Friday, December 31, 2010
1908 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 441-6068
This Russian bakery across from the Pike’s Place Market is pretty famous, so we decided to wait in line (there's always a line at least 5-10 deep) to see what all the fuss is all about. We got the cinnamon, cardamom, orange peel braid (bread) and I really didn’t get it. The texture of the bread was nice and airy, but the flavor was a little m’eh to me. The flavors would have made sense, but it didn’t harmonize together or gel at all. Next time if we decide to give it one more shot, we’ll skip the sweet and go straight to the savory dishes since they looked pretty fun.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Even the waiter was right on point recommending great local microbrews to go with the oysters and giving us some bread to cleanse the pallet in between tastings. Unfortunately, we ordered a non oyster dish that was average to below average. Salmon, eggs, and onions were pretty shite - overcooked eggs and mediocre salmon flavor. They need to visit barney greengrass to figure out what a proper l.e.o. (lox, eggs, and onion) tastes like, but it didn’t matter since the oysters were king.
Here were my top 3 picks – although they all pretty much kicked massive ars (kushi, deer creek, and humboldt bay were honorable mentions).
#1 - Little Skookum
Comments – Huge oyster flavor with a nice sweetness behind it. Crisp texture leading to a nice creaminess.
#2 – Penn Cove Select
Comments – Mammoth sized oyster that I thought would be kinda gross due to the size, but the texture was soooo creamy and it had a huge oyster flavor behind it.
#3 – Cranberry Creek
Comments – oddly mellow at first, then had a great lingering oyster aftertaste.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
After a great tutorial event at the Japanese Culinary Center last week, I decided to give it a whirl at home.
400g Soba Flour
100g Strong Flour
Soba Tsuyu (dipping sauce)
Hari Nori (needle thin nori for garnish)
I approached this project like I would pasta.
I'm looking for strong glutens to form, but wait... the recipe only calls for 20% Flour and 80% Soba Flour. You can't get much gluten from Soba (aka Buckwheat), so the 20% Flour mixture was going to have to carry the mother load. This meant some serious kneading.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
With just plain household materials and my bare hands....
Low and behold.. my first Soba Noodles.
It's so easy and zero babysitting.
Pick up a nice pork loin from your grocery store.
Gather your favorite root veggies and some aromatic veggies like onions or leeks. Toss in some herbs and you are done!
According to vegetable, cut to uniform sizes/shapes, and lay onto the bottom of roasting pan.
This acts as a bed so the protein does not come into direct heat from the pan.
Season well, lightly cover and throw in pre-heated 350 oven for 75 min (for this 3# piece). Take foil off the last 10 minutes of roasting.
Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minute, slice and plate with veggies.
I threw in chicken stock into the pan 20 minutes prior to finish. Just wanted to increase more pan juice.
A dallop of your favorite mustard is a great touch to the dish. A slight take on bollito misti but steam/roast.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I was playing around with ideas for a beer braised short rib the other day.
Not too bad I say... Not too bad.
3# of Beef Short Ribs (cut to 4" portions)
1 bottle of your favorite rich and malty beer
1C Fond de Veau
3 cloves of Garlic
handful of thyme (your favorite herbs)
salt and pepper
1T tomato paste
Pat your short ribs with wondra and sear all sides.
Remove and let rest.
Saute the following for 5 minutes - mirepoix, tomato paste, garlic, salt and pepper and butter.
Add Beer and Fond de Veau and let melt. Now arrange the short ribs in to the pot and pour enough beef stock to cover protein. Toss in thyme and bring up to boil. Cut heat, cover and throw in 350 degree F oven for 4 hours.
Take out, let rest for 15 minutes and plate. Voila, you got a hearty meat dish fit for any winter night.
Monday, December 27, 2010
(CNN) -- A Texas produce distributor has recalled cilantro and curly parsley after samples in Quebec and Michigan tested positive for salmonella, the company said Monday.
The "precautionary, voluntary recall" pertains to cilantro and parsley from J&D Produce Inc., packed between November 30 and December 6, the Edinburg, Texas-based company said in a statement. Cilantro and parsley processed and branded as Little Bear between those dates can be taken to retailers for a full refund.
Those with questions can call J&D Produce at 956-380-0353
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Funny tid bit - the owners of the congee joint were saying Merry Xmas to all the non Chinese there. The non Chinese did not say anything back and looked a bit offended - pretty sure they were Jewish. Good times...
