On the first night of last week’s SHOT Show, the Field and Stream editorial staff gathered around the table for dinner at the Las Vegas outpost of Thomas Keller’s legendary Bouchon restaurant. Remembering the damage I did to his M&E budget the previous year, Field and Stream editor-in-chief, Anthony Licata didn’t invite me to join them until he was absolutely sure I already had reservations somewhere else. And after my meal at Aureole, I’m okay with that.
What you see in the photo was the final piece in what ranks among the finest meals I’ve eaten in quite some time. For those of you not in the know (which included me about a week ago), Aureole is one of about 13 restaurants owned by Charlie Palmer, chef of some note who you may have seen on the Today show. As I found out after meeting him for dinner, he’s also one of us–a regular guy who looks to combine his two loves–hunting and food.
The dinner guests included a select group of writers and two Remington PR flacks. Also along for the meal were a couple of suits from Cerberus Capital Management (owners of Freedom Group, parent company of Remington) that we stuck with the bill, or I think we stuck them with. I don’t know. I made a dash for the patio for a scotch and cigar before it showed up. I was eating well above my income bracket, as I’m wont to do when I find myself hungry in a big city with real dining options.
I might not have known what fork to use, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying a menu that included duck prosciutto, pigeon (a.k.a. squab) over hand-cut fettuccini and a rack of venison doused in a divine huckleberry sauce. I also got to admire what Palmer claimed was the largest black truffle currently stateside that cost more than my monthly house, truck, student loan, gas, electricity, cable, etc. payments combined.
The guise for this epic dinner was a coming out party for Palmer and his partnership with Remington. In addition to authoring an upcoming cookbook for the gun company, Palmer is working on a number of products that will extend Big Green’s brand into the outdoor lifestyle category. While much of the relationship is still in the crush phase, there does look to be a few cool things coming out of the shotgun wedding, including a line of seasonings and home-curing kits. I’ll fill you in as details become available, but for now I’m still digesting.