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Everything posted by Nishla

  1. Good question...I'm not sure they have much of a cocktail culture there, it seems to be mostly hard liquor. Expensive whiskey or brandy, but especially really high proof liquor. There's one that my cousin fondly calls "white man killer." Maybe something with tea and/or tropical fruits would be appropriate? Or ginger? I know, very cliche.
  2. Blanco tequila, I would assume? ← Yes, I believe that's what the recipe calls for. We ran out, so I used anejo, and it was still very yummy.
  3. Also had a lil' jig tonight. I had this a while back at Pegu Club, and it just reminds me how brilliant they are over there. It's so delicious... muddled basil leaves (recipe calls for thai basil, I only had "regular") 1.5 oz tequila 0.5 oz yellow chartreuse 0.5 oz simple 0.75 oz lime Shaken and strained. One of my all-time favorites.
  4. Welcome to Cambridge!!! If you have a car, I'd suggest Martignetti's in Allston or Marty's out in Newton (Washington St.). Marty's also has a Coolidge Corner location, but I've never actually been there. I believe Charles St. Liquors in in Beacon Hill has a good selection (we got Plymouth Sloe Gin there), and the wine shop next to Eastern Standard in Kenmore Sq. has a small but decent selection of spirits. We've randomly found some great stuff at Supreme Liquors in Central Sq., and I hear that Wine and Cheese Cask in Cambridge/Somerville is worth checking out. University Wine Shop in Cambridge (near Porter Sq.) has some decent items too. Good luck with your shopping!
  5. Inspired by the Bijou cocktail: 2 oz Old Potrero 18th Century (damn, it's hot!!!) 1 oz green Chartreuse 1 oz Carpano Antica Formula 2 dashes Fee's peach bitters (husband thought they were orange, but grabbed the peach by mistake) Stir with ice, let it dilute a bit. Really good, and the peach bitters were a happy mistake.
  6. Just made this up to go with a dinner of pork chop with apples: 2 oz calvados 1 oz benedictine 0.5 oz lemon Shake with ice, strain, and top with a champagne float (~2 oz?)
  7. that sounds pretty cool... where did you buy the aquavit in cambridge? i think i should pick up a bottle... ← We got it at Gordon's out in Waltham, but I think I've seen it at Martignetti's (Allston location) too.
  8. The other day, we picked up a bottle of Aalborg Jubilaeums Aquavit (flavored with coriander and dill), and tonight I made the following: 3 oz Aquavit 1 oz St. Germain 1/2 oz lemon juice It was a good balance of sweet and sour, and the herbal flavors still came through nicely.
  9. Thanks for the compliment...my camera is a cheapo point-and-click I got at Costco. I think it's a Fujifilm Finepix F20. It does have a "macro" mode that allows it to take pretty good shots in lower light settings without flash. I know nothing about photography, so I asked my cousin to pick the cheapest camera he could find that would work for food photos That was part of the fun, trying to guess what everything was and tasting different bits in combination. The "centerpieces" were frozen slices of wagyu beef. As they thawed, they changed color and appearance, and were finally used in the wagyu/potato dish.
  10. Warning: this post is loooooong and contains many photos... For a long while, I have read the reports on this thread with great envy. Last Sunday, my husband, Keith, and I finally made it to Chicago (after plenty of airport drama) and to Alinea. We had extremely high expectations, and the tour did not let us down. Some of the courses have been reported previously, but I believe some of the dishes have not yet made their way onto this thread. 1. Steelhead roe (coconut, lime, vanilla fragrance) This made for a very tasty first bite, with the salty roe, cool coconut, and the vanilla finish from the bean. A champagne cocktail with Roussanne, spiced mead, and curacao paired with this extremely well. 2. Yuba (shrimp, miso, togarashi) As described previously, the miso mayo was a great dipping sauce for this crispy stick. The prawn was very shrimpy, in a good way. 3. White asparagus (licorice vinegar, honey, meyer lemon) The little balls were tapioca (flavored with tarragon, perhaps), and the lace-like topping was made with honey. Normally I'm not a fan of asparagus, but I really loved this dish, and the wine pairing was one of my favorites of the night (Alois Lageder Moscato Giallo "Vogelmaier"). 