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hhlodesign

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  1. Every great restaurant has a great dishwasher ... Thank you, Henry, for acknowledging the great unsung hero of the restaurant world, the dishwasher. ← I have to say, after working in the kitchen for a night, I found out that Juan is much more than a dishwasher. That guy jumps in and does everything. Chopping, picking herbs, juicing, anything they need a hand with, Juan does. Plus the dishes. He really is invaluable to the kitchen.
  2. You're right. William wrote down the dishes for me. I guess I lost a space in there some where. I gotta try the technique. It's a lovely way to cook.
  3. Wow! thanks again Skye. I might have to prolong my trip. I'm only going for 4 days you know. You should do a blog. I'd love to hear about your work experiences!
  4. Hey Skye!!! Your response came in right when I was in the kitchen plucking herbs. Everyone crammed into the back office to read it. I should have gotten a picture. Glad to see you're holding up out there in NY. I'll have to come say hi soon. To everyone else, Skye went from Mistral to one of the most prestigious kitchens in New York. She incredibly talented!
  5. After lunch, the front of house staff bagan cleaning up our mess from last night. It looked as though a tornado had hit the dining room. Charles checked the fridges to see if anything beyond produce would need to be bought for the evening dinners. Then we walked down the the Pike Place Market to go shopping. Mistral, as well as numerous local restaurants, have an account at Frank's. So you see chefs shopping there all the time. Charles deosn't actually plan a menu out. He just looks and see what is fresh and buys accordingly. He says they never really write anything out. It's all improv. There's Frank filling someone's bag. They have some beautiful product at Frank's that photographs really well. We had 6 covers for tonight. Here's everything that Charles bought for them. Frank bagged it for us. He was generation #4. They've been a part of the Pike Place Market for 27 years. I wonder what his first kid's name is going to be? Then we walked back to the restaurant. Prep begins buy laying out everything we bought. While Charles lighted the burners. Here's all their pans. Yes, they're all Emerilware. Charles started me off by picking herbs. They wanted just leaves, no stems. I did parsely, thyme, basil, dill, and taragon. We made the parsley into a juice by flash wilting it in a really hot pan. shocking it with ice to set the color. Then bending it for a long time. Then we poured it into small squeeze bottles. Tho color is gorgeous! Charles made some apple crisps. (Abra, these are your sand dollars!) He slices the apple really thin on a mandoline. cuts perfect circles out and soaks them in a simple syrup solution. They use 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Then they set thm on a silpat to dry in the oven. Very low heat. Charles said the heat from the pilot is enough. Then we juiced some limes and added some zest to the juice. They like to mix a few key limes in with regular limes. We then started the potatoes puree. This reciped William got directly from David Bouley. It's a take on Potatoes Robuchon, but they use fingerling potatoes becasue we can't get ratte potatoes here in Seattle. We cut the fingerlings into small blocks and set them in simmering (not boiling!) water. Once they're tender, we run them through a food mill. Then its back on the heat to add the butter. Plugra that is. Charles doesn't measure. He said you want to add unitl you can taste the butter. Here's what's left of the butter. The final step is to strain the puree through one of those cone shaped strainers (forgo tthe name). The finished product is rich, creamy, buttery, and wonderful. The dining room manager, Rene, even came back to help us shuck peas. He was well dressed for the job. I had to peel and juice carrrots, beets, and celery. We put some soy lecithin in the carrot and celery juice. They use it to make froths (bubbles). We reduced the beet juice on the stove for some kind of future sauce. Love the colors! With all the prep work done, we ened up outside playing stick ball. And Charles showed me how to sharpen my knife on a stone. It turns out that the 2 reservations (4 top and a deuce) were not confirmed. We knew this going into the day, but had to prep just in case. Mistral gets walk ins, but not often. we waited until 7:30pm to see if any walk ins would come in. Maybe everyone heard that an amateur would be in the kitchen. We think it also had something to do with the University of Washington Huskies playing the UConn Huskies at 7pm that night. The streets were deserted at 7pm. William shut it down at 7:30. 2 minutes after everyone left, William and I were locking up, a deuce walked in the front door. "What do you think," William asked, "Can you cook for these guys on your own?" He was kidding of course, the whole front of house staff ad already gone. He had to turn them away. William says they have maybe 3 nights out of the year that they have no one come in. Just my luck, and yours, that I pick one of those nights. I going to try and get in tonight and get some pictures before my dinner at Nishino. They have 5 tables on the books. Here's the service bell I never got to ring.
