• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
tammylc

Report: 2008 Heartland Gathering in Chicago

158 posts in this topic

Thank You Tammy, Ronnie, Toby, Gary and everyone else. Ron and I had a wonderful time. We loved the planned eating, our additional stops, the Cubbies winning, the beautiful weather, Fresser and the Fressermobile, and the great cooking and company. Hoping to be able to get away next year again.

Tobi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few pictures from the bread workshop.

Chopping olives

gallery_12922_6162_110220.jpg

Weighing the flour

gallery_12922_6162_35321.jpg

and the olive oil

gallery_12922_6162_30623.jpg

Start mixing

gallery_12922_6162_70075.jpg

Then kneading

gallery_12922_6162_84376.jpg

Check the dough

gallery_12922_6162_120659.jpg

We learned about the various types of preferment, the effect of adding fat or sugar to a dough, how to judge when the gluten is developed enough, and so much more...

This workshop was everything I hoped it would be - a practical, hands-on experience with lots of useful information. Many thanks to Tom for a fantastic workshop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the chix & waffles:

gallery_21337_6173_146272.jpg

Served with log cabin pure maple syrup (never heard of that before) and Edsel's coconut cream gravy:

gallery_21337_6173_33668.jpg


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Served with log cabin pure maple syrup (never heard of that before)

It's a new product that is, I believe, available only at Sam's Club (which is where nxtasy and I went for staples). From the manufacturer, Pinnacle Foods:

Log Cabin Pure Maple Syrup: Just introduced this year, Log Cabin Pure Maple syrup is made with only Grade A, Dark Amber maple syrup sourced from the finest Sugar Maple Trees during the peak season. With no additives or preservatives, Log Cabin Pure Maple is 100% all natural. You can find Log Cabin Pure Maple in Sam’s Club.

I thought it was just as good as any other standard pure maple syrup, and it was a really good value -- I think $12.99 for the quart maybe.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I get kicked off this tenuous wi-fi connection again...

I'd like to offer my and my mother's thanks and appreciation to all who organized the Heartland Gathering and affiliated events. We had a wonderful time meeting everyone, though I am very sorry I seem to have missed "officially" meeting some folks! (I keep reading names and thinking, "S/He was there? I don't remember that!")

I'd also like to add a special personal thanks to Marmish for offering her beautiful home for the chocolate workshop (and for introducing me to Milo :wub: ), and to Kerry for giving the workshop. My kitty is still uneaten, and is being preserved until it breaks and I have to eat it.

And I'm not sure if I offer thanks or curses to Tom for what has become of my mother. The last few days all I hear is bread, bread, bread...

"I think I need to buy this big wooden cutting board. It will be perfect for kneading bread!"

"Oh, I need those linen napkins. Tom says to use linen napkins or dish towels, and to really press the flour in."

"Tom says King Arthur is the best for bread. We should buy some."

"Tom says..."

You get the picture... :rolleyes::biggrin:

Seriously, I have heard nothing but raves about the bread workshop, and my mother is very rarely so unequivocally positive about anything, so props to you, Tom. You've got a huge fan in my mother!

And I like how there are two pics of my mom (not an eG member), and only one of 1/2 of the back of my head. :raz:


Edited by prasantrin (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to post a few pictures I took at TVH, but ImageGullet is not cooperating with the upload. Oh, well.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are just too many people to thank that I won't even attempt it. I just can't make a post without thanking Ronnie who went way out of his way to make sure that we had an incredible weekend. From a stretch limo food crawl of the city and ending with an incredible dinner at the same place where Anthony Bourdain was taping a new episode. (if someone knows when this is going to be aired please let me know!)

I am headed to Japan tomorrow morning and have been really busy since I came back from Chicago but I plan to comment more once I get settled back at home. I really had the most incredible time and am really looking forward to next year.

This time I will say it so that everyone will hear me, absolutely no deep frying next year! It was really hot in there with no air conditioning!


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooking the chix was a group effort - we'd planned to grill them, but ran out of time.  So we crisped them on the flattop, then finished them in the oven.

