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Holly Moore

StudioKitchen (2002-2007)

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Shacke- It was a '96, and no we didn't drink that one! We all brought probably 20 bottles, and thank goodness brought some home!

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Wow, just as I say in my last post that I wouldn't try to speak for Shola's intent, it turns out I can!  Here's the word from chef himself:
As far as the carrot miso puree...The operative goal was to amplify the sweetness of the carrots without using salt or sugar, in which case it would be either SALTY or SUGARY SWEET.

After several experiments, the ultimate solution came from poaching the carrots Sous Vide and then pureeing with a reduction of lemon-infused carrot juice and SAIKYO MISO.

Pure miso...SHIRO, AKA,MAME,HATCHA.....would all have been frankly too salty even in minute proportions, thus completely ovewhelming the carrot flavor.

I think menu prose is at fault here. Some say subtle flavors...I say balanced flavors.

I know mrbigjas is out of town for a few days, so he can't continue the conversation right away, but I'll be interested to know if that makes sense to him.

yep, it sure does. miso can definitely do that.

definitely just a misunderstanding based on the menu prose. i was expecting a combination of carrot and miso flavors, while shola was... well, he said it himself right up there.

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Mrbigjas, interesting that you looked for some of the ingredients following our dinner. I find myself often inspired by Shola's dinner and ingredients and a hunt for them usually ensues dinner.

wow, i totally missed this post somehow.

to tell the truth, i haven't spent that much time hunting for shola's ingredients. i usually figure it'd be too hard or expensive to find them. in this case, it's basically just a coincidence that he was using the same stuff. i bought them at downtown cheese because they were a deal.

After our last dinner, I located the unfiltered Manzanilla olive oil, ordered some smoked salt via mail order, made "essence of corn" soup from "corn juice", ground my own burgers and have a batch of tomatoes in the fridge giving up valuable "tomato water".  :biggrin:

tell me more about this 'essence of corn' soup. i have some corn at home and tonight could be a good night for it. but i don't have a juicer. you think a blender/sieve combo would work?

you can get smoked salt at the spice terminal in reading terminal market; it's not very expensive. of course, i don't know how it compares to what shola uses...

I hope Shola views this more as inspiration than plagiarism :raz:

i'm sure he does--us home cooks are no threat to his business.

hm, we should start an 'inspired by studiokitchen' cooking thread.

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I had the great fortune to sit-in on a recent Studio Kitchen dinner, helping to document some of the really incredible dishes that Shola was putting out, with the significant benefit of being able to eat them too.

Big thanks to the truly impressive wine club whose dinner this was, for putting up with my repeated camera-flashing, and lamp tweaking, and for being so kind as to share some of their excellent wine with me. Eavesdropping on their wine descriptions was enjoyable and educational too. (Katie, Percy, Pedro, I am humbled to report that these women outclass us by several laps, in quality of wine as well as sheer volume - how’s 3 bottles per course? We really have something to aspire to!) Sadly, I had my hands full taking pictures and didn’t manage to document any of the quite accomplished wine pairings, so I’ll just talk about the food.

Peach Carpaccio, Lobster Fennel Salad, Yellow Brandywine Tomato Sorbet, Shisito Pepper Relish, California Meyer Lemon Oil, Blood Orange Vinaigrette, Lemon Balm

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This might be the best thing I’ve eaten at Studio Kitchen, which by extension would make it one of the best things I’ve ever eaten anywhere.

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A paper-thin layer of ripe peaches was topped by a cool tangle of even thinner fennel and tender lobster. The tomato sorbet perked-up the flavors underneath, its coldness and sweetness flattering the other tastes and textures. The Pepper relish on the rim of the plate was a dramatic savory counterpoint, not spicy, but carrying just enough acidity and piquant kick to balance the ethereal salad. This might be the perfect summer dish: serious but light, refreshing and satisfying.

Rainwater Madeira Risotto, Roasted mushrooms, Petit Pois, Bay Leaf Emulsion

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I doubt anything can beat the tomato-water risotto we had at a previous dinner, but this is just barely behind it in the risotto hall-of-fame. With fresh mushroom stock as the liquid, and roasted wild mushrooms in chunks, this had a very deep forest taste, burnished with the subtle but unmistakable gloss of Madiera. The light froth on top carried just a hint of Laurel, but enough to add that extra small dimension that distinguishes Shola’s food. I promised not to reveal his secret technique of stirring a spoonful of marscapone into the rice right at the very end, so keep it to yourself. We’ve been trying to convince Shola to open a drive-through (I’m thinking “RisotTo-Go”) but he’s not going for it….

Pacific Halibut Poached In Olive Oil, Nicoise Relish, Brandade Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, Tomato – Mussel Emulsion, Esplette Pepper

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I’ve been getting a lot of Halibut lately that doesn’t taste like much of anything, but this had a nice full flavor, and a wonderful firm texture. The Nicoise relish, singing with olives and capers, was assertive, but not overbearing, putting a welcome salty spin on the fish. The mild Piquillo Pepper was an excellent vessel for conveying the elegantly light stuffing of potato and salt cod. I have never been fond of Brandade, but this was really delicious, just barely salty and complex.

