Additions to Winter Degustation...

These are the dishes for the previous post of Winter Degustation. For some reason, I could not for the life of me get them uploaded onto my blog. So when I tried to start a new one, and just for the hell of it, tried to bring them up on a new post without any text yet written,... voila! At any rate, there they are. If anyone can see these, I would love your comments. The cheeks are so awesome. They are definitely the most sought after dish on the tasting menu right now. A wonderful marriage with any nice merlot, cab or burgundy.

The Kampachi is a succulent, oily fish that lends itself well to most savory, bold preparations to be found in the heart of winter. It's own richness holds it's own against the nuances of fresh Perigord Truffles, Foie Gras, Wild Mushrooms, such as these Maple caps, onions, parsnips, artichokes and the like.

If we can ever make it beyond this weather, we can start to look into spring. After about 4 months of crosnes, oca, although I totally enjoy the use of these tubers, winter squashes like kabocha, hubbard, red kuri and the sugar pie pumpkins, it is nice to turn our thoughts onto the new, the fresh, the lighter side of ingredients. But one thing is for sure, whatever we are cooking, we will be having fun and creating great flavors and tastes for those that grace us with their presence. If for those that have never had Oca Root, Mashua or Crosnes, you have to check them out. They are simply awesome.

Day Two in New York...

An excursion through the city...Exploring and finding new experiences…

We awoke somewhat “hung over” from the overload of food, but believe me, it was well worth it! We decided to go for a long walk through the city to see what we could muster. We had reservations at a restaurant that evening at a recommended top restaurant named Gilt, however, e canceled in hopes of discovering something that perhaps we might never have thought of trying or coming across, which is exactly what we did, and was it ever fun! We proceeded to walk from our hotel down to ground zero to the remains of the World Trade Center, and all that it employs. What an incredible experience. I know it has been awhile for me to get to it, but for those that have not yet experienced it, you should. It is simply awesome in every sense of the word. The void there is simply overwhelming and borderline eerie. The silence is captivating and mindful. How amazing. We started to walk back towards town and made our first stop at a little Mediterranean Deli called Oliva Gourmet. We shared a warm panini styl;e sandwich consisting of Spicy Chicken, Jalapeño Peppers, Pickled Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Fresh Mozzarella and a spread of an Aioli style nature. It was fun, tasty and zesty. We sipped a GUS Grapefruit Soda while we walked up to Tribeca. After muddling around a couple of shops and street stands, and wandering a bit until we figured out that we were turned around, we hopped into a cab to get us to Wichcraft, Tom Collichio’s(chef of Grammercy Tavern, Craft and others) cool little hangout place to check out a sandwich, New York style. I savored a very tasty grilled Black Trumpet Mushroom, Fontina and Truffle Fondue Sandwich on rustic Country Bread, which was warm, hearty and sublime. My wife enjoyed a equally enticing and rich Cuban style Roasted Pork combination with Jalepeno’s, zesty Red Cabbage, Mustard and an Herb Spread on a whole Wheat Roll. If there was a sandwich that she has ever come to talk about, this is it, as it was so tasty. She is all about that one for sure! I would have devoured hers as well, but I was so engrossed in my black trumpet concoction and wasn’t thinking much at all about anything else. As we progressed Northerly from Tribeca into SOHO, looking for our next “score” on our way to