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Everything posted by noambenami

  1. Just got back from a few days at Whistler. We had a good run of food: Ciao Thyme Bistro - upper village. Small space, about 24 seats. Service mediocre but food was worth the visit. Foie torchon with crumbled cinnamon bun was so-so, but the butternut squash ravioli with pea and nicely cooked fish (forget the kind) was good. Very expensive for what it is - prices were only slightly higher at Araxi, but cozy and pleasant. Araxi - very impressive food for this scale of operation. My kumamoto oyster was perfect, and my smoked sablefish was perfectly cooked and served with a deliciously lemony risotto that contained bits of octopus. Service was excellent, and the requisite molten center chocolate cake (yawn) acceptable. Oh, and the sake that we ordered was served appropriately chilled and was wonderful. Sushi Village - Looks casual, but the kitchen is using high quality ingredients and treating them well. Albacore tuna nigiri was terrific, served on perfect rice. Salmon nigiri was the best I've ever had. Tempura wasn't bad, but not something I'd order again. Rolls were well put together, but not as good as the simpler preparations. Service, again, was quite good for such a casual place. Overall, with a bit of research and luck, and willingness to spend slightly silly amounts of money, one can have great food in Whistler...making up for the shockingly cold weather and slightly icy slopes.
  2. Bars: Sambar - cozy but sophisticated Union - not at all cozy, but good drinks Vessel - fairly inventive, small, hip Oliver's Twist - Decent food, fun combinations, nicely out of the way Cascadia - Douglas fir sorbet. . Food: Union - Just had an amazing beef tongue with papardelle there Veil - Ambitious, tasty food. Good desserts - don't miss the peanut butter ice cream. Shame about the decor. Le Pichet - Awesome little french bistro, on most peoples' favorites list Lark - Had my birthday dinner there, great food! Tilth - Very good, high-end all-organic creative american. Lovely little place. Rovers - Supposed to be quite good Pike's Place: About the middle of the market, on the west side of the aisles, there is a vegetable seller that often stocks beautiful mushrooms. Other than that, there's little there you won't find at a Whole Foods. Past the market is a place called World Spice where I go to buy spices. Quality is high, selection is good.
  3. FWIW, I found Union to be the most forgettable restaurant I've been to in Seattle. Literally: I cannot remember a single dish that we had, which is not normal. My favorite so far has been Veil, despite their cold decor. Wasn't a single dud among our plates, the salted peanut butter ice cream lived up to the hype, and one dish was so good the person who ordered it firmly refused to share. If the folks at Veil could be convinced to change their decor, it could be one of the most prominent restaurants in this town. Now...all that said, I'd throw in a nod to Tilth: Simple, warm decor, and wonderful, original food.
  4. Went out to Veil last night with a few folks. The place was fairly busy, with a constant stream of dishes coming out of the kitchen. The started us out with an amuse of brunoise-sized croutons with panchetta, lemon juice and herbs. Terrific, if a bit clumsy to eat. Appetizers included the goat cheese salad, which was a beautiful pile of lettuces with hazelnuts, grape halves and hazelnut oil. Just nice. The sweatbreads, though, were outstanding, even better than those at Crush, which was my previous standard. Served with grits and mushrooms. A butternut squash soup with brussel sprouts and bacon looked fine and the plate was licked clean. The mains were a black cod with roasted baby beets. It was pronounced amazing. The chicken with bacon, mushrooms, and corn was fantastic - smoky and so juicy it may have been carefully brined. My dish of duck with farro was great, although I'm not a big fan of figs and handed the roasted instances thereof to someone else. We finished with, of course, the salted peanut ice cream with the "nutter butter" base. It did not disappoint - fresh from the pacojet, quite well balanced, one of the folks at my table called it the best ice cream she had ever had. The decor is very minimalist, bordering on cold, and the lighting inside is far too bright for the proximity of the tables...but I'll come back. This is delicious stuff coming out of one of the most skilled kitchens in Seattle. Its also a damn sexy kitchen. Where Crush's kitchen looked a little greasy and a bit messy, this kitchen is in a whole different league. Peek in when you go.
  5. Heh, I live about fifty yards from Crave. Very decent food, good coffee, good desserts - the chocolate banana terrine is a lot of fun.
  6. Paley's is not really a favorite. Its a lovely, romantic restaurant, but the food just has not kept up with the advances in the rest of town. Lucy's table is not even close to being a contender for one of PDX's best restaurants, although it too is a pleasant place. In my opinion, by far the most inventive food, and often the best for my palate, in town, is being made at Park Kitchen. Good work is being done at Olea, as well. Fenouil puts out some good food but is very expensive. Roux, as well, although, like Fenouil, they are mostly playing it safe. Vindalho puts out some tasty treats, though they aren't trying to be a gourmet destination. I've heard good things about genoa, but their cuisine seems a bit boring to me. While quite expensive, clarkelewis does good work, as well. Gotham tavern has, sadly, closed. There are also some excellent places in wine country, such as the joel palmer house.
  7. Thank you Tonyy. The foam texture I'm looking for is indeed more of a latte type of thing. Your shrimp mousse technique sounds wonderful. Now, I know that an iSi is not required for very airy foams because I've worked with chefs who have made foams using nothing but a hand blender. I've just not been able to replicate that feat. I'll play a little bit with gelatin, as well. Cheers, Noam
  8. Thank you - I've had zero luck so far with soy lecithin.
  9. Would anyone care to help with some advice on creating highly stable foams, preferably without the use of an iSi? Or is using such a device a prerequisite? My preference would be for things that could be created using a hand blender. Perhaps a master recipe or two that could be flavored with different bases? Many thanks.
  10. Well, I just got back from a very light dinner at Park Kitchen. They actually had a dish of fresh anchovies with shaved fennel. Who else in Portland has those kinds of balls? It was great. My friend's cucumber soup, spiked with lime zest and capers was good too. But the real killer was a berry crostada with sesame semifreddo, which was one of the best desserts I have ever had, and that list includes everything from Alinea to Le Cinq. I don't know any other restaurant in this town that operates in this league. (If anyone does, please let me know.)
  11. Personally, I'd avoid the popular touristy/sceney spots like Wildwood, Higgins', Blue Hour, Paley's - their food is just so utterly safe. Now, a lot of people like that, so if safety and a taste of "northwest" food is your goal, those places are fine. But, for a bit more fun (and in no particular order): Vindalho (for delicious, creative takes on Indian food), Park Kitchen (probably Portland's most creative restaurant), Fenouil (didn't expect to like it, but its lovely, elegant, and the oysters were terrific), and 820 for drinks and the sweet potato fries. Its too bad Gotham closed, their steak was outstanding. Pambiche is a bit of a portland institution and St Honore is a very charming french bakery with good desserts, and its right next to Patanegra, which serves a some very decent tapas. If I had to choose one, I'd go for Park Kitchen.
  12. True that! I've never seen Gagnaire's food before.
  13. Rachel Ray's target audience is not real foodies; the one tasty travels show I watched (on a plane ride) showed a lot of atrocious looking food and felt like an infomercial. It was pretty offputting, to be frank. She targets the lowest-common-denominator...and why not: Thats where the money is, just not the quality.
  14. Good luck, Alex - the desserts I've had at WD-50 were a disappointment. I'm sure you'll fix that: The desserts I've had at Alinea were very memorable, and that is the highest compliment I can give a dish.
  15. Dinner: Carlyle, Vindalho, Ciao Vito I'm not much of a brekkie/lunch guy, but Byways Cafe is good for breakfast, the Tin Shed is a fun lunch place, Le Happy makes great crepes, Justa Pasta makes simple, delicious, pastas. The best croissants in Portland can be had at Nuvrei's breakfast cart on NW 10th and Flanders (I apprentice there a few days a week.) I love the atmosphere at Sydney's Cafe in NW as well, and they carry Nuvrei's breakfast pastries. Have fun!
  16. I'd be surprised to hear of a restaurant with even minor ambitions refusing to accomodate such a simple request. I don't know how other places talk about it, but we have a thing called "la bas" (usually said "ha ha! la bas!") which is a whole slew of food in the walk-ins, anything from pacojet canisters filled with earl gray ice cream base to soups and condiments and sauces, cheeses, meats - raw and cured... Part of the game is to be ready for anything that gets thrown at you and to be able to improvise when (not if) things go wrong.
  17. I'll throw in my support and kudos to chef for the foie menu, as well. Good going!
  18. noambenami