Japanese Cherrywood Smoked Wagyu Hanger Steak, Wagyu Short Rib and Maui Onion Croquette, Shiitake Marmalade, Jus of Cepes

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Just when I thought I’d had the ultimate beef course at Studio Kitchen a while back, Shola found a way to make it even more amazing. This time the full-flavored hanger steak spent some time in a cold smoker before being sautéed to a juicy medium rare. The result was that same luxurious Waygu beef, but crossbred with bacon, the light smoke ephemeral but undeniable.

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And if that weren’t enough, he seems to have perfected the art of the beef croquette, this one was actually airy and light and crunchy and soft and warm and juicy and vibrantly beefy all at once. I could eat a pile of these. I’m still thinking about that croquette. I want another one, like, now… Yeah, yeah, the soft, caramelized Shiitake jam was amazing, as was the tiny sweet onion, cooked down in the mushroom jus, but can we get back to the croquette? Did I mention how airy it was? And crispy? I did?

Sarabeth's Peach-Apricot and Mascarpone Pain Perdu, Sous Vide Vanilla Scented Peaches, Lavender Honey Ice Cream, Black Pepper-Almond Croustillant, Gingered Peach Cider

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In a weird twist of fate, this was the second night in a row that I was served French Toast for dessert, but Shola’s version has really changed my definition. Here’s my new standard: Split open a thin slice of brioche, spread one inside surface with the world's best Peach-Apricot preserves, the other surface with marscapone. Close the slice back up and put it under pressure for a while, then dip in an egg batter. By the way, if you have some Thai Long pepper laying around, grate a little of that into the batter. Then coat it with crumbled frosted flakes, and grill. Then, just for good measure serve it with a slow-poached peach and lavender ice cream so fragrant you’d swear you were rolling around on a hillside in Provence. Amazing...

So, no big surprise, but this was yet another really thrilling meal, with exciting flavor combinations combining to create a greater whole. This was probably the most elaborate and sophisticated meal I’ve had yet at Studio Kitchen, and some might notice that there was no amuse-bouche, nor a cheese course, and no need for either. What we had was more than complete. It seems impossible that these dinners just keep getting better and better, having started from such a high level, but they seem to, and I'm happy to see how far it can possibly go!


Edited by philadining (log)

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Nice pictures, dude! Can I presume your inner Ansel Adams only rears his head when your merely "sharing" the wine, and not a full contact participant? :raz:

Katie, Percy, Pedro, I am humbled to report that these women outclass us by several laps, in quality of wine as well as sheer volume - how’s 3 bottles per course? We really have something to aspire to!

Not so sure I'd want to attempt to top this Olympic level consumption. I like Shola's food to stay in my stomach where it belongs!

So how do I join this Ladies Wine Club? I might not want to keep up, but they sound like my kinda ladies! :biggrin:

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Nice pictures, dude!  Can I presume your inner Ansel Adams only rears his head when your merely "sharing" the wine, and not a full contact participant?  :raz:
Katie, Percy, Pedro, I am humbled to report that these women outclass us by several laps, in quality of wine as well as sheer volume - how’s 3 bottles per course? We really have something to aspire to!

Not so sure I'd want to attempt to top this Olympic level consumption. I like Shola's food to stay in my stomach where it belongs!

So how do I join this Ladies Wine Club? I might not want to keep up, but they sound like my kinda ladies! :biggrin:

For *that* meal I'd shave my legs and wear falsies.

What are we talking about, wine-wise? Just how envious do I need to get?

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Nice pictures, dude!  Can I presume your inner Ansel Adams only rears his head when your merely "sharing" the wine, and not a full contact participant?  :raz:

Thanks, and seriously, I really wouldn't want to try to devote this level of attention to getting the pix right while in "full-contact" wine mode, or even just trying to fully engage socially! Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, this was one of the more enjoyable tasks I've had in a while...

Not so sure I'd want to attempt to top this Olympic level consumption.  I like Shola's food to stay in my stomach where it belongs!

There was liberal use of a dump bucket for extra wine. And --What's that sound? Oh it's just Pedro weeping and banging his head on the table. Yes, sadly, there was a bit of spillage, but this group was all about tasting and discussing each wine, the similarities and differences among the samples poured, the various consonances with the food and relative success of matching, not about bacchanalian quaffing. Nobody was staggering out of there from over-indulgence.

And this is the problem for our eGullet crew trying this model: I suspect our dump bucket would stay pretty dry, and those stairs would look pretty daunting at the end of the night.

So how do I join this Ladies Wine Club? I might not want to keep up, but they sound like my kinda ladies! :biggrin:

I think they are! I'll find their info for you. This was a meeting of the central organizers, not the general membership, I believe they have larger events at restaurants around the area as their regular functions. They are very serious and knowledgeable, but not joylessly over-intellectual about it, everyone was clearly enjoying the wine and food, not just lecturing about it. I was very impressed. I'll get more info.