Babbo, Mario Batali’s main squeeze, (which we never got to), we stumbled across a new unique and quaint spot called Askew on the outskirts of “the village” that just seemed to have a “happenin” aura to it, so we entered. It was a very fun, “chicy” hangout with mod designs, glass, soft lighting, fun atmosphere and cool beautiful people. How could that be bad? The theme was a modern day Tapas infused with Regional American and Asian influences. Chris, the chef was very nice and eager to share in his craft. As we ordered, a customer at the bar next to me, (a sous chef; “Tom”, from Town restaurant) implicated that he (Chris) was definitely a solid cook, and one that we should take part of his cooking. We ordered the Spanish White Anchovies with a zesty salad of Cucumbers, Piquillo Peppers, Herbs and crispy Papadums(Middle Eastern Lentil Crackers) and crushed Potatoes. It was dressed with a little Sherry Vinegar and EVOO. Nice! We also had delivered, the spicy Jerk Chicken Skewer with “Angelhair” of Green Papayas and light Vinaigrette. The papayas were a wonderful foil for the heat! The chef came out to chat with his colleague again; Tom when I askjed him what else he might have in the kitchen, but no on the menu. He said he was delighted to send out some things for us. Out came a terrine of Country Pork and Rabbit with Sweet Breads, and Herbs, and embellished with Fig Jam, Piquillo Peppers ensemble, “Petit Salade” of Micro herbs and Spiced Mustard. The we ordered the Chickpea Pancakes with Arugula, Radish Shavings, Pecorino Romano, Tapenade and Olive Oil. This was also quite tasty. So far, we were batting am hundred. We thought we would move on and explore more of the city’s secrets. All the while we were there, we had struck up a great conversation with the bartender, Joy, who was a simply that, a joy. She was awesome. She was indulging my better half in sublime libations while I of course enjoyed an exceptional vintage of VOSS sparkling mineral water from Norway. Good times. We decided to stay. Chris then sent us the Girolle shaved Spanish Garrotxa, a moist but firm and semi dry aged Sheep’s Cheese which appeared in a ruffled fashion with Dried Apricots and gently stewed Pistachios and Vanilla Oil. Wonderful flavor. This food was incredible, yet so simple and so understated that we really did not want to move. We had engaged in great conversation, met some wonderful people, and felt at home. Edwin, the owner, had intertwined in the discussion and offered his hospitality which did not go unnoticed. These were great folks we thought. Then, Chris sent out a very tasty and succulent Aged Gouda & Apple “Strudel”, packed full with spiced Walnuts, Flavor Crystals from the Cheese, Seasonings and then finished with a hint of Maple. MMMMMMMMM! This was our fav! As we decided to make our way towards midtown to our hotel, we figured we would walk a while, which is the norm for the village. People everywhere. No sooner had we cleared the entrance to Askew, we looked up and there was Bruno Bakery, an Italian style Bakery ran by the notable and very talented pastry chef; Biagio Settepani. Being as completely satiated as we were, the perfect lining in this silver story was a little cup of Pistachio Gelato and a box of Chocolates that we took to go. Smooth and ethereal was the gelato, yet just a touch too sweet for me at that point, but very satisfying nonetheless. The entire dining experience this weekend made the 50-plus block walk back to our hotel seem nothing more than a stroll through a farmers market in springtime. Some coffee and a pretzel on the corner of the street would have made for a final icing to the experience, but we had to settle for a so-so latte and a muffin in our hotel lobby on a quick race to get back to the airport. That ensures us there will be a next time forthcoming soon.

