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Schielke

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Posts posted by Schielke

  1. I have more than once been in a formal French restaurant where a bone simply demanded to be picked up and directly chewed. On two occasions, without any fuss, I was quietly brought a finger bowl as if I'd been eating crab or lobster. Now, that's savoir-vivre!

    Ha! funny you brought that up. My meal last night require me to pick up a piece of meat on the bone and nosh on it.

    so good.

    I do enjoy eating sushi with my hands too.

    As of now, I find the bread cumbersome, but I am learning! :biggrin:

    Ben

  2. ...my sugarmamma Katie paid for us this time. Thanks babe!

    Does this mean that you are a kept man?? If only we were all so lucky....

    Sounds like a great meal. I've been wanting to go there for a long time. Thanks for the reivew!

    Kept...on a short leash! :biggrin::blink::raz:

    I keep telling her she needs to start paying my rent!

    Ben

  3. I would love to go to a "fancy" place where I would feel comfortable eating with my hands/bread.

    I keep getting images of delicately spiced meats with incredible sauces as well as little dishes of curries and such. It would really help educate people about spices and their uses.

    Ben

  4. But I do feel we need to see Indian food find a home where it can be itself and yet be showcased at least in the West in settings where those that crave a more formal setting for refined cuisines, can better understand it's finer nuances.

    If it takes some sharpness in presentation, prettier locales for restaurants, and better service, I think Indian restaurant owners should strive to provide all of these and still serve authentic food.  It will change things into moving in a direction which they should.

    This is exactly what I would love to see. Thank you for putting it into words Suvir.

    From the limited experience I have with Indian cuisine, it seems as if the sheer diversity of it all is more than enough to work with for a lifetime. I am suprised that we have not seen many attempts to bring this fantastic cuisine to a more elevated position in the Western world.

    Does this have anything to do with how cooking is taught in India? Are there many young chefs or is cooking mostly a family taught institution?

    Ben

  5. Mistral Review

    I had another amazing experience at Mistral last night. Chef William and his staff did a wonderful job and I can’t speak highly enough of them. I have posted some pictures of the evening that you can reference by clicking the link in my previous post in this thread. Please note that since I did not want to disturb other diners, I turned off my flash so many of the pictures came out very, very poor. Because of this, I have to say a word about the presentation for many of the dishes. Clean, slightly contemporary, wonderful judicious use of color, always approachable.

    Ok, enough chit chat

    Katie and I arrived a few minutes early for our 8:00 reservation and we were greeted at the door and quickly shown to our table. I asked our waiter for change so I could go pay for parking and he graciously asked us to be seated while he took care of it and then brought my change back. Our table was a lovely one in the corner by the window with a great view of the whole dining room.

    We started the wine service by decanting the Plumpjack, which was very necessary. Shortly after, we ordered the Seven Course Chef's Tasting Menu. We started to taste the wine while we waited. It was starting to open up nicely and develop its fruit.

    Amuse Bouche- Lobster, cucumber, mango, shaved fennel and baby watercress in cucumber water.

    This was a very nice playful dish that really did wake up our tastebuds. The fresh herbs in the cucumber water added a nice dimension. The lobster was perfectly cooked, it's subtle sweetness played nicely with the sweetness of the mango against the fresh taste of cucumber.

    Seared Diver Scallop in tomato/lemongrass consume' with baby heirloom tomatoes

    This was one of the best dishes of the night, the consume' had a very clean intense flavor that matched perfectly with the buttery sweetness of the scallop. The scallop used in this dish was the best scallop I have ever eaten. It had a perfect tenderness and sweetness that was offset by the seared crust and the tiny bits of salt on top. The addition of lemongrass to the consume' took everything to another level. This was Katie's favorite dish.

    Olive oil poached prawns over pinenuts, eggplant, and red bell pepper

    The prawns acted more as a textural component and background for this dish. They provided a wonderful smooth sweet/buttery background for the smokey eggplant base. I sometimes have a distaste for smoky flavors and I was worried about the eggplant (I hated it as a kid), but Chef William controlled the flavors and balanced the smokiness so well that I am now an eggplant convert! I loved this dish and it went even better with the jamminess of the wine. There was also a drizzle of basil sauce and bell pepper reduction, which added a bright element to the dish.

    Sturgeon with roasted carrot puree and shaved asparagus

    I had never had sturgeon before and I was immediately impressed with the firmness of this fish. It exhibited a texture unlike any other fish I have had. The texture combined with its rich flavor was only highlighted by the earthy sweetness of the carrot puree. The asparagus shavings were a lovely addition.

    Rack of lamb with fingerling potato puree, fava beans, and lentils

    This dish acted as a solid base for the entire meal. The use of the lentils in this dish resulted in an amazing earthy flavor that highlighted the flavor of the lamb. One of my (and Katie's) favorite items, the potato puree, was included in this dish. The creamy texture was a refreshing sidenote to the dish and helped bridge the gap between the earthiness of the lentils and the lightness of the fava beans.

