Friday, June 29, 2007
The weather wasn't much to brag about, since it was hot and humid most of the time (like in the 100s everyday with 95% humidity - not very fun if you don't have A/C).
But the food was fantastic. From snacks, to meals, to desserts and especially the fruits.
I recently read an article in the Times about tropical fruits and how they may start appearing in our grocery stores pretty soon.
Now I'm not talking about mangos or papayas, or even lychees. That's stuff we all know and love already. I'm talking about Mangosteens, Rambutans, Biriba, Bell Fruit.
The idea of them being available to consumers in the US tickles me pink.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
“Many chefs” he continues, “try to counter this deadening effect by putting many different flavors on the plate in an attempt to keep interest alive. In doing this, the focal point is often lost and the flavors get muddled . . . In five or ten small courses we try to satisfy your appetite and spark your curiosity with each dish. We want our guests to say, ‘God, I wish I had one more bite of that.’ ”
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
What we experienced instead was lines, lines, lines. It was basically a street fair with a bunch of random vendors with huge lines. Crab cakes were great there, but I shouldn't be eating crab cakes at a bbq event. The bbq that I did get to eat was decent, but nothing mind blowing. The one bbq vendor that won multiple awards had lines that were at least 1 1/2 hours long. Still had a great time in beautiful DC hanging out with the dudes. Also, all the competition bbq looked and smelled phenomenal. Next time you go to a cooking competition, make sure the competitors will be sampling their own food...
Agua Ardiente - Not Recommended (food only)
1250 24th St NW, Washington 20037
Btwn M St NW & N St NW
Stopped by Agua Ardiente for a party with the other dudes on foods, but unfortunately the party was a mellow get together. We decided to stay for dinner because the scenery was insane and by "scenery" I mean hot girls. The food was pretty mediocre, but we still walked away relatively happy because of the "scenery." This place is definitely not recommended for the food, but I would 100% come back for drinks. Overall, I give the place a 60/100.
1) Huevos Rotos - Not Recommended
2) Codorniz a La Parilla - Average
3) Salteado De Vieiras - Recommended
4) Croquetas De Jamon - Average
5) Salteado De Calamares Y Setas - Highly Not Recommended
These dishes were not on the website, so I'm making the names up
6) Pork Bruschetta - Not Recommended
7) Rabbit Stew - Recommended
8) Stuffed Squid - Not Recommended
9) White Sangria - Highly Recommended
The bread they served was no better than wonder bread...completely ridiculous.
1) Soggy, very oily potatoes. Overcooked eggs. Good chorizo however. This was a bad sign, since this is a very easy dish to make.
2) Grilled quail, which was overcooked. Decent red wine sauce.
3) Perfectly cooked scallop which matched well with the sauteed spinach
4) Good crispy texture, but absolutely no jamon inside. Also, the flavor of the croquetas mixture was not that good.
5) Sauteed calamari. This dish was terrible. Absolutetly no flavor, but good texture.
6) Grilled pork that was overcooked on some mediocre bread
7) Very flavorful tomato braised rabbit that was falling off the bone.
8) Decently cooked, but absolutely no flavor. The stuffing was tasteless...
9) A great white sangria. Nice and light with a good touch of sweetness, but not overly sweet.
Overall Restaurant Experience (60/100)
- Food 6.0/10 - Food here is average to below average.
- Service 4.0/10 - Terrible service here. We waited 10 minutes and no one seated us until we asked a waitress. Took another 10 minutes for them to figure out what seats are available. Then she said they were really busy, even though 3/4 of the tables were unoccupied. Waitress was nice, but they have no idea what they're doing here. Food came out relatively quick though.
- Atmosphere 10/10 - Restaurant/Lounge scene with lots of hot girls. In fact, it seems like 70% of the patrons were females. Got there Saturday night around 10pm with no reservations.
- Price 6/10 - Price was OK per person ($50), but you could probably spend that $50 somewhere else and be happier.
This place is pretty subpar in terms of tapas restaurants. By no means am I a tapas expert, but the tapas restaurants that I've been to in NY are much better (Tia Pol being the best). Kinda disappointed in my DC food experiences so far, but I definitely like the scene. Seems like a lot of restaurants that I've been to in DC are all about the scene and less about the food. I'm holding out hope though and I know DC has better places to offer...
