Home | Restaurants by City | Food Photography | Archive | Philosophy |

   
     
 
 
   

Welcome to tastingmenu.com. My repository for thoughts and notes on my eating experiences. Hopefully you'll find something enjoyable, entertaining, or informative. Click here to see where I'm coming from.

 

Tuesday, June 29, 2004, 12:02 AM

| | Permalink


It looks like the French Laundry is open again. (Free registration required.) I guess Thomas Keller is finally done opening Per Se in New York City.

A friend at work is spending a few weeks in Singapore. Please bring me back some Tim Tams.

I'm always fascinated when recipes call for wrapping everything up in tinfoil, or parchment paper, or clay, or whatever. Something about packaging up the food while you cook it is neat to me. The Los Angeles Times (free registration required) has some thoughts and recipes for cooking in parchment paper.

Zagat rated a Brooklyn restaurant unusually highly. And the New York Times (free registration required) decided to write about it. I'm not a big Zagat fan anyway. The numbers (what's a "27"?) don't mean anything to me, and I feel like everyone just plugs for their favorites anyway. I see places that are uninspired scoring raves in Zagat and I know it's not for me.

That said, Frank Bruni, the Times restaurant critic is great. Check out this quote: "She brought my guests and me an appetizer of chanterelle mushrooms that had been sautéed in a white truffle butter and then mixed with creamed corn. It tasted the way a warm bath feels." Writing about food in a way that's both creative as well as effective in conveying flavor is hard. Bruni does both and entertains as well.

Alex forwarded this article from Slate. Maybe I should get a standalone freezer after all.

You can now see what's coming up right on our home page with the "Upcoming Entries" section in the upper right hand corner.

 

 

Monday, June 28, 2004, 12:51 AM

| | Permalink


Fancy Food Show, San Francisco, CA, January 18, 2004 — Back on August 4 of 2002 when this website first began, the very first posting mentioned the Fancy Food Show. At that time I said we'd probably need to go. Well, a year and a half later, we went. (And due to the incredible backlog of this site we're finally posting about it six months after that.) Here's a quick rundown of what it's all about. First, the name. The name is kind of, well... "fancy". I suppose it's not their fault as the show has been going on for a couple of decades but still it seems so silly. Also it's not just "Fancy Food" but "Fancy Food and Confections". Also, this is a trade show. I love trade shows. All the industry folks hawking their wares. When in San Francisco it fills all of Moscone Center - no small feat. Because it's an industry trade show, only members of the industry are allowed in. I know some people who "manufactured" a food related business and had no trouble getting badges for the show. It costs $35 a ticket in advance, so a little cash and a little creativity should get you in just fine.

The show. The idea of row upon row filled with hundreds of booths pitching their various contributions to the world of cuisine is exciting. It's even more exciting when you know that pretty much every single one of them will be offering free samples. And after the first 326 tastes of olive oil/salsa/tomato sauce/cheese/vinegar/sugar free anything/nuts/wine/chocolate/ham you're feeling like the king (or queen) of the world. But #327 comes along and you're pretty much done. Don't get me wrong, there were some nice little finds among the first 326. It's just that there's only so much you can take.

Additionally, this kind of show lends itself to certain types of food and not to others. Trade shows are about trade. On a big scale. And that means foods that are trying to get big distribution and optimized for that scenario. Don't get me wrong. There were plenty (hundreds) of small producers represented. I loved trying yummy artisinal cheeses from New Zealand, various delicious hams from Italy, ten different flavors of gelato from Calfornia, wacky Hello Kitty snacks from Japan, and olive oil from Lebanon. But after awhile it was just tough to try yet another barbecue sauce.

There were some weird moments. The "mascot" for the show is this Oscar-like silver chef statue that they give out as an award. They hired a mime who dressed in a silver outfit and wore silver makeup to wander the show and ply his trade. He scared me. But not as bad as a really out-of-place hippy reporter who casually strolled up to me in the press room asking me a) if I'd seen Bobby Weir yet, and b) I knew of any good parties. Bob Weir (a member of the Grateful Dead) apparently has a line of hot sauces (I hadn't seen him). And if I did know of any parties I certainly wasn't inviting this dude (I didn't know of any parties).