In good food & cooking…cuisinierskitchen

Dining at Daniel...


This was a place that I have wanted to dine at for a long time. It is a place that many a chef have read about and only dreamt of dining at. Now was my chance to finally check this out. Coming off of the very fabulous meal hours earlier at Per Se, Daniel had high standards to meet in my eyes. We hopped into a cab after returning from the lunch and back to our hotel for a quick change and rest. I was afraid my wife was going to get too relaxed and not want to go so I pushed us to keep active. It seemed almost like a quick trip to the restroom by the time we arrived at the restaurant. The cab ride was an experience in and of itself. I swear we were going to be shot by this local who got into a swearing and yelling match with our driver. When words like “go back to your own f^&%@)& country comes about, it is destined for ugliness. Fortunately, I had told him that we had to get there soon as traffic was tight and he kept to his focus on our hired objective. We entered this very beautiful, older style entrance, past the lounge and down to the host stand. We were greeted by two very well dressed, friendly women who were working in tandem and made to feel welcome. We were right on time so we were shown immediately to our table. It was a table which was on the outer skirts of the “floor”, or the main center arena where it is said that all the “high rollers” and VIP’s(or in Daniel’s code-PX) are to be sat, and made to feel like they are the focus, where everyone can see them. No such luck. Not that I wanted it anyway. I was there for one thing and on thing only…to dine and experience the best of the best! I could tell that the service, although polished and rehearsed, seemed a bit too much so, and not personal. Nothing wrong really, just, well, almost fake. The skill level was flawless with a few exceptions of a couple minor issues. A female server was by far the most gracious and accommodating. However, there are approximately 6 or so to each station and with that come different personalities and styles as well as levels of humble subservience. We started off with Daniel’s canapés, (who by the way was not in that evening, as we were told he was in Miami, bummer.), which consisted of a Plateau of Eggplant Caviar, Crispy Clams and Remoulade, a Fresh Sardine with deux Coulis au Poivron(red and yellow), and Smoked Salmon with Lime Crème Fraiche and Dill. Nice, elegant and attractive in manner. French all the way, as one would expect. Then, the second canapé arrived…Warm Gougeres with Gruyere, but this time filled with Truffled Crème Fraiche. Also, a Crisp Parmesan Cup filled with Goat Cheese garnered an appearance. We then were served both an amuse of a Fresh Raw Oyster with Lemongrass “Veloute” served on a bed of salt. I asked where the oyster was from and the reply was “east coast”. ok. I then knowingly, asked the server something that I did not really want to hear, but figured I would prove myself right. I requested that I be served the Chef’s Tasting menu, but my wife was not really all that hungry, as we had just consumed a big lunch, and if she could just have a few courses. The waiter replied that it was not possible. So here I sat, thinking, if I can make that happen for our customers, and here we are at one of the best restaurants in the country, possibly the world, why can’t they? So, wanting to explore and experience everything I could, we went for it. I was disappointed in that they did not offer the non-alcoholic beverage tasting to go with it, as they so graciously and willing did at Per Se. When I asked about something, I was told sparkling water or mineral water. Hmmmm?. The first course was comprised of foie gras. I had asked to have an extra foie gras course thrown in because the initial offering was a chilled one and I also wanted something seared or poached etc. So, what they did was combine the two. Good and tasty, but could have had a whole other course. It was Foie Gras Two Ways, with a Chilled Terrine, Degustation of Pear, Brioche and 50 year old Balsamic Condiment. The hot preparation was seared a Pave, du Puy Lentils and a little bit of Jus de Poulet. Not the most exciting but really good in flavor. Next, I was served a Meyer