I'm going to take partial, secondary-source credit for this innovation. There came a time in the afternoon when the small grill was still heating up and Randi's swordfish still needed to be cooked and it became clear that doing all that chicken on the grill would make the ETA on that course something like 4am. As luck would have it, however, in late June Edsel and I had been sitting at the counter at Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City and had watched the cooks preparing chicken wings. They started the wings by giving them a hard sear on the plancha on both sides, then they transferred them to a saute pan to finish in the oven -- or at least that's what we remembered. So I said to Edsel, "Why don't you do the chicken the way we saw them do it at Momofuku?" Thus, chicken and waffles "Momofuku style" was born.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooking the chix was a group effort - we'd planned to grill them, but ran out of time.  So we crisped them on the flattop, then finished them in the oven.

I'm going to take partial, secondary-source credit for this innovation. (...)

I saw Nancy's post earlier but didn't get a chance to respond.

We started realizing well before "show time" that the grill wasn't going to work out. We were eying the oven as a compromise solution, but that didn't sound too appealing. Besides, there was already a traffic jam of dishes going into the oven, so the timing was doubtful. I was concerned that the oven wouldn't give us the nice crispiness we were looking for.

Don't know why I didn't think of using the flat-top. It was barely a month ago that Steven and I were sitting at the counter at Noodle Bar commenting about how incredibly efficient their flat-top-plus-oven technique is. So credit Chang and company for the idea, but credit Fat Guy for remembering it when it counted. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's cool! What other things did folks learn at the Gathering?

I learned that you dont need a microplane to grate lemon zest. All these years, I always avoided the small holes on the box grater because I never saw the zest. Little did I know, that It does come out underneath the grater. Kerry told me to put some plastic wrap on the side where the small holes were, but I never saw the zest. I turned it over and voila, it was all there. Wow, that was a total revelation to me.

Btw, I just got home from MI. Kerry and I showed up for our train on Tuesday afternoon and we were told there were NO trains running as all the tracks in MI were being worked on. They put us on a charter bus for the ride back. We spent the night in Port Huron today, did some shopping and now we're home.

I'm going to work on my pics on Friday as I have to work tomorrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some other things I learned:

Quail eggs are really hard to crack without breaking or getting shell chips into the egg. Cracking four dozen is a real hassle. So crack them into little ramekins before cooking. Better, get two pretty girls to do it for you.

Goose just doesn't taste all that great, even when you smoke the heck out of it and slice it thinly.

The Vita-Mix is one of the greatest kitchen tools imaginable and truly can pulverize anything.

Randi's Nicoise-esque salad really redefined the Nicoise possibilities for me. I'm hoping someone posts a photo because it was such a spectacular dish.

Leah and Dick distributed some informative literature about the shrimp dish they prepared. Maybe they'll post it. They also distributed a ton of literature to accompany the Niles tour.

Dave Hammond was a veritable font of information regarding the Maxwell Street Market. I'd love to get some links to work he's done on that topic and post them here.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted a picture of Randi's salad way back on the first page. :rolleyes:

gallery_12922_6162_65390.jpg

The Vita-Mix is a champ. I've brought it along to the last three Heartland Gatherings, but this is the first time it really got noticed. It sped up Alex's gazpacho process considerably, and it saved me a lot of work making the aromatic paste for the coconut sauce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, well since you asked.....

gallery_25969_665_160073.jpg

gallery_25969_665_718830.jpg

gallery_25969_665_81472.jpg

I took the picture before I realized I'd forgotten to add the olives. Once the platters hit the tables, I ran around with the olive container and added them.

I chose to make this because I knew the produce from the farmers market would be top notch( and expensive!!). I used baby arugula for the base. I saw those gorgeous french breakfast radishes and decided to use those instead of tomatoes ( cause I dont like raw tomatoes). I also bought heirloom fingerling potatoes( an assortment). There was this one stand that had great potatoes, I wish I'd taken a pic of the stand. I brought homeade tarragon vinegar( white wine) from home and used that along with a shallot( thanks Kerry), dijon vinegar and 365 brand EVOO from Whole Foods.

The biggest departure from a traditional nicoise was my use of swordfish. I dont care for raw tuna and I LOVE swordfish( and its pretty scarce where I live). I used McCormick's seafood spice( it came with its own grinder)( thanks to Hwa for bringing all those great spices) and some oil. I grilled it along with Fresser's help and let it sit at room temp until it was ready to plate.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed it. I'm not sure how I'll top that next year.


