Saturday, December 30, 2006

Random Cat Pic!

An Ideal Dinner

Mom is visiting me for the weekend! We had a stellar day tromping around PA, and then since she thinks I eat out too much, we ate in tonight.

Here's my mom in front of the main part of our dinner.

"Word to my moms, she came to drop bombs."

Isn't my mom a total babe? And doesn't she look totally psyched for our roasted chicken? That chicken was 4 pounds. We have a drumstick left now. It took us exactly 25 minutes to demolish that bird and since my mom is very Chinese, she also actually like ate some of the bones.

EDIT: Since I have gotten some comments, I would like to say that my mother did not have me when she was 5 or 10. She's just very, very lucky. She does dye her hair- don't tell her I said that.

So...we both have severe stomach aches now. She's falling asleep next to me on the sofa right now. Food comas are also a hereditary condition, I believe.

Prior to this deliciously roasted bird, we ate an endive salad with chopped almonds and apple with a garlic lemon dressing. I was almost full after that salad. But apparently, I was 2 pounds of chicken short of seriously-about-to-die full.

So it turns out that my lack of appetite control comes from my mom. In the grocery store today, she had three different cheese samples... And she literally had like 4-6 pieces of cheese each in her hand each time. I've never seen the like. I was almost embarrassed but anyone who's been to a sampley place with me knows that the women in my family have no shame when it comes to samples of cheese.

The chicken above was cooked long and slow at between 275 and 315 for more than 4 hours, and basted approximately every half hour. It was rubbed with salt and paprika, stuffed with a hand full of herbs from the garden and half a lemon. This method is from one of my favorite food writers, Laurie Colwin. What results is a loose fleshed, taut, mahogany skinned, juicy-ass bird. (As an aside, my mom wouldn't let me eat the tail because it's from the butt!)

I've tried the Zuni (Dry salt brined and high heat) and Marcella (Lemon and high heat) styles. There's a lot of flipping around and sometimes the skin can get crisp, but the breasts are always really dry and the one hour you're roasting that chicken is pretty high stress to me. (However, the Zuni bread salad is worth any amount of work, and next time, I'll use the copious juices for a bread salad a la Zuni, even if the bird isn't done in the correct way).

I guess everyone has a method they swear by. I need to try out more.

PS, the title of this post was because my Mom and I spent part of the dinner watching "An Ideal Husband" with Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Minnie Driver and Rupert Everett. I was going to try to work the movie into the post more, but it didn't happen. But roast chicken is an ideal dinner so the title stays.

U Shibby Shibby Ya Ya

Shibuya, also in the MGM was an old timey-favorite with BrokeDaMouth. About three years ago I came here with my bro, and had a revelatory experience with ikura, the soy cured salmon roe that glistens so lascivously.

"Sexy time!"

I then appointed Shibuya my favorite Japanese resto, perhaps even my favorite resto in the world!

But, I am older, wiser BrokeDaMouth now. In the old-timey days, college days to be exact, while I was certainly a sushi fiend, I was not really flush with cash. So most of my sushi experiences were in the old Miyakes-pound-sakebombs vein. Philly rolls, Gyoza Rainbow rolls, yummy stuff to be sure, but not really high end.

So Cal and I wandered into Shibuya and I remember ordering the sake flight because I was 21, and then chancing the ikura, which I recalled my parents liking. Since the ikura was shiny and happy and not deflated, it tasted lovely. The crazy decor also made me love the place. But of course, that was like my first trip to Vegas and I didn't realize that every restaurant in Vegas has crazy decor. Now the screen saver behind plexi glass cubes on the wall don't look that hawt.

Chris and I ended up going twice cuz Cal and my Dad decided to invite us there later after we had already been once. So, here's what we had:

Hamachi Carpaccio with a little spicy dust on it

Kobe Tataki- tres delicieux

Toro Carpaccio

Soft Shell Crab Tempura in Miso Sauce

SO- This was all great. Yummy! My soft shell crab was a little oily. Everyone else had other types of things that I didn't take pictures. The fish was really great quality, flavors were clean and bold.

My problem is that the price was exorbitant. The food was good, don't get me wrong, but this type of fusion stuff just isn't fusion anymore. I can and do get similar or better quality food at the joint around the corner, Kanpai, in Palo Alto. We were paying for ambiance and being in Vegas.

Here's an example of some tuna carpaccio I had at Kanpai two nights ago with Audrey. The cost of this plate was about 3/4 the cost of the first plate...

Shoot, I can't find the wire to transfer pics. GAH.

OK, I found it. Here's the tuna carpaccio at Kanpai. Really delicious, sharp yuzu, and not that expensive.

I heart Kanpai, and I will post about it soon. The best waitress in the world, Kyo, works there! She's totally hot.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Roel Jobuchon

"Who you lookin at?"

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon sits next to Joel Robuchon at 'The Mansion' in the MGM grand. The Mansion has this incredible Champs-Elysees facade, and the atelier is a little bijou right next to it. The big house's restaurant had a fixed menu with a strong tendency towards truffles and foie gras. The atelier is more casual and the prices are like 2% less crazy. Sleek sushi like bar, ebony and crimson, veggies and fruit artfully placed about. The picture above gives an idea. Ignore Chris, who's looking rather suspiciously at my camera.

Cal, Chris and I all ordered the "menu decouverte" or prix fixe menu. The normal menu was just a bit daunting, although I was immensely intrigued by the langoustine fritters. The bread and butter were great, bread was very floury and crusty, for some reason the butter seemed to taste of cucumber.