Lemon Cured Atlantic Fluke, which was very fresh and delicate, served with Micro Lemongrass, Cilantro, American Sturgeon Caviar and Lime Cream. A very motivating dish and intricate in nature. In the fluke’s succession, was a Chanterelle stuffed Skate Wing, with Black Truffles, Spinach Puree and Sauté, and a Fondue of baby Carrots in a savory jus. This was a hearty fish course, one that we have done numerous times in our own interpretation at the club. I think it is a great way to prepare skate. We were then sent a course of Fontina filled Agnolotti with Truffles, Truffle Jus and Jus de Poulet. Simplicity in nature yet it yearned for something. Life? Craftmanship? Something that could have said; “this is awesome, take note”. Nothing in error, just not what I would have thought. On to the next dish of a Sous Vide Poached Poularde Breast, sliced and served with Chard, Wild Rice, Wild Mushrooms and a Foie Gras-Mushroom Emulsion. This dish was nice, flavorful and rich, almost bordering on being overly so, but it did not quite cross over the line. What followed was one of Daniel’s signatures, Braised Beef Short Rib and Roasted Rib Eye. This was well executed and presented. It was what I had expected from this team of culinary geniuses all along. It was done to perfection and well seasoned. The rib was medium rare and the short rib was melt-in-your-mouth awesome. The duo was adorned with a Bone Marrow Gratin, Parsnip Puree, Salsify and Crisp Onions. The bread display at Daniel needs its own mentioning. It was phenomenal! There were little Epis and Fougasse-like Olive breads, Onion and Beer breads, Rolls of many sorts, Anise bread, Raisin loaves and Garlic-Cheese rolls that made for a great tasty supplement to the meal. I was then asked if I wanted to have some cheeses. The cheese cart or “trolley” was well stocked with many great looking varieties. The only disappointment was, I was shown the cart, and did not feel like I had to ask. The server spewed out a handful of types and I chose one, as my wife was clearly o.d’d on food by this point. It was a Tommes de Berger, which was nice and ripe, and served with a very simple, bistro style garniture of dried apricots, dried cranberries, mache and a hazelnut. Nothing like the finesse we experienced earlier. I had been waiting for dessert all along I think. So, next came the Milk Chocolate Mille Feuille (many layers) with Salted Caramel Ice Cream (a bit too salty, and I enjoy salt), a Chocolate Sablee and Caramel Sauce. Along with that came a Dark Chocolate “Fondant” (Pave), consisting of two layers of richness, a Bittersweet Ganache quenelle and Chocolate Ice Cream. For one who’s favorite food is chocolate, this was great. I have to say that one of the best things of the whole meal was the warm Basket of Fresh Madeline’s that followed. All wrapped in linen, pristine and petit. After that, the mignardises arrived which was made up of Ganache Bites, Chocolate-caramel Cookies, Raspberry Pates de Fruits, Lemon Gelee, Passion Fruit Tartlettes, Raspberry “One Eyed Susan’s”, Poached Grapes, and Coffee Truffles. It was a truly wonderful meal by most standards, but by the standards set forth that afternoon, and by what I have read, heard, seen, dreamed and led to believe, it fell slightly short or what I would have thought. I would do it all over again for sure, and recommend it highly. I think all in all, we were not made to feel as important as we were earlier, which in turn, had a little presence under my skin. Our female server, whose name escapes me, was definitely a strong feature, but there was something else missing. I most likely will just have to go back to see what that was, if anything at all. The evening was perfect however; as I had just experienced something that you just don’t see many places. To see people dining at establishments, arguably the best in the country, spending huge amounts of cash (plastic), solely focused on the craft of the chef(s) cranking out dishes, one after another for the love of the business, the food, their growth and passion to create good things, flavorful and tasty. It was captivating and fulfilling. Educational, and uplifting. Essential and progressive to my own growth, that will live with me long after my credit card is paid off.