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Philadining,

I just returned after a hefty meal at Majolica and I am now hungry after viewing these wonderful pictures :blink:

Shola, you have just raised your own bar a bit...for our next visit :biggrin:

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Slightly OT, that women's wine club that I encountered at Studio Kitchen is called "Cencibel".

There's information about the group on their website.

There's a page there explaining what the club's about.

I figure any organization that has their chairpersons' dinner at Studio Kitchen is our kind of group...

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If you've scanned through this thread, you know that pretty much all the meals at Studio Kitchen are pretty extraordinary. But this most recent one was, to use Shola's words, "off-the-hook".

There were several elements in play. This was a make-up dinner for one that had been postponed due to an emergency, so Shola cranked up the intensity a bit to make up for the inconvenience. But it might have had more to do with the infectious exuberance of the classic Miles Davis Quintet recordings that Shola was listening to as the menu came together.

Whatever the reason, this was really rather extreme, and it's really quite amazing that he was able to pull off the sheer number of separate dishes, all, of course, at such a high level.

We had anticipated a soup to start, and ended up with four, deconstructed into solid and liquid components.

First Course:"Soup to Nuts"

Tomato, Boquerone, Horseradish, Picual Olive Oil

Kabocha, Miso, Fugi Apple, Lemon, Mosto Oil, Curry, Maple Syrup

Miso, Shiso, Tahini, Black Truffle, Takikomi Wakame, Peas

Marcona Almond, Rabbit, Onion, Jerez, Bay Leaf

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It was really hard to choose a favorite, or even to focus-in on an overall theme, but these were all interesting and surprising and delicious.

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The first soup was a perfect summer tonic: a sweet, cold soup made from perfectly ripe yellow tomatoes, joined with a tangy marinated anchovy.

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The next soup was more of an autumn statement, a smooth, warm squash soup accompanying a slowly-cooked apple, reduced to the essence of fruit and sweetness.

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The third soup was a miracle of multi-culti diplomacy, a few shots of this and maybe we'll have world peace. Who'd have guessed that Miso, Tahini and seaweed would play well together? But they do, and the taste and texture of this soup was a real revelation, and its earthiness matched perfectly with the fresh sweet peas dressed simply in a hint of truffle oil.

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The almond soup was warm and creamy, but I almost forgot about it in the shadow of the tender rabbit, which reminded us of ideal barbecue. This of course led to some fantasies about Shola starting a lunch business selling pulled-rabbit sandwiches, but I don't think we convinced him.

As you can see in the photos, these soups were presented on custom-made boards with indentations to hold vessels carrying the various components. Between the visual appeal, the taste and textural implications of deconstructing the elements, and the linear progression of the flavors from left to right, this was a dizzyingly impressive dish, successful in parts, and as a whole.

Second Course:

Foie Gras Two Ways

Glazed Unagi

Chanterelles and Sea Beans

Porcini – Shoyu –Mirin

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A piece of seared foie gras sat atop a ravioli filled with yet more foie, which sat atop a large piece of glazed eel, which was balanced on tart white asparagus and wild mushrooms. The sweet and salty of japanese wine and soy joined the party, offsetting the richness of the main ingredients.

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I don't think I've ever had Unagi and Foie on the same plate, but out the rich fattiness of each complemented one another rather than conflicting. The woodsy mushrooms, sour asparagus and salty beans brought a balance to the sweetness.

Third Course:

Smoked Waygu Steak "Tataki"

Tosazu, Jalepeno, Lemon Balm, Sorrel, Spring Onion.

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In contrast to the rest of the menu, this was relatively straightforward: beautiful Waygu Hanger Steak, lightly smoked before being quickly seared, then chopped. The dark smokiness of the beef was brightened by the vinegary tosazu sauce and lemony herbs. Sure, it's a simple beef salad, but one that succeeds by presenting excellent ingredients in perfect balance.

Fourth Course:

Pork Quintet

Loin "Weiner Schnitzel", Cranberry Orange Relish

Cured Pork Belly, White Bean Fondue

Pork Galette with Pistachio and Truffle

Braised Tenderloin, Prunes, Essence of Bergamot

Milk Poached "Involtini",Tuscan Ham, Sage

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OK, this was really out-of-hand.... but Shola was listening to the Miles Davis Quintet, there had to be 5 parts....

There's never anything wrong with deep-fried pork, but to my palate, the nice crisp cutlet of pork loin was the least interesting of the five. The cranberry relish was a nice accent, but overall the pork loin was just a little plain compared to the other expressions. Hey, I ate it, and really enjoyed it, but the other preparations were a bit more stellar. The pork belly had been cooked slow and low, poaching in its own juices sous-vide style, which resulted in a falling-apart tender block of meat, crisped on all sides at the last minute. The slow cooking had rendered-out much of the fat, but it's still pork belly, it's a fatty cut. That's why it's so delicious! The Galette was like a bulk sausage, the minced meat mixed with crunchy pistacho. It was tasty on its own, but even better dragged through the jus flowing across the plate from the tenderloin. Pork tenderloin isn't inherently all that flavorful, but the darkly sweet prunes and bright bergamot made the meat quite enjoyable. But the star might have been the involtini, a roll of tender, poached pork, with the strong flavors of sage and salty ham intwined in the spiral.