Ever see those cajun spices called Fish Magic, Poultry Magic, etc.? The face of Paul Prudhomme (Dom Deluise's doppelganger) graces each bottle. He was tooling around the show floor in an entirely white outfit tasting various things at different booths. Surreal. Speaking of surreal, how about the Japanese gentleman trying to sell us a soup making machine. We lost the details as we each did a double take looking at the name of the machine - the Soup Server Navi. Each of us first read it as the Soup Server Nazi. Scary.

The French guys at the Lorina booth (they make yummy carbonated lemonades) asked me if the drink I sampled was "crazy". We had to spend a few minutes educating them on English slang. From then on they were asking patrons if their lemonade "kicked ass".

While I didn't get to try nearly as much as was there, I tried enough to find some yummy items. Here's a rundown:

  • Cuvee du Minot - the best apple cider I've ever tasted. Crazy light. Sparkly. Pure apple taste.
  • DeliManjoo - delectable Korean light and airy corn cakes filled with fruit or creme filling. As delicious as the hot pastries were, the machines that made and wrapped them were fascinating.
  • Laguna Tuna tomato sauces - everyone in the group seemed to like them. They did have a freshness about them even though they were bottled.
  • Mr. Krisper Rice Chips  - I love rice crackers, and these were yummy light versions that approximated chips but were baked.
  • An incredible assortment of "frying cheese" from Wisconsin and Cyprus. Yep. I've seen raclette before, but this was a trend. I have a new, deep, and abiding love for frying cheese.
  • Red Leicester with Wasabi and Spring Onion - I love Cotswold, and this seemed like its yummy cousin.
  • Plugra - my favorite butter. Super creamy yummy.
  • Dutch Parrano cheese - I love this stuff. Nutty, creamy, almost sharp but not. It's not cheap but my 2 year old loves it. I'd rather he eat this than slices of yucky american  cheese. And it tastes incredible when melted. Gets super sharp and strong.

There were also a couple of things that were entertaining:

  • The enormous line of Hello Kitty branded marshmallow treats. (I think they're sending me a bunch.)
  • Bubbie's Homemade Hawaiian Mochi Ice Cream. Its like a weird Jewish/Japanese/Hawaiian thing. I'm not a big mochi fan, but these seemed alright despite the odd branding.
  • Fartless beans products. Is gas such a problem that people really need to seek out these items?

Bottom line, we had a great time. Spending a couple of days bouncing from one food vendor to another, eating all the samples you can eat, and even happening upon some new interesting items is definitely fun. It's true that you won't find a ton of fresh food being sold there, and that many of the items are targeted at as mass an audience as possible. But it will be like hanging out in the specialty aisles of the supermarket with each vendor there offering you a taste. I'm not sure I would do it again, but I'm glad I went once.

 

 

Friday, June 25, 2004, 7:56 AM

| | Permalink


In my scant spare time I am busy documenting my family's history. One of the neat things I've found are stacks of my maternal grandmother's handwritten recipes. It makes me happy to see them in her handwriting even though she's not around to make them anymore. I thought I would share this recipe with you. Latkes (traditionally made for Channukah but also eaten year round) are normally made from potatoes. I've transcribed her handwriting to make it easier to read.

 

 

Goldie Jackson's Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream Latkes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Cottage Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions:

  • Mix in mixmaster
  • Drop into hot frying pan [a spoonful at a time]
  • Fry in Diet Parker House margarine or butter on both sides
  • Can be frozen

 

 