4. Spring garlic (parsley, lemon, chicken) The cold jelly cubes were chicken, parsley, and lemon flavored, and the hot soup was made with garlic and bay leaf. I'm still dreaming about the soup 5. Ice fish (shellfish, horseradish, parsley) So pretty, it seemed like a shame to eat (not that it stopped me!). The tiny ice fish were fried, and served on top of a horseradish mousse. Additional toppings included asparagus, clams, dried garlic (I think). The paired wine was Fonthill "Sea Air" Verdelho, which went perfectly with the fish and shellfish. At the back, you can see the bread pairing with this course: herb marigold biscuit. I really liked the variety of small breads served throughout the meal. 6. Short rib (Guinness, peanut, fried broccoli) The short rib was delicious, and I really liked the dollops of broccoli and peanut custards. I didn't get much Guinness flavor, but I really didn't care This was served with an oolong bagel, nice and hot. 7. Hot potato (cold potato, black truffle, butter) Yes, it absolutely is as good as everyone says... 8. Pork belly (smoked paprika, polenta, pickled vegetables) The little empty pedestal is where the pork belly was before I gobbled it up... 9. Chicken skin (truffle, corn, thyme) Described as an adult chicken nugget, this was probably our least favorite dish of the evening. While tasty, it was a bit too much like crushed up chicken-flavored corn nuts. 10. Mango (soy, foie gras) A thin tube made of mango (and soy?) filled with foie gras. Yum. 11. Rhubarb (ginger, basil) Taken as a shot, the ball was filled with ginger rhubarb juice, and the green liquid was made from basil. Very refreshing. 12. Transparency (raspberry, rose petal, yogurt) Before our next course arrived, our servers brought over some new centerpieces, and instructed us not to touch them... 13. Fava beans (lavender, banana, pecorino) This arrived in a glass cylinder, which our server removed to let the contents ooze out. I loved the contrasts of textures and temperatures, and the banana and lavender went surprisingly well with the other flavors in the dish. Also, this was served with a bacon donut with maple sugar. No, I am not joking, and yes, I'm now talking in a Homer Simpson voice. 14. Carrot (smoked paprika, orange) Boo, blurry photo. This was another nice palate-cleansing shot. Those centerpieces were still there taunting us... 15. Lobster (peas, ramps, mint vapor) Possibly the best lobster dish ever. Butter-poached, with ramp custard and sweet peas. The mint aroma really did add to the experience of this course. A couple bites in, our server arrived with a surprise: a lobster cracker with similar flavors as the main dish, just presented in a different manner. 16. Wagyu beef (black truffle, potato, Blis Elixir) About time! A plate arrived with a cube of confit potato wrapped in a thin layer of truffle, then was topped with the thin slice of beef and dressed with a vinaigrette. 17. Lamb (mushroom, red wine, diverse embellishments) We were encouraged to explore the different components of the plate. There was a lot going on, with mushrooms, beets, lentils, leeks, cayenne, fried fish (I'm 95% sure), and yogurt. Everything was delicious, but I'm not sure it all should have been on one plate together. 18. Black truffle (explosion, romaine, parmesan) Wow. That was incredible. 19. Bacon (butterscotch, apple, thyme) 20. Strawberry (violet, nicoise olive) The bonbon, coated in white chocolate, was a bit tough to get off its dish. The saltiness of the olive complemented the sweet components very well. 21. Persimmon (carrot, red curry, spice strip) First, we ate the spice strip (sort of like a listerine quick dissolving strip). This course also had persimmon cake, pistachio crumble, fig paste, and a ginger ball. 22. Dry shot (pineapple, rum, cilantro) This tasted exactly like a Thai style salad, only in dry powder form. The flavors were amazingly intense. 23. Chocolate (egg, pomelo, smoke) Bacon and eggs with chocolate, I believe. There was a smoke-flavored gel, some tea components, and the round chocolate ball contained a runny egg yolk. The chocolate geode-like thing also had some cream inside. This was such a fun dish, and I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn't been about to explode. 24. Sweet potato (bourbon, tempura, cinnamon incense) A lit cinnamon stick stuck in a ball of fried sweet potato pie filling. What a great way to end an incredible meal. If I had to complain about one thing, it would be the price of the wine pairings ($145 per person). Several of the pairings were excellent, and all were at least good, but I was expecting more for the cost. In any case, this was certainly the best meal we've ever had--there was a ton of laughing and oohing and ahhing. The staff was friendly and attentive, the food was delicious and fun, and we would definitely go more often if it were closer to home. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading along!
  11. Just got back from a fantastic time at TVH. We started out at a table, and we had a total Debbie Downer friend with us. He had his beer and left, so we moved to the bar. From the menu we tried: Spring Sazerac Fairview Manhattan (interesting bite from the Laphroaig) Hush & Wonder (really good, with vanilla undertones from the rum) Spanish Margarita (great combination of the "hell-fire bitters" and tequila) Dark & Stormy (way, way better than ginger beer and rum) Michael took great care of us. He made Keith a drink using amaro, chartreuse, Punt e Mes, and house-made bitters, and we finished off with a couple of old-fashioned type drinks (one with rye, one with gin). All of these were extremely tasty. Unfortunately, we have to go back to Boston tomorrow, or we'd spend more time at TVH. Just another reason to get back to Chicago very soon
  12. Nishla