This was a ton of food, and most of us were feeling pretty stuffed by now, but we managed to somehow find space for a truly unusual cheese course.

Cheese Course

Point Reyes, Cabrales, Cashel, St. Augur,Stilton.

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Five tastes of very different Bleus were enhanced by the perfume of lavender drifting up from underneath. The creamy Point Reyes from northern California, the gloriously stinky Cabrales from Spain, the delicate Cashel from Ireland, the sweet St Augur from France, and the classic musty Stilton from England were each drizzled with a scant drop of lavender honey. Some slices of raisin challa were passed, but we mostly just reveled in the surprisingly diverse tastes of this one corner of the cheese world. The Cashel was a hit at our end of the table, but all were tasty in their own ways.

Dessert what?!?!? after all this, how are we supposed to eat dessert?!?!

Coffee Scented Chocolate Sorbet, Cocoa Nibs, Butterscotch and Hazelnut Bavarois, Salty Crispy Rice,"LeBlanc" Hazelnut Oil.

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Ahh, it's all air, it's mostly foam, Shola says.... Which is true in a way, it was much lighter than it looked, and was indeed a good refreshing way to end the meal. The smooth layers of flavors, culminating in the intense chocolate sorbet at the bottom of the pile, were contrasted with the crispy rice, this time tossed with salt for additional counterpoint.

This was an unusually large and involved meal, and all of us, maybe even including Shola, were a little amazed that he was able to pull of of this off. I certainly think he managed to make it up to Evan for delaying an important celebration.

We had a rather surprising number of wines, despite earlier joking, we really weren't trying to break any records, although we might have....

I think this really says it all, doesn't it?

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I'll let Katie share her long list of the exact details, there's no way I can remember them all. We had a few really nice pairings of wine and food, a few near misses, and I think universally interesting and enjoyable wines. Thanks to everyone for generously opening their cellars and working so hard at these always challenging matches.

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(For those of you keeping score, that was 15 bottles of wine, although two of those were 375s, so I guess we'd call that 14.)

Major thanks to Evan for hosting and organizing this event, and to Shola for out-doing himself yet again. It was really great to meet some new folks, as well as catch up with old and new friends, I look forward to dining with you all again sometime soon!

And this latest experience only reaffirms the title and subtitle Holly gave this topic several years ago: Studio Kitchen, No Place Like It!


Edited by philadining (log)

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It was downright nuclear. Great group, great food and Shola was at his best - as always. Why I got up so early afterward is a mystery.

Speaking of nuclear, that cabrales might well have been named "Little Fat Boy". The intensity literally made my fillings sting like one was chewing on tin foil. How can a cheese do that? I mean its only milk, enriched extracted and centrifuged milk.... but still milk. The hot water he poured under the cheeses in the lavender laden tray gave everything a subtle floral scent. Very chic.

Thanks to everyone for a terrific evening although it lasted till the wee hours of this morning.

:rolleyes:


Edited by shacke (log)

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This was a make-up dinner for one that had been postponed due to an emergency, so Shola cranked up the intensity a bit to make up for the inconvenience.

Good idea, laying a guilt trip on Shola. Whatever it takes to push the edge a tad more.

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Still recovering 24 hours later....... I don't think I could tolerate anymore edge pushing.


Edited by shacke (log)

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For now, I'll only add that Shola truly outdid himself. He's a maniac under normal circumstances, but the gyrations of culinary detail and plating he went through last night were astounding by anyone's standards.

I have all the wine info written down but I'm too tired (and sadly too sunburned from the afternoon at the Tomato Festival in Camden) to handle it now. I promise to post it ASAP when my shoulders stop throbbing.

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Here's the litany of wine pairings we were blessed to enjoy with our SK repast:

First Course:"Soup to Nuts"

Tomato, Boquerone, Horseradish, Picual Olive Oil

Kabocha, Miso, Fugi Apple, Lemon, Mosto Oil, Curry, Maple Syrup

Miso, Shiso, Tahini, Black Truffle, Takikomi Wakame, Peas

Marcona Almond, Rabbit, Onion, Jerez, Bay Leaf

Remelluri Rioja Blanco 2001

Turley "White Coat" 2002

Both of these wines were an interesting match with the various soups. The rioja blanca was a particularly refreshing choice that was unfamiliar to all of us and the Turley had a very interesting floral touch from the Viognier in the blend. Both very interesting wines that were a pleasure to experience.