Thursday, June 24, 2004, 12:51 AM

| | Permalink


05-Deep Fried Shrimp Balls.jpgTon Kiang, San Francisco, CA, January 18, 2004 — Despite our eh experience at Masa's the night before, Josh still felt that his authority on San Francisco restaurants was not to be questioned. And so even before our dinner was done, the debate started in earnest on where to eat dim sum the next morning - Yank Sing or Ton Kiang. Lauren and Alex had been going to Yank Sing for years and never been to Ton Kiang. Debbie and Peyman had been to Ton Kiang and loved it but had never been to Yank Sing. I'd been to Yank Sing once many years ago, but didn't remember much. Josh had been to both and disparaged Ton Kiang in favor of Yank Sing. But Josh and Dana weren't going with us, and Debbie and Peyman were resolute. Lauren was a big advocate for Yank Sing, but taking advice on where to go for Dim Sum from a vegetarian is like taking asking a member of the Bush administration where the best place is to find WMDs. So, of course, we went to Ton Kiang. More fuel was added to the fire the next day on the way to the restaurant when Debbie and Peyman reported that they had re-consulted with Debbie's parents who had friends who were Yank Sing loyalists, and never returned after only one trip to Ton Kiang.

We got there early as there were a bunch of us and we had big plans for the rest of the day. Ton Kiang was smaller than I expected, as well as quite out of the way in a neighborhood that's a bit of a trip from downtown where we were staying. Ton Kiang is in a neighborhood filled with a variety of unpretentious Asian ethnic restaurants as well as Russian/Jewish delis and groceries. The area is filled with clusters of various ethnicities preserving their way of eating. This boded well for our early dim sum brunch.

What followed was a dizzying array of dumplings, vegetables, and deliciousness coming out with increasing frequency. The food came out on small trays being carried by the handful of busy waitresses serving the growing crowd. Shrimp dumplings, pork shumai, cold asparagus in a light savory sauce, sautéed pea sprouts with big chunks of garlic, chow fun with beef shrimp and crab, deep fried shrimp balls in wonton wrappers, Chinese string beans with diced vegetables in a slightly spicy sauce, shrimp and chive dumplings, steamed pork barbecue buns, sticky rice, deep fried prawns with more spicy vegetable dice, and shrimp stuffed mushroom caps. Each was delicious and wonderful. Ingredients were fresh, flavors were clear, nothing was soggy. The dumplings especially had a clarity of flavor and especially texture that was quite nice. The dim sum wasn't the most "out there" I'd ever seen, but it wasn't boring either. If I had one complaint it might be the potstickers which had a very loose filling without much flavor. But the other dishes more than made up for it. The glistening and juicy slices of Peking duck that arrived didn't hurt either.  Alex and Debbie were slightly annoyed that no steamed buns came with the duck, but my portion was gone (and appreciated) before I even noticed the bun absence. And finally, some yummy sugary egg donut balls showed up for dessert. Peyman and Debbie were disappointed as the last time they were there these "donuts" showed up warm. But I thought they were delicious anyway. They reminded me of egg kichel.

Bottom line: Ton Kiang was very very good. While I still have to go back to Yank Sing for a more contemporary comparison, if I lived in San Francisco, I could see myself at Ton Kiang every couple of Sundays for some delicious dumplings and fun atmosphere.

One other note, non-food related. At one point in the meal I noticed a guy in the corner of the restaurant who looked familiar. I couldn't tell whether he was famous or not, but he sure looked familiar. Nobody at our table agreed with me. He got up and left. When I claimed I thought I saw another person who looked very familiar and was possibly famous, everyone really started torturing me. I was even more sure of my hunch on this person. So I went up to him and asked how I might know him. He claimed to be an appraiser on an antiques show on HGTV. Overjoyed that my hunch was right I had him take a picture with me and marched victorious back to our table. Most people thought that being an antiques appraiser on HGTV didn't count as being famous. Only then did it occur to me that he was probably lying. He looks like an actor to me. To this day I remain vigilant knowing that someday I will figure out who this guy is.

