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Everything posted by hhlodesign

  1. Loved your report of the French Laundry! We had a similarly wonderful time, but had many differing dishes than you and Molto. Our report will come soon.
  2. Kinda bland. Although very nicely fried. Loved the broth! Subtle, yet very flavorful. And yes, the noodles were over cooked. Very nice flavor to the beef. Beef to noodle ratio was way off. Espescially since the noodles were undressed. The room had a nice view, as illustrated above. But very little personality. Lots of hard surface with nothing to soften the feel of the space. We should have had the Lamb Cassoulet and sweetbreads at Mistral across the way!
  3. As if i don't work! More to come tonight!
  4. I should point out that the "mid-way" through photo was actually supposed to be the "finished" photo. She just kept eating !
  5. Agree wholeheartedly! I should point out our one bad experience at Chez Panisse Cafe. When the couple sitting next to us got up to leave (we were on our salad courses), the woman accidentally knocked over a glass of water which spilled all over our table, splashed onto our salad, and was dripping onto Ling. She mumbles "excuse me" and continues walking away ! We were both shocked that they didn't even bother to apologize or help clean up their mess. Even the table sitting on the other side of us gave us their napkins and called the server over right away. They saw the whole thing and said they had never seen anything so appallingly rude! The CP staff cleaned everything up and even offered to replace our half eaten salad. Luckily it wasn't the goat cheese one, just the puntarella one. World class service!
  6. Chez Panisse Cafe Dinner at Chez Panisse Cafe was one of the highlights of the trip! We couldn't get in downstairs, which may have been a blessing in disguise, as many local ffriends ahve told me that they would rather eat at the Cafe anyway. We started with two salads. A puntarella with eggs (ling will have to help with my descriptions as I didn't take notes.) And the famous warm goat cheese salad. This was prabaely the best salad I've ever had! I'm not a salad kind of guy, so you can take my opinion here with a grain of salt (pun intended ) I felt the goat cheese was just the right texture and tempurature. Warm, but not hot; crispy and light without being oily. The greens were fresh and just lightly dressed, so the flavor that really came through was the goat cheese. Mmmmmm!!!!!! The server helped us select a half bottle of Schauss Winery 1999 Zin from the Alexander Valley. We wanted something which would work with our salads, but still stand up to the upcoming entrees. The choice was perfect! We split a pizza next: Sausage, swiss chard, and just cheese, no tomato sauce. The crust was perfectly baked. Just this side of "burnt" to be appropriately crispy. And super thin. Just the way I like it! Next came the bison tenderlion with onion rings. The best onion rings either of us had ever had!!! They were crispy and flaky, but not greasy at all. The ones at the bottom soaking up the bison juices even stayed crispy. Those were the best!!! The bison tenderlion was good, but not very interseting. At any other restaurant I would have loved it. But I was expecting more at CP. It was the kind of thing I could have made at home. Just a good cut of meat cooked perfectly. Hard too complain about, but I did anyway. I can't remember if we ate much of the veg. Desserts: Meyer Lemon Ice cream with biscotti and caramel sauce and a dash of whipped cream. Loved the ice cream and biscotti. LIng pointed out how original it was to make ice cream with meyer lemons, as opposed to sorbet like everyone else. Biscotti with bakedperfectly (both times ) Cream puffs with Valrhona chocolate sauce with pralines. I'll let ling talk about this one.