  6. Seattle Sandwich Tour Stop #6 Cascioppo's I had to be at Mistral at 1pm today, so I thought I'd pick up some sandwiches for the guys. After writing about Langer's in LA, I was craving pastrami. Cascioppo's features pastrami made by Peter Glick from Brooklyn, NY. They actually feature all kinds of wonderful meat products. But for me, its all about the pastrami. I actually ordered 6 different sandwiches. Pastrami Reuben, Corned Beef Reuben, Mixed Reuben, Pastrami on Rye, Corned Beef on Rye, Mixed on Rye. I grabbed half of the Mixed Reuben. It was sufficiently salty, but was light on the Thousand Island. I thought the bread should have been grilled more as well. I still enjoyed it though. I had half of the Pastrami and rye as well. Again, not enough mustard and bread not grilled enough. A bit to dry, but still better than any other pastrami in the city. I think I was spoiled by Langer's in LA so my pastrami standards are a bit high. I would like to try some real NY Deli pastrami soon. Maybe on my next trip out. Even still, the guys all appreciated the sandwiches. Now it was time to get to work.
  7. I read somewhere about the duality of God. Well, in the Mistral kitchen, they have their own interpretation. Behold the duality of the Mistral kitchen god. Mistral is truely a temple of food. It's a small restaurant, (40 covers) with a small kitchen, (3 chefs.) They only do tasting menus; 5, 7, or 10 courses. The owner/chef is William Belickis. He trained under David Bouley in NY before coming west to do his own thing. I must say that after eating at Bouley, Danube, and Mistral; the pupil has surpassed the teacher. I say that more for dramatic effect. Bouley and Danube are some of the best meals I've had in my life. But so is Mistral! Mistral got off to a slow start when they opened in 2000 (I think). i don't think people were used to not having an ala carte choice on the menu. I also don't think they were used to the prices. I remember in the early years, I stop in and say high to find the dining room nearly empty. It was very disheartening for me to watch someone who is so dedicated to their craft, and talented, not succeed. But I firmly believe that the cream always rises to the top. 4 years ago, Mistral received a 29 food rating in Zagat. I'm not sure if that was the turning point or not, but they've been doing great ever since. I hear there are only two 29s on the west coast; Mistral and Gary Danko. I'd love to try Danko one of these days! I also hear there are less than ten 29s in America. Not that I put that much weight in Zagat ratings, (William contends that if Mistral was in NYC, he'd never get a 29,) but its still pretty good company to be in. Luckily, I had a friend take pictures of this event. He has professional equipment (and professional skills), and is also a friend of the Mistral kitchen. So he was able to get some shots of them setting up. I was at home watching the UCLA Gonzaga game. Go Bruins! I'll write more about what happens in the kitchen tomorrow, as I'll be working there. I showed up a bit late because I got lost in the game. But I had to stop in the kitchen and say hi. That's William in the foreground. Here are the people who would be working hard all night to make us a very happy group. Charles, the chef de cuisine. Stacy, the pastry chef. Juan, the dishwasher. By now people were seated and the room was nicely buzzing. (Sound, that is. Not alcohol) We started with a wonderful amuse. Kumomoto Oysters with pomello and grapefruuit granita and celery bubbles. You should have seen the layout area in the kitchen! Well, there you go! I've never had oysters and grapefruit together before. I will in the future. What a great pairing. The oysters were as fresh as ever, and the celery froth added just the right amount of balance. I should note that we were having wine pairings with every course. But I wrote nothing down, and the picts of the wine have not gotten back to me yet. I'll post them when I get them. Michelle does not eat raw shelfish. So she got a lobstrer claw dish instead. I have no idea how they go the meat out of the claw so perfectly. Maybe I'll find out tonight. Seared scallop with english pea basil soup and carrot froth. Now you see where I stole my scallop/ soup idea. They do this one often, For good reason. Its one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth! Alaskan