 

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 12:00 AM

| | Permalink


Masa's, San Francisco, CA, January 17, 2004 — A couple of year's ago I was watching an episode of Iron Chef on which an American chef challenges Hiroyuki Sakai - Iron Chef French and arguably the best of the Iron Chefs - and beats him. And while that Chef - Ron Siegel, then of Charles Nob Hill in San Francisco - did some weird trash talking at the end of the episode, I still have been wanting to eat his food. Originally we'd planned to go to Acquerello (purportedly the best Italian in San Francisco) but Josh (Lauren's brother) and Dana weren't sure that it was great. They recommended Masa's and I was hard pressed to disagree. It had been on my list, and I love checking things off my list. (It's a long list.)

The evening began on the right foot as the nice people at Masa's offered us the wine cellar as a location for our meal. It was a little chilly, but fun. Eating dinner in the middle of all their wine is always cool. The fact that it was soundproof didn't hurt, we're kind of a loud bunch. It also didn't hurt that two amuse bouche arrived in succession as "gifts" from the chef. Warm White Bean Soup with White Truffle Oil was first. The soup was hearty but refined. The truffle flavor was brighter than any I've ever had. That might be because of the contrast with the bean soup. Whatever the reasons, it was a really nice start. Simple. Second was Ahi Tartare with Gold Leaf Nori and Curry Oil. The oil had a beautiful yellow color. Even better it had a deep curry flavor with almost a fruity quality. Yummy. The nori tasted good too. I don't think the gold added any flavor, but it sure looked pretty.

Another nice aspect of dinner was that not only did we have the nine course tasting menu, but they split the menu such that in each of the nine courses half the folks got one dish, and half the folks got another. And of course, Lauren got a third variation that was vegetarian. I love diversity. After the two amuse dinner really got started.

First up was Chilled Salsify Soup with Oscietra Caviar and Hog Island Oysters, and Warm Sunchoke Soup with Crispy Sweetbreads. The salsify soup was creamy and nice. The caviar floating on top was a little burst of bright, salty, ocean flavor. The artichoke soup was more flavorful than the salsify soup but bordered on being too salty. Warm bread also showed up with yummy butter. It was great.

Next up was Kampachi Sashimi with Radish and Cucumber Salad and Fingerling Potato Salad. The rest of the table got Dungeness Crab with Tangerine and Avocado with Orange Infused Oil. The crab was essentially uneventful but the combination of ingredients was interesting. The Kampachi was warm, spicy, thick, and soft. Nice.

Then came the fish course - Filet of John Dory with Baby Carrots, Fennel, and Santa Barbara Uni or Filet of Pan-Roasted Sea Bass with Sautéed Crosnes, and Brussels Sprouts. The John Dory was the most special dish of the evening. It's funny as it's something i've typically only been served in Europe. But whether it was there or here, it was really amazingly tender and flavorful. And most importantly, the skin had a light crispiness that was unbelievable. Beautiful. The sea bass was good as well.

Lobster was up next. We got Oven-Roasted Lobster with Sunchoke Puree and Lobster Reduction or Over-Roasted Lobster with Oscietra Caviar, Sauteed Savoy Cabbage, and Lobster Foam. These were both well executed, but Peyman really summed it up well. The bulk of the dishes we'd eaten so far were one big chord. A nice chord. But a chord nonetheless. No notes stood out. Granted the food at Masa's was very well cooked. The technique was really great. But if the food isn't memorable, what's the point?

The foie gras course then followed. We got either Torchon of Foie Gras with Quince Compote and a Sauterne Gelee or Seared Foie Gras with Country French Toast and Apple Reduction. The torchon was super creamy and some folks thought even too rich. The serving was very generous. Maybe overly so. The seared foie gras was very well done and as much as I liked the apple reduction it just ended up overwhelming the foie gras.

Then came the birds. Half of us got Duck Breast covered in Shallots done in a Port Reduction with Gigante Beans, and the other half got Pan Roasted Squab with Broccoli Raab and Bacon in a Squab Reduction. The duck was especially delicious with the shallots piled on top all deposited in your mouth at once. The meat was incredibly tender, juicy, and flavorful. The squab was gamey in a good way but somewhat uneventful. Next up was Filet Mignon with Crispy Sweet Breads and Fingerling Potatoes in a Bordelaise Sauce as well as Beef Ribeye, Bone Marrow Croquette,  Wild Mushroom Risotto and a Red Wine Reduction. The Filet Mignon had little to no flavor. The Ribeye was fine.