  7. Berkley's Gourmet Ghetto The area that Chez Panisse is located in has becaome known as the Gourmet Ghetto. We had a few hours to kill before our dinner rez at Chez Panisse Cafe so we decided to walk around and try not to ruin our dinner. We started at the Cheese Board. They just closed before we showed up, which is probabley a good thing because we would have gone crazy munching on samples. We could only just look through the front window We then wandered into a small building with a few different shops in it. One of which was a Gourmet Chocolatier. We sampled a ginger flavored chocolate which was divine! I wanted to try some caviar, but forced myself to wait for dinner. We ended up at a small wine shop / restaurant called Taste. They have numerous wines in these dispensers that keep them fresh. They dispence one ounce pours at various prices. I love this concept, as we were able to try some very nice wines which we otherwise could not have afforded. Here are some expamples of what they sell one ounce pours of (sorry about the shaking hands, I didn't want ot use a flash): We tried the Opus One and this one (forgot to write down the name) they also serve food. We didn't want to ruin dinner at CP, but it looked and smelled wonderful. we watched them prepare a seared foie gras dish with a side of shoestring fries:
  8. Sharffen Berger Factory As much of a chocolate fiend as Ling is, she had no idea that the Sharffen Berger factory was just a few miles from where we werer planning on having dinner on Friday night in Berkely. It was a nice surprise for her. Our plane hit the ground at SFO at 2:15pm Friday afternoon. We had to get our luggage, rent a car, and cross the Bay Bridge to be at SB before our scheduled tour time of 4:30pm. We stepped into the front door at 4:29pm! The smell of chocolate was overwhelming! The reception area was filled with all kinds of chocolate, books, and souvenirs for sale. But we had to time to shop as the tour was just starting. They led us through the offices to the back of the building were they had a small classroom like setting set up. It was here that they explained the entire process of cultivating, processing, roasting, and making, chocolate. They gave us samples the whole time. I was really quite educational for me. Espescially the differences between the different percentages of cacao and how they affect the tastes. I think I lliked the 62% the best. I'm sure Ling will have plenty more to add to this, as she knew everything the tour guide was telling us already. She bought me these as a Thank You:
  9. This past weekend I took a trip to SF and Napa Valley with fellow eGer Ling. We had a fabulous time cramming as much into 2.5 days as we possibly could! We even fit in some touristy things. This post will serve as an index. I'll add links to individual posts of specific places as I finish them. I'm sure Ling will be chiming in as well. Friday: Sharffen Berger Factory Tour Berkley's Gourmet Ghetto Chez Panisse Cafe Saturday: Tartine Bakery The Slanted Door Ferry Plaza Market Michael Mina The Carnelian Room Sunday: Bouchon Bakery Cakebread Cellars Bistro Don Giovanni Darioush Winery The French Laundry We tried to get to Bouchon for a midnight snack (we stayed right across the street at the Villagio), but just couldn't force any more food down! Monday: Bouchon Bakery (which we ate on the ride to the airport.)
  10. The first day of a weekend trip to the Bay area ended with dinner at Chez Panisse Cafe. For dessert we had Meyer lemon ice cream with carmel and biscotti. I found that the flavor of the ice cream was very nice, but there seemed to be too much rind in the base. The biscotti, however, was perfect. We also had hazelnut praline cream puffs with vanilla pastry cream and chocolate sauce. My date thought the cream puffs were too dry. But she tends to prefer them slightly underdone. We started the trip with a tour of the SB factory. It was very informative, but my date knew everything about the entire process, and ruined the tour for me. Now we're eating Valrhona Le Noir Amer 72% as I type this. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. Dolsot bibimbap - Hosoonyi Tonkatsu - It's not traditional but the best thing on the Wasabi Bistro menu is the panko breaded fried pork chop $20. It's probably sacrilegious to call it tonkatsu, but if you like tonkatsu, you'll love this! Pho and other Vietnamese food - Monsoon (kobe beef pho), Pho Cyclo, Tamarind Tree Morrocan food - Marrekesh (not great, but if that's what you're looking for.) Raw oysters - Waterfront, Oceanaire, Union, Mistral Dimsum - Imperial Garden Seafood Restaurant, Honey Court None of these are in the North Bend/Bellevue/Redmond/Issaquah area. If we had to limit to that area, you might starve to death!
  12. Here's a fairly extensive list by a fellow professional cook. She knows her food: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1157674
  13. shouldn't you disclose that you worked at Mistral and have personal ties to them before trashing other restaurants/chefs and suggesting that it is the end all be all? ← shouldn't you also disclose that you are an extremely talented chef who has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world. Which would make you more qualified to speak about what happens behind the scenes than your average restaurant matchbook collector (Which I fully disclose to being.)
  14. Has she seen the photo yet? ← I think she's still in the same position.
  15. Thanks to everyone who has commented and made this experience such a pleasure! As fun as this week was for me, it will be a pleasure to get back to eating normally again. I think I've had more tasting menus in this past week, than in the last 6 months. One cannot feast everyday, but one can sure try! It's going to be lots of fruits and salads for me next week. Note: I did not step on a scale all week (on purpose.) I just weighed myself and was surprised to learn that I only gained 2 pounds! gotta keep up the nightly runinig regimen. In reading through my own blog, I've come to realize that food, for me, seems to be more about the total experience, than the food itself. All of my most memorable food moments revolve around not only great food but great company and settings as well. One of them doesn't even involve eating. It was walking around Florence at night with the girl of my dreams (at the time.) The chrismas lights were all over the streets, and the smell of steet vendors roasting chestnuts filled the air. The girl may be gone, but I'll always remember that smell of chestnuts! I think its so important in my life to be surrounded with a great family and wonderful friends to share my food experiences with. Thanks for listening!
