Art at your table at Caracoles Cafe

QUOTE: “The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” ---Dione Lucas (English Chef and 1st female graduate of Le Cordon Bleu)

By: Epicurious Em

On Saturday, November 12, we had the fortune of being invited by friends to attend a special five-course dinner at Caracoles Café, located just outside the gates of Coronado. The dinner was literally a stroke of genius: combining the photographic talents of Jackson Ball with the culinary interpretations of Chef Allan D’Ferrer. What? How can you replicate art with food? Well, this duo, along with the entire team from Caracoles did just that—using the visual artistry of Mr. Ball paired with masterpieces of food created and designed by Chef D’Ferrer. 

Walking into the restaurant was a work of art in itself. The tables were beautifully adorned with cloths and fabric napkins, highlighted by clever centerpieces of wine bottles and fresh tulips, with Jackson Ball’s interesting art surrounding the rooms. Live music and dim lights created a festive, classy atmosphere for this gastronomic event.

Jackson Ball introduced the first photo depicting the myriad of colors on a coffee bean plant from Boquete. Chef Allan answered with a fusion of tomatoes, pearl onions, green and nicoise olives mirroring the coffee beans along with a unique vinaigrette of coffee and honey. A little skeptical about coffee flavor in a salad dressing, I was amazed at how subtle but distinct the flavor was, perfectly enhancing the salad. Next, Ball introduced his photo of a mangle of roots from Colorado. The accompanying course was a tender, juicy chicken scaloppini, with wild mushrooms and a sauce of white wine and fresh herbs, topped with crisp cellophane noodles. It was a perfect correlation with the photo. Course by course followed, the art and food pleasing to the eye, and the food hoarded by our pallets. More courses included beef tenderloin with smoked peppers in a sauce flavored with grapes, which was Chef’s interpretation of Ball’s unique photo of an old mill in Colorado. Another course featured croquettes of salmon and goat cheese served on a sweet potato puree with crispy wontons depicting the foliage in the art photo. Throughout the evening we heard comments echoing through the restaurant from gasps to, “Are we really in Coronado tonight?” The crown of the evening were delicate cream puffs filled with passion fruit cream and garnished with white chocolate in a sauce of limes. What was the photograph? It was a beautiful white flower that Ball discovered at a lake in Switzerland.

The entire event was impeccable and one to be savored (literally) for a long time. Not only is the food great at Caracoles on a daily basis, but Matt, Mitzi, Chef, and their crew have more planned for us. They are offering Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and more surprises in store for 2017. Feel free to contact them at 389-5707 for reservations and information. Jackson Ball’s works are for sale and can be viewed at

TIP: Don’t miss out on the “art of good eating.”

Epicurious Em welcomes your comments and suggestions. Feel free to e-mail me at