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Everything posted by edsel

  1. If the wine served to biskuit was the same one we enjoyed, it was gorgeous. The one we had was Abbazia di Novacella Praepositus Moscato Rosa. It was served with the final two dishes (the chocolate and the pumpkin/burning-leaves). There were two moscatos served at the end of our meal. The first was light and honeyed (I think I recall honeysuckle qualities, but my mind's a blur at this point...), and the rosa was intense. Rose and berry fragrance, and a jammy, dense sweetness. The wine pairings overall were brilliant, but ending the meal with two contrasting moscatos was delightful.
  2. I bought the English edition weeks ago, but have barely had time to thumb through it. The recipes are fun (their mashed potatoes call for fresh cheese curds ) and there are plenty of fun little stories. They have a great attitude about the food they prepare, respecting the animals in particular. Visits to farms, witness to the slaughter, all of that. I know that some people are grossed out by images of animals being dressed/gutted, but there's a measure of respect given to the the beasts that provide the meat we enjoy. And I don't mean to imply that the book is grim. There's more joy here than anything. They also make an informed and passionate case for humane treatment of livestock. One of the first sections of the book is entitled "Happy Pig". Fun people, great attitude. I'd love to eat at their restaurant.
  3. I'll add to the chorus of Vita-Mix fans. I have a 5000 with the wet and dry blade containers, and am quite happy with it. The new 5200 model appears to be nearly identical to mine, but with a slightly more powerful motor and a redesigned container. You can get a refurbished 5000 for a lot less money (check the Specials page) and still get a great warranty.
  4. Thanks for posting the pictures, Ronnie. My little point-and-shoot camera can't do justice to the dishes at Alinea. The menu we enjoyed a few weeks earlier was very similar, with tweaks here and there (e.g. compressed watermelon rather than cucumber with the trout dish). We were just a bit early in the season to get the white truffle dish, though. Damn that looks good! And as far as I can tell, it's a totally "classic" presentation. What was the sauce? It looks like butter... Since I've only been there once, I have no frame of reference to compare what I enjoyed with their previous offerings (other than what I've read here, obviously). It's gratifying to know that we experienced them in "most tightly composed" form. I regret never tasting the Hearts of Palm dish or the Flavors of A-1 from the early days, for instance. Still, what we experienced was thrilling - as much performance as meal. Magical stuff.
  5. It's not so easy to get here in the States, either. One of the local PBS stations used to carry it on the "Create" channel, a sub-channel of the digital broadcast. They redid their digital setup to add HD, and had to drop one of the existing channels. Guess which one they dropped? There's a video podcast link (iTunes) on the show website, but it doesn't appear to be working at the moment. The podcasts are just a few minutes each, not complete shows.
  6. If you've got calcium buildup (from hard water), try adding vinegar to the water bath. There was a post either in this thread or in one regarding food safety that recommended using some sort of harsh chemical to clean a used circulator. I think the poster was assuming that the circulator might have been exposed to biohazard material. Since it's against U.S. regulations (and comparable regs elsewhere) to sell equipment that has been used for restricted purposes, I would hope that the circulator you bought just needs a bit of scrubbing up. (Assuming you bought it from a reputable source).
  7. I think you've touched on what makes MR so rapturous about veal stock. Rather than "least essential", I would substitute "most ineffable". I can't speak for Mr. Ruhlman, but I get the impression that he's enamored of the way that veal stock can elevate something ordinary into something more. I heard him speak at a kitchen demo (posted in the Heartland forum), and he did indeed point out that you can use water to deglaze the fond in a pan to make a very serviceable jus. The veal stock provides a silky texture that can't be explained by simply noting the presence of gelatin in the stock. (I'm with him on that one). But you're on to something with the MSG analogy. If MSG pumps up the umami flavor, perhaps veal stock does something analogous in regards to texture.
  8. I've got turkey backs, necks, and wings cooking just below the simmer. I assiduously skimmed the stock until no Keller-offending scum was left floating on the surface. Heh. I liked FG's summary of the various interpretations of what is understood to be demi-glace. My own take is that it's veal stock cooked down with sauce espangole, pretty much straight out of the guide culinaire. But that's how I learned it (self-taught). FG is correct that different people interpret the term differently, at least in the U.S.