Friday, June 22, 2007
These are notes from an inexperienced chili taster named FRANK, who was visiting Texas from New Jersey... "Recently I was lucky enough to be the 10,000th attendee at the State Fair in Texas and was asked to fill in to be a judge at a chili cook-off. Apparently the original Judge #3 called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there when the call came in and was assured by the other two Judges (Native Texans) that it would be a fun event and a true taste of Texas hospitality. They assured me that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted. Here are the scorecards from the event."
Chili # 1: Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili
JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.
JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
FRANK: Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.
Chili # 2: Arthur's Afterburner Chili
JUDGE ONE: Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.
JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
FRANK: Keep this out of reach of children! I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to walkie-talkie in 3 extra beers when they saw the look on my face.
Chili # 3: Fred's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili
JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.
JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.
FRANK: Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced.
Chili # 4: Bubba's Black Magic
JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Sally, the bar maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills, that 300 lb bitch is starting to look HOT, just like this nuclear-waste I'm eating.
Chili # 5: Linda's Legal Lip Remover
JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick.Very impressive.
JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
FRANK: My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me burst into flames. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks!
Chili # 6: Vera's Very Vegetarian Variety
JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.
JUDGE TWO: The best yet. An aggressive use of peppers, onions and garlic. Superb.
FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulphuric flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that slut Sally. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone!
Chili # 7: Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili
JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
JUDGE TWO: Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge Number 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin and I wouldn't feel a damn thing. I've lost the sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava-like shit to match my damn shirt. At least during the autopsy they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful. Screw it,I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4inch hole in my stomach.
Chili # 8: Helen's Mount Saint Chili
JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending... this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell and pulled the chili pot on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor Yank.
FRANK: --------------(editor's note: Judge #3 was unable to report)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Any who... I requested to sample some Kobe Beef for an upcoming event we are going to have... So earlier this week, we got a box full of Kobe Beef flown in from Japan.
We held a meeting Wednesday morning, taste testing the various cuts and came to a unanimous decision. That it's all Freegin' Awesome.
But I wanted to take it one step further... So I brought the remaining cuts to my good friend, the Chef at a pretty nice bistro in Manhattan, and his staff prepared a Kobe Beef Tasting that was out of this world.
Nothing pretentious... Just straight forward good hearty French Bistro flare.
It Was Out Of This Woooooorld.
Here's a slide show and menu.
Amuse Bouche - Asparagus shooter
Pre-Appetizer - Gougeres (cheese puffs)
Appetizer - Kobe Beef Cubes / Stilton & Artisanal Fondue
1st Course - Kobe Beef Burgers w/Foie Gras in Profiterole Buns
2nd Course - Kobe Beef crusted black pepper Top Sirloin with
Bearnaise and Potato Galette
3rd Course - Kobe Beef Morel dusted filet with Mushroom
4th Course - Sea Salt crusted Knuckle meat Flambe
Dessert 1 - Panna Cotta
Dessert 2 - Baba Rum
Dessert 3 - Chocolate Fondue with Fruits and Petit Fours
Coffee / Espresso
Compliments to the Kitchen. Thanks guys for a GREAT meal!!!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Top Chef on the other hand has phenomenal chefs and has really raised the bar. It seems like every chef on the show is either an executive chef or sous chef - there's even a sous chef from the famous Guy Savoy. The food they are plating is beautiful and looks delicious. Curious to see how both shows will end...
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
3 ¾ pounds very fresh tuna steak (diced)
5 ripe Hass avocados (diced)
2 mangoes (diced – as best you can)
3 Asian pears (diced)1 ¼ cups olive oil 5 limes, zest grated 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice 2 ½ teaspoons wasabi powder 2 ½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce 2 tablespoons hot red pepper sauce 2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt 1 ½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper 1 ¼ cups minced scallions, white and green parts (12 scallions) 3 ¼ tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds removed 1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, optional
Mix in a bowl and chill.