Edited by CaliPoutine (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I was helping Randi prep for her dessert I realized I hadn't handled a clingstone peach for years -- those delightful little buggers were hell to section.

I further realized that I hadn't made Salade Nicoise for way too long -- thanks to Randi's inspiration we made it Monday night.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll start with a couple of pictures from the chocolate workshop.

gallery_34671_3115_2337.jpg

Rona (prasantrin)making little piles of the spiced nuts that Beth (Marmish) served us. She then went on to put some dulce de leche on top and topped with tempered chocolate.

gallery_34671_3115_23477.jpg

Our little mess. We cruelly left most of the cleanup for Beth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a few pics to start.

gallery_31539_1218_194636.jpg

Kerry and Rona

We loved the Spice House. So much so that Kerry and I went a second time because we forgot a few things.

gallery_31539_1218_262542.jpg

CI's Peach Blueberry Crisp before baking.

gallery_31539_1218_556653.jpg

NYokie6's husband( Ron) fresser, lucky girl, nyokie6

gallery_31539_1218_251554.jpg

This was the best cheese plate I've ever eaten. We need to convince NyOkie6 to visit Paris again next year before the gathering. She also bought some amazing butter made with the whey leftover from making Parmesean Reggiano. I went to Fox and Obel so I could bring some back to Canada.

gallery_31539_1218_44114.jpg

Kris frying away, Gary, Fat Guy

gallery_31539_1218_290606.jpg

Pigs in the blanket made by Gary.


Edited by CaliPoutine (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gallery_31539_1218_556653.jpg

fresser, lucky girl, nyokie6

gallery_31539_1218_251554.jpg

This was the best cheese plate I've ever eaten.  We need to convince NyOkie6 to visit Paris again next year before the gathering.

I'd never worked before with fromage that actually had crossed Customs. It reminded me of Fat Guy's piece entitled Cheesy Does It.

I met "Pierre" at a rest area near the Canadian border at midnight. I handed him a $100 bill and he handed me a brown paper bag. "Don't you want to count it?" I quipped. He folded the bill, put it in his pocket, backed away from me (never breaking eye contact and never speaking), slid into his Pontiac Bonneville and drove back north to Quebec. I drove south for seven hours, through Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, to my home in New York City. I drove the speed limit. I didn't want to get stopped. I was transporting illegal cheese.

If you've never read the entire piece--and find yourself in need of a belly-laugh--do so now.


There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is not a "what I learned" thing, it was reinforcing something I've know forever: Pigs in Blankets get inhaled.Fie on fancy cocktail food: PIBs rule.

In my neck of the woods, PIBs are fancy cocktail food. Sheesh!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is not a "what I learned" thing, it was reinforcing something I've know forever: Pigs in Blankets get inhaled.Fie on fancy cocktail food: PIBs rule.

In my neck of the woods, PIBs are fancy cocktail food. Sheesh!

Damn uppity Heartlanders! :raz:

Given our luxe collection of fromages, I think a Stilton-filled puff pastry would be edible ecstasy.


Edited by Fresser (log)

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So while I was doing a few things in the kitchen on Saturday I handed my camera to Stacy - a friend of santo grace - and asked her to take pictures while we prepped and cooked. I finally had a chance to look through them tonight - and picked out a few to post. She took some wonderful pictures.

gallery_34671_2649_27567.jpg

Early in the day - Calipoutine, prasantrin, Alex, Bob (spouse of NancyH), and Tino27 plotting.

gallery_34671_2649_24427.jpg

gallery_34671_2649_1424.jpg

gallery_34671_2649_15074.jpg

gallery_34671_2649_27172.jpg

The 4 tables of revelers.

gallery_34671_2649_20357.jpg

Ratatouille.

gallery_34671_2649_17641.jpg

Tomato watermelon soup under construction.

gallery_34671_2649_7753.jpg

Tammylc and Alex dishing out his wonderful concoction.

gallery_34671_2649_1647.jpg

gallery_34671_2649_19720.jpg

Struggles with quail eggs.

gallery_34671_2649_7626.jpg

FG frying the quail eggs.

gallery_34671_2649_27780.jpg

Tino27's friend laying out the bread. Edsel looking quite serious in the background.

gallery_34671_2649_33015.jpg

The gang presiding over the ribs.