A Culinary Journey Through New York City...

Per Se

As we jumped on a plane headed East out of Seattle, the weather was mild and typical. We were anxious to arrive Thursday in New York, albeit very late in the evening, but we knew that we would start the day early with a big day and evening of dining ahead of us. We awoke Friday morning to find a beautiful “spring feel”, warm, sunny and gorgeous! We grabbed a town car into Manhattan to check in at the W hotel on Lexington Avenue. We have had the privilege of staying at various W’s in the past and were excited to see how this one looked. Unfortunately, we were not the most impressed. The room was very small and after looking beyond the superficial state of the amenities, we could see that it was not well converted from whatever it was. What ever! We had what seemed like only a moment to get our selves together, walk outside to check out a street or two before needing to catch a cab to the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle. This is where we would spend the next 4 hours eating and drinking our way through a fabulous 13 course lunch, not to mention a couple “canapés”, an incredible chocolate assortment, Macaroons and a little candy bowl full of truffles! Per Se was our home for that period of gustatory sublime experience. We were greeted with utter kindness, honesty and appreciation. We were one of the first couples in for this “sold out” experience (at least two months in advance), and were taken to a table on the “plateau” above the main floor, overlooking Central Park, a view that was breathtaking on this clear, sunny day. Enough of this already. Here is where the fun started. We started off with a couple of typical “Kelleresque” amuse bouche; warm, soft Gougeres scented with Gruyere and yes, you got it, Smoked Salmon Tartare in a Sesame Tuile Cone. Always a good bite to start. My wife and each had a different menu, mine the “chef’s tasting” and her, the vegetarian menu. I also opted for the “non-alcoholic” beverage tasting to accompany the menu, what a nice addition for those of us “designated drivers”. Very fresh and elegant breads were brought to the table such as petit Epis, Ciabatta and Baguette, along with two butters, one salted local organic from up-state New York, and the other a sweet French butter. First was a warm Parsnip-Apple Soup that was poured tableside into a small cup partially filled with a Brunoise of Apple. This was paired with French Sparkling Cider, which was to follow the next three courses. My wife had the Butternut Squash Soup with Brussels Sprouts. Nice flavor, but the parsnip went better in my opinion. Next, was a small specialty, call “Oysters & Pearls”, which were two little Island Creek Oysters from the East Coast, nestled into a bed of Tapioca, Creamy Sabayon with Oyster Essence and a large quenelle of Russian Sevruga Caviar. My wife had the silky Cauliflower “Panna Cotta” with a lacing of Oyster Glaze and Russian Sevruga Caviar. What followed, was a small tasty salad of Smoked Kampachi (think farm raised Hamachi), with Cucumbers, Supreme of Ruby Grapefruit, Olive Oil and a Remoulade Composure. She had the Citrus Cured Kampachi Belly, (which was very tasty) with Meyer Lemons, Cucumber Allumette and Citrus Oil. This was of course before I had the heart to ask the server; Thomas, if we could just stick to vegetables. Next for me was the White Truffle Custard, gently cooked “en chemise” with a touch of Jus de Poulet infused with Black Truffle and a Chive-Potato Chip for a spoon. Hers was a nice, soft scrambled Duck Egg with Truffle Coulis and Julienne of Black Truffles. My next course in this degustation of goodness was a Taste of Baby Fennel & Hearts of Palm from the Big Island of Hawaii. It was laid out like a painter’s palette with a sheet of the palm on the palate, then a ring of Palm with braised baby Fennel inside, lightly dressed, a Truffle Coulis swiped across the plate, a quenelle of Palm Puree, silky and smooth, then lastly a drizzle of Fennel Oil. How Cool! She enjoyed a course of Young Fennel, Citrus Supremes, Shaved Fennel, and a Citrus Gastrique. If there was a course that I felt could have had some more “love”, this vegetarian dish was it. My next experience was something that I had to make sure they served from the start, FOIE GRAS! It was seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with a Candied Walnut “Crumble”, a mixture of Candied Walnuts, Turbinado Sugar and Butter, toasted to crunchy goodness. Awesome! The foie was flanked by a very nice Caramelized Asian Pear “Tatin”, a little button sitting atop a piece of Golden Puff Pastry, Mache and a little “Jus Naturel”. This was paired with a Gewurztraminer from Navarro Vineyards out of Mendocino, California. Very tasty combination for the unctuous texture of the Duck Liver. For the vegetable course, a Warm Salad of Braised Heart of Celery, Roasted Heirloom Beets and Arugula sat atop a Glacage of Horseradish. Next we came into a fish course of crispy skinned Japanese Sea Bass with what I dubbed as a “Sofrito” of House Made Chorizo, Spinach, Confit of Peppers, Smoked Paprika and Shallots. This was all moistened with a Tamarind infused Onion Glaze. The fish was paired with a Black Tea