Menu decouverte from website. I don't have all the pics, since I'm still getting used to this food blog thing. Sorry:

Menu Decouverte

    Le concombre en gelée, à l'estragon et son yaourt au cumin
    Cucumber gelée tarragon cream, cumin yogurt
Tasting Notes: This was very refreshing- basically like a shot of raita.
    Cru mariné à l'huile tomatée et à la fleur de sel
    Bluefin tuna with tomato infused olive oil

I ate most of it before remembering I was trying to relaunch a food blog.

Notes: Clean. The tomato had a bit of a sweetly acid tang that played a great foil to the smooth tuna. Citrus, yuzu, etc is almost always used with tuna carpaccio and this tomato made it Mediterranean, while playing a similar role. The olive oil they used was fairly neutral.
    La noix cuite en coquille au beurre d'algues acidulé
    Fresh scallops cooked in the shell with seaweed infused butter

So, the flash washed this out completely. Sans flash, you can sort of see what's going on here.

Notes: Cal and Chris adored this. We all thought that the seaweed infused butter was awesome- nutty, actually. I think it must have been clarified butter, it wasn't cloying at all. I did think that it was slightly over cooked, but I tend towards raw as much as possible. This was just a bit more firm that I would have wanted. But, like I said, the boyz adored it.
  • L'ŒUF
    Cocotte et sa crème légère de champignons
    Egg cocotte topped with a light mushroom cream

Aha, some foam. How novel.
Notes: This was perfect. The coddled egg was beautifully underdone. When you broke the yolk it enrobed everything in here with that silken-ness. We had some bread, but I think a little toast would have been perfect as a sopping mechanism.

    En fin velouté au fumet de céleri et au lard croustillant
    Light chestnut velouté with caramelized foie gras and crispy bacon

I loved the bowl here. Mom used to do lots of ikebana and hoarded bowls like this.

Notes: There's some more foam here, but also, a slightly thicker "veloute" underneath this. The boyz liked this, but I wish the celery quotient were a bit higher, since the dish needed a bit more of contrast. We all savored the bacon crisp. Chestnuts lended a smooth flavor, but a slightly grainy texture.
    Mi-fumé aux croustilles de pommes de terre et pousses de cresson
    Slightly smoked salmon served warm confit potatoes

This pic is my favorite, so I'm making it a bit larger.

Notes: By this time, I was a bit overwhelmed, so I had to struggle a bit through this dish. It was rich even though there's no obvious bacon, dairy, etc. The waiter said that the salmon had been cured in house for 5 hours and then lightly smoked. It was unctuous. Again, I think the watercress element here needed to be sharper. The confit potatoes were to die for.

    Farcie de foie gras et caramélisée, pomme purée truffée
    Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffled-mashed potatoes.
Chris and Cal had this dish, but I neglected to take a pic. It was basically like two teeny lil smidgens of meat, stuffed with melting foie and a pool of potato puree studded with awesome truffles.
    De boeuf à l'échalote
    French-style hanger steak with fried shallots

Look at that little Staub cocotte. SO QOOT!

Here's the closeup. Look at those oil globules!

Notes: I was basically about to explode at this point so I managed to eat about a bite of it. It was too rich. The flavors were strong- Chris said it tasted like In N Out animal style.
    Sur un lait caillé de brebis, infusion à la bergamote
    Sheep's milk yogurt panna cotta, mandarin confit, bergamot tea infusion

Heeeey! Sweet foam.

Notes: Bergamot (the taste of Earl Grey) melds wonderfully with citrus (since its a type of citrus). The sheeps milk panna cotta was mild and floating. I needed this to clean my palate after the oily onglet.
    en sorbet, chocolat velouté caramélisé à la cannelle
    Pear sorbet, meringue glacée, chocolate-caramelized cinnamon cream

Notes: I'm glad they had some really contrasting textures here. However, the meringue had been cooked long before or overwhipped or something because it was HARD. I wish it had shattered, instead we had to really apply some pressure and then it exploded in a lot of dust. I love the little play on images, since meringue is made out of only egg whites and the little pear sorbet nugget inside was like a pale yolk. The pear totally saved it all. I loved ending on that sorbet since the final note of the entire meal was just a single, pure note after all of that cacophany.
    Coffee or Espresso
Final Notes: There were a lot of flavor elements here that I couldn't really identify. There were random gelees and squirts of color that didn't completely coincide with what was on the menu. It was a bit overwhelming- It's mostly my fault, I really wasn't prepared for it all. Manresa had many more dishes (and is also the only other meal that beats this in price) but I had mentally and stomach-ly prepared for that one.

So I want to end this, my first real post, with a food ICON image:

Amelie and her brulee crackin spoon!

Why? Because Calvin did a little Amelie imitation here. Forgive his improper spoon placement:

Frankly, Calvin wasn't that into my posting this pic, since he thinks it is slightly unflattering. Here's one of his real headshots so that all of you out there in virtualland don't think that my brother is any less attractive than he is in real life:

Everyone, do not do a Google search on "hot asian men" since not only will you find many men who are not hot, it just ain't family safe, y'all.


That's right

I'm starting this blog up again. And now with pictures! That's some creme brulee I made recently and took a lot of pictures of to test the new digicam. So anyway, like I was saying, we're going to start off with a fantastic trip to Las Vegas- It's a dining mecca out there. Since I don't gamble and I party like a pocket protector, I spent all my money dining out instead. Posts to come are for Shibuya and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon both in the MGM Grand, and Bouchon in the Venetian. Frickin sweeeeet.