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Captain Hongo

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  1. I'm booked into Providence on Tuesday April 12, under my real name: Arthur Wilson. I will post with pictures just to update this thread. Honkman from 2 Foodies posted last August with the Summer menu, I'll do the Spring version. This date is midway between our anniversary and my birthday so it's the big celebration for us. In the past we've done Trio in Chicago, West in Vancouver, The French Laundry, Perigees in Toronto (now sadly closed) and Bigas in San Antonio for this occasion. For us, this is the big event of the year, but the first time we've trusted an LA restaurant. We just got back from Australia and New Zealand and don't want to travel again so soon. But after reading the reviews and talking with friends, I'm not worried. Let's eat!
  2. I'll be in Vegas next week for a few days. Who is doing great BBQ? I hear about Rub and Memphis but don't know them. Can y'all help an old Texan eat high on the hog? And, also, what happened to Salt Lick at the Red Rock? That was my favorite. Thanks in advance.
  3. Cathy Danh (Gastronomyblog.com) is putting on a Bake Sale at Zekes Smokehouse in West Hollywood (7100 Santa Monica Blvd) on Saturday December 5, 2009, 10am to ?, proceeds to go to the LA Regional Food Bank. Good foodie blog, good cause and a good restaurant. I've been to the original in Montrose, Ca. and think it ranks with The Salt Lick in Austen, Tx. Details at her blog (600 baked goods, oh boy!), and at latimesblogs.latimes.com Be there to meet lots of LA food bloggers and foodies on the patio. HOST'S NOTE: This is an member-organized event, not an official eGullet Society event. Please see here for the terms under which this event is listed in eG Forums.
  4. Why are most restrooms "disgusting", and I agree that they are. But, usually it's the patrons that mess up the rooms. They do things that I hope they don't do at home. Flushing anything in sight down the toilets and then walking away from the overflow. Diapers, pads, paper towells, etc. Missing the urinal, throwing hand wipes on floor, butts in the urinal. All these things are common. They restrooms don't start the day dirty, but stuff happens. Your fellow guests are the problem...fixing the problem starts there. IMHO.
  5. Last week I enjoyed a fun dinner at the Border Grill helmed by Mary Sue Millikan and Susan Fenigan (The Two Hot Tamales). This was a margarita paired tasting dinner hosted by Ray Ramos of Corralejo Tequila. Their Triple distilled is my favorite sipping tequila, hard to find, it's at Bevmo. Mary Sue Millikan and The Captain Chef Raymond This was the third or fourth tequila dinner I've attended at Border Grill and it was the best. The Grill is in downtown Santa Monica, just off the Promenade. Fortunately for me, it is located at a bus stop which bus also runs by my home in Venice. No driving was involved. For that, I gave thanks, for I was impaired when I left. This is how I roll. Each course was accompnied by a shot of the selected tequila and a generous margarita. Also, before the dinner there was a surprise margarita and several tastes. It pays to arrive early and also have a Local's Club membership. The first course was a Hoja Santa Wrapped Stuffed Shitake. It included carmelized leeks, oaxacan cheese, salsa verde, and pincho. Hoja Santa is an aromatic herb with a heart shaped pepperleaf that is considered a sacred herb because Mary is said to have dried the diapers of Jesus over them. None the less, it had an anise/nutmeg flavor. I'm not sure why the description includes "pincho". The only pincho I know refers to a stick stuck through a combination of food much like a skewer through yakitori. However, there was no stick. And, it needed none. The Tequila was a reposado. The Margarita was named Grape-nilla. It was mixed with green grapes, a vanilla bean infusion, lime juice, and the house citrus blend. The combination worked quite well, even though I am a margarits snob. To me, currently, I think a 3 to 1 ratio of Cazadores reposado and Roses Lime Juice over ice cubes is the way to go. The next offering was just great. It was named Albondigas Dos Cominos. It consisted of two meatballs, each different with their own sides. The Kobe beef was gently seasoned and sat on salsa bravo with roasted shallot aioli. Quite tasty, but suffered in comparison with the Lamb ball. I could totally enjoy this "meatball" as a large entree. The lamb was very tasty and was surrounded by a fresh curried yogurt, a caramelized onion marmalade and oregano chimichurri. Outstanding. Chimichurri is an Argentenian green sauce, usually made with parsley, olive oil, garlic, vinegar and peppers. I cooked one summer at the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe and Mark served it with rabbit, though much spicier. Chef Raymonds take was much finer and fit very well with the lamb. The tequila was anejo, like me, and the drink was a Curried Margarita, it