from India. She had a Degustation of Heirloom Potato, complete with a Truffle studded Mixed Potato Ragout, Grated Black Truffle and a Crispy Galette. Simple yet, excellent. I next came into my own with a Sweet Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster Tail, with a Celery-Potato-Clam “Chowder”, garnished with a Ventrêche Chip(Pancetta like) and Italian Parsley Infused Olive Oil. This was accompanied by a Tangerine Soda from GUS (Grown Up Soda). She marveled over the Braised Romaine Lettuce with Shaved Radishes, Baby Turnips and what else but shaved Black Truffles! We then both were in heaven with a very simple course….mine was Hand Cut Tagliatelle, Shaved Black Truffles, French Butter and Chives and hers Potato Gnocchi, Julienne of Black truffles, Onion Jus and Parmesan Emulsion. For the “entrée” if one will, I was served the “Selle d’ Agneau from Elysian Fields, roasted to perfection and served with Herb Scented “Panisse” (or Polenta-like cake), Sweet Baby Carrot Fondue, Pickled Medjool Dates and Cumin Infused Jus. This was paired with a “Per Se” Manhattan, or in other words for me was a Black Cherry Soda, Lemon Twist and hints of Vanilla. Chic and sexy. My wife had this very superb Wild Mushroom Pot Pie, with Matignon of Root Vegetables in a rich Glace of Champignon du Bois. We then proceeded into the Cheese course, which again is S.O.P. for Keller. Mine was a German influenced dish of Jasper Hills “Winnemere”, a wash-rind cow’s milk, very creamy and strong hint of acidity, and served with Melted Red Cabbage, White Wine Poached Stayman Apples, Mustard Seed Toast, and a Grain Mustard Aigre Doux. This was paired with a nice cold N.A. Beer from Paulaner, which fit the bill superbly. The other cheese course was an “Evora” from Portugal, a Sheep’s milk variety, quite meaty and bold in nature as well as pungent, but very tasty. It was paired with Eggplant Caponata, a crisp Spanish Caper Tuile and Verjus Vinaigrette. Now, for the finish, we each embarked on a sorbet course, mine a Grapefruit Sorbet, Confit of Ruby Grapefruit Supremes Yogurt Bavarian and a subtle Rose Foam. She had an awesome Pomegranate Sorbet with Spearmint Gelee, Mojito Emulsion, which was so flavorful, we could have eaten another bowl full, and a Vanilla Rice Pudding, all packed into this little dish. The dessert courses were even more intoxicating; with mine starting with a play on S’mores, one that I have done many times, but it is always nice to taste someone else’s version. You simply can not go wrong. It was a brick of dense dark chocolate Gateaux, then a light yet rich mousse layer, then a quenelle of Bittersweet “Cremeaux” on top. A triple layer of edible orgasm. It was served with Graham Cracker Crunch Crumbs, Soft and Toasted Marshmallow and a Valrhona “Hot Chocolate” Emulsion. This was served with a delicate Chocolate Milk. No way not to enjoy that. She enjoyed the Sweet Garden Carrot Cake, which was actually a deconstructed version of her favorite dessert! Squares of sponge, very delicate and moist, Cream Cheese Icing in small quenelles around the plate, Candied Walnut Crust scattered everywhere, but quite calculated. Black Raisin Coulis, Carrot Gelee and Caramel Jus topped off with an Indonesian Cinnamon Ice Cream. We then were graced with the presence of the Chocolates Platter, a “Bouquetier” of richness, approximately 30 flavors of them, all lined up like little confectionary soldiers, only to be rifled off by name so accurately by our server and eaten by your’s truly. We enjoyed quite a few before we then were brought a tower of House-Made Macaroons; Coconut, Almond and Hazelnut, all wrapped in clear cellophane and tied with a neat Chocolate Brown Bow labeled “Per Se”. Just when we thought we were ready to be rolled out of there on a stretcher, we were brought a beautiful little porcelain candy style dish of hand rolled Caramel Truffles with a thin layer of dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder and a nit of Fleur de Sel inside. It was from there that we were shown great hospitality and walked graciously through he kitchen, pastry shop, chocolate room, bread baking area, catering kitchen and the pass. We were introduced to just about everyone in the kitchen, one in particular, who I was very impressed with, was Richard Capizzi; the pastry sous chef in charge that day of all things sweet. Johnathan Benno and Thomas Keller both were not in, not that I expected to see Keller. What a great kitchen! It was well oiled, fine tuned and supercharged like a German automobile. Such precision. It did make me proud of our own kitchen as I could see the many similarities and attention to details. My wife and I were made to feel very important, not because someone called ahead or because I was a huge media mogul, or because I like to drop the likes of one’s 401k amount on a wine pairing, but because I was a customer in their restaurant who enjoys great food and wants to be taken care of, which one should, in culinary sanctuaries such as this one. And that is what had taken place, ten fold! We left there feeling like kings and queens. Satiated beyond belief. And then, only to turn around and go at it again in only a matter of 2 ½ hours later. We enter….Daniel!