Desserts included: an Apple Carrot Pineapple creation; Asian Pear in Passionfruit Soup; Meyer Lemon Upside Down Cake with Hazelnut Panna Cotta; and a Coffee Parfait. But even the desserts were not enough to make us psyched about Masa's. Restaurants like Masa's certainly have a harder time making people happy than your average restaurant. This is because they set the bar high. When you charge a lot for dinner, when foie gras is on the menu, when you serve multi-course tasting menus in a private dining room the bar is high. And maybe if you're someone who has a meal like this once every few years you'd be excited by the ceremony of the meal. But as we get to eat like this more often than that we knew that much better than Masa's exists. It's all the more disappointing when the meal is essentially executed very well, but the food is lacking soul, distinctive flavor, and excitement. Whatever the Iron Chef judges saw that night, we unfortunately didn't get to see (or taste).

Note: As we "went to press" we noticed that just a few days ago Ron Siegel announced he was leaving Masa's and heading to the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton. Was Siegel's cooking not allowed to shine at Masa's the night we were there? Or will the technically excellent unimpressive food follow him to the Ritz. Time (and a visit to both) will tell.

 

 

Tuesday, June 22, 2004, 12:07 AM

| | Permalink


Troiani, Seattle, WA, January 14, 2004 — Always on the look out for good classic Italian food in Seattle we tried (yet) again the other night. This time we were at Troiani Created by the same group as our favorite steakhouse - El Gaucho - we thought maybe there was a chance for it to be something we'd really like. I'm not sure that I should have expected anything other than a corporate sort of place given the central downtown Seattle location, but, that doesn't mean I have to be inspired by it. I understand they have to cater to the downtown folks, but it's just not for me.

Things started off with Crostini with White Balsamic Glaze, Roasted Eggplant, Moscarpone and Chiles. This was better than expected. It was sweet, garlicky, and had a hint of spiciness on the finish. Next up was Basil Cured Tuna with Potato Caponata and Ligurian Olives. The tuna was served in huge slabs. The flavor was somewhat mild. Then a salad. Specifically, Lettuce, Fennel, and Satsuma with Creamy Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. The dressing was a little sparse but delicious. We also had the Grilled Escarole Salad with Warm Pancetta Dressing, Aged Ricotta, and Quail Egg. This was fine.

There's this point in a meal where you've tasted a couple of interesting flavors, and some dishes that are not super impressive, but things could still go either way. We always order a lot of dishes so we can try as many things as possible. You never know when all of a sudden a string of great dishes will show up. Unfortunately you do know when the restaurant is not going to turn the corner. Troiani didn't turn the corner.

The next course started off with Ricotta Gnocchi with Parsley Pesto. This dish rapidly brought me to the conclusion that pesto should not be made from parsley. This was followed by Housemade Pasta with Spicy Lobster Sauce. This dish was boring. Bummer. Lauren's veggie plate was also boring. At least the Large Raviolo with Ricotta Spinach and Egg Yolk in Porcini Broth was interesting. The egg yolk was cool. The dish was tasty.

Finally we finished the meal with Crispy Duck with Duck Confit, Corona Beans, and Sauce of Dried Figs, Plums, and Cherries. This dish hit the boring trifecta. So that the meal wasn't a complete waste we got lucky with the  Filet of Beef with Braised Pancetta, Truffle Butter, and Black Pepper. The steak was fantastic. The truffle butter was great (when isn't it) and the steak was beautifully cooked. I suppose this should have been no surprise given the fact that these owners also own El Gaucho. We also had a couple of other dishes: Spaghetti Squash with Reggiano and Scallops with couscous. The scallops were ok. The couscous was oversalted.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. But whatever it was, I didn't get it. Combine a big, corporate, downtown feel with uninspiring unflavorful food and you have a bummer of an evening. They had a plate of cured meat from Salumi on the menu, but just our luck, that was unavailable. A couple of the dishes showed promise, the steak was great. Maybe Troiani can build on that to make a really great dining experience. Or maybe the downtown folks are happy with Troiani the way it is.