    TAN - can you talk a bit more about creative uses for thermomixes? I'm a bit too junior to be able to envision all the possible uses...or if you could point me somewhere? Thanks!
  19. I'll note also that for smaller canape-style foods, such as fish cubes, we double dip to make the coating more even and therefore much more attractive.
  20. Having eaten at WD-50 and Moto, in my estimation, WD-50's food technically well made but fundamentally not particularly tasty. Moto's food is much more fun and the food can be very good at times. So if you liked WD-50, I suspect you'll love Moto...and should go with the GTM.
  21. Thanks midwesterner, I wondered how that shell was done, and also what substance makes the coating crispy. I wasn't as gaga for the flavor of the dish as others, but loved the idea, look and texture of that course. I'll be back in Chicago this summer, guess its time to start saving up for a third visit with Achatz & co.
  22. It all depends on your experience. In most two and three star restaurants, with a very few notable exceptions such as Lamelloise, you will be doing prep work all day. Spend your first four to six hours boiling and shelling lobsters, and your next five or six picking chervil and tarragon. You may learn much more at the 1 star places - of which I'll let you take your pick. In terms of sheer technique, the Hotel Negresco's restaurant, Chantecler, is absolutely world class and could easily compete on that level with just about any three star in France. The work they do is amazing, and the level of patiserie there is also beyond what even most three stars do. I don't recommend Jardin des Sens, the meal I had there operated somewhere between the 1 and 2 star levels (they've recently been downgraded to 2 stars.) There is a tiny town in provence called Eygalières, whose 1 michelin star restaurant, Bistrot d'Eygalières, is one of the best I've been to in Provence. Good luck!
  23. noambenami


    FWIW, I went to cooking school in Lyon. My favorite restaurant in town was L'Etage - a tiny, unpretentious, tremendously tasty place near the center of town. My favorite bouchon was Notre Maison, an ancient, fun, tasty place in the old city. A bit outside of town is a restaurant called Guy Lassausaie - a one michelin restaurant that many of the students spoke very highly of. I think it would be very much worth a shot.
  24. Fair enough - chocolate and european cheese. There, enjoy your laptop. Frankly, I'd be much more impressed with Higgins' philosophy if I wasn't so unimpressed by his food. Find me two dishes at Higgins' that are as good as the 25 I've had at Lumiere and I'll eat both of my servers. .
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