  16. The Last Dinner! The story (as I know it) is that a Microsoft exec was dining at the sushi bar at Matsuhisa in LA. Tatsu Nishino was his sushi chef. He enjoyed his meal so much, that he made Tatsu an offer he couldn't refuse, " Come to Seattle and I'll back you in a restaurant venture." The rest, as they say, is history. We were doing the "exclusive omakase" tonight. "A two hour dining experience offering the best of what Nishino has to offer," our server told us. Aaron and Stacy were joining us as well, They were getting the vegetarian exclusive omakase as well. I was curious to see what they could do with multiple vegetarian courses. Our first course came right away. It was kind of a sampler platter of amuses. Monkfish liver on a cucumber slice, ameabi with wasabi aioli and tomato, sockeye salmon with shiso, escolar with avocado, and hamachi with jalapeno. My favorite were the monkfish liver and Hammachi avocado. great texture combinations on the liver. I've never had raw fish with jalapeno. They go great together! Veg. Grilled mountain potato, spinach with sesame seeds, seaweed and sweet miso. 2. Kampachi with ponzu and (I think) shredded daikon. I forgot to take a picture of this one. Sorry! The Kampachi was sliced super thin, 4 slices per dish. Each slice had a splash of ponzu and a small hill of daikon. Very refreshing. Veg. Tofu, avocado, and yuzu sauce. 3. Seared tuna with foie gras, shitakes and red wine reduction. This was my favorite course! You'd think that the foie would overpower the taste of the tuna, but it didn't. They used such a small peice of foie, they flavors were perfectly balanced. I'm gonna try and make this at home! Veg. Mushroom asparagus salad with yuzu dressing. 4. Albacore salad with fried lotus root and red onion soy dressing Another light, refreshing dish. This is what I love about Japanese food. You never feel like you're eating too much. Even when you are! Veg. Baby Bok Choy with ginger garlic dressing. 5. Ginger crab cakes with pineapple relish and napa cabbage slaw. This was probabely the least extraordinary dish. Everyone has crab cakes on the menu in Seattle. These were as good as some of the best, but nothing exceptional. I think I'm just bored with crab cakes. Veg. Grilled Mytake mushrooms with seven pepper salad. 6. Tempura. Oyster, Shiso leaf, and Mytake mushroom That shiso leaf was amazing. thinness of the leaf gave it a gret crunchiness, like a potato chip. Veg. Broiled eggplant with sweet miso sauce, lotus root, and pickled bean sprouts. 7. Curried halibut cheeks with swiss chard and cilantro aioli. this is one of my favorite dishes on the regular menu. I think Tatsu remembered this fact and sent this out as our main course. Nothing like the weak imitation I attempted on tuesday. Veg. Kinoko mushroom with kinoko tofu, kinoko seaweed broth, kombu seaweed and mushrooms. 8. Sushi Spanish Mackerel, Otoro (fatty tuna), Anago (Sea eel), and Madison Park Roll (crab, shrimp, salmon, wrapped in an egg crepe) The spanish mackerel was my favorite. It had just a touch of raw ginger on it. Nice flavor combo. The otoro was amazing. Needless to say, all the fish was as fresh as can be. I didn't care for the roll. To many flavors and none were distinct. Veg. Broccoli, Sprouts with ume paste, grilled asparagus, and cucumber rolls. I tried a roll. eh. Dessert. tempura banana. This is one of my favorite desserts in Seattle. Its all about contrast, both in texture and tempurature. The Ice cream is cold and soft, while the banana is crispy and hot. They intermingle in your mouth to create a perfect pairing. Rasberry, mango, and shiso sorbet. The shiso was so subtle yet distinctive. Very original. We closed the place down. I was exhausted, but the night would roll on! The guys at Mistral wanted to celebrate the last night of my blog (amongst other things). I met them just as they were finishing up dinner service. around midnight. We went striaght to Marjorei for some Champagne. The guys in the kitchen whipped us up some pizzas. Phil Todd Pizza and Champagne, a perfect combination. We ended the night (and started the morning) back at Mistral. things got a little crazy. including a 4am phone call to NY (7am) to a chef who shall remain anonymous. I got to bed around 5:30am. Next week I rest!