    Cheese Course

    You will have to forgive my lack of memory at this point. In my hazy state of bliss I forgot the names of the cheeses that we had. I do remember eating an incredible bleu cheese that I need to go get more of. We also had a cow's tripple cream that was a shade too gamey for my tastes, and a semi-firm cows cheese that was good. Katie had a goat's milk cheese that had milk from both the morning milking and the evening milking, which resulted in two layers of different texture and flavor.

    Very interesting!

    I will take this time to say that the bread at Mistral is outsourced from Macrina bakery down the street. The bread is so good, I love it. Katie loves it even more.

    Dessert Bonus!

    We got a special dessert from Saroyah (pardon my spelling please!) one of William's assistants and budding dessert chef. It was a melon soup (I don’t recall the type) with raspberry sorbet, strawberry sorbet, and watermelon sorbet. This was such a great refresher after the cheese course. The watermelon sorbet was flat out beautiful. I also loved the whole raspberries in the sorbet.

    Molten Chocolate Genoise with fresh berries and lavender ice cream

    This is such a great finisher. It eases you into a state of bliss that is only attainable through its consumption. The rich molten center is a chocolate addict's dream. The lavender ice cream has a lightness that works very well with the chocolate and the berries. It is difficult to describe.

    The Bill

    Two Chef's Tasting Menus ($75 x 2) = $150

    Corkage Fee $25

    Tax $16

    Total = $191 before tip

    The tip brings it to a bit over $200 for the evening, but whenever I leave Mistral, I feel like I stole something.

    Conclusion

    This meal will go down in my book as one of the best to date...if not the best. I am so happy that I know about Mistral and I already can't wait until I get to go back. My thoughts were summed up by something I

    overheard another patron saying: "He prepares food exactly the way it should taste". I think that is the largest compliment any chef could get.

    Enjoy.

    Ben

  6. I recently spoke with somebody who used to live in new york and they told me that the indian scene in Seattle is somewhat dismal. He said he had been to a place that served an indian tasting menu that was fantastic.

    I would love to try this so much!!! I wish Seattle had a better population of Indian establishments.

    Ben

  7. I've also had incredible donut peaches. I don't know who warned who about them but please never accept blanket statements like that!! Peach quality depends on when they were picked at what stage of ripeness. Even the best peaches only reach that spectacular moment briefly.

    I agree with the donut peach statement. They can be soooooo good, I have actually never had a bad one... but I am sure it can happen.

    Ben

  8. Wow, I know I'll be making a reservation soon.

    By the way, I took the liberty of cleaning up a couple of the photos for you. Only 2 came out OK, the others were just too dark to salvage.

    When you do your write up can you please let us know what the other dessert selections where like (if you can remeber)?

    Thanks! :smile:

    Hey, not too shabby! I was thinking about doing something like that, but I figured they were too dark.

    Thanks!

    I will outline the dessert we had in the review for sure. They dont have selections for dessert, rather it is part of the tasting menu. The chef can customize the menu to your tastes/allergies as well. For example, you may not like chocolate (gasp!), so instead you might get a creme brulee or the like.

    I am still working on the review when I get little bits of time today, so it should be up in a little while.

    I cant wait for your review! :biggrin:

    Ben

  9. Clarified butter is only the butterfat, without the milk solids that burn and get nasty at high heat.  And high heat (to start) is what you need to get a good crusty sear on a piece of fish -- along with having the piece completely dry (the Thomas Keller trick is great).  I prefer to sear the presentation side over high heat, then finish it in the oven.

    I am not sure if I have heard this trick. Do you mind elaborating?

    Thanks!

    Ben :biggrin:

  10. Hahaha, I love the pic of the dessert followed by the pic of the empty dessert plate. Were those marks on the plate caused by your tongue? :)

    Can't wait to read the report. The only thing stopping me from eating at Mistral is my current dining budget. I'm on a banh mi budget right now, but I look forward to returning to a Mistral budget when my house remodeling project is complete next month (or October, doh!).

    Heh heh heh, had the tounge been involved, the plate would have looked like it was just washed. :blink::raz:

    I understand completely about the budget considerations...my sugarmamma Katie paid for us this time. Thanks babe! :wub:

    Good luck on the remodel, sounds fun...and scary, ahhh! :shock:

    Ben

  11. Well here is the executive summary.

    Everything was awesome, I had an amazing time, you all have to go.

    I have posted the pics on Imagestation, please forgive the ultra-poor quality of some of them. I turned off the flash when there were other diners present as to not disturb them. This resulted in nearly every picture looking the same. I feel bad for not doing justice to how the food looked, so keep that in mind when checking them out.

    I did however, manage to get a couple decent ones while it was still light and after everybody else left. yay!

    Here ya go! Click for pics

    I will post a full review later on today when I get some time.

  12. I made some more paneer the other day, this time with whole milk. The yield was better than the first time. I am thinking of buying some paneer and comparing my homemade version with it.

    Tomorrow, I will be making the Mattar Paneer for my buddy. I will report back with how it goes! Cross your fingers for me.

    Ben

  13. Tonight, my girlfriend and I will be celebrating our two year anniversary by going to Mistral.

    I plan on bringing my digital camera tonight and taking some notes if I can. A report will be soon to follow.