2 – ½ pound very fresh tuna steaks
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
6 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Dust the tuna steaks on each side with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Put aside. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl. Put aside. Heat pan to hot. Add olive oil, and let it heat for 20 seconds. Add tuna steaks, and sear for 1 ½ - 2 minutes on each side. Once both sides are cooked, remove them from the pan, add the sauce to the pan, and turn the heat down to 1/3 the heat. Slice the tuna steaks, plate the fish, turn off heat on the pan, and spoon sauce over the fish. Add tartare to martini glass, and accompany to tuna steaks.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
1) Scallop Ceviche with Guacamole
2) Summer Salad with Balsamic and Anchovy Vinaigrette
3) Red Snapper, Asparagus, and Corn Puree
Scallop Ceviche with Guacamole
This came from my one of favorite books - Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin. I made a slight tweak with my own guacamole recipe. My favorite thing about guacamole is the smoothness of the dip and the flavor of the avocado. Some recipes include cilantro and tomatoes among other things, but I think that drowns the flavor of the avocado out. I feel this recipe enhances the flavor and texture of the avocado. Scallops are sweet and creamy, which match perfectly with the guacamole. Què aproveche!
Scallop Ceviche Ingredients
8 sea scallops sliced into thirds
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Ripe Avocados
1 small cloves garlic minced
1 tsp yellow hot pepper sauce (scotch bonnet, or habanero) - my favorite is Baron West Indian Hot sauce
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
1/2 white onion minced and rinsed under water
5 tortilla chips
1) Lay scallops on a plate, sprinkle sea salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Put scallops in the refrigerator and let marinate for 1 hour.
2) Remove avocado flesh and place in bowl.
3) Add minced garlic, juice of 1/2 a lime, 1/2 the amount of the olive oil, 1/2 the amount of the pepper sauce, pinch salt and pinch pepper and stir around - texture should be 3/4 smooth and 1/4 chunky.
4) Taste - this is the most important part. If you want it creamier, add more olive oil. Spicier add more pepper sauce. More flavor another 1/2 pinch salt and pepper. Re-taste.
5) When the flavor is to your liking add the white onion, and stir around. Rinsing the onion removes the bite and adds light crispness to the guacamole.
6) Remove scallops from the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving. Place scallops slices around the plate. Add guacamole in the center and crush the tortilla chips on top of the guacamole for texture. You can add more hot sauce to the scallops if you want to wake the flavor up.
Summer Salad with Balsamic and Anchovy Vinaigrette
Usually I like making more unique salads, but sometimes a nice basic salad is great. These flavors definitely reminds me of summer - tomato, basil, crunchy cucumber and red onion. The key to the salad is a nice crunchy texture and fresh flavors. Anchovy adds a nice meaty taste to the dressing.
1 package of rinsed romaine lettuce
3 ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
2 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed
3 cucumbers (same type as the ones for pickles) sliced
10 basil leaves hand torn
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup mustard
2 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1) Combine ingredients and lightly toss to make sure all ingredients are incorporated well. Again, I never measure, so all the ingredients are about equal in proportion - except for the red onion, which is much less. Add salt and pepper to the salad.
2) Whisk together dressing ingredients in a separate bowl. Taste and adjust to your liking.
3) Add the dressing to the salad and lightly toss. Make sure the dressing lightly coats the salad.
Red Snapper, Asparagus and Corn Puree
Never tried poaching red snapper in white wine, but I gave it a try. The fish was a little overcooked - fish was raw at first when I first checked. 2 minutes later the fish was overcooked. I think next time I need to cut the fillets into smaller pieces and check more frequently. Flavors were still great and the dish came out pretty good. Corn puree has really intense, rich flavors and would work perfectly with chicken.
2 fillets red snapper cut into 1/2
4 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed
1/2 cup of parmiggiano-reggiano
16 stalks of asparagus cut in half, tough ends removed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups white wine
3 tomatoes, seed and juice only (same tomatoes from summer salad)
1) Put corn kernels, parmiggiano, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender. Taste. Add salt and pepper. If needed add more parmiggiano and/or olive oil.
2) Preheat oven to 400F. When the oven temperature is ready, add asparagus, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook for 8 minutes or until just tender. Asparagus flavor will really intensify by roasting it.
3) Add fillets to a cold pan with the white wine. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to the fish. Bring the wine to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Check after 3 minutes of simmering - you can check by sticking a knife in the fish. Remove from the heat when the fish is tender. Make sure not to overcook the fish.
4) Pour out all but 1/4 cup of the white wine. Add corn puree to the remaining white wine and cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes - it should thicken up quickly. Make sure not to burn the corn puree.
5) Place corn puree on the bottom of the plate. Add 4 pieces of asparagus to the plate. Add fish on top of the asparagus. Add lemon juice to the top of the fish.
