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japan 2014 - recommended eats

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japan 2014 - recommended eats

Just remember these two phrases : 'eigo no menyu arimasu wa?' and 'osusume wa nandesuka?' which mean 'do you have an English menu?' and 'what do you recommend?' respectively. 

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art of kaiseki with niki nakayama

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art of kaiseki with niki nakayama

Here's Niki Nakayama, chef-owner of LA kaiseki restaurant n/naka, plating a selection of poetic dishes from her 13-course tasting menu and intimately explaining what kaiseki means to her

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le bernardin : nyc - 2009

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le bernardin : nyc - 2009

It was expensive. $300 for 5 courses. Seriously?? I know it's one of the best establishments in the city, but $300? That's like 600 tacos at Jack in the Box. Let me tell you, the food was good, but it wasn't as good as 600 tacos from Jack in the Box.

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momofuku's noodle bar : nyc - 2009

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momofuku's noodle bar : nyc - 2009

I really respect David Chang, and the Momofuku brand, or more appropriately--empire--that he's built. His cookbook is one of the most approachable I've read, and is accessible to anyone even remotely interested in eating.

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benu : sf, ca - 2012

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benu : sf, ca - 2012

When I heard the Chef de Cuisine of French Laundry, Corey Lee, left to open up his own restaurant in San Francisco, I was really excited. I think we all were; us cooks in the Bay Area, at least.

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minibar - 2013 : the bar

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minibar - 2013 : the bar

While the bar was preparing our drinks, we were served the dessert course, which was an assault on all the senses. Each one consisting of only one or two bites.

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alinea - 2007 : sweet

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alinea - 2007 : sweet

The second wave of courses was the desserts, some of the most whimsical culinary imaginings, plated and edible. If Willy Wonka was a pastry chef, he would have worked at Alinea.

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alinea - 2007 : savory

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alinea - 2007 : savory

pork belly |   with thai distillation

pork belly | with thai distillation

A linea' is latin for 'pilcrow' which is that backwards 'P'  used to indicate the beginning of a paragraph. But, in the Middle Ages, this symbol was used to indicate a new train of thought, and in the case of Chef Grant Achatz, a new concept of cuisine.

Achatz’s menu at Alinea offers some of the most radical ideas ever to hit the plate. You can see for yourself here. In my opinion, his presentation skills are rivaled only by El Bulli, which was rated the best restaurant in the world by Michelin…Alinea was ranked 10—that’s still pretty good.

Incidentally, during his first years at Alinea, Achatz was diagnosed with cancer that effected his tongue, preventing him from tasting his own food—a chef’s worst and most ironical nightmare. He eventually overcame it, but during his treatment, Achatz continued to work full-time and even developed new recipes, saying that the inability to taste forced him to think outside the box and create a dish through pure and mental conception.

I had the opportunity to eat at Alinea during my vacation in Chicago. We had the prix fixe menu which consisted of a whopping 14 courses, and it was unforgettable.

ROES. It was salty, sweet, very briny, but refreshing. It felt like I was eating something straight off the ocean floor.

PORK BELLY W/ THAI DISTILLATION. House-made Sriracha, cucumber-infused lettuce, and braised pork belly. But the real star of the show was the thai distillation. It had all the floral aroma of a thai bird chili with none of the heat.

white asparagus parfait  |  yogurt - arugula flowers - avocado

white asparagus parfait | yogurt - arugula flowers - avocado

WHITE ASPARAGUS PARFAIT. Served in a cylinder that, when removed, dropped the entire parfait onto your plate. Very interesting textures happening here.

BLACK TRUFFLE EXPLOSION. Served on his famous 'anti-plate' One of the most flavorful spoonfuls of food I’ve ever had. It was a literal explosion of truffle juice condensed into a pasta cup.

WAYGU BEEF W/ POWDERED A1. Pretty much like eating beef-flavored butter—it was so soft. It was served with a simple, but ingenious potato-chip crusted potato puree.  It also came with a cellophane packet of powdered A-1…which was honestly more gimmicky than tasty, but it did taste exactly like A-1.

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The kicker was the black urn centerpiece, which was sitting on our table the whole time, but wasn't put into play until the steak course. Water was poured into the urn and barbecue-scented smoke began to waft toward and engulf our entire party. A great end to the savory courses.

Stay-tuned for the next post on desserts. In the meantime, watch this craziness.

www.culinary-workshop.com

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