    We are bringing a bottle of 1999 Plumpjack Estate Cabernet that Katie got me as a gift. :wub:

    Should be fun!

    Ben

  14. Here in Washington state, I believe that waiters are not paid the $2.xx pittance. Instead they get at the very least minimum wage...and customers are still expected to dole out 15-20% for service.

    Quite a racket.

    Ever tried to raise a family on minimum wage - even with tips, which are taxed whether you receive them or not?

    I think tipping is barbaric - the service should be included in the bill and waitstaff should be paid a decent wage. If the service is above and beyond the call of duty then a tip would be an *optional* discretionary reward. Why should a good portion of a person's livelihood depend on the whims of a disinterested customer? One of the wonderful things about traveling in Japan is that there is no tipping for anything - restaurants, hotel, or taxis. If you actually tried to tip, the service person would be embarrassed or even offended. Of course Japan does have that whole "gifting culture" thing, but that's another discussion.

    I agree with you about including a decent wage for employees into the bill. Service would improve, and server/patron relations would improve.

    I do disagree though, with raising a family on min wage. Being a waiter is not the only job in the world and if you decide to try to raise a family as a waiter, you should try to be a damn good one. Top notch waiters can make a pretty good living.

    There are plenty of other minimum wage workers out there that are working hard to raise a family on that small amount of money without tips. I think most waiters are better off than them.

    As a patron, I should not have to worry about supplementing the income of all the employees. I think that an adequate solution is including the cost of service in the menu pricing.

    Tricky subject though. :huh:

    Ben

  15. I finally made it down to the Admiral Thriftway this weekend and picked up some peaches. I grabbed the Frog's Hollow ones (all they had) as well as some peach-pecan-amaretto preserves.

    Both are delicious. The think I really like about the peaches is the really lovely texture combined with the one of a kind flavor.

    So good, it should be illegal.

    Ben

  16. What are the hours of Bahn Mi 88? I went yesterday around 6:00-6:15 and it was all shut down.

    I had to settle for a lesser bahn mi sandwich...doh!

    On a fun note, I got to check out Viet Wah for the first time. I picked up a basil seed and honey drink...has anyone seen this thing? It is wild, it looks like somebody bottled up a leopard. I dont want to drink it, it looks so cool.

    Ben

  17. So I made my paneer last night! What is the usual yield of that recipe you gave me suvir?

    I ended up with a piece about 4 in X 3 in and 1/2 in thick, which seemed pretty small for 10 cups of milk. I did mess up however and buy 2% milk instead of whole so I am guessing this was the problem. :blink:

    The little bit I tasted was quite nice and I was very happy with the result.

    I am going to try again tonight with whole milk if you think that will make a difference.

    Thanks again Suvir!!!

    Ben

  18. I have been eating a fair amount of Indian food lately and have noticed that the cuisine in my neck of the woods is all served in the same style.

    The menu is ala carte and for the most part either family style or one entree per person with rice as a side.

    Are there any instances where Indian cuiside breaks this mold? I would be very interested to try out a multi-course affair that highlights Indian cuisine and shows it off with inspired plating and service. I think that the cuisine would easily lend itself to this style of presentation/preperation due to the basis of spicing.

    Thoughts everybody?

    Thanks,

    Ben

  19. Trip to Taste of India

    For this installment of Indian in Sea-town, my accomplices and I wen to Taste of India on Roosevelt. Taste of India is very similar to Cedars a couple blocks away. I believe the owners are father (cedars) and son (Taste of India).

    We started off with an order of vegetable samosas and I had ordered a mug of chai. The samosas were much better than the ones we had at raga. The crust was much nicer, almost flakey and a great crispness. The filling was not as mushed together and the peas inside were still intact, which added nice bursts of pea flavor. (heh heh, I just realized I wrote "pea flavor")

    The chai was worlds better than at raga. It had a nice full spiced flavor and a good balance of sweetness. The waiters also do a bang up job of keeping it full as well as the water glasses.

    For our main courses we ordered: Mutter Paneer (a standard), Channa Masala, and Mutter Aloo.

    The Mutter Paneer was really great, aakash ordered one to go for a midnight snack in the future. The pieces of paneer were larger than raga, but fewer. The only problem was that the paneer seemed to be cooked with the rest of the dish so it soaked up too much flavor and lost it's own. It all tasted great, but the paneer lost its integrety.

    The Channa Masala had a very nice flavor, but the starchiness of the chickpeas deadened it a little bit. I had trouble eating this with rice because it was a starch overload. I might try to add another component to this dish to compliment the chickpeas.

    The Mutter Aloo was pretty much the same as the Mutter Paneer, except with potatoes instead of paneer. Really nice spicing and I couldnt get enough. :biggrin:

    We ordered two types of naan and ended up with three for the dinner. Garlic naan, paneer naan, and pesto naan; the pesto naan came as a mixup instead of the paneer naan so they left it with us. Sidenote: pesto does not really go with indian food. :laugh:

    During dinner I inquired about the paneer they use. I was curious if they made it or use a product. They said they used a product. I wonder how many places do this instead of making thier own.

    After all was said and done, we all had a great experience and declared Taste of India the current leader in our tour.

    Ben

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