (above): First dessert course. Let’s see… There’s a parfait I can’t instantly ID, there’s a steamed olive oil pound cake, there’s pressed pineapple, pineapple sorbet and then there are bits of fresh ginger snaps.
Course 7 (above): What you see are the fresh berries, the strawberry meringue singles and what Thornton called “a strawberry crunch thing.” Under that disc, you have vanilla and buttermilk panna cotta and then there are little bits of pistachio cake.
And that’s it for this foray into food writing.