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Tastes from the Kitchen – Latitude 42

Kalamazoo residents suffer no shortage of great restaurants where they can spend their hard-earned money to enjoy a good meal.

Chef William (Russ) Barrett, Executive Chef with the Latitude 42 Restaurant Group, is determined to make every item on his menu worth the price paid. What he’s not willing to do is sacrifice quality and sustainability by buying from huge factory farms and conglomerates to achieve that end. Instead, the Latitude 42 Restaurant Group dedicates many of its resources to local farmers and producers, believing that spending more for these quality ingredients pays off in the finished product. This, combined with the fact that the food is 100% handmade and served by a cheerful, knowledgeable staff, makes Latitude 42 a must for anyone’s restaurant bucket list.

Chef Barrett earned his Bachelor of the Arts from Western Michigan University and has been working in the industry for 15 years. His passion for food means that making delicious dishes with fresh, flavorful ingredients is an ongoing source of joy. He loves creating an unending variety of dishes by combining the essential variables of heat, sweet, salt, fat and acid in new and exciting ways. He never gets bored and is thrilled to be able to do it every day of his life.

His current culinary interest has him exploring the world of Southeast Asian cuisine, Thai food in particular. He notes, “Their cuisine is founded on ingredients that are readily available in the tropical regions. Sour kaffir limes, fragrant Thai basil, lemongrass, ginger, mellow coconut milk, sugar made from coconut palms and spicy/fruity peppers. Dishes from this area of the world focus on bringing all the flavors from all over the spectrum and smacking you in the face with them…in a good way. Imagine something so spicy that it hurts but you keep eating it because it’s so good you can’t help yourself.”

Latitude 42 primarily features cuisine inspired by the American Southwest, but you’ll also find Asian and Italian influences sprinkled throughout the eclectic menu. The variety of dishes means that even the pickiest of eaters will find something to love. The ambiance is warm and inviting, encouraging guests to relax with a local craft brew or specialty cocktail and enjoy each other’s company.

Chef Barrett has generously shared one of Latitude 42’s original recipes for our readers to enjoy.

6101 W. Main St, Kalamazoo, MI | 7842 Portage Rd, Portage, MI | HOURS: M-R 11a-10p | F & Sat 11a-11p | Sun 11a-9p

Sweet & Spicy Salmon
(serves 4)

  • 4- 7oz Salmon Filets
  • 16 oz (Dry Weight)
  • Medium rice noodles
  • 4 oz Bell Peppers (Sliced)
  • 4 oz Broccoli
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • One Green Onion (slivered)
  • 1 oz Cilantro (Chopped)
  • 1 oz Thai Basil (Optional)
  • 12 oz Dashi or Fish Stock (Water can be substituted but dish will need additional seasoning)
  • 12 oz Ponzu (Store bought versions vary, will include our recipe)
  • 8-16 oz Canola Oil

DRY RUB

  • 4 Tbsp Madras Curry Powder
  • 4 tsp White Sugar
  • 4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Cracked
  • Black Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Liberally season salmon with dry rub mixture on all sides.
  2. Heat 3 to 4 ounces of the oil in an oven-safe sauté pan on medium heat until it begins to shimmer.  Carefully lay salmon face down in the hot oil, taking care not to let it fall fast because the oil will splatter and burn.
  3. When one side is sufficiently browned, flip fish and insert it (pan and all) into the oven to finish for about 6-8 min.
  4. In a separate pan, again heat 2 ounces of the oil on high until it shimmers.  Add broccoli and peppers and cook for about 2-3 min., stirring often.
  5. Add minced garlic, cook for another 2 minutes & then add ponzu and dashi. Reduce by 25-35%.
  6. Boil a pot of water separately. Add a liberal amount of salt to the water if desired (1 tablespoon should do it). Once it boils, cook your noodles. This typically takes 4-7 min. or until sufficiently tender.
  7. Serve hot noodles into a bowl first, followed by the sautéed veggies and liquid, then finally the salmon garnished liberally with fresh herbs.

Erica Shier is a married mother of four who loves reading, scrapbooking & thrift stores. When she’s not driving her small pack of children around, she spends her time volunteering, writing & trying to keep on top of the laundry.

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