Saturday, December 25, 2010
@1 or 8 in Brooklyn
Chef Yokota displays his talents in Billyburg folks. Another great spot in the Brooklyn resto renaissance.
A must go destination for sure.
I think my friend sums it up best.
"Chef Yokota is a master of Fire". He simply has great control over the flame, whether it be over the grill, in the oven or on top a burner with a sautee pan.
This enables a chef to bring out the very best in each ingredient and highlight it on the plate.
Hats off to you sir. Keep up the great cooking.
The ingredient itself was perfect. Gotta hand it to the chef for not going with a bigger (older lamb). More flavor and more fat isn't always better. This was Australian lamb to be exact. Great young gaminess with tender meat and soft fat surrounding the bone. It was not overly greasy like many of the lamb chops served at steakhouses.
And to be perfectly honest, it was better than Gotham's spider rack.
Lately, Gotham has been slipping and their signature ROL isn't the industry standard for me anymore.
Perhaps this third generation chef is making his mark?
You tell me.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Well the search for my 2011 "go to" sushi joint continues.
What is it I look for in a sushi counter experience?
Who is crazy about sourcing the very best and still charges under $100 a head.
So many questions raced through my head and the short list came down to one.
The only one I should say that really made me truly happy when walking out those doors after a meal.
Jewel Bako. Originally a 1 Star Michelin restaurant under former Chef Shimizu (now at 15 East), Chef Yoshi has kept there Star for 7 consecutive years.
If you have a chance to eat at Jewel Bako, do it. I recommend reserving a counter spot and not the tables. There's a huge difference with sushi immediately eaten and ones that sit on the counter until all other plates are done.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Using Yakisoba noodles in leu of spaghetti for your Japanese pasta dishes is smart. Throw some shrimp, sliced shiitake mushrooms, butter, soy sauce and garlic and you got an instant crowd pleaser.
100% bullet proof for your line cooks. It's forgiving under heat lamps. And everyone loves this dish.
Bottom line is, YOU can't go wrong.
The Men's Eating Club of NYC kicked-off our first ever meal at Momofuku Ma Peche (in Midtown Manhattan).
What better place to start what we hope to be a monthly or bi-monthly event.
A few of us fellas are in the food industry so it makes it easier to get rezzies from time to time.
Below is a list of dishes that were sent out during the 20 course / 3 and a half hour Man-Fest.
First bev of the night. Great intro and explanation Colin (Bev Director).
seafood plateau :
normally not a remarkable dish.. but for some reason, it was actually Very Good. not overcooked, flavor and textures were right on.
Alaskan King Crab Legs
slightly briny, good texture, and the dipping sauces def helped make this memorable as well.
3 types of Oysters
all on the plumper side. but not overly creamy so you got best of both worlds. meaty and briny.
prepared in house marinade. first hints of SE Asian spices for the night.
bigger Asian flavors coming through. anyone can enjoy a good calamari dish.
a little bit of heat rounds out this marinaded dish. like a professional athlete, my palate was nicely warmed up .
reminded me of an Olivier Roelinger dish. bite-sized morsels of perfectly cured and sauced mackerel.
reminded me of Hong Kong. steamed sea bass with soy and hot oil draped right before serving.
great bottle conditioned saison style brew. although i'd prefer drinking this towards earlier fall, the dishes that came next totally paired well with this gem.
beef 7 ways :
bite sized cuts of japanese beef done tataki style. starting out nice and slow. kinda like kissing a womans neck and nibbling on her ears. the seduction begins.
Cured Tongue Salad
onto the kiss. full on tongue, gentle and sweet. the accompanying greens could be the raspberry chapstick she put on for your pleasure.
another fantastic dish that showcased the chef's obsession to quality meats. two words, "half chub"
House-made Lemongrass Beef Sausage
flavorful and perfect texture. served with some boston bib lettuce and condiments. the fondle. a nice surprise. no bra and total handfuls.
Cote de Beouf
one of the best in the city. when the beef is this good, you don't need to do anything else to it. real dry aged beef flavor. very very good. and the blouse comes off. Certified Angus Beef i'm sure.
probably the highlight of the evening. i know none of us at the table could replicate this dish. it was pure perfection. to me, the beauty in this dish was the texture. how could it be so tender, and yet, when you chew, it still had texture? it smelled, tasted and felt great. it was so good, i thought i was getting a hummer under the table.
this 8# braised shank plops down on to the table. everyone says it, but it's so true. "meat" the FLINTSTONES. i had already blown my load on the oxtail. but sure as hell wasn't going to not eff this "Dish".