  9. Michael Ruhlman gave a cooking demonstration and talk at the Viking Store at Legacy Village last night. He's been traveling the country to promote his new book The Elements of Cooking. The book is intended to introduce professional techniques and terminology to the home cook, and the Viking demos are drawn from Elements and from his experience as a cookbook author and dedicated culinarian. Preparing the dry cure for pork belly The first dish he demonstrated was a salad of spinach and arugula with lardons. He started out by mixing up a dry cure for pork belly. Next he cut up some already-cured belly into lardons to be rendered and crisped on the stove. The salad was dressed with some of the rendered bacon fat, sherry vinegar, and a touch of balsamic vinegar. It was topped with slices of hard-boiled egg (he recommends a poached egg as a nice touch). Meanwhile, shallots were prepped for roasting and chicken thighs were cut up and blanched for the blanquette to follow. Mushrooms were sliced and seared in a very hot pan. A pâte à choux was cooked and cooled for the dessert. Blanquette de Poulet - Chicken thighs in a rich stew served over fresh pasta Throughout the demo he explained the kitchen fundamentals involved. Some of the techniques couldn't be completed in the limited time available (bacon curing, stock making), but the value of learning these techniques was emphasized again and again. Ruhlman is a downright evangelical when it comes to proper cooking in the home (and it's clear that his idea of "proper" is grounded in the classical professional cuisine). None of the dishes demonstrated are beyond the reach of a reasonably dedicated amateur. Strategies for putting the techniques to use (roast a chicken on Monday, make a stock from the carcass on Tuesday, use the stock to enrich your cooking over the next few days) were offered, even as he put together three courses - a lovely salad, a hearty yet elegant stew served over pasta, and a quick but yummy dessert - that could be prepared in a home kitchen. Frying pâte à choux to make doughnuts The teaching facilities at the Viking Store are impressive. Given the setting, it's a bit ironic that Ruhlman made a point of not using any fancy equipment in his preparations. The store is chock full of gadgets, but the demo employed tools that are commonly available in a decently-equipped home kitchen. He didn't even use any electrical appliances. Just a good knife, cutting board, whisk, spoons, pots, pans, bowls, etc. The only "exotic" gear, if you can call it that, was the hand-cranked machine used to roll out the pasta. When Ruhlman gave a talk to promote his book Charcuterie at the nearby Joseph Beth bookstore a while back, only eight of us showed up. (Despite the disappointing turnout, he was quite generous with his time, chatting with us on topics that ranged far beyond the book he was promoting). This time out his book tour is generating considerably more interest, at least here in Cleveland. The teaching kitchen at Viking was at capacity (about thirty-five paying customers), and I was told that many more were turned away. Maybe the new book has a broader following than Charcuterie. Or perhaps his recent exposure on Next Iron Chef has something to do with it. Additional photos on Flickr if you're interested. Check Ruhlman's blog for his book tour itinerary.
  10. More often than I thought, it would seem. Or at least I hope they'll be recreating the ICA menus at Lola or Lolita. Starting with the "Battle Swordfish". WOOHOO Iron Chef Michael Symon!
  11. Sounds like it! Thanks for sharing with us. A couple of comments about your Lola experience. The desserts are by Lola's pastry chef Cory Barrett. Ruhlman scolded Symon for making bacon ice cream on the first episode of Next Iron Chef America. Seems there's a downside to knowing one of the judges. (BTW, Besh also made something that his PC does, but didn't get busted on it.) That dessert was on the menu when the new Lola opened and is the only thing they seem to keep perpetually. As to finding Michael Symon in the house, he recently posted a "not set-in-stone" schedule on a local forum. Monday - Lola Tuesday - Lolita Wednesday - Lola Thursday - Lola Friday - Lola, then Lolita Saturday - Lola, then Lolita Sunday - Lolita workaholic much? Glad you made it to VTR. The Tango Manhattan (the one with their special vermouth) is one of my favorites.
