Monday, July 26, 2010

When life hands you fenugreek... make French toast?

Faced with a leftover sourdough baguette, no blender to make gazpacho and a brunch sun peering through the venetians, you're forced to get creative. This force is mostly stemming from the fact that I don't have any maple syrup. In all honesty, it's fairly expensive (I'm not talking about that imitation crap) and the usefulness does not outweigh the cost. Though it's one of my favorite flavors, I wish it had more savory abilities. It is a great sugar/honey substitute. Love to throw it in a balsamic reduction and to candy bacon with it.
Speaking of imitation crap, I learned recently that fenugreek is used in making most manufactured imitation maple syrups. This makes a lot of sense when you taste fenugreek.

In the end I had some mauby concentrate on my shelf and decided to reduce it to a maple syrup consistency. Mauby has a bitter note to it which made for a more interesting syrup. I coated the sourdough baguette in an egg wash whisked with dried fenugreek to reincorporate the maple flavor. I also made a nice discovery when washing out the left over mauby syrup in the pot, which I will hopefully reveal very soon in another dish.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Souse #2

Pigfoot Mosaic
Pickled Onion
Fennel Seed Vinaigrette
Serrano Pepper

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Indulgence, NY

In the end of June I traveled to New York City to meet up with the rest of Animal/Tropical to entertain a few North Eastern states. As i was aerially aligned with the Atlantic Ocean I had taken note, done research and made plans to gorge on the haute hot heat of NYC's best kitchens and dining rooms. Focused on the Prince's more than the King's, I had sought out the best tasting menu's within my budget, time frame and preference. Some on the list were Eleven Madison Park, the Modern @ MoMa, Bouley & WD~50. However, I ended up at the newest establishments of some of NYC's Culinary King's which in turn ends up being their "Prince" restaurants, essentially. Pretty much all of them were born earlier this year. It almost felt as though I had made a composition book of Sam Sifton clippings and used it as a map. Allow me to elaborate: a breakdown of where I feasted. (and boy, don't take the subject line lightly, I definitely needed to be rolled out of most of these restaurants).

The newest from seasoner Daniel Boulud is a real sausage fest. No, it actually is! He's made a wiener-centric upscale establishment that's the best of the wurst of them. I stepped in with a small appetite and a resulting sweat of 100˚+ outdoors. Not sausage-stuffing weather. I mostly wanted a drink, but took opportunity to at least taste something from the supervision (at some point) of such a restauranteur as Boulud. I started my day with a delicious Gimlet after a fussy debate between me and the bartender over what REALLY goes into an Aviation cocktail. After coming to a consensus that they can be made either way we settled down and he gave an enthusiastic thumbs up with his eyebrows when I ordered the Chilled Spring Pea Soup w/ Rosemary Cream. His thumbrows were right! The soup tasted like a garden. A fresh and pure taste of peas and stock seasoned perfectly. The rosemary giving it an herbal boost. Most importantly, I asked the bartender which beer HE thought would go best with the soup. After letting me have a flight of them to figure it out, the Peak Organic Summer Ale was great beyond words. A beautiful match. After more chatter, he let me taste a rum by Smith & Cross which completely changed and blew my mind about rum. Amazing.
Moral of the story: ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR BARTENDER. That is, if you actually have something to say that might interest them. Start with questions and don't be a dick.

ABC Kitchen
It's a Girl! I would assume so of this newborn from Jean Georges-Vongerichten judging by the sheer atmospheric elegance and farm-inspired freshness involved in the food. I would like to thank my friend, Robyn for taking me to have an unexpected and delicious feast of a lunch.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Parmesan Dressing
Mackerel Sashimi w/ Ginger & Mint
Peekytoe Crab Toast
Kasha & Bowtie Pasta with Veal Meatballs
Morels, Parmesan, Oregano & Farm Egg Pizza
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae w/ Candied Peanuts & Popcorn, Whipped Cream & Chocolate sauce
Rhubarb Crumble
Green Market Cocktail w/ Tarragon & Pernod

I'm sure I'm leaving out something, because food kept showing up on the table faster than I could digest. I will say that the Green Market cocktail also tasted like a garden. Delicious. However this experience still does not change my mind about the over-gourmetizing of pizza. Pizza is pizza. I would've preferred the morels on their own. I still think pizza should be left alone a little bit, and believe me I don't say that about most food. On that note, don't get me wrong, this was still a great meal I will not forget.

Fatty 'Cue
Stumbling upon is used in the truest sense considering that the drinking had begun since noon and everything after that seemed to be a bar hop away. Which also explains why I don't even remember how or when we arrived at the latest installment from the Fatty Crab crew. But when we planted our lush tushies on the low stools of this hole-in-the-wall inspired "joint", I felt like my hangover was already cured. But not as well cured as the 'Cue Coriander Bacon served with a yellow curry custard. Served with bold rusticity along with the Nasi Ulam, a well executed rice bowl with Ikan Bilis (tiny fried fish), cilantro and all the Malaysian fixin's, Hand Pulled Lamb Shoulder served with a garlic & mint tinged goat yogurt, a handsomely spicy bowl of noodles, and thinly sliced and smoked Pork Loin with green peppercorn aioli and herbs. Oh. There was one more thing. Simply titled: Dragon Pullman Toast with a side of Master Fat. Although it sounds like something Shang Tsung would be sick of eating everyday for breakfast, it was a fatality of an appetizer, and quite Toasty! A delicious message proving that this restaurant does not put anything to waste. A nice piece of grilled toast served with a cup of the leftover liquid smoky fat from the 'Cue. (To also mention: they serve a soup made from the leftover smoked bones as well). Very admirable and a nod to the current future of sustainability becoming so important in the biz.

Momofuku Ssam Bar
The fact that Elvis Costello named a very bad album after David Chang's ever-growing hipster foodie empire of Korean-bred French modern New American cuisine has always intrigued and displeased the notion of eating here. Of course, it's always important to see what the fuss is about. At the same time, I just happened to be walking about the East Village to see a corner space with simply a cutesy peach icon and nothing more. Opting for the lunch prix-fixe is a very smart choice at $25 for a three course meal.

The Spicy Honeycomb Tripe w/ ginger and pickled tomatoes was most impressive in it's knife skills of creating the perfect texture to enjoy tripe (be it, Western or Eastern palette). Although it does not come close to the cold tripe dish at Grand Sichuan.

Second came the Corned Beef Terrine with Fried Egg Sauce and Tea-Brined Egg Salad. A whimsical and rich dish appropriately balanced by the acidic tea-brined egg salad with watercress. Fried egg sauce was brilliant.

Though I had no room for it, it was too good an idea and dish to pass up. Thai Tea Parfait was another whimsical take on those often craved flavors in a Thai Iced Tea deliciously executed in this dessert.

Overall, a successful trip. Played music I love. Met great people. Had delicious food. You should try it some time.

Thanks: Gispert, Pabon, Haueisen, Burchard, Nguyen, Lloyd, Luna, Spain, Rubiera & Castello.