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  1. spending several days cooking and notsleeping, once we had done with that, i feared for the survival of my appetite; food had assumed a different form, one tied to back breaking labor and the catalyst for a severe case of pillow estrangement. ah. balthazar. i owe you so much. who wouldve thought that a poached and then deep fried egg contain a yoke of such unctuousness, a richness that completely overwhelmed(!) the truffle dressing (never would i have thought that i would believe this to be true) on those verdant harbingers of spring, asparagus. and a glorious piece of desiccated pancetta never did anyone no harm at all. as to all this tomfoolery regarding vips and walk ins and what not, i cannot attest. reservations were made by my boss for 4; we showed with 12 and in a matter of minutes, not even long enough to suck down a preprandial jameson's at the zinc bar, we had been seated. i loved this place.
  2. there exist certain places that instantly embrace you in a loving hug of warmth and good cheer. i've always felt this way about palena and, whilst not as much of an addict (though i would be if i didnt work most evenings) as some of us are here, i do frequent palena. well maybe not frequent. either way, i was there spending family time with my mother last week, talking to the most fabulous staff and indulging my fix (okay, so i am an addict.). lo and behold, next thing i know, its midnight, and we're still there, talking to the now-off the clock employees and generally enjoying every second spent in this wondrous restaurant. i dont know where this post is going or what the point is...
  3. cashion's currently features sunnyside farms' wagyu sirloin with roasted bone marrow. a lovely little spoon for scoopin' and some herbs on the side... to add: if you contact sunnyside i would bet they could bring you up some marrow bones to dupont farmer's market...
  4. having recently re-partaked of bistro francais' version, i can definitely attest to its status as the paragon of raw ruminants seasoned liberally with mustard and other delectables. washed down with a bottle of gigondas: raw meat and velvety red wine, what's not to like? like malawry, i do share the belief in its inherent richness and thus, it was shared. for the sybaritic and indulgent out there though, this would make a very appropiate and delicious meal.
  5. i'll second the recommendation on the flying scotsman. i'm guessing or assuming that you will want to communicate with one another without putting innocent vocal cords under undue strain. if this be the case, the scotsman has a knockout one-two punch of being both: large and, usually, fairly empty. should tummies begin to rumble after imbibing of their extensive scotch selection, lamb shank and scotch eggs (nothing soaks up scotch better than scotch) will surely put an end to gastrointestinal mutiny.
  6. four years in oberlin certainly took their toll on me, this is all i will say to that. back to black river, joe's pancakes are also mighty mighty fine things, ethereal discs of restrained richness and, should one choose to order them so, oozing with the goodies of trees and bushes. also, somewhere in north olmsted there exists an unbelievably delicious indian place called kashmir palace. i say somewhere 'cos ive no idea of street names there anymore... i remember it being a couple blocks from a big mall. i'm sure directions could be had on the internet if you were so inclined for pungent garlic naan and masochistic mouth numbing lamb vindaloo.
  7. if your gastronomic wanderlust leads you to cleveland, then you should consider making a detour to oberlin and, specifically, the terrific black river cafe. given oberlin's college crowd and their decidedly crunchy granola and dreadlocks lifestlye, one is slighlty perplexed at a place offerering several local meats and cheeses such as black river cafe. if you wanted to have some real fun, fill a super soaker full of rendered duck fat and arm yourself with meatballs; do drivebys.
  8. as jaleo continues its fey descent into mcdonald's mediocrity (by this i refer to the corporate chain-ness of it rather than comparing it to those fine arches advertising caledonian fare), one may begin to grow slightly uneasy and begin to experience early stages of spanish cuisine withdrawal (to include: feeling sick and dirty, more dead than alive, alleviated by frequent trips to bethesda's a&h seafood market to wait for your iberian man, increasing rage at the misappropiation of the word "tapas" by restaurants featuring nouveau california by way of tanzania and siberia with a side trip to the moon, feelings of dyspeptic sadness and longing after consuming peppers not of the piquillo variety or cured jamons not of the serrano variety or paprika that manages to be neither sweet nor smoky nor spicy). i would heartily recommend repeated doses of taberna's tapas bar should such symptoms begin to afflict you. it is rather odd, vaguely unsettling, a sibilant midge that soon reverberates to a plangent roar, to sit down to tapas (apotheosis of bar snacks) in an establishment of such grand high ceilings and vaulted dais, such ornate art deco environs and meticulously arranged arabesques, a place such as taberna del alabardero. it seems almost disingenous to nibble and munch when, across the tiled mosaic of the floor and ecru pannelled wood and silver mirrors of the bar, there exists the main dining room with astronomical menus, a glittering panoply of cutlery and ratio of crumbers:customers at 1:1. nevertheless, it is there and can be done. the affable good-natured bartender, whose english never seems fully under command (and i love this fact for all its implications, i.e. spaniards come (and outnumbered us) frequently) will serve you just as politely as the tuxedoed gentlemen some 30 feet and several hundred dollars away. the food will not please those looking for the whims of a capricious chef's mind. all of it (nearly 20 tapa) relies on solely on tradition. the exception to this doesnt suffer however: chilled foie gras on a perfectly toasted crustless rectangle of brioche, in smooth rich and buttery purgatory beneath the bitter heaven of seville orange gelee and the murky mysterious depths of carmelised onion hell. the rest of the dishes we sampled all lend new credibility to the terms "classic;" calamari fritto with paprika ali-oli demonstrates why this dish (when prepared with technical mastery) has become so ubiquitous; empanadas de atun y piquillos with a smashingly good pastry crust and filled with canned tuna of such wondrous quality that people who sneer upon food in canned states should perhaps hold their tongue; homemade chorizo is simply perfection. the quality of the pork, the judicious and sure-handed seasoning, the time spent sizzling on the grill and sliced and plated intelligently but not overdone. all simply perfection. we had mussels that, now having read about them, are actually nothing like oysters bienville but, at the time, all i could think of was how much better these were than that new orleans specialty. classic tortilla espanol eggceeded my eggspectations, namely because eggs dont eggcite my tongue. and what's not to love about watching your bartender carve your jamon serrano for you off the shackled leg at the end of the bar? there is so much to love in this restaurant, in my opinion, and my recent discovery of the tapas bar can only mean that this passionate affair will continue, groaning and fumbling and caressing and imbibing in the thoughtfully darkened corner table of the bar in taberna del alabardero.