A Degustation of Winter...

A Flight of Tartines.....

during the winter months, we feature black trumpet mushrooms frequently. I love the woodsy and robust flavor. Here they are paired with a savory squash and pepper "crouton" with caramelized garlic, potato mousseline and chives. It has a drizzle of a fig-balsamic reduction over it. A wonderful start to a hearty meal and a great interplay of a progressive hors d' oeuvre tasting.

Terrine of Braised Oxtails & Foie Gras...

This terrine variation is a constant addition to some of our tastings in this winter season as the earth is depleted of a lot of it's possessions due to the weather's harsh domination. The terrine itself is comprised of slow braised oxtails, marinated first in savory herbs, evoo, garlic, mirepoix and curing spices. After cooking, it is picked diligently and combined with fresh chopped herbs, seared foie gras, shallots and a touch of it's braisage then packed firmly into a mold. It is served with a allumette of pumpkin salad composure, tossed in a bit of shallot vinaigrette, savory squash cake, roasted garlic-potato ice cream, micro burgundy amaranth from the chef's garden and a reduction of Pedro Ximenez vinegar and Walnut oil.

Foie Gras as a dessert as an appetizer...

if there is a combination of ingredients, given to us by nature and a labor of love, this has to be some of the most satisfying gatherings out there during the "cold war". Here we have made a play on dessert and back again to savory with a pumpkin cake made savory by adding shallots, herbs, pepper, salt and evoo then quick griddled to warm before placing a spiced cranberry jam flanked alongside. The hudson valley foie gras is seasoned, scored and quick seared in a hot pan and placed on top with some bitter frisee to offset the sweetness. The foie is adorned with toasted pumpkin seeds and fleur de sel de Guerande. A fuyu persimmons coulis and kumquat confiture is piped and dropped around. This dish was originated by one of our sous chef's; Tyler Hefford Anderson who has a great understanding of cooking by sense of taste and palate as well as technique! I truly dedicate this to his skill and craftsmanship.

Hawaiian Kampachi, which is very similar in taste and texture to hamachi, is a deep water fish from Hawaii, off the coast of Oahu. My friend, Scotty Fraser from Norpac fisheries, sends us such wonderful species, it is sometimes hard to choose which to use. This fish lends itself very well to the heartiness and savory approach to fish cookery during the winter months. Here we have paired it with smoky cinnamon-cap mushrooms, sweet caramelized onions, braised leeks, and a heady black truffle emulsion. It is finished off with a garniture of micro purple kholrabi and a "jus de poisson" to add an earthy and peppery bite!

Zinfandel braised Veal Cheeks are in a word, sublime! It is here where all good things come to those who wait. A dish so rich and wonderful that even God himself would stand in line for them, at the front of course! I am not real religious, but this can be a religious experience and those who have eaten them, cooked correctly, are in agreement that they are awesome. They are first marinated in evoo, aromats, herbs and a bit of cooked off zinfandel. They are then seared, and braised with all the marinade, lot's of Zin, veal stock, or grand jus and lot's of love for about 4 hours, or until quite tender. To plate, we serve them with caramelized chestnuts, a winter chanterelle croustade, a composure of offal, all nestled in goodness, a smooth and silky celery root or celeriac puree, and a natural reduction of the cuisson given a boost of enrichment with Walla Walla sweet onion mustard.


In Honor of the Foie...

What controversy these days... as if we don't have other things to bitch about! I
totally respect the thoughts and views of others about the healthy, sustainable approach to all living things and beings, whether animal, vegetable or mineral. I am a huge supporter for locally and humanely raised(and slaughtered/harvested) animals and fish. I seek out those who demonstrate to us as professionals, the utmost respect for the species, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, so that we can live up to our own responsibility as chefs to our clientele, in order to prove that we are mindful of all things on this earth and are concerned greatly about it's preservation and the effects of not managing them or turning a deaf ear to anyone who gives us shit about what we are doing. I also believe that the individuals who are providing us with this rich delicacy...foie gras, truly are making huge, conscience efforts to ensure the birds harmlessness. It is so easy for those, that simply want to get on their high horse and think that they can strong arm people and their livelihood to do whatever they choose. All things in moderation, I believe are good, and so long as there are caring and responsible individuals who can maintain that philosophy, we will be ok.
So, it is with this that I offer a little "taste" of foie gras.
It is a unique preparation that utilizes the whole lobe(s)
at once, which allows for an ephemeral mouthfeel and
state of mind. This is a fire roasted lobe, which has been
crusted with black pepper, coriander, star anise, clove,
salt and brown sugar. It starts out being marinated
overnight, then to get the process crackling, we glaze
some sliced shallots and whole sprigs of thyme in a
pan large enough to hold the lobes. Place the foie on
top and the whole pan rests under a roaring fire,
surrounded by a moat of white hot embers. This is
around 800-1000 degrees and one must watch with
a "cats eye" so as not to burn them. The pans are
covered with aluminum foil and take approximately
15-18 minutes, then the foil is removed and the hot fire
literally forms an instant crust around the outside the
seals in the silky, unctuous flavor, only to be put under
the knife of the crafty "keeper of the flame". Here are some
shots of the process and final product. In closing, to each
his or her own,and if you choose to not serve this time evolved treat, and feel it not to be of wise choice, I appreciate that and respect you. But until our wonderful politicians make it
a law, one way or the other, leave us alone!