 

 

Thursday, June 17, 2004, 11:37 PM

| | Permalink


Copia is an organization dedicated to food, wine, and art located in Napa Valley. They're a museum, and a "cultural center" whatever that is. But they also grow their own veggies and have a chef on staff at Julia's Kitchen who gets to cook with them - Victor Scargle.

Sirio Maccioni is the founder of New York's Le Cirque restaurant. Both he and the restaurant are icons of the New York dining scene. Whether they still are is a matter for debate. eGullet provides a review of Maccioni's autobiography.

Frank Bruni is the new restaurant critic at the New York Times. Here's a sampling of his latest reviews: Jean-Georges Vongerichten's new steakhouse "V" and the ultra premium Japanese restaurant Megu. (Free registration required.)

I'll admit I still haven't acquired a taste for abalone. I'm just having trouble across the board with things that are rubbery in texture. I keep trying Tako and Calamari, but I'm still not enthused. That said, the Los Angeles Times is touting the abalone revival in California. (Free registration required.) Bonus points for this article as it features a bunch of nice pictures.

Great write-up on Sauté Wednesday about sous vide cooking.

 

 

Wednesday, June 16, 2004, 12:31 AM

| | Permalink


Bayside Buffet, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV, January 9, 2004 — Las Vegas is the city of excess. And frankly, long gone are the days when quantity is my metric for a good meal. Actually, to be completely accurate, large quantity is no longer what I look for, appropriate quantity is absolutely a priority. That said, there's still something deeply attractive about an all-you-can-eat buffet. I can't tell whether it appeals to me because:

a) all human beings are genetically programmed to salivate at the prospect of unlimited food
b) I never felt there was enough food in my house when I was growing up
c) as an American I've been programmed to eat as much as I possibly can on my route to obesity and heart disease

The truth is that none of the above explanations take into account any personal responsibility I have for my eating habits. So, I suppose I like buffets because I like to eat as much as I possibly can without any regard for limits.

I take it seriously too. I first do a walk-through of the entire buffet. And in Vegas this is no small task as buffets there are large. Extremely large. The tourists expect it, and appreciate the oversized nature of everything. After my survey of the landscape I'll then plot out my attack in three waves (not including dessert). The first wave is a sampler platter where I take very small portions of anything that looks good to me. The second wave focuses on repeats of items I really like. The third wave focuses on items that you typically don't get in unlimited fashion - sushi, shrimp, etc.

The problem with buffets unfortunately is that the food sucks. Anthony Bourdain talks in his books about how buffets are often used to eliminate ingredients that will expire soon. Items are mixed generously with mayonnaise and served in large vats. One trick is to go to stations that have a human being behind them... at breakfast buffets it's the omelet stand, at lunch and dinner it's usually meat carving, or crepes. The food is prepared just-in-time so I think it tends to be fresher than what's sitting in the bowls.

The Bayside Buffet is relatively standard as Vegas buffets go. A huge variety of mediocre food. If I could say one thing, the amount of food laid out was relatively small which indicated to me that there was a chance they were preparing just a little bit at a time. I still wonder if someday I will find a buffet with really delicious food. Anything's possible I suppose.

 

 

Monday, June 14, 2004, 12:11 AM

| | Permalink


Rosemary's, Las Vegas, NV, January 8, 2004 — I've written many times about the off nature of finding good food in Las Vegas. In a city that's about being superficial you might think finding good food is hard. It's actually not hard if you embrace Las Vegas and appreciate it for what it is. A restaurant like Rumjungle is not super authentic Brazilian Barbecue I'm sure, but that (and the spectacle) doesn't take away from the fact that it tastes great. Don't let the girls dancing in cages when Rumjungle turns into a club take away from the fact that their large amounts of meat served on swords tastes great. And yet if the lights of the casinos are distracting it's still possible to hunt down restaurants elsewhere.

