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Posts posted by ariggsby

  1. That sounds amazing! Was it? Can you remember which courses you felt worked best?

    Sorry, I'm not on the board very often.


    The only things that I didn't love were the egg (not a main ingredient I'm fond of, and the didn't sell me on it) and, surprisingly, the foie.


    Best dishes for me were the pasta, carpaccio, and pork.  Also, everything with the "hozon" (basically non-soy-based miso, as I understand) was spectacular.

  2. No, though that would have been an excellent trick!  As far as I could tell, they'd beatend the egg thouroughly (and I presume strained it) before loading it into the siphon.  The resulting poached object was about the size of a poached egg, but fluffy, off-white, and homogeneous.



  3. Lunch 12 July 2014 (forgive the errors of recognition and memory on my part):


    Green pepper gazpacho, creme fraiche, mint
    Washington state oyster (raw), hot sauce, toasted sourdough crumbs
    Hard-boiled quail egg stuffed with smoked trout roe
    Potato crisp (cylindrical), filled with chipotle sour cream

    Scallop, grilled cucumber, almond pesto
    Bronzino, hozon, shredded (dried?) radish
    Spanish mackerel tataki, watermelon, black sesame oil, kimchi
    Asparagus/scallion/jalapeño salad, tomato water vinaigrette

    “Main” Courses
    Lightly smoked trout, grilled romaine, parmesan, hozon
    Potato puree, potato broth, scallion, American caviar
    Grilled cuttlefish and rice cake, sishito pepper and lemon puree
    Carpaccio of 60-day aged beef, dried chicken and duck, porcini milk, celery
    Siphoned and poached egg, bacon dashi, shio kombu
    Roasted lobster, laminated brioche, herb salad w/myoga, siphoned lobster sauce
    Fresh farfalle pasta, cheddar sauce, bacon fat, peas, nettles
    Slow-cooked halibut, pickled cucumber, tomato/Indian lime pickle sauce
    Roast rack of heritage pork, white kimchi, caramelized red onion, chili oil gravy
    Shaved foie, lychee, pinenut brittle, yuzu/Riesling gelee

    Fluffy sweet goat cheese mousse over graham crust, calamansi sorbet, shiso
    “Tres leches” cake filled w/black sesame, plums, dulce de leche gelato
    Strawberries, cream, green tomato sorbet, candied buckwheat, strawberry/elderflower soda
    Fermented chickpea and blueberry macaroon

  4. At a restaurant last weekend, I had a poached egg, but instead of just cracking the egg into the water it was shot out of an isi siphon.  This got me wondering about making very light poached dumplings by putting batter in a siphon and dispensing into a poaching liquid (or even, if I weren't worried about the splatter, into a fryer).  Has anybody tried this?  Does it work?


    Thanks in advance,


  5. I'm a Texan recently removed to Rome, and I'm feeling an increasing need for several masa based dishes. Looking at this thread and elsewhere, it seems to me that the choke-point here will be the grinding. I'm pretty sure I can't get a Mexican corn grinder, but I do have access to a general-purpose (meat) grinder. There was some brief discussion above, but it didn't look to me like anyone had actually tried this. Any help?


  6. We went there for my birthday a couple of months ago and had the veg. tasting menu. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it.

    The room is great.

    The service is absolutely first rate.

    The several dishes we had were all expertly prepared and presented. The menu as a whole was ever so slightly disappointing because (1) while everything (8 courses) was very good, there were only one or two real wow moments, and (2) that effect was magnified by a certain sameness between dishes. They seemed to rely very heavily on their own garden vegg and fresh cheese, which is obviously good at one level, but did produce a certain sameness. I think that if I could go back in time, I'd still go there (the chef is clearly really, really good) and have the regular prix fixe instead.

    One other thing to think about. It is really expensive. I had a dinner at Daniel in NYC a month later that cost considerably less (if you don't count the plane ticket) and was a complete show-stopper. I don't know how you feel about paying those kinds of prices in Texas.