gallery_34671_2649_31987.jpg

Ronnie's ribs.

gallery_34671_2649_1859.jpg

Connie (white lotus) and Hwa doing some prep work.

gallery_34671_2649_23877.jpg

Frying is serious business.

gallery_34671_2649_19020.jpg

The proper footwear must always been worn in the kitchen.

gallery_34671_2649_10968.jpg

Torakris and Fat Guy frying - never again to be repeated - until next time!

gallery_34671_2649_24751.jpg

Edsel applying his spice blend to the chicken.

gallery_34671_2649_10000.jpg

The wonderful collection of herbs brought by elfin.

gallery_34671_2649_3045.jpg

NancyH basting her peaches. Smiling much more than while she was waiting for the

ambulance the next day.

gallery_34671_2649_21788.jpg

Fresser with some of the cheese.

gallery_34671_2649_4717.jpg

Calipoutine learning her new trick for grating lemon rind - thank you Cook's Illustrated!

gallery_34671_2649_21002.jpg

Tino27's collection of breads. Aren't they gorgeous?

gallery_34671_2649_2669.jpg

That would be me washing the overabundance of raspberries from the farmers market.

gallery_34671_2649_14587.jpg

Had to have a couple of pictures of Rona - not to allow her to be upstaged by her mom Cecilia.

gallery_34671_2649_21599.jpg

One of my pictures from the river architectural tour (thank you Rona for telling us about this).


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Early in the day - Calipoutine, prasantrin, Alex, ?name not coming to me, and Tino27 plotting.

The unidentified individual is Bob, spouse of NancyH.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Early in the day - Calipoutine, prasantrin, Alex, ?name not coming to me, and Tino27 plotting.

The unidentified individual is Bob, spouse of NancyH.

Thanks for that - I was thinking Bob but didn't want to say in case I was wrong. I'll correct it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By gfron1
      I'm getting the topic kicked off although my time so far has been spent in the kitchen so I have experienced much of the weekend. Chris Hennes and Misstenacity showed up almost at the same time last night. I scurried them off to the tamale/tortilla workshop while I kept prepping for the tasting dinner tonight. I heard many pics were taken so I'll let them talk about the workshop. They'll be off for the Chile Fest in just a bit. Many, many more details to com.
    • By lesliec
      Content advisory: this is going to come across as an unalloyed rave, so let me say at the outset that I have no connection with Pen-y-bryn other than having stayed there.
       
      Now we have that out of the way - we visited Oamaru for the annual steampunk festival at the end of May this year.  Oamaru, a small (pop. 13,500) town in the South Island, 250-odd kilometres south of Christchurch, is home to one of the best-preserved Victorian precincts in the country.  The Victorian heritage has been embraced by the community, first with Victorian re-enactments and now with the steampunk.  Oamaru calls itself the steampunk capital of New Zealand and the annual Queen's Birthday weekend festival is quite an event.  I could go on at length about it, but this is not the place.
       
      Pen-y-bryn (Welsh for 'top of the hill' was built as a private residence in 1889 and is said to be the largest single-level residential building in New Zealand or Australia.  Here's the house:
       

       
      I met one of the owners, James Glucksman, through eGullet a couple of years ago, and this seemed a good opportunity to meet my first eG member in person.  James and his partner James Boussy (collectively: the Jameses) are of US origin and have travelled extensively.  The lodge is filled with period furniture, some of it made for the original owner, and decorated with items the Jameses have collected in their travels.  There's a full-sized billiard table (one of three originally made for the New Zealand Parliament; only two would fit so the remaining one came south to Oamaru), a fantastic original Florentine ceiling in the dining room and any number of comfortable places to sit with a book and a drink.  James G is the chef and morning guy (how does that work?); James B is the gardener and evening guy.
       
      Breakfasts are splendid affairs.  As well as (lodge-made) fruit compotes and wonderful jams, muesli and granola, there's always a freshly-made baked selection.  I can thoroughly recommend the croissants, although it's hardly fair to single them out, and I have now been introduced to the famous biscuits and gravy - not something often seen in this country:
       

       
      Rather good, I must say, and I'd certainly have them again.  I think James said we were the first guests he'd tried them out on.  Sausage gravy, for those of you who are wondering, with just the right level of cayenne.  After that, if you have room, you can have your choice of eggs with bacon, tomato and mushrooms.
       