    Dinner! 2008

    Markk, your skate looks incredible! Bruce, the cabbage sounded so good I made a variation on it tonight. Mine had mustard and fennel seeds, a touch of cumin and tumeric, and finished with garam masala. It was really delicious. Thanks for the inspiration!
  13. Nishla

    Dinner! 2008

    Ooooooh, crispy duck skin...the whole dish looks fantastic. What did you use in the cauliflower puree? I like how it keeps its shape and doesn't run all over the place.
  14. Nishla

    Dinner! 2008

    Bruce and Ce'nedra, those meatballs look awesome. Tracey, I totally want that steak and quail. I've got a few more dishes from the last week or so... We picked up some lardo, served on grilled bread rubbed with garlic Seared scallops with baby brussels sprouts and sunchoke puree. This was our first time using sunchokes at home, and they were super tasty. There's also some buddha's hand grated on top of the scallops. We got one just to see what it was like, and it keeps perfectly in the freezer, ready for grating whenever you want some citrusy zest. Roast chicken stuffed with blood orange slices and fennel Tofu salad, dressed with oyster sauce, red bell pepper, scallions, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. I made the mistake of buying soft tofu instead of silken, but it was still pretty good. We got a dry-aged ribeye from Whole Foods, served with sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes and a salad. The steak was incredibly good, very rich and flavorful.
  15. Nishla

    Dinner! 2008

    Thanks for such a warm welcome back everyone It feels great to contribute again! The butternut squash tart was an experiment, since we had a bucket of leftover squash and an extra pie crust in the freezer. And I love sauteed mushrooms (with bacon and onions, of course), so those went on top Here are a couple more things: Kale soup and cannellini beans fried with bacon--we got bored with the same old kale and white bean soup, so we decided to puree the kale part and top it with beans instead. It was a nice variation, but the skins of the beans got a bit tough. Striped bass (I think) with grapefruit and avocado. Sliced beets with blue cheese, and a cold soup made with the beet greens and some sherry vinegar. The soup was actually quite good...I thought it might be completely gross, but was pleasantly surprised.
  16. Nishla