included muddled neem leaf and muddled lime. I had to look up neem and found out that it is an evergreen tree from India that taste of peanut and garlic. It is claimed that it produces a medicinal oil. What doesn't? Next up was a Sea Scallop served with olive oil poached peppers. An outstanding dish with a large succulant scallop resting on white creamed corn, a combination of poached peppers and serrano ham, drizzled with a blood orange reduction. Lordy, I love scallops. This one was just right and the orange gave it a great tang. The tequila was blanco, and of course the cocktail was a Blood Orange Margarita, with a beautiful slice of blood orange decorating the glass. By now, I needed the security of knowing that I had a designated bus driver. Sadly, we were at the last course. However it was a combination of three of my favorite tastes, Tequila, naturally, coconut and cheesecake. TMI, when I was pastry chef at Strattons at the Westwood Playhouse, I served what I called the Tequila Surfride Cheesecake. It was fairly well received. This Coconut Tequila Cheese Cake, put mine to rest, with its tequila soaked golden raisins, toasted coconut and a just right caramel sauce. The tequila was reposado, as was I until late the next day. The "Margarita" was very untraditional. It was a Corralejo Horchata cocktail. If you dont know, horchata is a rice milk drink made in every latino kitchen I been in out of rice, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Not unlike a wet rice pudding strained through cheesecloth. I've enjoyed it for years and now see a commercial version in some grocery stores. It was just the smooth drink that the cheesecake needed. Susan Feniger and Toni Chef Raymond, the Tamales and Ray Ramos from Corralejo put on an outstanding party and you weren't there. Pity.
  6. On June 6 this year, we had dinner for 2 at the 9:00 seating, next to the fireplace. And at least one more two top in the ground floor room. Da Capatin
  7. I'd say try either The Lobster Restaurant at the top of the Santa Monica Pier or Marisols at the end of the pier on a Thursday night and then go to the free concert on the pier. A true taste of Santa Monica. Capt. Hongo
  8. Thank you, RJ. We'll be at TFL June 6 and really enjoyed your report. The pictures were exciting and the discussion useful. You and I have communicated here before and your suggestiions have always been spot on. You're a pleasure and an education. Da Captain
  9. Is Bistro Zinc in Monte Lago Village at Lake Las Vegas a version of Zinc Bistro? Da Captain
  10. I want to give a shout out to Ah Sin in the Paris Hotel. Creative and beautfully presented sushi and Japanese cooking. Excellent food and friendly service. My personal favorite. Da Captain
  11. The title is it. We like to try out the local products and the different types of cooking. So, what does Fresno have to Offer. Da Captain
  12. Just a quick report and thanks to those who helped. We stayed at the Marriot Marina Hotel down by Gaslamp. Excellent Margaritas at the Yacht Club at the hotel. We sat on the patio and watched the boats go by and ate Crabcakes and sashimi. Rama is a beautiful white linen restaurant, very formal looking. The waterfall wall is the whole wall, I didn't expect that. It is great. The Nua Kem is fantastic. Beef that's air-dried in a tangerine sauce with a bite. It's not on the menu, but the hotel conceriage told me about it, and to ask for it. Also get the chili tray and play with your flavors. La Gran tapa was very quiet and peaceful. We had the tapa sampler and about 4 others, and drank Sangrea. And a shout out to the reason for our visit. The San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido. This is not a zoo, but an open air park with wild things and beer. A wonderful way to spend a day. Da Captain
  13. Thanks for the advice. We appreciate the help Da Captain
  14. We're going down to SD for a quick midweek holiday before Labor Day and will stay near Gaslamp. We'd like some Thai and thought about tapas for lunch. Are these still great places? Thanks in advance for your comments Da Captain
  15. Maybe off topic. But I'll be visiting Auckland and Christchurch. Whats in Christchurch that's worth a special visit?
  16. Rockin' Baja Lobster and the bucket dinners are a favorite of mine in Old Town. But, the Margaritas are overpriced. So, I eat there and drink at the Coyote Cafe. I just had dinner at Pacifica Del Mar in Del Mar after opening day at the track and had a great time out on the patio watching the sun set thru the clouds. Takoshimi (peppered Ahi in mini taco shells) and the Kim Chee Martini (no longer in a martini glass) were very tasty along with a shrimp corn dog. Da Captain
  17. Thanks, Octaveman and Kalypso for the Old Town update, I appreciate your help. I guess I'll eat at the Rockin Baja Lobster. I'll miss Casa de Pico, it was fun. Delaware North had the concession at Kings Canyon National Park, up near Fresno, but lost it for not doing that good a job. Da Captain