Oh - this course is never to be replicated. Heard it from the horse's mouth himself. Too much running around for one chef in an evening. This course alone qualifies as a culinary marathon for the one plating it. Glad to be there for the one-time-only magic act. It wouldn't be as special if it were that easy to do, right? :wink:

Second Course:

Foie Gras Two Ways

Glazed Unagi

Chanterelles and Sea Beans

Porcini – Shoyu –Mirin

Kijoshu Seiryo Sake

Ratzenberger Bachracher Wolfscohle Riesling Spatlese 1998

Chateau Tieussec Sauterne 2001

There was much anxiety and angst in choosing the Sake and the Riesling to compliment this course. The sake was such an unusual choice, an aged sake that was very oxidized and rich, yet it worked with the foie gras well in a way that was completely counterintuitive to the "usual" choices of rich and sweet wine that generally plays off of the richness of foie gras. I can't explain it, yet I really enjoyed it. The riesling was a more conventional choice but this one had just the brightness and acidity necessary to do battle with the foie. The sauternes was a glorious surprise that was the perfect counterpoint to the other wines with this course. A reminder of why sauternes is the nectar of the gods.

Third Course:

Smoked Waygu Steak "Tataki"

Tosazu, Jalepeno, Lemon Balm, Sorrel, Spring Onion.

El Castro de Valtuille Bierzo 2002

Concha y Toro Terrunyo Carmenere Cachapual Valley 2003

OK. This smoked Wagyu is the "beefiest" thing ever. Really. The Bierzo is a Spanish wine from the arid plains north of Madrid in the old heartland of Castilla y Leon. The local grape is the much unheard of and hence underrated Mencia which produces a wine of extraordinary berry character with a lot of underlying earthiness. Big and chewy, yet elegant if such an irony can exist in wines. The perfect foil for a big-assed beefy dish like this. This might have been the money shot match for the evening. The Carmenere was a nice contrast, and I confess I don't usually enjoy Carmenere. This one was very deep and chocolatey and cedar-ey. Smoother and more soft than others I'd tried before. Maybe I just hadn't had the right one yet? :smile:

Fourth Course:

Pork Quintet

Loin "Weiner Schnitzel", Cranberry Orange Relish

Cured Pork Belly, White Bean Fondue

Pork Galette with Pistachio and Truffle

Braised Tenderloin, Prunes, Essence of Bergamot

Milk Poached "Involtini",Tuscan Ham, Sage

Two Hands "Lost Highway" Shiraz 2002

Branson Coach House "Coach House Block" Greenock Shiraz 2003

Turley Contra Costa County Duarte Zinfandel 1998

Gabriel Billare Pommard Beaune Epenottes Premier Cru 1996

Five courses of porky goodness? What to do? Four ridiculous wines to match, of course! Where to begin?? The two Aussie Shiraz were gigantic and lovely. Big fruit flavors but still soft and approachable. The Turley zinfandel was a spicy contrast to the shiraz and the subtlety and elegance of the Burgundy explains exactly why Jeff was a deer frozen in the headlights the first time he tried this lovely wine. This explains also, why there is chocolate and vanilla. Contrast is good. The varied preparations of the pork made the varied wines an interesting experiment in personal taste. I'm not sure which combinations were best, since most of the wines complimented at least 3 of the five courses. Tough call. Not a bad situation to be in. I think the big zin was best with the pork belly, but it was all good.

Cheese Course

Point Reyes, Cabrales, Cashel, St. Augur,Stilton.

Chateau Haut Bernasse Monbazillac 1998

OK - this had to be the coolest presentation of the evening. Lavender steeped in hot water wafting up from beneath the world tour of blue cheeses garnished with the slightest drop of lavender honey. Yeah. That works. YUM!!! This was really a work of art, and a very academic and fascinating tour of blue cheeses of the Northern Hemisphere. The Monbazillac was perfectly balanced acidity with sweet botrysized fruit. Perfect with blue cheeses. Perfect with almost anything, in fact. :wub:

Dessert

Coffee Scented Chocolate Sorbet, Cocoa Nibs, Butterscotch and Hazelnut Bavarois, Salty Crispy Rice,"LeBlanc" Hazelnut Oil.

Banfi Rosa Regale Bracquetto d'Acqui 2003

Alvear Solera 1927 Pedro Jimenez Sherry

Yeah, sure. We'll eat dessert after all that. You'd think we'd need funnels and plungers, but NO! Everything is so delicious we stuff ourselves to proportions heretofore only seen in disgusting Monty Python skits. Jokes about "wafer thin" mints abound as we dig into our last course. And it's so etherially light we're dumbfounded and grateful in the same breath. The sherry is the perfect foil for the nutty and butterscotch layers and the Bracquetto is delicious with the dark chocolate hiding at the bottom of our glasses, and the cocoa nibs mixed in. It becomes a two fisted war between spoon and wine glasses. Not a bad way to go if one were forced to choose their exit strategy. :wink:

So hopefully this explains the graveyard of bottles and corks that have been evidenced above. I think one more bottle would have made the photo with Pedro holding the detritus of the evening impossible. We barely got that picture taken before there was a crashing to the ground of all manner of empty bottles.

I am honored and privileged to have borne witness to this evening of comradery, fine dining and imbibing. The food, wine and company could not possibly have been better.

I'm dieting for the next four months in penance. :blink:

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Sorry I missed this dinner....you guys are making me wish I had completed my trip sooner and returned home (which is hard to fathom, considering the great time I had while away) :angry::rolleyes:

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Sorry I missed this dinner....you guys are making me wish I had completed my trip sooner and returned home (which is hard to fathom, considering the great time I had while away)  :angry:  :rolleyes:

Percy:

You were sorely missed. The subject of your absence was definitely discussed.