6) Combine tomato seeds and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour tomato mixture on top of the fish.
Friday, June 15, 2007
So now enjoy these pix of my pizza, because I sure as hell enjoyed the pizza! I went to Giordano's, by the way.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Artisanal - Highly Recommended
2 Park Ave, New York 10016
At 32nd St, btwn Madison & Park Ave
I've always wanted to check out Artisanal, but never had the opportunity to do so. Artisanal is a solid bistro that is also a phenomenal cheese shop. The food here is consistently very good, which is very rare. Every single dish was slightly better than the previous dish. Overall, I give the restaurant an 85/100.
Not sure what the cod and salmon dish were, since we did not order it. Thanks D'Artagnan for the ordering.
1) Onion Soup Artisanal - Recommended
2) Stilton Fondue - Highly Recommended
3) Cod Dish - Highly Recommended
4) Salmon (special of the day) - Recommended
5) Macaroni and Cheese - Highly Recommended
6) Cheese Plate - Highly Recommended
7) Cheesecake - Highly Recommended
8) Panna Cotta - Recommended
1) A very good Onion Soup. At first the flavors are spectacular, but as you taste more the bold flavors dissipate slightly. Great thick cheese layer though.
2) Great blue cheese flavor and great melted cheese consistency. Perfect with apples.
3) Cod was perfectly cooked - flaky and moist. Very flavorful and matched perfectly with the chorizo, peppers, and onions. Fried potato was spectacular...crispy on the outside, smooth and creamy on the inside.
4) Salmon, sauce, and some type of fried concoction were decent by themselves. But, combining the three components it was a perfect match . Like the cod, the salmon was cooked perfectly.
5) Macaroni and cheese was spectacular, maybe one of the best that I've ever had. Perfectly cooked noodle, goat cheese bechamel sauce, and perfect crispy panko/parmesan topping. You know a dish is phenomenal when you want to recreate it at home...i will be posting a mac and cheese recipe soon.
6) The cheese is insane here. Someone picked 6 cheeses and they were spectacular. I heard Artisanal has better cheeses than Murray's Cheese Shop, but I had to see for myself. I definitely agree now - definitely coming back just for the cheeses.
7) One of the best cheesecakes I've ever had. Perfect flavor and texture. Junior's Cheesecake is great, but it really can't compare to Artisanal's cheesecake.
8) Panna cotta is pretty good here, but the rhubarb and strawberry soup was spectacular.
Overall Restaurant Experience (85/100)
- Food 8.5/10 - Very odd that every single dish was very good to great. Solid food.
- Service 8.8/10 - Service was very good for us dudes on a Monday night.
- Atmosphere 7.7/10 - Place is packed and we went on a Monday. I can't imagine how this place is on th weekend. Also, tables are very cramped together. Crowd is a mixture of tourists, families, business people, and the young crowd.
- Price 8/10 - Price is a little pricey for a bistro ($26 for the cod dish), but comparable to other mid-range restaurants in Manhattan. Regardless, every single dish was consistently good that it was well worth the price.
Probably the best bistro in Manhattan that I've been to. Again, it's very rare to have that many dishes to be so solid. Actually, the next dish was alway slightly better than the previous. Fancier food than the average bistro - Artisanal is definitely better than Les Halles. Great stuff and can't wait to go back.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
In addition, the AIWF looks to pioneer enriching scholarships for the future of American cooking.
The "Days of Taste" being one of the main programs.
I just got back from the gala event tonight at the Hotel Pierre. (11:42pm Tuesday)
Met some really nice people at the Champagne Gala so that was nice.
The food was a bit on the underwhelming side, but since the company was good, I am happy.
So the food really didn't shine.
And perhaps it's because there were literally too many chiefs and not enough indians in the kitchen to do the work.
Everything tasted average... Like some cooking school beginner put it together by looking at a recipe.
There wasn't the clear balance in flavors in the dishes that led me to believe a true chef and his crew crafted it.
Oh well...C'est la Vie. Sometimes you just have to accept things for what they are.
Here are a few pics I took during the courses.
Link to the Menu from tonight. List of pairings and such... link
First Course - Duck Ballontine - Daniel
Second Course - Black Cod Miso - Nobu 57
Third Course - Beef Duo - Tabla
Fourth Course - Cheese Plate - Harpersfield
Fifth Course - Candy Bar with Banana Gelato and Popcorn - Del Posto
I'm all Tattinger-ed out. What a great problem to have.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
AOC this AOC that.