  12. Give poor chef Symon a break. It's not like Paris has a "truffle store." Oh wait... ← Did they indicate whether the contestants were restricted to shopping exclusively at "Chairman's favorite places" ? It wouldn't surprise me if there was such a rule imposed on them. At least they don't have constant "product placement" like certain other chef contests...
  13. Another great dinner at Lolita! I love those pig's ears. Unfortunately I think they were only back as a special, not part of the regular menu. The pizza is even better now. I think they've perfected the crust - just the right blend of crispy and chewy. Matt and Cory completed their AVPN training, so I guess the official certification is in the works. Regardless of any formal "blessing" from the certification board, that pizza is amazing. The beef cheek tagliatelli is delicious. Matt mentioned that they will probably have it on the special "family style" menu on Sunday. They've been celebrating the Next Iron Chef competition with a special menu. I guess it's quite the festive atmosphere.
  14. edsel

    Ideas in Food

    Heh, that makes two of us! I'm a huge fan of Alex and Aki's blog. They're so creative, and so generous in sharing their thoughts and ideas. I'd rank them up there with Shola Olunloyo in terms of wonderful, inquisitive, creative cooking. Mind you, I haven't had the chance to try any of their cooking - I just enjoy the ideas they share on the internet. I missed out on Keyah Grande and Studiokitchen, but I'll catch up with these folks sooner or later... Great post, Doc.
  15. I joined NancyH and her husband Bob at Alinea on Saturday. I'd been wanting to dine at Alinea ever since I first heard about it in the special preview forum. I was a bit concerned that it might not live up to my expectations. I needn't have worried - it was every bit as phenominal as I had imagined it to be. About two-thirds of our menu was similar or identical to the one posted recently by biskuit. I'll only post pictures of of the dishes that were new. Biskuit's photo skills are better than mine to say the least, but this should at least give an idea of what the dishes looked like. Tour October 27, 2007 Duck butternut squash, banana, Thai flavors Champagne Cocktail Paul Laurent Brut, Lillet Blanc, Campari, Pineau, Vya vermouth Brook Trout watermelon, kombu, coriander Masumi Arabashiri junmai ginjo namazake Nagano Prefecture Yuba (soy milk skin) shrimp, miso, togarashi Beans many garnishes, pillow of nutmeg air J. Hofstätter gewürztraminer 'Kolbenhof' Alto Adige 2005 Sweetbread cauliflower, burnt bread, toasted hay Luis Pato Baga 'Vinhas Velhas' Beiras, Portugal 2000 Black Truffle Explosion romaine, parmesan Beef Heart fig, long peppercorn, celery root Robert Biale Stagecoach Vinyards - Bale Block Zinfandel Napa Valley 2005 Pork Belly smoked paprika, polenta, pickled vegetables Roasted Quince foie gras, candied fennel, sweet spices Hattenheimer Nussbrunen Riesling Spätlese Balthazar Ress Rheingau 2005 Huckleberry frozen and chewy, lemon, parsley Pineapple bacon powder, black pepper Brook Trout Roe corn, Blis maple syrup Domaine du Viking Vouvray 'Tendre' Loire 1990 Apple Cider walnut milk, cinnamon, vegetable ash Scallop parsnip, orange, hyacinth vapor Albert Mann Tokay Pinot Gris 'Cuvée Albert' Alsace 2005 Hot Potato Cold Potato black truffle Lamb in Cubism Henschke "Johann's Garden" Grenache Barossa South Australia 2005 Radish ginger, pear, tarragon Transparency of Raspberry rose petal, yogurt Guava avocado, key lime juice, brie La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti 'Bricco Quaglia' Piedmont 2006 Licorice Cake muscovado sugar, orange, hyssop Chocolate passionfruit, lemongrass, soy Abbazia di Novacella Moscato Moscato Rosa 'Praepositus' Alto Adige 2006 Roasted Pumpkin brown sugar, burning leaves, pie dough We started at 8:30 and the Tour lasted until after 1:00 AM. We were told that this is about "average" for doing the full tour. The record is under two hours. Somehow speed-eating doesn't seem quite right in this context... We were seated in the front dining room upstairs. Most of the parties in the dining room started the Tour at about the same time, give or take thirty minutes. Some who started after us finished sooner, but not by much. A larger group (celebrating a birthday, I believe) was well into their tour when we arrived, but finished just before we did. I think the FOH staff sort of gage just how fast the individual groups want to go and adjust accordingly. It's unfortunate that tsgg20 experienced disappointing service - we were delighted with ours. I felt that driving all the way from Cleveland was well worth the trip. Remaining pictures on Flickr.