      For the first few days of our stay we were deeply involved in festival affairs and weren't able to have much more than bed and breakfast at the lodge.  Not that that's anything to be sneezed at, and it was very pleasant to return exhausted in the evening and be met at the door by a James, then ushered into the drawing room for a nightcap - a cocktail, or perhaps a glass of James G's excellent nocino.
       
      On the final day, though, we thought we'd be having a free day and arranged to have two of our friends who had travelled with us from Wellington join us for afternoon tea, to be followed by a proper dinner.  As it turned out we got involved in a photo session in the morning followed by helping pack out of the hall much of the festival had been in, and ended up with only minutes to spare to dress accordingly (one must!) before we were due for tea.  But we made it:
       

      (Photo courtesy Pen-y-bryn)
       
      What a splendid group of people, don't you think?  That's Mrs Hudson (the younger) on the left, then Professor Carwardine, myself (Colonel Hawthorne) and Captain Smollett.  A very distinguished gathering indeed - you may note we had abandoned most of our steampunk accoutrements in favour of a more pure Victorian look (save for my cravat pin, but you can't see that).  Our host was no less splendid:
       

       
      OK, he didn't dress like that all the time - he cuts a decent figure in chefs' whites as well - but this is what eGullet members can look like when they put their minds to it.
       
      We'd neglected to warn James until the day before of the gluten-free needs of one of the party, but he came through magnificently.  Coronation Chicken and radish/poppy seed/cream cheese sandwiches, feijoa/orange tea cakes, English Royalty currant scones with clotted cream and more of James's jam, along with rosewater/pistachio meringues.  All except the tea cakes were gluten-free, and everything was delicious.  I haven't experienced much gluten-free food, but if it's all like this (I believe it isn't!) I think I could cope.  This was accompanied by our choice from an extensive tea list.  The Jameses have lived in China and their knowledge of teas is vast - they can even do a full tea ceremony at the lodge if you wish.
       
      A very nice touch at afternoon tea was a discreet printed menu so we knew what we were having.  This was also offered later at dinner, to which we now come.
       
      Having dressed appropriately (again - we're getting quite good at it), Mrs Hudson (the younger) and myself descended to the drawing room.  James G had unfortunately been forced to take to his bed after our afternoon tea (we wore him out?), but his young sous-chef Ashley and James B between them gave us a memorable evening.  We began with cocktails and canapés.  For the former we introduced James to the Tolkien.  He's not big on mixed drinks, but allowed that this one was acceptable.  Ashley presented this offering:
       

       
      Chorizo, mozzarella and cherry tomato with a balsamic reduction, and crostini with stracchino and saltwater pearls.  The chorizo and both cheeses were - again - made at Pen-y-bryn.
       
      After a suitable interval we repaired to the dining room:
       

       
      James offered a short but thoughtful wine list, and we went with this:
       

       
      When one is in Otago, one must drink Otago, don't you think?  It was a good choice; warm and fruity and a good match for what followed.
       
      First, cocoa-nib rubbed North Otago venison carpaccio, served with confit cherry tomatoes, sumac-sesame-pinenut soil and balsamic caviar:
       

       
      This was a beautiful dish in every way.  Although our first meeting on eG was in the chamber sealer topic, I hadn't been aware quite how modernist James's cooking was (he told me later he likes to include modernist elements, but may dial it back depending on his audience.  He didn't have to hold back with us).  Ashley was able to chat happily about maltodextrin and spherification - I flatter myself she enjoyed having people there who knew what she was talking about!  But as the eG modernist community knows, it's not all about appearance; the food has to taste good.  And this certainly did.  If you're wondering, the white thing is a coconut sphere.
       
      Then, after a lovely mixed fruit sorbet with triple sec, the main course.  Sous vide confit Canterbury duck leg with crumbed quenelle of pommes sarladais, sorrel gel, baby bok choy and haricots verts, and port wine sauce.  And look at the plate:
       

       
      This was another lovely dish.  The duck was just as tender as you'd hope, with just the lightest crisping of the skin.  The potato quenelle was possibly the best of its type I've had, and the dots of sorrel gel provided a nice bitter note.
       