  7. Based on my minimal experience (exactly one meal), "good" certainly doesn't do Olivia justice, but the idea that this was really one of the top ten new restaurants in the country is an absurdity that can only be explained by a need for geographical diversity. (Feast in Houston, on the other hand, might actually qualify.) That said, there's a lot to like at Olivia. They're good about being local and seasonal. Partly as a result, the menu changes a fair amount. They have a lot of unusual items (like the justly famous lamb tounge) and unusual combinations of more "normal" ingredients (peach gazpacho). They have a good balance between serious and casual. Prices are not crazy. The problem with the food, and this was the case with nearly every one of the 7 dishes we had at that meal, was that the idea was a little better than the execution. It was hard to taste the peach in that gazpacho; one dish was way too sweet, one too salty. Now, certainly the people behind Olivia know how to cook. I wonder if the rotation (of a slightly longish menu) sometimes gets the better of them? Clearly Austin is better off to have this restaurant, and it is probably unfair to penalize them for not being as good as they could be (when that still puts them ahead of most of the competition). Still, I couldn't help be a little disappointed.


  8. Have any egulleteers been to anywhere nice in Belfast lately?  I'm looking for somewhere towards the end of August but I can't find a lot of recommendations :(

    I was just there a couple of weeks ago and had very fine lunches at both Deane's and his deli/bistro.


  9. \I approach it in two minds however. If only he had decided not to repeat tapas (which we already have) but to do the kind of cutting edge cuisine that is making Spain the leader in global cuisine at the present time. We have nothing of that ilk in Dallas. It's a monster-sized hole in the dining scene. He would have the market to himself.

    This is a problem, and in the whole state, not just Dallas. In that context of lowered expectations, however, you could do a lot worse than Nana in Dallas, where we had an excellent dinner (the lacto-ovo-vegetarian tasting menu) last week. Not super-avant-garde, but very, very good.

    Maybe some day...


  10. To my knowledge there isn't much like Indika here. Clay Pit might be close.  There's been a flurry of fast-casual Indian places opening lately, many of them Chinese/Indian fusion.

    Come fall though that may change with Stephen Pyles' new place opening that features small plates from India and South America.

    Thanks for the info. I like the Clay Pit here, but I assume the one up there isn't much different.

    I'll keep an eye out for the Pyles place; sounds very interesting.


  11. I live in Austin, but am always excited to go to Indika when I'm in Houston. I'll be in Dallas on business soon, and I was wondering if there are comparable Indian restaurants up there? I guess I'm more interested in a skilled and inventive chef than absolutely rigorous "authenticity."


  12. and I'm calm, this is just "urgent" due to the legislative session limitations.  I would love to know the TRA's position and would welcome a response from them, if they are listening-----

    I was questioning the calmness of the blog post I quoted on the other side of the debate. Your posts here have been, I agree, totally reasonable.


  13. I think it's that if they have a full bar (liquor) you can't BYO.

    That's wrong. If they serve wine you can't bring your own. What is the argument here?!--The Dewhurst Bill is good for us--quit nit picking about who knows more and support the bill!!!!! :blink:

    Clearly good in the short run for oenophiles; maybe bad in the long run for quality restaurants, and so presumably for all of us:

    Rob Balon blog

    I don't know enough to have an opinion on the bill, but I'd be curious to hear from a calmer voice on the "no" side.


  14. To eat dinner there next week, will offer a report...


    Looks interesting, and I'll be interested to hear a full report. We went for Restaurant Week and had some of the dishes on the new menu already. Everything was executed with care and subtlety (indeed, a few dishes were perhaps too subtle).

    I have to say our experience was somewhat colored by the tiny portions. I'm normally a quality-over-quantity guy, and I can't remember the last time I had a problem in an Austin restaurant, fine dining or otherwise, but this was ridiculous. If you can't afford to serve an actual meal at the standard RW price, then don't participate. At any rate, I doubt that will be a problem now.


  15. I truthfully believe that this is the best source for information on Austin restaurants, by far. None of the newspapers like Austin Chronicle and The Statesman are reliable, as nearly all their reviews are gushingly positive.

    The FC book has a lot of value, especially compared to the Statesman; the Chronicle isn't so bad, especially once you get to know the takes of their stable of writers. But I think the value of FC has more to do with the skills of the individual critics than a superior method.

    1) A weekly newspaper reviews 50+ restaurants a year. Those can all be positive AND honest if you just don't cover the bad places. After all, the Michelin guide only lists recommendations.

    2) FC's income is based, I believe, solely on sales. Thus it has some financial motivation to be negative (to back up the above claim to credibility) and contrarian (to make it distinctive), even if those stances aren't based on the facts of particular cases. Of course, the same has been said of Consumer Reports, and I still tend to believe in them.


  16. Yeah, I've done the Gourmand I think a few times now under Humm, but I wonder if the Eleven, with the price hike and without listed courses is any different or better or what.