  16. Oh, I'd forgotten about the crème de violette. The VTR version of the Aviation is just gin, Maraschino, lemon juice. It's a bit tart for some palates, but I like it. I wonder if VTR could make a "sky-blue" version on request....
  17. I love the Aviation, and VTR is the only place I know of in Cleveland that makes it. (Most places don't even stock Maraschino liquor.) The Aviation at VTR is properly icy, and I like the flamed lemon zest garnish. They have another new drink called the Spicy Chica which has lively ginger and cinnamon flavors.
  18. That sounds right. The idea was to mimic the flavors of carrot cake. The cream cheese foam was cool. I love the idea of having dinners with the farmers - truly "local and sustainable". The farmers and their families seemed to enjoy the "modern" cuisine. It was a trip walking into Light Bistro and seeing a bunch of people dressed in traditional Mennonite garb. I hope they do more of these in the future. Since nancy already posted pictures of everything I'll just link to mine.
  19. There's an entertaining piece by Ted Allan in the October Popular Science that mentions several of these cool toys. The Future of Food The accompanying photo gallery has links to vendors.
  20. I think that the "pork wing" was a small bone-in section of the shoulder. But Googling "pork wing" comes up with references to shanks, not shoulder. The texture of that pork sure didn't seem like shank to me. I guess we'll have to ask. I had to chuckle at your description of Susan Geul's dessert as a "turducken". It really did sound improbable - cake wrapped in a crêpe, wrapped in flaky pastry, rolled in pretzel crumbs. At least I think that was the sequence. I had my doubts, but wow was that good! It was like a little battle of incongruous flavors and textures that somehow assembled themselves into a delightful experience. And it's fair to say that it was one of the truly unique desserts I've tasted in recent years - never seen anything like it. I've enjoyed the wine dinners at Blue Canyon, but it was fun having beer rather than wine with this one.
  21. That story has to be apocryphal. At best, the bad review may have been a trigger (or excuse) for the firings, if they even happened. Serious, seventeen people lose their jobs over a single one-off review by people who don't even review restaurants for a living? I don't think so...
  22. The meatball pizza may be a one-off, but the meatballs themselves are on the menu. Pork and veal meatballs, served with soft polenta and herbs. Serving Nancy that pizza was such a clever idea - got a great laugh at the table. Plus, it was delicious!
  23. I'm convinced that anyone who claims to dislike beets simply hasn't had them prepared properly. I've had beet salads several times at both Lola and Lolita. The presentation has varied (the most memorable being the one with pork belly "croutons" served at the Slow Food dinner last year), but they all had one thing in common. The beets were slow-roasted to bring out their natural sweetness. Nothing could be further from that musty canned-beet flavor.... The new menu is terrific - I really need to get back to Lolita to try some of the pasta dishes and mains we didn't get to. Liz Symon is working on revamping the wine list as well - not that it needs it. Lolita has a terrific selection of wines by the glass.
  24. I was part of the group that tried out the new menu tonight. All I can say is that the pizza lived up to my expectations. Wow! Oh, and the rest of the menu has been reworked in a major way. Several new apps and a bunch of meat and pasta dishes we didn't even try. (Gotta go back!) The Chicken livers, the beet salad, and the roasted dates are all standouts. The creamed corn and polenta sides are amazing. The new menu is a hit with this crowd! A couple of snapshots and then off to bed. A classic Neapolitan pizza. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. The tomatoes were slow-roasted to bring out their flavor. The crust was perfect. The creamed corn and polenta side dishes. Both were heavenly.
  25. I couldn't believe how Bourdain let Marky Ramone eat him under the table at Lola. "Gotta go on the treadmill later, that's all". Hilarious.
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