      We had to finish eventually and it was in fine style, with passionfruit-lemon tart with crème Chantilly and vanilla-poached tamarillos (the photo was taken before the tamarillos went on):
          Again, delicious.  A shortcake-style base with delicious thick cream, complemented beautifully by the berry (I think) sauce and tamarillos.   After this it only remained to return to beside the fire in the drawing room to join some new friends we'd made on this trip.  A very lovely evening.   I can thoroughly recommend Pen-y-bryn for a luxury stay if you get to this part of the world.  I have only one criticism - it's completely ruined me for staying anywhere else.  Thanks, guys.  We'll be back.
    • By Kerry Beal
      And so it begins...
       
      I arrived in Las Vegas at 10:30 or so this morning, picked up my rental car and hastened over the the Tuscany Suites to meet up with Chocolot.  After a brief cruise through all the loot that she had accumulated for the workshop we headed out to do a few errands.  We checked in with Melissa and Jean Marie to check that all was well for later in the week and to enjoy a little look around the facility.  I also had to deliver several bottles of wonderful looking paté that Alleguede had made for Jean Marie (I kept one bottle here for snacking purposes this week).  There was serious drooling going on over all the equipment they have available for us to play with.
       
      What was to be a quick stop at Chef Rubber took a little longer than expected - there is a lot to look at there!  And to buy!
       
      We investigated a couple of thrift stores - notably the Habitat for Humanity Reuse to grab a couple of items that will show their usefulness later this week.
       
      And for dinner we hit Lotus of Siam.  We know that we are going back there this week - but it is a place I've wanted to check out since FG wrote about it a few years ago.  And you can never eat too much Thai can you?
       

       
      Jasmine tea for me.  
       

       
      Chicken larb.
       

       

       
      Khao soi - noodles with a red thai sauce.  And the condiments to go with them - some sort of pickled green (perhaps mustard), onion and of course lime.  
       

       
      Pepper garlic shrimp - didn't see a table without this one!
       

       
      And fried rice with veg and egg. 
       
