Caviar & Gummy Bears
What does kitchen prep look like at a two Michelin star restaurant? Sorting 12 different varieties of gummy bear flavors by their color of course! Chef Bin came up with this crazy dish a while back using the last truffle from the last shipment of the season. Instead of having it go bad, he decided to preserve it. From there he had the wild idea to infuse it into soft serve ice cream. Of course, you can’t have ice cream without toppings so he started on his sundae bar. Crispy potatoes, shiro dashi whipped cream, yes…shiro dashi whipped cream…black olive sable cookies, buttermilk whey caramel, rainbow sprinkles and of course, gummy bears. Sorted and organized into a mini rainbow and then served alongside the truffle soft serve ice cream and white sturgeon caviar this dish knocks it out of the park! The funny part of the story is that in his pursuit of the perfect gummy bear; Chef Bin ordered a variety through Amazon.com. When Chef Aaron saw the charges, he almost cancelled the credit card as he thought someone had hold of the account and was ordering a bounty of candy!
Chef Scott Muns
Meet Chef Scott; Triathlete, Chef, Renaissance man, to flag a few highlights. Scott was the Head Chef at Pineapple and Pearls from December 2016 to February 2019 before taking on the role of Research, Development & Education Director for Rose's Restaurant Group. He also helped Aaron open Rose’s Luxury in 2013. When Rose’s was just an idea, Aaron called Scott, as they were old friends who had worked together at 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia approximately eight years earlier. In fact, it was the first cooking job for them both! Scott had planned to help launch Rose’s for just the first six months but ended up staying through the first year. He followed with a return to Volt in Frederick, MD where he earned three stars from the Washington Post. When Pineapple and Pearls was getting ready to open, Aaron called Chef Scott again to come run the kitchen. Fortunately for us, Scott accepted and has been doing so at Pineapple and Pearls ever since. He is responsible for many of our guests’ favorite “signature” dishes …think Fennel Bonbon, Fluke Veronique and Tete de Moines with hazelnut praline!
Stage to Sommelier
Meet Andrew Rutledge - a man who loves to cook Bolognese, nosh on Sunday morning dim sum and who has an insatiable passion for wine & service. He started at Pineapple and Pearls two years ago as a stage in our kitchen. He then spent the next two years working his way through different parts of the restaurant trying to learn as much as he could along the way. From Prep Cook to Kitchen Runner to Front Server to Captain to Wine Steward and now our Manager/Sommelier - all in less than 24 months. We could not be more proud of his growth and dedication. There is no doubt that he has helped to make Pineapple and Pearls what it is today. When he started, he thought he was lucky to work with us, but the truth is we are lucky ones.
We were honored this year to be named the first and only restaurant in Washington DC to join AAA’s list of Five Diamond restaurants. In 2018 there were 68 restaurants total that received Five Diamonds from AAA — roughly 0.2 percent of the more than 31,000 AAA inspected and approved restaurants. While our goal has never been to achieve recognition but rather to create the most enjoyable fine dining restaurant we possibly can, this was undoubtedly a huge accomplishment for us. In such a short period of time this is nothing short of miraculous and represents the hard work, care, thoughtfulness and pure blood, sweat and tears that our staff has put into this restaurant over the last two years.
Happy mistakes are the best mistakes. Who would have thought the cherry wood side panels of our Slayer espresso machine would warp in the DC climate? It's not like it’s humid or anything….As luck would have it, indeed they warped. The Slayer co. kindly replaced them with gold panels (which are amazing!). Their company is based in Seattle so we had to install them ourselves but Michelle Tran our opening barista and all around general bad*ss managed to make it happen on her own. Not only did she install them, she took the video too.
SMOKED STURGEON AND OBSESSIVE PERSONALITIES
This is what you get when you mix smoked sturgeon, onion consommé and obsessive personalities. This dish was on one of our earliest menus. It was ever so painfully (and lovingly) crafted by our very own Chef Jonny Black, also known as "JB". Sadly he has left us for the west coast and now runs the show for The Crenn Dining Group in San Francisco. To answer your question, “what are those squares?” They are perfectly squared dice of alternating green apple, white leek, green leek and golden beet. And yes, every plate that went out of the kitchen looked like this (45 degree angle chives and all)!
Feast, as it is affectionately known at Pineapple and Pearls is the bi-monthly tradition of rotating Front of House (FOH) and Back of House (BOH) team members cooking up a late night post shift meal for the entire team. Typically on a Friday night at the end of the week and always themed, this is our highlight of the week! Past Feasts include: Madison's po’boys made with 70lbs. of sausage she checked in her luggage when flying back from New Orleans after a weekend visit. Luckily, TSA didn't hold her for questioning! Andrew Hori's 90's Asian style salmon and steamed broccoli. Brian Jacob’s hot dogs and fried candy bars. Andrew Limberg's multiple Goodfellas feasts…(Baked ziti, Lasagna, Manicotti, Stuffed Shells) as evidenced in the picture above. And how could we forget Matt Ramsey's PornBurger night? That's trademarked btw. Anyways, you name it, we eat it at feast!
When designing the kitchen at Pineapple and Pearls, we knew we wanted to build something that was enjoyable and visually appealing to work in every day. One of the things we did to make it a more enjoyable environment, aside from adding a beautifully hand built French stove (that story is for another day) was to put really beautiful tiles in. So that is what you see above. A breath of "fresh air", our green and white "Starburst" Swedish tiles. We didn't know if they would last one week or one decade so it was quite a risk but two years in and they are looking great!