In my many trips to Las Vegas I don't think I've ever strayed beyond the strip and the airport. Rosemary's (the original) is not only off the strip, it was a 20 minute cab ride off the strip. While the endless repetitive strip malls made me never want to leave the main drag again, it was worth the trip to eat at Rosemary's. Chef's Michael and Wendy Jordan are doing modern American food not only without glitz, but without pretense. Rosemary's is relaxed, and informal.

An amuse bouche showed up at the table to start things off. It was Goat Cheese Mousse and Dried Cherry Chutney on a Homemade Crostini. And it was good. It was creamy sweet, had clean flavors, and the taste was coolness (temperature-wise). Breads showed up next. Interesting options: garlic, rosemary, and white chocolate macadamia nut. The garlic had no garlic flavor but the butter was airy. The chocolate bread was a little different, and actually good.

Next up was Crispy Veal Sweetbreads, with French Green Lentils, Bacon Leek Relish and Sherry Mustard Butter Sauce. The sweetbreads were smokey and crispy. The bacon undertones came through. This dish was yummy - like cracklins or grieven. This was followed by Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Brioche French Toast, Orange Brulee, Quince Marmalade and Cranberry Reduction. The sauce was sweet with the orange flavor adding a nice tart quality. The foie gras was super super buttery. Debbie thought the foie gras was thick and creamy, one of the best she's ever had. I think it could have been a touch crispier on the outside.

We were making our own tasting menu and not really in the mood for any entrees. So all we ordered were appetizers. Our waiter was hyper excited and attentive though there was a slight delay between courses.

Our next dish was Salmon Tartar with Watercress, Saffron Sauce, and Caraway Crackers. At first I wasn't sure, but when I took smaller bites, a horseradish-ey flavor came through. We also had the Twice Baked Parmesan Souffle with Wild Mushroom Ragout. The sauce on the Parmesan souffle was way too strong and salty on its own but a touch of it on the fluffy parmesan "pound cake" was excellent. Both dishes (the salmon and the parmesan) would have been way better in even smaller portions (as well as with less sauce on the parmesan). The red onions however, were nice and crunchy in the salmon.

Finally we split a salad. Pears in general are not my thing, and these seemed typical tome. The cheese in the salad was flat and bland. However, there were spiced pecans in the salad, They tasted like sugar and cinnamon. And they were a delicious surprise. I ate all the nuts. Also the kitchen split the salad for us in advance which was nice, and the presentation was attractive. We got some petit fours for dessert - lemon bars and chocolate truffles. Good.

Rosemary's may be the most non-self-conscious food in Las Vegas. Authenticity is hard to judge. Ultimately food has to be true to the ingredients and to the person that created it. Hopefully if it is, it's a quality that comes through. Rosemary's is the kind of place I would come to regularly if I lived in Las Vegas. A place like Rosemary's needs investment. You need to go a bunch of times to get to know the staff, strengths, and weaknesses. Typically things get even better once you've made the investment. Rosemary's is worth it.

 

 

Thursday, June 10, 2004, 11:29 PM

| | Permalink


Some recipes from around the web...

101 Cookbooks has great pictures of Sri Lanka and a write-up of their experience making Spicy Pineapple Saute.

Chocolate and Zucchini explores the Fig and Mozzarella Warm Sandwich.

Saveur has a recipe for a British treat - a Rhubarb Fool.

Cooking with Amy talks about Cheddary Corn Chowder. Cheese and Corn are always a lovely combination.

Hsiao-Ching Chou of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a recipe for Neapolitan Pizza dough and sauce. It comes from a new pizza book:  American Pie - My Search for the Perfect Pizza by Peter Reinhart.

 

 

Monday, June 7, 2004, 12:01 AM

| | Permalink


Grant Achatz of Trio is leaving to start his own restaurant. Thanks to one of our readers for tipping us off to this. It has a name - Alinea - but not a location or an opening date yet.

This great picture courtesy of Tony Chor.

