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Robert Reynolds in Seattle

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This article provides lots of details about Robert and a dinner he's doing in Seattle.

I first met him at the IACP conference when it was here in '96 and we've come to be friends. He's an amazing chef and teacher with a wealth of stories. The dinners he does here are very good and a bargain at $30.


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Jim, thank you for the link. I used to eat at Le Trou all the time -- Robert Reynolds was a wonderful cook and Le Trou the most charming place. I once had the most delicious and memorable carrot puree there; also, the bread of two doughs. I was glad to hear what he's up to these days.

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Besalu was beautifully outfitted in evening wear--real napkins, candles on the tables, wineglasses everywhere. French music on the stereo. No pastries in the cases. It was odd and fun.

As we entered, we were offered a 2001 McCrea Viognier--crisp and refreshing. Diners milled around a bit, figured out where they were seated, and then sat down. When everyone was seated, Robert Reynolds introduced the dinner as "James's fault." RR does dinners in Portland that James the baker hasn't been able to attend, so they just decided to have a dinner in Seattle. He talked about the challenge of cooking a dinner in a kitchen that only has ovens and about the trickster nature of the food (a savory poundcake that looks sweet, for example). He also told a beautiful story about the rabbit recipe and its provenance--friends in France and a spoiled dinner party--and about how the French start planning Sunday supper a week in advance. It was beautiful and poetic and I'm not doing him justice at all. From there, he explained the winter-into-spring menu, to wit:

Savory poundcake with olives and bacon (and maybe mushrooms?) with a dollop of mustard cream sauce

More Viognier

Chestnut Soup with a hint of herb liqueur

2001 McCrea Syrah (but they should have stuck with the Viognier, in my opinion)

Slow-cooked rabbit with smoked pork over toasted bread

Cabbage gratin with Gruyere (heart-stoppingly good)

2000 McCrea "Cuvee Orleans" Syrah that was so good we should have just skipped the 2001

Walnut cake with chestnut honey, ricotta cream, a candied orange peel and orange sauce

The walnut cake was ethereal and the honey gave it the right grounding. The ricotta cream fooled the eye by pretending to be ice cream and then tasted like, well, sweet ricotta. The orange sauce was gilding the lily--tasty, but the honey was enough.

Everyone seemed to be happy and full and pleased with the experience. Even James the baker looked happy and relaxed--I don't know that I've ever seen him look that way!

The dinner was $30 plus $18 for the 3 glasses of wine. Since the bottles were on the table, I may have had 4, but who's counting? It was a bargain, that's for sure.

Now I may have to drive to Portland for another of these meals!


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