If you took a survey of my kitchen, there's going to be a few things that I always have. I tend to always keep some staples around that are versitile ingredients. This way I'm always prepared for that last minute light bulb that goes off. And that ligh tbulb often goes off after a few glasses of wine, so it's important to keep these things close. Because if not, I'm hoofing it to the store.

Eggs. Milk. Flour. Butter. Cheese of some kind. Soy sauce. Worchestershire sauce. Mustard. Hot sauce. The list goes on, but there's one that's always there. I promise you, that I am never without this one ingredient – especially growing up in an Italian family. Yep. It's olive oil.

Now a few weeks ago I was asked to attend an olive oil tasting and dinner put on by Star Fine Foods. You may recognize the name – because they're in most grocers. And if you appreciate a martini every now and then, you've most assuredly purchased some of their olives.

For this particular occasion we were at Ototo, which is part of the Sushi Den/Izakayi Den family. Their head chef prepared a five course meal that really showed the versatility of this beautiful ingredient. To spare you my inane banter, I'll cut to the chase. Here's the dishes with descriptions and photos. I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. It was dark in the restaurant, and I was simply equipped with a mere iPhone camera.

Grilled Zucchini, Tomato Jam, Anchovies, Capers and Star Olive Oil – Beautiful, simple, and delicately Mediterranean. The olive oil added a depth of flavor to the grilled zucchini.

Olive Oil Cured Ahi, Orange Segments, Olive Olive Oil Confit Tomatoes, and Tagliatelle Pasta – I was unsure about this dish when I read it on the menu, but it was phenomenal. Once again the olive oil provided a nice rich complexity, but the dish finished beautifully with the citrus from the orange segments.

EVOO Poached Alaskan Halibut, Saffron Braised Fennel, Fennel Puree, Fennel Olive Oil – Perfectly prepared piece of Halibut and the fennel was used in a way that was complementary, and not overwhelming.

Colorado Lamb Chop, Olive Pistachio Crust, EVOO Poached Fingerling Potatoes – The best lamb chop I've ever had. Not kidding – not in the slightest. The olive and pistachio crust provided a salty nutty crust that was just spot on.

Olive Oil and Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Hazelnut Souffle, and Honey Olive Oil Tuille – Normally not much of a desert guy, but this was pretty tasty. The flavor of the olive oil definitely came through, and didn't dominate the dish, which was impressive.

For a dinner based around an ingredient, this was fantastic. I felt like I was a judge on Iron Chef. The Executive Chef at Ototo masterfully prepared and plated each course, which of course highlighted the olive oills that were presented by Star.

The food, wine and ambieance were incredible, thanks to the staff at Ototo. But also, a big thank you is necessary for Star Fine Foods for putting this event on, and for Creative Culinary for organizing everything. It was a great evening, and a great showcase of how diverse this beautiful ingredient can be.