  9. the return of the thin white duke: bowie at breakfast! this is a restaurant i could seriously get used to... " i / i wish you couldve seen / the donuts, like i saw them / though nothing, nothing will keep me from them / i can eat them, forever and ever / oh we can eat donuts, just for one day/ what you say? i / i can remember / sitting, with two friends / the people, swarmed about our heads / the chef, fried them on the other side / and we gorged, as though they would never end / oh we can eat them, forever and ever / we can have donuts, we can have donuts/ we can have donuts, just for one day... " "skate, SKATE! / makes a man take things over / skate, SKATE! / makes him loose and hard to swallow / skate, SKATE! / comes with narcotic dippin' sauce / skate, it aint just you, its also the scallooppppsss... sincerely, the thin white duke
  10. seconding ferostyle's suggestion, i would highly highly recommend putting some sunshine in your beef diet: sunnyside farms.
  11. an evening with six courses of frank ruta's food at palena would be a most enjoyable evening. one could also follow that with drinks at the aroma lounge down the street, just opposite the uptown cinema. for grandiose opulence (on all fronts) en espanol, taberna del alabardero downtown at 17th and i streets satisfies an iberian itch. i vaguely recall in my dim mind a tasting menu but i would be sure to double check. dressed down spanish, jaleo most certianly fits the bill. furthermore it is quite easy to create a tasting menu by ordering one or two tapa at a time in whatever progression you see fit: call it diy gastronomic gratification.
  12. true; one could hear...well, the swish swash of one's epononymous trousers. palena also springs to mind, as does taberna del alabardero. with regards to awesome pig's feet, bistro d'oc certainly does a superlative job with those worthy pieds. and it's in sausage form. and, hey! it's quiet enough to hear john wilkes booth cursing dr. mudd's atrocious bandaging of his wounded leg.
  13. veal brains with capers and pigs feet with mustard, duck liver pate, petit fours and banyuls, these are a few of my favorite things...
  14. a respectable eat place collects at the bar, courtesy of a few thai employees... 1819 columbia road.
  15. It was the breast of times, it was the wurst of thymes, Dickens Don. ← 'twas a far far better meal that i ate several days ago then ever i did eat. indeed, the meal celebrated the termination (surely the right word and not the common, accepted "commencement") of an unstoried university life. worse yet, it also signalled the end of rational thoughts concerning the pleasures of the palate, for this meal has shattered my ability to enjoy life; this meal has broken my heart, "beause there was something which he could not pass:" a pheasant and foie gras terrine of the most remarkable smoothness, a smoothness that most butters aspire, and fail, to reach; not to mention the peach that had been preserved in the grandest of mostarda di fruitti styles; a trio of lilliputian-sized fishes each presented with its own preparation, triangulated on the plate over lentils that... who knows that lentils could ever taste like that? the aforementioned jerusalem artichoke soup (is this not the strangest name for a vegetable?) deserves the plaudits it's received. and i add my own voice to the cacophanous choir that genuflects in profound, if boisterous, reverence at the alter of the puissant, sacerdotal soup monarch, frank ruta. (a cursory glance at the clock reveals a sad fact, namely it being the time of my departure to see someone off on their departure, thus a terse ending is in store and i must glance over the myriad bites we had in the course of four hours.) in the soup, there floats the most ethereally crisp, the most perfect, PERFECTLLY disc of sweetbreads. yes, a disc of sweetbreads, not those nubbly little buggers that, delicious though they are, never have been the most sleek, suave, svelte of offal. and this is why i end here, because this garnish attenuates all that places palena as my own personal restaurant paragon: a subtle manipulation that transports a dish from mt. everest "very good" into the stratosphere, past jupiter, pluto, off into the mote of space reserved only for the transcendent, the divine, the sublime. to the cast and crew, my very deepest, profoundest thanks. you have broken my fragile heart because i know that i (knowing my personal tastes, as i should do) will have the considerable displeasure to live in the darkest penumbra of that night always recollecting what was (the saddest word) and not what is or might be, you have delivered me to a place beyond the sun and, in so doing, have vindicated and apotheosized the quote on my signature line. and, shattered though i may now be adrift lone and lorn in my head of reminiscences, i am forever grateful for this. sam.
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