Halibut with rice beans, abalone mushroom noodles and beet vinagrette. I'm running out of superlatives. It was very good! Hamachi with Italian plum puree, blood orange, fennel, butternut squash and capers. I should point out here that Charles and William tend to focaus a lot on really good seafood with simple, unadorned flavor accompaniments. This dish is a perfect example. They are good at what they do! Risotto with Hanshimeji mushrooms, Lions mane mushroom, Idiazabel Cheese, and burnt scallion oil. that Lion's mane mushroom on top was pure heaven. Next came one of the highlights of the evening. Sous Vi De Pork with bolognese flavors. They seal the pork lion in a vacuum seleed bag and cook it under low heat for 8 hours. I have no idea how they got the pork to be cooked absolutley perfectly. It was, tender, sweet, juicy, and delicious! Louis Kahn, one of the greatest American architects, once said, "Ask a brick what it wants to be, it will say an arch." It is about the true nature of a brick. What it was design to do and how an arch is the epitome of its designed function. I say "Ask a pork tenderlion what it wants to be, it will say Sous Vi." Sonoma Artisan foie gras (enjoy it while we can!) with rhubarb puree, gingerbread crumbs, and hibiscus syrup. I commonly contend that Mistral does the best foie gras in the city. Tonight's dish did not change my mind. For many people in my group, this was their first taste of foie gras. Everyone was amazed with this dish. I was so happy to be sharing an experience I enjoyed just a few years before in the same room. Of course, they served it with a sauternes. Breast of Moulard duck, fingerling potato pureee, swiss chard and zhatar spice. again, perfectly cooked meat. I think duck breast is the hardest meat to get right. It seems the window of opportunity is the smallest compared to other meats. They got it perfect! Always a great cheese course. Brillat Savarin with truffles, maitre seguin, perseil be Beaujolais, l'edel de Cleron. Everyone was having a lovely time. Desserts came out next. Here's Stacy hard at work. Green grape and pineapple sorbets with roasted pineapple and grape confit. and Muscat ice. Chocolate + passion fruit. Chocolate croquant, chocolate ice cream, chocolate pot de creme with cara cara float. We finished with sour cherry financier's. I forgot to get a picture of those. Thanks to the entire staff at Mistral for one of the most memorable and enjoyable evenings I've had. I'm sure my friends would concur. We all sat down for a shot and a beer at the end of the night. Left to right: William, Charles, Patrick, me, Thomas, and Rene. What a night! My friends even pitched in and bought my dinner. Thanks everyone! I think a fitting way to end this entry is with a quote by Ludwig Meis van der Rohe every bit as appropriate in cooking as it is in architecture. "God is in the details!"
  8. Just got home from Mistral. Dinner with 27 of my friends! It was one of the best nights of dining I've ever had. Those guys at Mistral really went all out! I'm going to have to write about it tomorrow morning when I'm rested and SOBER! Good night!
  9. Ask your daughter about the Scorpion Bowl at the Hong Kong! That's I place I plan on returning to this next trip out.
  10. I might just do that. Although Uwajimaya tends to lean more towards the Japanese side. If I have the time, I'd rather drive 20 extra minutes to 99 Ranch Market in the Great Wall Mall (that's really what it's called.) They have a great Dim Sum place in the same building. Imperial Garden.
  11. I just finished up an addition to the dining room of Monsoon.. Basically, the owner wanted to fill in the area between the existing front of the restaurant, and the sidewalk. If you look on the website. The table we are sitting at is exactly where the addition goes. I also designed the new bakery facility for La Panzanella. It's strictly utilitarian and will not be in my portfolio. I talked to Erik and Shannon (Veil owners) when they were interviewing architects, but I was way to busy with 3 villas I was designing in Shanghai to even throw my name into the ring. I have 3 potential restaurant projects in the planning stages as we speak. But, the owners are very hush hush about them. I really enjoy working with restaurnat owners, and hope to make that a large part of my practice in the future.