    Dinner! 2008

    Hi everyone, fantastic-looking dinners all around... I haven't had much time to post over the last few months, but I've been checking in periodically for dinner inspiration Here are a few recent (and not so recent) things we've made: Ajo blanco, from the Jose Andres tapas cookbook Garnished with grapes and olive oil. Really really good. Pork chop with apples and sage: Mapo tofu with green beans and shrimp We got some seriously potent szechuan peppercorns...numbing and fragrant at the same time Scallops with beet and cauliflower purees Butternut squash tart with sauteed mushrooms Hopefully I'll get my act together and start posting more regularly again!
  17. Just picked up a bottle last week and have been experimenting. I'm not sure the whisky combo does anything for me...I tried it both with peat monster and with rye, but I think I prefer the St. Germain with lighter spirits. One promising attempt was equal parts gin (Plymouth), St. Germain, lime and Brizard Poire William. Probably need to cut back on the citrus a bit, but very drinkable. Another decent combo was a take on the last word, with gin, St. Germain, lime, maraschino and chartreuse (preferably green). Still working out the proportions on this one too. In any case, I love this stuff...every time I taste it new flavors pop out.
  18. Day 8 This was our last full day in Italy, and we took a day trip out to the Chianti wine region. On our way, we stopped in at a small place making vinegar and olive oil. Barrels of vinegar...as the vinegar ages it gets transferred to smaller and smaller barrels. Trees loaded with figs and plums outside. We then drove over to Casa Emma, where we got a quick tour of the winery and had an amazing lunch. The vineyard: Some of their wines: Barrels of wine: After the tour, they brought us to a nice covered patio for lunch. It was a perfect day to be outside. The table: First course: a light tomato pesto, served with their Chianti Classico Then, an absolute parade of food came out... Baked tomatoes with basil and breadcrumbs: Beans, which were delicious Bruschetta Some kind of cold cut (turkey maybe) with vin cotto Eggplant with garlic and parsley...mmmmmm Roasted peppers: Prosciutto and figs: All on the plate: They let us try a few vintages of their Riserva Biscotti Not pictured was the vin santo and cheese plates Finally, some grappa This may have been my favorite experience of the whole trip...just having a wonderful leisurely lunch in the countryside.
  19. Hathor, if you write a cookbook I'd definitely buy it! That all sounds so good. Day 7, con't For dinner, we went to Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco. Keith got wild boar with polenta...really good. I wouldn't mind having more wild boar in my diet. I forget the name of these, but they were spinach and ricotta dumplings in a butter sauce. They were much lighter in texture than I expected. More truffles Pasta with wild boar After a lot of meat all week and steak for lunch, I couldn't keep up anymore. I got eggplant
  20. Day 7 Thankfully, I woke up feeling somewhat better the next day after copious amounts of cold medicine. The meat-eaters among us had plans for lunch at Sostanza, a tiny non-descript restaurant known for steak. Steak Florentine (ribeye): Filet: I thought the steaks were extremely good, but I still liked the one at Cammillo better (more char and grill flavor). Side of green beans. These were served cold, with lemon and lots of olive oil, and very yummy. Tortellini with ragu. Pretty tasty. Finally, wild berries with cream and sugar. This was one of the best things I ate the entire trip. I will compare every strawberry I eat from now on to these.
  21. Day 6, cont. I was still sick this evening, but the rest of the group went to Trattoria 4 Leoni for dinner. Keith says it was one of the best meals, and too bad I couldn't make it. Wah! Some of the more interesting dishes: Ravioli with boar ragu: Fiocchi with mushrooms and cream sauce: Baccala with sliced potatoes. Keith says this was amazing.
  22. Steve, Keith says he thinks there was a garlic cream sauce. Once again, sorry for the delayed responses...we've been moving and didn't have internet at the new place right away
  23. Day 6 On Day 6 of our trip, I woke up to chills, fever, cough, blocked sinuses, the works. Awesome. While I stayed in bed all day drugged up on cold medicine, the rest of the crew went out to Lucca. Photos for the next couple meals are by Scott, and commentary is by Keith... After briefly driving around the seaside, we stopped for lunch in Forte dei Marmi: The menu was seafood heavy, and quite different from the food in Florence. They had a lot of outdoor seating, and it was a very pleasant setting. Mixed seafood plate: Sliced rare tuna with arugula and tomatoes...a bit of a surprise, because I thought it was a pasta dish (mistook tagliata for tagliatelle), but it was very good and fresh: Seafood risotto: Grilled calamari: Squash blossom pizza; delicious and beautiful:
  24. Day 5, dinner For dinner, we went to Trattoria del Pennello. Several locals stood in line ahead of us, and we had a relatively simple, yet tasty dinner. By the way, I'm not posting all my photos from now on...I think I've shown you enough vegetable soup! It was a bit strange to me that many restaurants served very similar items. There were definitely variations, but the cuisine was much more fixed than I'm used to in the US. At home, we don't stick to any particular cuisine, so it was unusual to eat the same kind of food for a whole week straight! Started with prosciutto and finocchiona: Cheese ravioli with sage and butter: Egg and spinach noodles with bacon and cream sauce. This was really good. Lemon pasta, which managed to be light and rich at the same time. More tripe. Good, but not as spectacular as Cammillo's. We had a few other dishes (bad photos) including veal cutlets, lamb (very very yummy), and a whole roasted fish.
  25. Yikes...I've been terribly delinquent in updating here. I figure now is a good point to discuss gelato. As I mentioned before, I had never had real Italian gelato. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods (in college, I'd eat it for dinner), and I was really looking forward to trying gelato. We didn't actually try that many places, because early on we stumbled upon a couple that we really liked. First, Carrozze (which Divina recommends, but I didn't know that at the time). It's a nice little cafe right on the river by the Ponte Vecchio, and had the best pistachio I tried. Then, Perche no!, which was recommended by one of our tour guides. I didn't like the pistachio as much, but all the fruit flavors were amazing, as well as the coffee. We also tried Grom, which was fairly disappointing. The flavor was good (I had dark chocolate) but the texture was too close to gelato soup As an aside, if you want recommendations in Florence, definitely visit Divina's website. We tried several of the places she listed, and they were all extremely good.
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