It's a little late for this year, but here's an article (courtesy of my dad) about having Passover Seder at Spago with Wolfgang Puck.

Is it a good sign that blogs across the nation are now the target of press releases? I think this site has finally made it! Check out this little tidbit:

"Dear Blogger, I really enjoy reading your food blog. With the recent diet and low carb craze, I thought you may be interested in this information for your blog. Your readers may soon be heading out for summer vacations, but that doesn't mean their diets will need to take a break. While eating on the go, Arby's extended Market Fresh Line offers nutritious options to meet all diet needs ... without sacrificing taste."

Doesn't the author sound incredibly sincere?

I knew there were great reasons to eat cilantro in addition to it's excellent and unique flavor.

 

Saturday, June 5, 2004, 7:20 PM

| | Permalink


This is a bad thing if you like foie gras. It's a terrible thing if you love it like I do.

I'm not typically a big fan of food critics, and a review of a restaurant in a hotel in Toronto would typically not merit a mention here (unless the write-up is mine ; ). That said, Joanne Kates and I are in extreme agreement about the plight of restaurants in hotels. And she articulates it well in her discussion of Azure a restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto. I also like that she uses the word 'pee'.

Shiokadelicious! has an incredibly in-depth write-up on kuehs. These are essentially a broad group of southeast Asian pastries. Not only are they described in incredible detail, but there are pictures of every variety as well. Cool!

eGullet has an article about pelmeni. I love these little Russian dumplings. I was so surprised the first time they came not only with sour cream (that wasn't surprising) but with soy sauce as well. The combination was delicious.

I don't spend too much time judging foods based on their origins, but I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of processed cheese (except queso which is delicious - I'm just not entirely sure it's really cheese). That said, I can't help but think that the fact that Kraft's processed cheese sales are slipping is a good sign that the food priorities in this country may be getting on track. (Courtesy of The Cheese Diaries.)

I really am quite partial to red wine. White wine is for cooking (except when it has bubbles). But I'll admit, one type of white wine recently crossed my tongue and I've been enjoying it more and more - Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Dry, smells like apples, refreshing, yummy. Hmmm, this does not bode well for my already overstuffed wine cellar.


 
     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

 

 

   

OUR SPONSORS

 

Tastingmenu is focused on superlative restaurant experiences from two perspectives: behind the plate and behind the stove. Tastingmenu is written by Hillel (professional eater) and Dana (up-and-coming professional chef) in Seattle, Washington.


Search tastingmenu

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
             
     

 

     
     
 

  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

Browse tastingmenu

 

Home | Restaurants by City X | Food Photography | Archive | Philosophy |
Free eBooks: All About Apples | Autumn Omakase

More: Discussion | Cool Food T-Shirts | Ingredients | Markets | Recipes
Search | Blog FAQ | Other Blogs
 

Best of tastingmenu

 

 


City View
June 9, 2006
San Francisco, California
 

05-har gow.jpg

 

Entry: July 6, 2006


Blue Plate
June 8, 2006
San Francisco, California
 

11 macaroni and drunken spanish goat cheese.jpg

 

Entry: June 19, 2006 


L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
March 31, 2006
Las Vegas, Nevada
 

07 roquette salad gaspacho and tofu.jpg

 

Entry: July 18, 2006

 

 

Browse by City

 

Boston | Chicago | Houston | Las Vegas | Los Angeles | Maui | New York | Philadelphia | Portland | San Francisco | Seattle | Toronto | Utah | Vancouver | Washington D.C.

Bangkok | Beijing | Hong Kong | Seoul | Tokyo

Amsterdam | Berlin | Italy | London | Madrid | Paris | Vienna

 

Browse by Month

 

2006

J F M

2005

J F M A M J
J A S O N D

2004

J F M A M J
J A S O N D

2003

J F M A M J
J A S O N D

2002

A  S O N D

2001

D

     
 

     

Comments, questions, or feedback: info / at / tastingmenu / dot / com
All pages Copyright (c) 2001-2007 tastingmenu.com

Last modified 12/14/07.