  18. I haven't been down for a while. What's going on with Casa de Pico and Old Town?
  19. Nobody has mentioned Venice and its medium range cafes. At the Venice Pier is the Terrace Cafe for breakfasts and beach watching. Across the street is Bite, a local sushi bar with a nice fireplace. The Beeachwood, on Washington, is an excellent casual restaurant. Just thought I'd give a shout out. Da Captain
  20. I was doing this with a new camera and a new recorder, this caused some bad pictures and notes that I couldn’t hear . Also, several times we started eating before I remembered to take pictures. We tried to rearrange the items correctly, but didn’t do it well enough (bluefin tuna etc.). The plates that the chef presented were beautiful, well composed and irresistible. We messed them up, sorry. We had a bottle of Tawse Cabernet Franc with dinner. We had had a glass with dinner at Susur, the night before and really liked it. Later, near the end of dinner, we were presented with 2 very nice sweet wines, a Cave Springs Indian Summer Late Harvest Riesling. And a Peller Vidal Ice Wine. Both were very good. We had visited the Peller Vineyards and tasted 4 of their Ice Wines, purchased 2, including the Vidal. Michael, the wine steward, and I were talking about local beers early in the dinner and later he surprised us with a flight of 4 local beers. Here, though, is one of those lost notes and all I can say is that the first beer on the left is a Pilsner from Toronto’s Steamwood (sp?) Brewery. Next is a Quebec Wheat Beer, next a Quebec Pale Ale. Last, is a Mill Street Brewery Ale from a brewery in the Distillery District just behind Perigee. We didn’t have anything to say about the dinner we were served. We ordered the standard 7 course dinner and the bottle of Tawse. Chef Patrick came over to talk to us and said that because we had come a long way for dinner (Los Angeles to T.O.), he would give us a whole bunch of things instead of the 7 course so we could see what they were doing then and show off some new things. We, of course, just said “Thank You”. The check: 2 7 Course Menu $220.00 1 bottle Tawse $55.00 PST $23.10 GST $19.25 Total $317.35 Thanks for your interest and comments. And a special shoutout to GordonCooks, whose reviews and pictures were so exciting that we made Perigee the focal point of our trip. I believe he also recommended Peller vineyards for a tasting menu dinner, which we did and will probably post a review soon.
  21. On September13, 2005, 2 weeks ago, today, we had a amazing meal at Perigee. Enjoy it with us. The Amuse. 4 different Oysters with Canadian Sturgeon Caviar. They had a small sliver of cucumber in each that made the flavor slightly sweeter and added a nicely satisfying soft crunch. Mini Smoked Bison Burgers, with red pepper cheese, on a sourdough bun with Napa cabbage slaw. Instead of the regular 7 course Tasting Menu, Chef Patrick offered us “a whole bunch of things to try showing what we’ve been doing lately.” The burger had a dusky flavor which fit very nicely with the mustard. Artisanal Goat Cheese, encrusted, on a marinated gold beet salad with crushed fennel. There was a nutty/spiced flavor to the cheese from the crust and an earthy aroma that I really enjoyed. Manila and Littleneck clams in a Fennel potato broth with roast pork butt. The pork gave a good back beat to the lighter clam flavors and the broth was complex enough to stand on its own. Roasted Filet of Baramundi on a bed of marinated zucchini salad and chive sour cream. A densely flavorful fish, sort of like grouper. Bluefin Tuna with shaved Foie Gras. I think that it sat on a cushion of humus. Japanese Diver Scallop on banana pepper slaw and a Tequila glaze. A Baja California sort of combination that was a definite “Wow” Reconstructed Greek Salad. Buffalo Mozzarella, encrusted and quickly fried. On a bed of wild Arugula. This seemed to be a Alinea sort of dish. It’s their take on the Greek salad, with edge and surprise to all areas of the tongue. Same flavors as the Greek salad but with different textures. It worked and tasted/felt perfect. Dungerness and Maryland Blue Crab Cake on an heirloom tomato and cucumber gazpacho. Had a nice little bite and some crunch in the gazpacho and a pure crab flavor in the cake. Butter poached Lobster in a cornbread/summer herb salad with avocado. Perfect lobster heaven with avo. BBQ Gulf Shrimp tossed in lime and grapefruit, sitting on top of a braised oxtail stew. Think about the shrimp and the lime/grapefruit marinade - a kind of ceviche but with half cooked and half marinated shrimp. The stew was strongly flavored and slightly more than medium spicy. The dish, which is a combination of two dishes, from the Philippines, is a