Can it really be for the money?
clip from the article-
"...Their real reason is that they want to step up production, and it is impossible to do that using 'lait cru'," said Gerard Roger, president of the newly-created Defense Committee for Authentic Camembert..."
Yah, you read that right. They have a defense committee for Cheese.
We're here fighting a war on "terror" and their over there worrying about pasteurization.
Actually, I wouldn't mind jumping on the fresh milk bandwagon myself.
To the fury of purists, Lactalis and the Isigny Cooperative -- who together supplied 90 percent of "lait cru" (raw milk) Camembert made in the northwest region of Normandy -- have switched to using treated milk for their top brands on the grounds that it is safer.
In so doing they have had to surrender the coveted "Appellation d'Origine Controlee" status, which is normally seen both as a certificate of authenticity and a vital boost for sales. It is the first time ever in France that a cheese producer has voluntarily withdrawn from an AOC.
Spokesmen for the companies said the reason for the unprecedented move is the impossibility of eliminating the health threat from bacteria in milk that has not been subjected to heating or "microfiltration."
"This was an extremely difficult decision to take. 'Lait cru' Camembert is in our genes," said Luc Morelon, communications director at Lactalis -- the world's biggest manufacturer of dairy goods.
"So why did we do it? Because consumer safety is paramount, and we cannot guarantee it 100 percent. We cannot accept the risk of seeing our historic brands disappearing because of an accident in production."
But food campaigners are up in arms because they say Lactalis and Isigny Cooperative are acting out of purely business motives. And they fear the companies may yet use their commercial weight to get AOC regulators to change the rules -- placing the future of traditional Camembert in real jeopardy.
"They talk about a supposed danger to health, but they know it is nonsense. Their real reason is that they want to step up production, and it is impossible to do that using 'lait cru'," said Gerard Roger, president of the newly-created Defence Committee for Authentic Camembert.
"What this is all about is the limits of mass marketing. A behemoth like Lactalis cannot answer to the needs of the real Camembert -- which is not just a cheese but part of our culture," he said.
"Camembert does not exist unless it is made with untreated milk. 'Lait cru' is what gives the richness, the taste, the originality. If you heat the milk, you'll still have a cheese, but it won't be Camembert," said Roger.
Half a century ago there were scores of independent dairies across the Normandy region of northwest France making 'lait cru' Camembert, but now the number has dwindled to just five -- as Lactalis has steadily bought up nearly all the small family-run operations.
In 2006 Lactalis produced 8,000 tonnes of "real Camembert" -- alongside vast quantities of the pasteurised cheese -- but it has now stopped 'lait cru' for its best-selling brands Lepetit and Languetot. Today the milk is heat-treated, though at a lower temperature than for full-blown pasteurisation.
With Isigny Cooperative following suit with a process of "microfiltration" that is also banned by AOC rules, overall production of 'lait cru' Camembert will fall by two-thirds this year from 12,500 to 4,000 tonnes.
"The big companies have launched a hostile take-over bid for Normandy Camembert," said Bertrand Gillot, whose Reo brand of 'lait cru' cheese has been manufactured by hand in the village of Lessay for 80 years.
Two years ago Gillot halted production after an outbreak of illnesses in children was linked to a harmful bacterium in Reo cheese, but he has since further increased health checks and insists eating 'lait cru' Camembert is much less dangerous than driving a car.
His biggest concern is that Lactalis will prevail on the National Institute for Quality and Certificates of Origin (INAO) to loosen the rules, so that heat-treated or microfiltered milk also qualifies for AOC status.
"If INAO does that, it will kill 'lait cru' because there will be nothing to distinguish our authentic Camemberts from their ones," he said. "And if we lose 'lait cru,' we'll never get it back. The culture, the knowledge, the methods -- they'll all be gone for good."
Reservation office opens up at 10am (pacific time), which you can only book 2 months to the calendar day.
12:00am EST Tried using the opentable website to book the reservation early, but got a message saying that the tables are not available to book yet.
9:00am Tried using opentable again - this time all tables were completely booked. Fortunately, opentable only holds 2 tables (out of 12) for French Laundry, so I still had a chance later in the day.