  12. Seattle Sandwich Tour Stop #4 and 5 Market Grill and Delaurenti. I walked down to the Market today with my friend Aaron; you know, the vegetarian. Coincidentally, we ran into Matt Fortner from Marjorie shopping at Frank's Produce. He said we just missed William and Charles buying all kinds of wonderful things for our dinner tonight at Mistral. We are up to 28 people! Market Grill is right across from where I buy my fish, Pure Foods. They get all their fish from Pure Foods and their bread from Le Panier. Everything fresh from the Market. I ordered the Blackened Salmon Sandwich. It's coated with cajun seasonings and grilled right in front of you. I also got a small cup of the best clam chowder in Seattle. While they were making my order, we went a couple yards up the Market to Delaurenti because there is nothing at the Market Grill for Aaron to eat. Delauranti has a sandwich case with pre-made sandwiches that are thrown on the panini grill after you order them. The have a variety to choose from. However, only one of them is vegetarian. The Caprese. Aaron bought a slice of cheese pizza and a salad. Nothing worth photographing. We then picked up my sandwich from Market Grill and walk to a public seating area not a lot of people know about. Or if they do, they don't use it. My sandwich was still warm, juicy, and delicious. The baguette is grilled and spread with a dill mayo. They also add lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, and an herb that looks and tastes like tarragon. My cup of chowder and cole slaw. I think the differentiation in the chowder is dill. Can you think of a more beautiful place to have a salmon sandwich?
  13. I just found out that my planned restaurant location for Saturday will be without the Chef. Matt Fortner is the extremely talented chef atMarjorie, and will be in Tennessee for the weekend. This place has become my neighborhood hangout. It's 2 blocks from my house and the food is excellent. The food is simple, yet complex. Meaning he makes classic items unique and exciting. He does everything from pizza, to mac and cheese (the best in the city...well...Veil's lobster mac and cheese is right there as well), to porchetta, to braised short ribs, to the best roast chicken in the city (well, its a tie between Matt's and Jim Droman of Le Pichet.) The sous chef, Phil is also immensely talented, and I'm sure he would do a fine job. But.... A friend of mine mentioned that it seemed odd that I was not featuring a sushi place. There is so much excellent fresh fish in this town, we have some very good sushi restaurants to choose from. Even though two exceptional sushi places are within blocks of my house, Saito's, and Shiro's,I routinely get in my car and drive to Madison Valley to eat at Nishino. Tatsu Nishino used to work with Nobu Matsuhisa in LA, so his work tends to be similar to Nobu's (I actually think Nishino is a better omakase than Matsuhisa, it might have something to do with the price though.) He opened Nishino up here in Seattle almost ten years ago, and they've been consistenly the best sushi in town ever since. I often do the omakese menu and am constantly trying new things I would never think to order. You can see great pictures of his work here: Nishino eBook So what do you guys think, tasting menu at Marjorie, or omakase at Nishino?
  14. Since I skipped dinner tonight I thought I write a bit about some places in LA that I really miss. Keep in mind, I was on a student budget so my favorites are a bit different from the joints I'm writing about this week. In-N-Out Burger - the best fast food burger in the universe. I only get the cheeseburger animal style. Phillipe's the Original - Where the French dip sandwich was invented. Cole's claims this as well, but I like Phillipe's better so I'm more inclined to believe them. Edited to Add: I always order the Lamb sandwich, double dipped. Versailles - It's a Cuban place (someone explain the name to me) in Santa monica. The best garlic chicken I've had. I think my breath is still suffering from a meal I had there in 1999. Molly's - a little burger stand just south of Hollywood blvd. on Vine. The owner was this Korean guy who hand ripped the lettuce to make sure they were the exact diameter as the burger. You gotta love that kind of dedication! Hot Wings Cafe - On Melrose just east of La Brea. Best hot wings this side of Bufffalo. Tommy's - Chili Cheese burger and chili cheese fries! enough said! Lares - Mexican joint on Pico. The best carnitas in LA. Langer's - Pastrami on Rye. They used to bring takeout to my car so the drug dealers wouldn't shoot me. The Apple Pan - Just a great burger! ETA:And the Apple Pie A La Mode is amazing! Pink's - A better hot dog stand does not exist. I'm forgetting lots of places I'm sure. Please add to my list and bring back some memories.