But you were having fun too! :smile:

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Studio Kitchen, August 30, 2005:

Kabocha Soup

Pickled Spaghetti Squash

Black Truffle and Goat Cheese Gnocchi

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On a menu, this looks very hearty and wintery, but the vibrant color corresponded with a bright flavor that would make it appropriate for any time of the year. The smooth Kabocha squash played nicely off the light tang of the tangle of spaghetti squash, and the rich earthiness of the gnocchi, just hinting at cheese and truffle. I've had a lot of good soups at Studio Kitchen, but this is certainly one of my favorites.

Foie Gras Poele

Pineapple Poached in Pineau Des Charentes

Endive Marmalade

Loupiac Emulsion

Orange Flower Water

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The Pineapple threatened to overshadow the foie, it had such a big, intense flavor. But that natural acidity, sweetened by the wine-poaching was a perfect platform for the buttery foie gras. The Endive marmalade was an excellent accompaniment, with a sweet caramelized edge to the sometimes bitter leaves.

Lobster Roasted With "Paella Spices"

Chicken "Salmorejo" Ravioli

Sous Vide Carrot Confit

Cardamon Emulsion

Esplette Oil

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The tender lobster mostly tasted like lobster, which is a good thing in my book, intensified by roasting, with just a hint of the saffron and peppery spicing you might find in a paella.

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I liked the Chicken ravioli almost as much, the vinegary, Spanish tilt of the flavors echoing the lobster. The carrots had quite concentrated flavors, yet were still firm after their sous vide bath.

Kurobuta Tasting #2: Pork and Beans Three Ways

Slow Roasted Belly, Haricots Tarbais, Licorice Jus

Pistachio and Sharp Provolone Crepinette

Salicornia, Hibiscus-Prune Puree

Lardons with Escargot and Puy Lentilles, Lentil-Cumin Emulsion

gallery_23992_1693_22809.jpg

As has been commented on in this topic previously, in the midst of all these luxurious ingredients and delicate preparations, it seems odd to rhapsodize over beans, but Shola seems to have some magical touch with them. The large, pillowy tarbais beans might have floated off the plate if they hadn't been stuck under the daunting mass of pork belly. The green lentils were creamy, yet intact, reveling in the bacony aromas of the lardons.

That little pot of lentils, with batons of bacon and a few squiggly escargots might have stolen the show from the other two elements of this dish, although it was a close race. The Pork Belly was rolled and poached slowly, then roasted, resulting in crisp crust surrounding a soft, disintegrating interior that melted away in the mouth. Of course the high fat content might have something to do with that too... but the cloudy backdrop of the beans, and the sweet, intense jus mitigated the richness. The sharp bite of aged provelone made the ground pork in the crepinette stand out in sharp relief against the mellower components, the crunchy nuts adding textural and flavor depth. The three worked well together, as much as I liked each element, I don't think I would have traded-away any of them for more of one.

Confit of Berries

Cara Cara Orange, Meyer Lemon, White Chocolate and Chaource, In Two textures

Crispy Rice

gallery_23992_1693_18362.jpg

The pork dish was quite large, to the point that some of us were looking skeptically at the large goblets being filled with what looked like a very heavy and rich dessert. But we really need to learn to trust Shola, and what arrived was precisely what we needed. Fresh berries had intensified themselves in a brief marination, and the light, refreshing, flavors of citrus, chocolate and cheese drifted in on a bit of culinary alchemy. The identical ingredients were presented in an airy foam, AND in an intense ice cream, so that as one spooned-through the dish, descending into the core of it, the same flavors sustained, but became colder, and stronger, then lighter and more ethereal again... That contrast was magic enough, but toss the berries into the mix, which meshed so nicely with the lemony-cheesy-creamy thing, it was yet another dessert that was hard to stop giggling over. (Or maybe it's the nitrous in the foamer....)

Shola proposed that maybe he should just open a shop selling these desserts, and you know, I could go for that... Of course he won't do it, but if there were one thing that could derail my Capogiro addiction, that could be it.

So again, another thoroughly satisfying, interesting, exciting meal at Studio Kitchen. I liked how this menu was relatively straightforward, nothing overtly flashy or unusual, but solidly good, and with those signature elegant twists that are always in Shola's preparations. As the seasons change, I'm eager to see how things evolve. I might need to start a telethon to raise funds, but I'll find a way....

And as always, the people at the table have a huge effect on the enjoyability of the evening, so big thanks to the dining companions that helped make it even more special. Percy, Evan, Chuck, as always, a pleasure, and to the first-timers, we'll see you back there, we have no doubt! And thanks to Shola for delighting us yet again.

We actually did pretty well with wine, without stressing-out too much about it, more about that after the report of our wine scribe!


Edited by philadining (log)

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Kabocha Soup

Pickled Spaghetti Squash

Black Truffle and Goat Cheese Gnocchi

Shola said someone told him he should open a place called Soupkitchen and this is why.  Packed with flavor both subtle and bold, it was wonderful. 