      Right now Ruth is cruising the internet reviews to see what we should order when we return there on Thursday.  
    • By Bu Pun Su
      French food is my favorite cuisine and l’Arpege is my favorite restaurant. Currently, entering the 4th year that I haven’t returned to l’Arpege (Since ’06, I usually make an effort to go there at least once every 2 years). At the very least I had a chance to savor Alain Passard’s cuisine in late ’12 when he became a guest Chef at Beaufort hotel Sentosa – the most memorable part was when Alain personally cooked 2 Brittany lobsters for me. Fortunately, Singapore has a restaurant owned and run by Passard’s apprentice & his former sous chef, Gunther Hubrechsen. Therefore, whenever I crave for (home-style) French cooking that’s light, delicate and delicious, I often come here. Similar to my Les Amis’ experience, I’ve actually been here about 4 times since 2008 but never wrote a (serious) review even once. As a matter of fact, Gunther’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Singapore
      I had dinner at Gunther’s in the same week as my meal at Les Amis. On purpose, I ordered carte-blanche here with similar budget to the Les Amis’ degustation menu. I wondered how these 2 elite gastronomy restaurants (cooking nouvelle cuisine without any molecular element) would fare against each other. A short comparison in a glance,
      Les Amis = 7 courses including one dessert. 2 courses with caviar and 3 courses with black truffle. There were scallop, lobster and wagyu beef
      Gunther’s = 8 courses with a dessert. 1 dish with caviar and also 3 courses with black truffle. There were scallop, gambas and wagyu beef
      Anyway, I ate and enjoyed very much the following stuffs at Gunther’s (my top 3 dishes):
      1st: cold angel hair pasta with Oscietra caviar - the restaurant’s most well-known dish and Chef Hubrechsen should be proud of it. It’s the 3rd time I savor this dish; it’s still very delicious – the flavor, the smells, the texture and all other elements were spot on. High degree of consistency...
      5th: carabinero gambas with tomato rice – given how far Spain from Singapore is, the kitchen did a good job in preparing this prawn. I tasted the gambas’ freshness and sweet flavor; it’s well-seasoned too. The Japanese rice cooked with the prawn’s stock and tomato was pleasant except I prefer rice with firmer texture (like in risotto or paella)
      6th: grilled scallop with black truffle – the main highlight of my meal. The Hokkaido scallop was juicy and tender though not as tasty as the one I had at Les Amis. However, it’s well-enhanced by the sublime and sweet caramelized onion below as well as the pungent winter truffle aroma and flavor on top of it. I liked the onion very much here – a good example how Gunther brought out the essence of its ingredient; possibly the closest one (in terms of ‘deliciousness’) to the Passard’s perfect onion gratin with parmesan that looks deceptively simple
      What makes Gunther’s special is that the talented Belgian chef-owner is capable of generating many different kind of ‘unassuming’ dishes and elevating them to higher level using no more than 3 fresh produce on each plate. It seems modest at times, but actually quite sophisticated. Let me describe a few more dishes I had,
      4th: roasted garlic with onion essence – if I had to pick one dish I like the least, it’s probably the one. The roasted garlic had smooth texture and good smell, well-integrated with mascarpone sauce. However, I found the (garlic) portion was too big. After consuming 2/3 of them, I just swallowed the rest (almost no chewing) so that I wouldn’t be too stuffed and/or dilute my palate for the next dishes
      7th: Char grilled wagyu beef in bordelaise sauce – this was the main course served in a nice portion with a right amount of “fat”. Delicate Japanese beef was generally a safe choice; the chef didn’t do too much and just allowed the natural flavor of high quality wagyu to shine. The sauce and the grilled corn were precisely executed. Nothing wow but it’s hard not to like Japanese beef J
      8th: Truffle parfait – dessert. It’s a soft and light vanilla ice cream served with rich chocolate brownie and topped with aromatic smell induced by the Perigord truffle (having slight peppery taste). I hardly eat dessert with truffle in it. This one was sweet and rather delicious
      There were a couple more dishes I had and you can see/read them on the picture link below. For the meal, I drank 2 glasses of wine. The first glass was 2010 Vincent girardin chassagne-Montrachet; it’s rich and creamy with buttery aromas. The second one was 2009 Black quail Pinot noir; it’s medium bodied with dark berries delicate fragrance and dry finish in slight acidity – a quite refined pinot noir that surprisingly went along nicely with my scallop dish (of course, better with the beef). Oh before I forget, this place only offers one type of bread and butter – to be exact warm mini baguette and salted butter served at room temperature – simple but good; I ate 3 baguettes if not mistaken. The meal ended with a petit four consisting of a green tea macaron and canele – both were fine.
      It was a quiet evening, about half of the restaurant’s capacity was filled. Probably most people were still busy to attend reunion dinner with their friends and colleagues. The dining room decoration was minimalist dominated by dark grey color for the walls (some paintings were hung on them) and medium lighting. This way guests would not feel overwhelmed and the food took center stage. The staffs were polite and helpful without being intrusive. Besides the sommelier, one friendly “Indian” maitre d’ and the greeter, most of restaurants’ FOH staffs were relatively new. Chef Hubrechsen, usually visiting the dining room to greet guests, explained that the staffs turnover at Singapore restaurants were still very high; he even did not have any permanent sous chef assisting him in the kitchen. So the good thing is that it’s almost guaranteed Gunther himself would always be in the kitchen daily to ensure food quality.
      I gave my overall meal experience at Gunther’s nearly 94 pts (a good 2 ¼* by Michelin standard) and it meant about the same level as Shinji by Kanesaka Singapore and Eric Frechon’s Le Bristol, seriously. Another lovely meal, and overall it ranked as the most memorable one I’ve ever had here. Well, there was no bad meal experience at Gunther’s. Hope I can return again sometimes next year, even better if not on my own expenses. Lastly, I prefer this place over Les Amis by a small margin. Check here for pictures, https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/GuntherSRestaurantSingapore#
    • By Kerry Beal
      Today we started out with a trip to the college to start getting ourselves set up for tomorrow. Then at 10 am we met at ChocolateFX and started our tour. Of course hair nets are obligatory if you are going to go into a food manufacturing facility!

      Wilma and Art had the small pan set up so that we could pan some raisins.

      Here's Pat (psantucc), with beard appropriately netted, applying some chocolate to the raisins.

      Ava (FrogPrincesse's little one) preparing to add more chocolate, Kyle helping and FrogPrincesse awaiting her turn.

      The fancy packing machine.

      Listening with rapt attention to Wilma explaining the making of ganache truffles in the round silicone molds.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.