  15. Classic combination that never fails to please. There are so many types of white beans, the one that are that big in France here are called Soisson type but that name comes from the place where they are grown. Considering the type of eating I'd say they were maybe a type of fava bean, or a cannellini? Delicious looking meal - I simply adore cured meats. Thank you for sharing that meal with us! You certainly had no trouble filling up the private room right away! Love the family style service of the dishes too. ← I just remembered. They are Corona beans. I should note that the ditalini and lamb dishes are single servings. I've eating nothing since Salumi and I'm still not hungry. Have you been to my two favorite buildings in the world? La Tourette and Notre Dame du Ronchamp in Firminy? Both by Le Corbusier.
  16. I do not like to comment on my own work. So that was on purpose. I'd say you must try it though. Next time I'd saute the shitakes and shallots before incorporating them into the filling. I'd also either hand chop most of the ingredients, or process them separately for a better texture. That's one of the nicest complements I've heard. Thanks!
  17. I love Siena! Did you get to see the Palio in person? I was travelling when they had it and didn't get to see it. It must have been quite an experience. I'm sure you got to San Giminiano, I love the look of that town. Like an ancient highrise skyline from afar. I think an "On Food and Music" blog is in order in the future.
  18. Please do. Have them give me a call, I love to meet fellow architects who are also into food. The lamb prosciutto is every bit as good as it sounds! I'm sure you can find Salumi meats somewhere in Boston. They do a wholesale business all over the country. I can find out which restaurants they sell to if you'd like. I'm going to Boston to sit on some architecture juries in May. They are going to take me out to dinner pretty much anywhere I want after. I suggested Oleana. Thoughts? Suggestions?
  19. I don't remember La Terza when I lived in LA. Is it (relatively) new? I used to love going to Campanile and only bought La Brea Bakery breads. I was going to Salumi once a week for a while. Now a average once every 2 weeks. This was since 2000. I met Armandino just after a few months of showing up all the time. Its was through Armandino that I met Gina, Brian, Marilyn, and all the staff at Salumi. I have yet to meet Mario. He was in the kitchen when I ate at Babbo, but I didn't want to be obtrusive. I was asking for a dinner rez about every other time I showed up for a while. Armandino always responded with a little hemming and hawing and "talk to me next time you come in." I finally stopped asking for a while. One day I was in there with a lunch date (Armandino always sits with me when I come in with pretty girls) He says to her, "Henry is one of our best customers." I saw my opening and took it, "Well then, you should give me a dinner reservation." He responded, "You're right, I should." And that was that.
  20. I'm grateful everyday that I have a job that I love, wonderful friends, and incredible support from a family that I love. All I need now is to find the right girl......and a Porsche.