12:59pm (9:59am PT) Tried calling the reservation office early. Received a message saying the reservation office doesn't open till 10am pacific time. We were figuring it was worth a try to call early.
1:00pm My girlfriend and I started calling using 3 phones (2 cell phones and 1 house phone). Lines were busy. Continue calling and calling.
1:24pm Phone connected! Was put on hold for 5 minutes and the whole freaking day was booked solid. We're put on a waitlist, but I'm not holding my breath.
We're going to try again for the next couple of days, but I'm not too confident we'll get something. Worst case scenario we can eat at 3 nice restaurants for the price of French Laundry (2 people will probably be $600-700)...
6:15am Got up for work today and tried opentable again. All tables booked.
1:20pm Girlfriend got lunch reservations for Sunday after rocking the two phone method for 20 minutes. I actually completely forgot about the reservation, since I had meetings from 11-2pm.
Girlfriend mentioned it was more difficult dialing into French Laundry than American Idol. Funny how people usually keep on dialing and re-dialing radio stations to win money. We're dialing and re-dialing to give away a crap load of money. Hope the food meets the expectations - I'm assuming it won't...
Monday, June 11, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Bouchon Bakery - Highly Recommended (for desserts)
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor, New York 10019
At 60th St
Got a bunch of desserts to go from Bouchon Bakery to go with the Salmon Salad I made for my parents. Never ate real food here, but the desserts are great. They have fancy desserts as well as great comfort desserts (nutter butter is awesome). Lines sometimes get long, but shouldn't be more than a 5 minute wait. I've heard actually eating here is unpleasant due to the servers and wait time, but I cannot confirm. Won't give this place a rating since, since we didn't sit down and eat here but I highly recommend the desserts.
Starting from the top left of the picture going clockwise
1) Seasonal Berry Tart - Highly Recommended
2) Banana and Chocolate Mousse - Recommended
3) Chocolate and Coconut Macaron - Recommended
4) Oatmeal Cookie - Recommended
5) Nutter Butter - Highly Recommended
Broiled Salmon on Summer Salad with Ponzu Vinaigrette
4 salmon fillets scaled, pin bones removed
1/4 cup Sake
1 cup String Beans
2 Tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cobs of Jersey Corn (the best)
3 Radishes thinly sliced
Sea Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Ponzu
1/4 cup Sake
1/4 cup Mirin
1 tablespoon Wasabe Paste
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 shallot finely minced
1) Marinate salmon in sake. Can add to zip-loc bag and refrigerate.
2) To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. I made the measurements up, since I really just started adding all the ingredients, tasting, and adjusting, until I liked the flavor. Set aside.
3) Start a small to medium pot of boiling water. Heavily salt and add string beans for 1 1/2 minutes (until tender). Remove string beans and run cold water or place in ice water.
4) Pre-heat broiler. Remove salmon and don't cook until it is room temperature. Pat salmon dry with paper towels making sure skin gets really dry.
5) Add sea salt and pepper to skin and flesh side of salmon. Put in broiler and cook for about 5-7 minutes. You are looking for the skin to get crispy and the flesh to be moist and firm. The best way to test is always to touch. If it's firm with a little give, it should be OK.
6) Remove salmon and let rest
7) Combine all the salad ingredients into a bowl. Again, I made up the measurements, but just make sure that all the ingredients (corn, tomato, radish, string beans) are close to equal in proportion. Add dressing to lightly coat, not drowning. Another key is to not overwork the leaves.
8) Lay salad down on a plate and place salmon on top.
Salad is nice and light. The fresh corn, tomato, radish, and string beans give you the nice sweet and crunchy texture and flavor of summer. First time blanching string beans and I really like how they turn out. Nice and bright green color with a tender texture, but not mushy and really flavorful.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
AIWF New York Chapter Presents:
AIWF NY Chapter - Champagne Gala
Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007 6:00 PM EDT
at The Pierre Hotel
6:00 PM Reception
7:00 PM Dinner
Silent & Live Auctions
Russell E. Burke III, Auctioneer
Attire: Black Tie
Reception Hors d’Oeuvres, The Pierre
Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV
Jean François Bruel, Daniel
Ballotine of Liberty Farms Duck with Fresh Almonds, Foie Gras & Salad BurnettChampagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose 2000
Matthew Hoyle, Nobu 57
Chilean Sea Bass Marinated in Sake LeesChampagne
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1998
Floyd Cardoz, Tabla
Spice Crusted Beef Striploin and Pulled Braised Shortribs & Greenmarket Vegetables
Agricola Punica Barrua, Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia 2003
Selection of Artisanal Cheese
Delaforce Colheita Porto 1986
Nicole Kaplan, Del Posto
Chocolate Caramel Tart with Caramel Popcorn, Peanut Butter Powder & Roasted Banana Ice Cream
Champagne Taittinger Nocturne, Sec NV
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
However, I speculate (scientifically I may add) daily consumption of a Bloody Bull may have the following side effects:
- Your voice dropping 2 whole octaves
- Wild hair growing on your face, chest, back, etc.
