We recently served a dinner at the new Pritzlaff Conservation Center, part of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. The facility in named in honor of John Pritzlaff. John had a storied life as a businessman and congressman. I was honored to have him as an investor and advisor for my restaurant Michael's Waterside (1984-1993).
From the Botanic garden web page:
"Our new 11,500 square foot building designed by architect Doug Singletary houses Conservation and Research, and our administrative staff. It offers...
- 160% increase in herbarium space (1,750 ft²)
- our first molecular (440 ft²) and multipurpose (650 ft²) research labs
- art exhibition/event rental space (750 ft²)
- 8 offices & 16 cubicles (2,700 ft²)
- classroom (560 ft²)
- kitchen & breakroom
- public restrooms
In addition, over 75% of the site is protected and restored - doubling the open space requirements for LEED® Certification - to form our new Island View Garden."
The concept of the dinner was Thanksgiving but not traditional Thanksgiving. I used the flavors of the holiday with a twist. My famed Fondant Potato was filled with port-poached cranberries. The stuffing was house-made brioche with leeks, mushrooms and sage. Duck breast was cooked "sous vide"style with a demi glace prepared from duck stock. Dessert was a crême brulée with pumpkin pie flavors. Married with perfect weather, stunning sunset and a spectacular setting, the dinner was a great success. Senator Pritzlaff would have been delighted.