  21. I love Lark. I actually met Kelly, one of the owners, sitting at the communal table at Salumi. I think Jon Sundstrom is doing very nice work at Lark. Particularly memorable for me was his potatoes Robuchon served in little Staub cast iron pots. I once jokingly asked Jon, "are thos 1 to 1 potatoes to butter?" His response,"Just about." St. Ignatious Chapel By Steven Holl is one of my favorite buildings in Seattle. It is so soft spoken and subtle and such a great use of concrete tilt-up technology (what they use to build warehouses.) My only problem with it is that it is cleary derivitive of Le Corbusier's Notre Dame Du Ronchamp in Firminy. So its not quite as innovative as the library. Just my opinion. Corbusier Holl
  22. Just got back from lunch at Salumi and I am Exhausted! For those of you unfamiliar with the place (there might be a few of you left out there who haven't heard of it) Salumi is Armandino Batali's artisan cured meat shop in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle. I believe its in the same location as where his father had an Italian food store decades ago. The story (as I know it) is that after Armandino retired form Boeing, he went to Italy for a few years to learn the art of curing meat. He then came back to Seattle to open up Salumi as a kind of retirement "hobby". Thank god he doesn't golf! They are only open 4 days a week and only for lunch. Although they do a private dinner party on the occasional Friday night for a select group of 10-12 people. It took me 3 years to get a dinner rez. When Armandino finally got sick of me asking and caved, it was Nov 03. He penciled us into the book for Oct 04. I think they are 3 years out right now. The problem I had was that I told everybody I knew about this dinner at Salumi; and promised a spot at the table to over 50 people. I ended up sending an Italian food quiz out by email. The first 5 people with all the answers correct got 2 spots at the table. The quiz went out at 9am and the last seats were claimed at 9:14 am. Some friends of mine are still a little bitter about not getting in. Sorry! Here are some picts from my dinner. Salumi Dinner Originally when I told Armandino and Gina Batali about this food blog, I asked if I could do another dinner. They were already booked up (of course). Even the special lunches in the back room were booked for the week. They were going to reserve me 4 spots at the communal table and I cold bring just 3 of my closest friends for one of the hardest reservations to get in the city. This morning at 10:45am, Gina calls me and says that the lunch group for today called and cancelled at the last minute. So the back room was mine. I just had to round up 4 more people at the last minute. Not very difficult. I was able to fill the table very easily. We started with a Salumi plate of some of their best stuff. Armandino and Gina both know what my favorites are. Soppresata, finochiono, culatello, lomo, lamb prosciutto. Then it all just started showing up at the table! gnoccho fritto with culatello roasted mushrooms and tomatoes stuffed eggplant broccoli raub with pine nuts and garlic Nancy was preparing all these courses for us. She was the chef at a great local restaurant called Adriatica. But it closed down a few years ago. Armandino talked her out of retirement to come to Salumi and create great specials for them. She was a wonderful addition. Nancy brought this next dish out with great trepedation. She said she personally doesn't eat this but Armandino thought it would be a perfect dish to try on me. I think I have a reputation for trying everything. Which I do! Pig's ear salad Pig's ear is served in Chinese culture quite often. I had it numerous times as a kid. This was better than the Chinese preparation, which I think is roasted then served cold marinating in soy, sesame oil, and chili oil. The ears were deep fried and had tons of flavor. ditalini with lots of onions. The onion aroma filled the room. Lamb Stew with (I forgot the name) beans. I brought a pen, but was having such I great time I forgot to write things down. Here's Gina Batali. A wonderful host. Actually, just a wonderful person. She's married to Brian. Who's in charge of curing all the meats. We're were having such a good time, we woke up little Harrison Hanson. For dessert they brought us a baked brie with culatello. and grapes Here I am with Armandino, Nancy, and Gina. Armandino sat and chatted with us at the end of the meal. Marylin, Armandino's wife peeks through the door to say high. I hope you all get the sense of welcome we felt at Salumi. The draw of the place is not how good the food is (even though its great!) I really believe its the personallity of the entire Batali family. They are such a pleasure to be around that it's infectious. The people in line are always smiling (maybe because they are getting free salumi samples) The people behind the counter seem to really enjoy themselves. (although this picture doesn't seem to display that) And the people at the communal table are always eager to speak to the strangers sitting next to them about how great their sandwich is. I love everything about Salumi! Side note: This was going to be stop #4 on my sandwich tour, but I don't think I'm going to be able to fit it in. I'll post picts in the Seattle thread in the next few weeks as I return for some of their great sandwiches. I hope you all understand that I'm doing NOTHING for dinner tonight.
  23. There must be some interesting parallels between music and food, no? Music and architecture for sure. Did you know Daniel Libeskind was originally educated in music theory? I'd say he is the architecture equivalent of John Cage to music.
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