    I had the Eleven last Friday:

    hors d'ourvres (5)

    gateau of salmon, caviar, and (I think) creme fraiche w/ little crepes

    spheres of chevre and beet juice (the former in OO, the latter in a vinaigrette)

    ceviche of fruits du mer in Tsatsuma dressing, w/ tarragon and blood orange caviars

    mille-feuille of foie gras, chicken, black truffle; mushroom brioche

    Coconut poached turbot w/Madras curry shellfish nage, peanuts, ginger

    Orange-butter-poached lobster, crustacean sabayon, pures of celery and Meyer lemon

    Sous vide pheasant breast, verjus jus, riesling poached grapes, granola, celery root (I think) puree

    Beef tenderloin w/glazed shortribs, jerusalem artichoke (shaved, pureed, red-wine-poached, and one other way), guanciale tuile, bordelaise sauce

    cheese cart

    Miso sorbet, shiso foam, pineapple puffed rice

    Chocolate cake w/gianduia mousse and espresso sponge; hazelnut ice cream and praline

    mignardises (7)

    That tracks the shorter tasting menu pretty closely, though there are a few items that aren't anywhere on the menu.

    On the whole, I thought it was a very impressive performance. The turbot was particularly good, and the constrast between the flesh and skin of the pheasant was spectacular. Service was first-rate.

  17. I like most of Melissa Clark's pieces, especially when she does restaurant coverage. Outside of the pages of the Times, she's also a talented book-author. I guess I don't quite follow the basis of the complaint.

    My reaction to MC's articles is pretty similar to that of the original poster. I think the problem for me is the problem-solving format of the "Good Appetite" columns. The problems usually strike me as extremely artificial: what leftovers happen to be in MC's own refrigerator, what ingredients are available within a few blocks of her apartment, what her social circle is tired of or finds declasse. Since I never share the same problems, I'm not interested in the solutions unless they're great recipes on their own. Which they're not.

    Before she got this column I had some awareness of MC's cookbook work (which FG rightly praises), and had actually looked forward to "Good Appetite" on that basis, but I've been constantly disappointed. I don't know about her restaurant coverage, but that suggests to me that it doesn't share the same problems. I think my problem, at any rate, isn't with MC as a writer in general but with the conception of her NYT column.


  18. Has anyone cooked anything from this cookbook?  I am reviewing it for my blog and have had very mixed experiences.  Some of the recipes were fairly easy and delicious, others grossly out of whack.  Many had way too much olive oil, which I understand has been a problem for some at Esca as well.

    Anyone else try this one?

    The only thing I've actually made from it was the tuna ragu (with some mackerel or sardine in it) Very simple but very good.


  19. faux gras

    Everything worked well mechanically.  All tasted good except the faux gras.  It wasn't actually bad, but it was undersalted (which, in my experience, really hurts such dishes), and given the method, it's hard to catch that in time.

    I made the faux gras about a month ago, and it turned out fabulous. I didn't think it was undersalted at all,and I am not shy with salt.


    That was mostly my fault. He did a class here last month, and I asked him how to check the seasoning on something so liquid with raw poultry in it. He pointed out that you could put a small amount on a plate and microwave it. You wouldn't want to do the actual cooking that way, of course, but plenty good for testing.

    He made the asparagus salmon, the carbonara discussed above, potato risotto (the first dish of his I ever made, though I didn't realize it at the time), and chocolate covered grapes. It was all great.


  20. I've had good luck with the Rick Bayless recipe. I'd make it at least once at home in order to compare with what you can buy. I do like the tang contributed by the goat milk in the recipe I use by Bayless.

    I'd second that. You could also play with the spicing if you make it at home.

    One piece of advice. As the cajeta cooks down, it gets kind of splattery, so I like to use an oversized pot for the cooking, say one that is only 1/4 full to start with.


  21. [is that MT market the one on N Lamar south of airport?]

    No. It's much further up Lamar, just south of where Braker (I think that's right) intersects it. It's a huge store in a fairly new development; the whole thing is called Chinatown, but it looks pretty Vietnamese to me.


  22. I have been able to find them at Whole Foods and Central Market and various korean/asian markets usually during the holiday season, but where can I find them year round?

    I don't know this for sure (I don't buy them), but I think I remember seeing quail eggs pretty much year-round in the MT supermarket in the "Chinatown" center.


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