Carrots tossed in Beef Bone Marrow
absolute delight. carrots never tasted so good. new experience. delicioius!
Brussel Sprouts fried and flavored with Beef Fat and Nam Pla
this was a staple at Ssam Bar for a while. and rightfully so. inventive and masterful.
per instructions by the chef, and just to make sure we were in food coma, our waitress brought out some bowls of noodles. i mean "come on"! her face looked just as shocked as we were.
(paired magically with the epoisse) rich, dense, beef broth. their play on a consomme, and why not. you could do whatever you wanted to me at this point. total submission.
cheese course :
Epoisse with Black Truffles served with Tom Cat Bakery Baguette
a magnanimous moment for all of us. perfectly tempered epoisse with sliced black truffles laced on top of the wheel. spooned over the yummiest baguette in NYC.
earthy, woodsy, stinky... absolute perfection.
And to finish, what we called the "Tiger Balm/Sarsaparilla/Mint" Digestive
Our Server highly recommended this crazy Italian elixir to help us "digest".
This completely served as the cigarette after sex. And it worked. I felt a lot better after taking the shot and actually regained most of my motor skills.
Thanks to the team at Ma Peche for a killer meal. Hats go off to all of them. (Front and Back)
This level of awesomeness will be hard to replicate for sure.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Great stuff folks.
Leftovers from last Thursday night at Momofuku Ma Peche.
-baby carrots sauteed with marrow and herbs
-bits of beef shank(braised in apple cider, sherry and broth for 9hrs)
Saturday, December 18, 2010
A very common and modern way to enjoy this dish is to make it into a pasta dish.
Takes basically 15 minutes to prepare (mostly the time to boil the pasta) so it's very popular with busy households, single bachelors, and students.
Pasta (for 2)
3T of (loose) Mentaiko
1t of Soy Sauce
Finely julienned Nori for Garnish
Take your al dente pasta out of the pot and into a large mixing bowl. Add butter and mix. Then add mentaiko and mix. Then add soy sauce and mix. Plate and garnish.
So simple and very fulfilling. For a 15 min dish, it's tops in my book.
Friday, December 17, 2010
12 Place de la Victoire, 35260 Cancale, France
Anthony Bourdain wasn't kidding when he recommended this place on his little TV Show.
It is the epitome of what you imagine a local French bakery in the countryside would be like.
Within a few blocks from the place, you get a whiff of the most fragrant warmed butter scent ever.
Staffed by local high school girls, and not a lick of English spoken, it was an experience to say the least.
Getting to Cancale took some chutpah on our part.
I rented a nice ride, but unfortunately the rear wheel drive wasnt' the most opportune with weather conditions as random as Lady Gaga's outfits.
One moment, it would sunny and warm, and in a few hours, we would experience blizzard like snow conditions.
So basically, this little coastal town called Cancale is Chef Olivier Roellinger's painting canvas.
He and his wife run a myriad of high-end restaurants and shops under the umbrella Les Maisons de Bricourt.
There is a local strip down by the water that has some nice bistros, but for the most part, the high-end joints in town fall under Roellinger's reach. I couldn't get a rezzie at his flagship place, but that was OK. I enjoyed Cancale for it's oyster farming community and ate a great meal right on the waterfront.
Once at the bakery though, there still was a language barrier, and I had to resort to hand gesturing with a lot of broken Spanish, Italian and French.
But where there's a will, there's a way.
We were sat down and I think I ordered just about 1 of everything.
All were great, but here were the highlights.
Apple Tart, Butter Cookies, Macarons, and Caramels.
The Apple Tart was nothing like I ever had. They weren't going for flaky crust like in a Mille-Feuille, but more like a cobbler type of texture, but thinner and for a lack of a better more scientific work, just "better".
The Butter Cookies must have been baked in an Alien Kitchen galley because there had to have been a pound of butter in every cookie. I don't know how they made those cookies so crisp and perfectly baked, and yet, absorbed butter like a ShamWow.
Macarons were quite amazing as well. the Pistachio and Raspberry Macarons in the picture were the best I've ever had. Just so fresh and vibrant in flavor.
And finally the Caramels. Vanilla, Butter, Sugar, and a hint of some Spices made this childhood candy unforgettable. I grew up in Japan, and pretty much every kid enjoys Morinaga Caramels.
These caramels in Cancale brought back memories from my childhood while also giving me several more layers of refined enjoyment. Wonderful!