- Having an uncontrollable desire to start licking furniture and dry humping walls
La Goulue - Recommended
746 Madison Ave, New York 10021
Btwn 64th & 65th St
Porthos and I originally intended to go to Japan Day in Central Park to hang out and eat some Japanese Food. That plan didn't work out so well, since Japan Day was way too crowded and we dudes were way too hungry. We ended up at La Goulue for Sunday Brunch and it was definitely a great time. Place is decent with one dish being great. Overall, I give the restaurant an 83/100.
1) Assorted Breads - free
2) Eggs in Cocotte - Highly Recommended
3) Steak Frites - Recommended
1) Breads were excellent with buttery flaky croissants and rich corn breads
2) This was spectacular. Perfectly crispy bread dipping in the runny egg yolk topped off with ratatouille made me extremely happy. I've made ratatouille many a time and this was something special.
3) Steak had a nice crust, but was not too tender. However, if I cut into small pieces across the grain, it was much better. Good beef flavor though. Frites were good, but the bernaise sauce was ridiculously good.
Overall Restaurant Experience (82/100)
- Food 8.3/10 - Egg was spectacular, but a little let down with the steak. Steak was still good though.
- Service 7.0/10 - They were nice and accommodating, but it took a long time to get some dishes and also the check.
- Atmosphere 9/10 - Sat on the sidewalk on madison ave - great stuff on a nice NY day. Different crowd from a large family to the old couples.
- Price 7/10 - $39.50 for app, entree, cocktail, and bread. Ended up being around 50+ for brunch which is relatively pricey, but I was still happy at the end.
Solid French Bistro that is a little better than Les Halles. That being said, the steak was not really tender. If I was in the area, I would definitely stop by, but if I wanted a better bistro I would pick DB Bistro Moderne or Artisanal.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
1343 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Subway - Dupont Circle
Parking - Street/Valet
When we walked in, the hostess sat us down with a terrific smile and gave us information on what she likes to eat. While we were waiting, we all took out our cameras to view our inventory from the National Mall. I took a few pictures of the place, and they did, too. It was enough for the waitress to come over and jokingly ask what's going on. Looking back, I can see how we would look funny with our cameras and large lenses poking everywhere like a porcupine. We explain the touristy aspect of the cameras and the food blog. With that, she also gave us suggestions on what to try. She stated they are known for their mojitos, so we order a pitcher. (I never had it from a pitcher, so I was a little worried.) As we perused the menu, our mojitos were delivered, and I poured them. Just as I thought... not too good. Very "okay." Oh well. The waitress returns, and we ordered Lomo Saltado, Salmon, and the Chicken Stew. We also ordered Fried Plantains for an appetizer. I wasn't too keen on that, since I really dislike plantains. In fact, I wanted to order the Jamaican Curried Goat, but I didn't since part of the dish involved plantains.
While we were waiting for dinner to arrive, different people from the waitstaff stopped by our table to talk, hang out, and ensure we were having a good time. One such time we were surprised by a round of shots of tequila. Not just any tequila, but Patron Tequila. Down they went, very smooth. With that, you know why it's more costly than other tequilas and is not one to make margaritas with. We voiced our opinion on the mojito, and the bartender graciously offered to make us some more. By hand. All individually. I'm glad we took her up on her offer, because I can say that it was pretty close to being the best mojito I've ever had. It did not have a stick of sugar cane protruding from the drink, but everything else was pretty close to perfect. She redeemed the restaurant in a big way, especially since my friend is quite picky and the connoisseur when it comes to mojitos.
We were invited to return for the nightclub portion, which started in an hour, but we didn't go back. I guess the goat and the club is another reason to return - along with everything else Café Citron has to offer. I highly recommend this place.