Polly’s Paladar brings food from the north to Nevada City with ‘Oh Canada’ | TheUnion.com

Polly’s Paladar brings food from the north to Nevada City with ‘Oh Canada’

Laura Petersen
Special to The Union

Nearly four years after his first cooking gig at a Nevada City private supper club, Canadian Chef Rob Brown of Num-Ti-Jah Lodge returns with the first dinner of the New Year, "Oh Canada."

Featuring cuisine true to the great north, Brown brings his passion for place-based food, community and the outdoors to four dinner seatings at Polly's Paladar Jan. 19-20, a special event benefiting Bear Yuba Land Trust.

"All the wonderful people I have met over the years keep me coming back. It really recharges my batteries to spend time in them hills," said Brown who will bring his trusty Sous Chef Adam Coates.

"I love being part of the Paladar. Cooking and serving dinner in such an interesting and intimate space, is very rare these days. It is truly magic with a little alchemy, and a sprinkling of science," said Brown.

February marks the sixth anniversary of Polly's Paladar, a place that has become an incubator for chefs to realize visions and an institution where foodies can try new cuisines.

Every month brings a new theme and new chef to Megan Hart's transformed living room filled with art and music where guests share a unique meal experience found nowhere else.

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The chef

Brown spent his childhood in the mountains outside of Calgary where he developed a love of nature. An honors graduate with a Red Seal Certificate from the Professional Cooking Program at the Southern Alberta School of Technology, Brown first came to Polly's Paladar in 2013, while cooking with renowned chef Dany Lamote of Todos Santos, Mexico.

He met Lamote while working at Canadian Rocky Mountain resorts in Banff National Park. Brown's culinary journey led him to Lake O'Hara Lodge in Yoho National Park, and Calgary's Ox and Angela and eventually Blink Restaurant and Bar where he worked under Chef Chris Dewling.

Today he is the head chef at Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, a beautiful log and stone hotel on the shore of Bow Lake in Banff.

Dedicated to going local whenever possible, Brown is challenged by the lodge's remote location. He regularly features game on the menu and sometimes the hunt for local produce will take him 250 miles away to British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.

The meal

Diners looking for a true taste of the north won't be disappointed during the multi-course dinner at Polly's Paladar.

Inspired by British Columbia and Nova Scotia comes buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon, whipped chevre, chive and roe followed by the Halifax Style Donair Pita and marinated mussels and potato bread with local inspired chutney and herb pistou.

"Prince Edward Island is known far and wide for their awesome mussels and potatoes. We thought it would be a fun way to bring those tastes together," said Brown.

The original dish from Quebec is the Pork Tourtiere or pork meat pie with house made ketchup, green onion and salad. Pierogi with Seared Cabbage and Kielbasa hails from the European-settled locales of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Also on the menu are a carrot sorbet influenced by Ontario and a main course of strip steak with fanciful potatoes inspired by the mighty outback of Alberta. Finishing it off is a maple bacon doughnut with cream cheese frosting shaped like a beaver tail.

"They are fast becoming the Canadian Churro in my opinion. The dark maple syrup and jazzed up frosting should make these ones deadly," said Brown.

Giving back

Polly's Paladar was born in February 2012 with a grand opening with Chef Ariana Goldschnieder. Along the way Founder Megan Hart has learned many things — the art of hard work and the innovativeness that comes from few models to draw from. She says the six year project has been hugely transformative.

"I have to trust in my own decisions and creative impulses more than I had ever imagined. I also have learned that our community is open hearted, adventurous, and generous," said Hart.

In the year ahead, Hart has a number of exciting things on tap including a local chef competition called the "Great Paladar Cook-off" in May and a full calendar of dinners showcasing the likes of international star Sean Sherman "The Sioux Chef," the Hillside Supper Club chefs from San Francisco, Colombia-born Rene Medina and collaborations with Bread and Bones and Ryoji Kajikawa of San Francisco tapas bar and restaurant Rintaro.

"Oh Canada" is a benefit for a local nonprofit, a partnership that fits neatly with the supper club's core mission and Megan Hart's wish to give back. Past contributions have included South Yuba River Citizens League, Yuba Watershed Institute, Sierra Harvest, Utah's Place and Standing Rock.

This month's dinner supports Bear Yuba Land Trust, a membership-supported group promoting voluntary conservation of natural, historical, and agricultural resources in the Bear and Yuba River watersheds of the Sierra Nevada. To date, Bear Yuba Land Trust has permanently protected more than 13,000 acres of forests and meadows, farms and ranches and riparian areas.

"What feels especially wonderful is knowing that I am contributing to my community in a way that I have never been able to do before. I have very little time to volunteer and, to be honest I have never been in a place financially where I could donate personally to organizations I believe in. This way, I can fulfill that dream," said Hart.

"Oh Canada" features the music of Fast Rattler with Brendan Phillips (son of the late Utah Phillips) vocals, guitar and banjo and Cedar Hennings on upright bass (Belfry Boys). Original art is by Heather DeViveiros.

Tickets are available at https://www.exploretock.com/pollyspaladar/.

Learn more at http://www.pollyspaladar.com/.

Contact BYLT's Community Engagement Manager Laura Petersen at laura@bylt.org or 272-5994 x 211.

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