Foie Gras Poele

Pineapple Poached in Pineau Des Charentes

Endive Marmalade

Loupiac Emulsion

Orange Flower Water

I just totally dig foie gras and this was superb.  At first glance I said to myself "endive marmalade?" but I trusted the force and you should too.

Lobster Roasted With "Paella Spices"

Chicken "Salmorejo" Ravioli

Sous Vide Carrot Confit

Cardamon Emulsion

Esplette Oil

Perhaps my favorite of the night, the lobster was perfect in every respect and the spices on the lobster were enhancing and in no way dominating.  The ravioli was just Shola showin' off.  It didnt need to be there but it was icing on the cake.

Kurobuta Tasting #2: Pork and Beans Three Ways

Slow Roasted Belly, Haricots Tarbais, Licorice Jus

Pistachio and Sharp Provolone Crepinette

Salicornia, Hibiscus-Prune Puree

Lardons with Escargot and Puy Lentilles, Lentil-Cumin Emulsion

Last time I was here, there was pork 5 ways but somehow the triumverate last night seemed like a ton more food.  We were advised that there would be no hard feelings if any was left over.  Yuh-huh.  right.  Each portion was terrific and I can't choose which may have come out on top.  I thought by far the more interesting was the combo of lentils, snails and bits of porkiness mixed in the serving cup.  Well, maybe this was my favorite.  Its academic.

Confit of Berries

Cara Cara Orange, Meyer Lemon, White Chocolate and Chaource, In Two textures

Crispy Rice

How these flavor combos get dreamed up is beyond me but I am glad I was the recipient.  Cheese and fruit?  Yeah punk - cheese and fruit!  Wow!

As always, Shola was a great host and open with advice on technique and other things.  We sampled his favorite oils and vinegar and as always just kibbitzed a lot.

Many thanks to Philadining for including me.  I don't know how he can go so frequently.  Not that the magic gets lost but the recovery time is rough and on a work night no less. 

Percy got all the wine stuff written down so I will defer to him.

Evan


Edited by shacke (log)

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Many thanks to Philadining for including me.  I don't know how he can go so frequently.  Not that the magic gets lost but the recovery time is rough and on a work night no less. 

philadining is a consumer extraordinaire.

i'm thinking if i get rid of my car, i might could set aside the money i save to start a studiokitchen budget line. that way i figure i could go probably a third to half as often as you guys do.

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Many thanks to Philadining for including me.  I don't know how he can go so frequently.  Not that the magic gets lost but the recovery time is rough and on a work night no less. 

philadining is a consumer extraordinaire.

i'm thinking if i get rid of my car, i might could set aside the money i save to start a studiokitchen budget line. that way i figure i could go probably a third to half as often as you guys do.

Hey, I've been really enjoying all these trips to Studio Kitchen, and I'd go again tomorrow, but even I'll admit that it's bordering on excessive to go three times in a month. It starts warping one's perspective: hmmm, this turkey sandwich is pretty good, but a little cardamom foam could really take it to another level...

But hey, circumstances conspired to make it happen, I'm not one to fight fate! And in my defense, I'm not even CLOSE to the record-holder for most, or even most-frequent visits.

And jas, selling the car and putting the proceeds in a dinner fund sounds like a pretty reasonable plan... see you there!

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Forgive me for reposting with the images, but personally I think the wine parings are easier to envision with the picture of the dishes next to them:

We started with an explosive (quite literally, as the cork went flying as soon as the wire cage was removed) Ratzenberger Riesling Sparkling Brut as an Aperitif.

Studio Kitchen, August 30, 2005:

Kabocha Soup

Pickled Spaghetti Squash

Black Truffle and Goat Cheese Gnocchi

1997 Dr Konstantin Frank Gewürztraminer - From the finger lakes region. Not too dry not too sweet...just right. Thanks JT.

gallery_23992_1693_8024.jpg

Foie Gras Poele

Pineapple Poached in Pineau Des Charentes

Endive Marmalade

Loupiac Emulsion

Orange Flower Water

2000 Chateau Haut Bernasse Monbazillac - We went with the classic pairing...sorry Pedro. This wine has become one of my favorites over the past few dinners at SK.

gallery_23992_1693_17102.jpg

Lobster Roasted With "Paella Spices"

Chicken "Salmorejo" Ravioli

Sous Vide Carrot Confit

Cardamon Emulsion

Esplette Oil

Double pairing of:

2004 Brana Irouleguy "Harri Gorri" (Rose) - I am not a huge fan of Rose', though this did seem to pick up the paprika in this dish. Had a fair bit of acidity.