favorite of Chef Patrick. I would like them as the original separate foods, but mixing them is a great idea as they don’t seem as though they would go together so well. Seared Foie Gras sitting on a caramelized onion salad. With a sesame encrusted bluefoot chanterelle mushroom and a roasted mushroom that was quickly fried, on a white fruit vegetable puree, with a Madeira glaze. What more is there to say? Two different textures of mushroom and foie gras. Veal sweetbreads sesame encrusted, a salad of frisee, with white asparagus and Madeira soaked sour cherries. I know I liked it, but I have no notes. Right: Guinea Hen boudon blanc on an onion and fig compote. Middle: Mini pork pie of smoked ham hocks braised in apple cider and white wine on a rhubarb jam. Left: House cured foie gras torchon on a plum compote. Difficult to detail reactions. Such pure flavors, quickly eaten The pork pie had a smokehouse strength and with the cider and rhubarb, reminded me of my early farm childhood. Nice. Guinea hen and foie gras. Nice pair with offsetting flavors and textures. Passion fruit gelee, toasted Macadamia nut, and a raspberry sauce. Cantaloupe with lychee and cashew in a kiwi soup. Roasted Squab breast with fried honeyed mushrooms in a black truffle sauce. With poached white asparagus wrapped with serrano ham and then backed under a béchamel sauce. This is another of the Chef’s favorite dishes, based on a dish from Alsace, France. The bite of the ham against the asparagus was nice. But the breast with the sauce was an eye-opener. Rich, full and I chewed forever, just to make it last longer. Roasted Venison chop with summer mushroom stew with roasted chestnuts, diced prunes, zucchini, and bone marrow. This was a chop carved off the bone of a venison from New Zealand that runs on huge tracts of land, free but not wild as such. Sort of wild but monitored. The stew, in bites alternated with the meat added a festive sweetness that went just right with the chop. Goats milk cheese from France. Called a briquette-very soft on outside, chalky on the inside and aged very quickly. Served with some of their house-cured pork belly in a corn soup. Wash Rind Cheese with pickled fennel salad, crushed fried chickpeas and Arugula. Dessert 1 Dessert 2 I have pictures of two desserts, but I couldn’t understand the descriptions on my recorder. Number 1 is a sorbet with tomato syrup and fried mint. I think. The chef said it doesn’t taste as it sounds. He was correct, it was delicious. The second was a nectarine flan with shaved dark chocolate on a grapefruit tarragon emulsion, and more. Now, Chef Chris presented 2 dishes that really focused me so much that I forgot to take pictures. But, I have good notes, go figure. These were new desserts that we were “testing”, they passed. The first was Chris’s version of a peach Melba. On a murlock cake pile roasted peaches, fresh raspberries, and cheesecake ice cream. Next to it spoon peach coulee and raspberry sauce. The second was “pear done three ways”. The first was pear sous vide for a long time and then quickly fried, placed on top of a bitter chocolate sauce with a little bit of anise chantilly and candied orange rinds. The second way was pear “atoms”, which were little balls that had been caramelized and spooned on top of a coconut sauce with crushed pecans. The third was a shot of Granny Smith apple juice with a brilliant pear foam. Perigee is in the Distillery District not far from Yonge Street. The District, as much as I saw walking around before dinner, is a nicely restored old brick and wood group of buildings. The restaurant is on the second floor of one of these structures. Our table was against the low wall of the open kitchen and the chefs leaned on the wall to chat after presenting the creations. The service from the floor crew was seamless and royal. Brendan, the host and Michael, the wine steward were knowledgeable and charming. They were a real pleasure. Sam, the busser told some interesting stories, during his attentive and efficient service. Thank you to the Chefs, Patrick, Ryan and Chris.
  22. Thanks for the tip. I checked out their menu and now I'll be going there.
  23. There is a fine taco place on Main Street in Santa Monica called "Holy Guacamole". Right accross the street from a very good micro-beer bar called the "Library Alehouse"
  24. I have an extra day in TO and thought I'd try them. Anyone been there lately? It doesn't seem to have been mentioned in eGullet yet. Da Captain
  25. Fresh Cream looks great, but we settled on the Sardine Factory. The menu looks quite local and that's always my favorite. Thnks to all for the great tour of restaurants. Da Captain
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