  17. I'm a bit surprised you feel that way, because there is some terrific mock-meat in traditional cooking for Chinese Buddhists. You don't enjoy any of those mock-meats from time to time? [Edited to eliminate a portion I thought better of.] ← I'm just not a fan of "mock" anything. Goes to the whole design philosophy of celebrating the material or ingredient. I should also add that Aaron and Stacy have really broadened my horizens in terms of vegetarian cuisine.Carmelita in Seattle is one of my favorite restaurants and they only do vegetarian. I'm also dying to try The Green Zebra in Chicago. Anyone been? I've had some exceptional meals that have been strictly vegetarian that I may not have even tried had I not met these two great people. Thanks guys!
  18. I put in 1% by weight of Lecithin to the raw juice and mixed it with the Bamix. When they are plating the dishes, they hit the surface of the liquid with the Bamix. It mixes air into the liquid and creates large amounts of foam on top. Then they just scoop the foam onto the plate. Carrot Foam Celery Foam
  19. I must say that you have very eclectic taste Jim ← I must say, for me, some experiences are more about the company than the taste of the food (or drink, for that matter.) I'll touch on this later when I try to wrap this thing up.
  20. My friends Aaron and Stacy have been giving me a bit of a hard time for my making some snide vegetarian comments on this blog. I don't think I did. "Thou doth protest too much," was my reply. But I digress. We decided to go to a great little vegetarian place in Madison Valley called Cafe Flora and give them some equal time. They have a beautiful sunlit atrium that is just the perfect place to have brunch on sunny weekend morning. We started with some nice refreshing mango mimosos. Then split some Beignets They were served with powdered sugar, mango coulis, and vanilla creme anglaise. I wanted to stay on the light side, planning for the omakese diner at Nishino tongiht, but the Biscuits and Gravy just looked too tempting. Rosemary biscuits, root vegetable and soy sausage gravy with scrambled eggs. The rosemary biscuits were amazing. I don't even think they needed the soy sausage in the gravy. Aaron had the Logan Scramble Scrambled eggs, soy sausage, spinach, BBQ sauce, and Havarti cheese. I don't get why vegetarians eat the "fake meat" products. I find it unnessesary. If you truely don't want to eat meat, why bother with an imitation of something you don't like in the first place. Again, didn't need the soy sausage, it still would have been good. Stacy's dish was the favorite of the table. Hoppin' John Fritters Savory black eyed pea cakes, spicy cayenne aioli, roasted red pepper and corn relish, smoked mushroom collard greens and cheesy grits. Perfect texture to the cakes (they were deep fried!) and the cayenne aioli was awesome!
  21. My favorite films about food: Babette's Feast - A classic. It truely displays the joys that a great meal can bring. Both in the cooking and eating of it. Big Night - This is the one I appreciate most as an architect. The first scene sets the scene perfectly. "But, she already has a starch!, maybe I should make for her also a side of mashed potatoes!" To me the film is about the struggle to stay true to your art in the face of a mass audience that does not underestand or appreciate your work. The chef must hold to his principles knowing that there are people who "get it." Again, the cream always rises to the top. BTW, anyone else see the parallel between Big night and the Apple / Microsoft rivalry? Huge souless place across the street (Pasqual's) doing derrivitive product and huge business, while the artisans on our side of the street are struggling. The final omelet making scene (one unbroken shot) when the brothers make up is one of the best final shots in all of film. I love that film! Dinner Rush - One night in a Tribecca Italian restaurant. The father who opened the place is transitioning it to his son. Dad just wants his peppers and onions, while son is doing haute cuisine, (or the hollywood take on it; that lobster thing he did looked ridiculous!) I've never worked in a New York restaurant before, but it seems to capture the atmosphere pretty well. Tampopo - The search for the perfect bowl of ramen. My favorite is the opening scene when the "master" is teaching his student the proper tecnique for eating ramen. Eat Drink Man Women - A moving story by Ang Lee about a father and a chef who is losing his sense of taste. Drawing parallels, I think, between his sense of control and connection with his daughters. The cooking scenes are really well done. What's Cooking - From the director of Bend it Like Beckham. It's about four different families celebrating Thanksgiving in Los Angeles; vietnamese, black, jewish, and mexican. This film very effectively highlights the cultural similarities and diffences between four seemingly distinct cultures in suburban LA. Very well done. Goodfellas - OK, its not a food film; but that shot of cutting garlic with the razor blade so that it melts right into the pan....That's pure cinema magic! What am I missing?
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