2003(?) Cakebread chardonnay - Personally I found this to complement the lobster ad cut through the smokyness. Not too fat or oaky.

gallery_23992_1693_12287.jpg

Kurobuta Tasting #2: Pork and Beans Three Ways

Slow Roasted Belly, Haricots Tarbais, Licorice Jus

Pistachio and Sharp Provolone Crepinette

Salicornia, Hibiscus-Prune Puree

Lardons with Escargot and Puy Lentilles, Lentil-Cumin Emulsion

Another double:

1996 Beaune Eperiottes Pinot Noir - Great with the earthy lentils.

2002 Behrens & Hitchcock Petit Syrah - This was a classic petit syrah... deep purple color, fruity nose and  tons of tannins. My favorite with the pork belly.

gallery_23992_1693_22809.jpg

Confit of Berries

Cara Cara Orange, Meyer Lemon, White Chocolate and Chaource, In Two textures

Crispy Rice

2000 Chateau Loupiac

gallery_23992_1693_18362.jpg

The damage....not a record setter but a relaxed pace (especially since Evan and myself had to be up and headed to work by 7:30am).

gallery_21049_162_74569.jpg

Thanks to all those who contributed more than their fair share of wine and as always, a special thanks to Jeff for organizing this.


Edited by percyn (log)

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<sigh> Some of my favorite wines (I do :wub: that sparkling Ratzenberger!) with fabulous food from my favorite chef and my favorite dining companions. Sorry I missed this but I've been busily doing wine research. It looks like you all comported yourselves admirably without me.

Excellent wine pairings, especially for last minute! Well done. And I think the days of record breaking competitive full contact wine drinking at SK are coming to a close. Not necessarily a bad thing either. :wink:

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Thanks for the careful note-taking Percy!

We started with an explosive (quite literally, as the cork went flying as soon as the wire cage was removed) Ratzenberger Riesling Sparkling Brut as an Aperitif.

I'll take the blame for this near-tragedy, I'd known intellectually to keep a thumb on the cork as you pull the cage on a bubbly, but thought I'd have another millisecond or two... Thankfully the caroming cork made a lot of noise, but somehow avoided taking anyone's eye out. Delicious stuff, and not too much of it ended up on the floor...

Kabocha Soup

Pickled Spaghetti Squash

Black Truffle and Goat Cheese Gnocchi

1997 Dr Konstantin Frank Gewürztraminer - From the finger lakes region. Not too dry not too sweet...just right.

Glad you liked that one Percy, I thought it worked nicely with the squash. There is a surprising amount of decent Gewurtz coming from the finger lakes region of NY, but this is my favorite one.
Foie Gras Poele

Pineapple Poached in Pineau Des Charentes

Endive Marmalade

Loupiac Emulsion

Orange Flower Water

2000 Chateau Haut Bernasse Monbazillac - We went with the classic pairing...sorry Pedro. This wine has become one of my favorites over the past few dinners at SK.

This was just right for this dish. Pity Evan owns all of the remaining known bottles of Monbazillac... I share Pedro's reluctance to always pair foie with a sweet white, but this particular preparation required it, I think, between the richness of the foie and the sweetness of the pineapple.
Lobster Roasted With "Paella Spices"

Chicken "Salmorejo" Ravioli

Sous Vide Carrot Confit

Cardamon Emulsion

Esplette Oil

Double pairing of:

2004 Brana Irouleguy "Harri Gorri" (Rose) - I am not a huge fan of Rose', though this did seem to pick up the paprika in this dish. Had a fair bit of acidity.

2003 Cakebread chardonnay - Personally I found this to complement the lobster ad cut through the smokyness. Not too fat or oaky.

That rose was almost neon red, and nicely dry. I liked it a lot with the chicken ravioli. And I agree, the Cakebread was very nice with the lobster. I feel bad that we didn't have another wine for the carrots...
Kurobuta Tasting #2: Pork and Beans Three Ways

Slow Roasted Belly, Haricots Tarbais, Licorice Jus

Pistachio and Sharp Provolone Crepinette

Salicornia, Hibiscus-Prune Puree

Lardons with Escargot and Puy Lentilles, Lentil-Cumin Emulsion

Another double:

1996 Beaune "Les Epinottes" Pinot Noir - Great with the earthy lentils.

2002 Behrens & Hitchcock Petit Syrah - This was a classic petit syrah... deep purple color, fruity nose and  tons of tannins. My favorite with the pork belly.

I can't stop drinking that Beaune, the light fruitiness lets it match with a lot of different things. And the Petit Syrah was indeed lovely with the pork belly, meshing nicely with the slight licorice scents of the sauce. Good call Joe, thanks!
Confit of Berries

Cara Cara Orange, Meyer Lemon, White Chocolate and Chaource, In Two textures

Crispy Rice

2000 Chateau Loupiac

Shola was horrified when I suggested that we might open a bottle of Port with dessert, and of course he was right, that would have been WAY too heavy with those airy flavors. Thankfully we had a split of Loupiac that had been standing-by as a possible foie pairing, and it was just right, nicely floral and refreshing. Thanks to Robert and Barbara for bringing that, as well as that surprising Rose.

All in all, I think we did amazingly well for not thinking TOO hard about it, but then we've had some good teachers (we were thinking of you Katie!) And it doesn't hurt to have a few options and check with Shola right before popping something... I join Percy in thanking everyone for their generosity with the wine, and again, the fine company.

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