Showing posts with label foie gras. Show all posts
Showing posts with label foie gras. Show all posts

Monday, May 7, 2018

Omakase at the Hidden Sushi | Bar (Encino, CA)

I heard about a sushi bar in Encino with a name pretty impossible to google: Sushi | Bar. This is Phillip Frankland Lee's hidden omakase-only sushi bar behind Woodley Proper in Encino. Sushi | Bar has two seatings per night and only seats eight people at a time. Reservations for the night opens at 10 am that morning on their website (EDIT: Sushi|Bar now takes reservations up to 2 weeks in advance!)

Sushi | Bar is hidden inside Woodley Proper. You check in at Woodley Proper and wait at the bar with a welcome cocktail before the party is escorted to the secret room. Sushi | Bar is not a traditional Japanese sushi restaurant. Phillip Frankland Lee and his team serves up a creative 17-course omakase of sushi with unusual garnishes and preparations.

We chatted with the sushi chefs and other diners and the 17 courses and their drink pairings come and go in rapid succession. I wasn't able to take detailed notes of every single preparations and photos of all the dishes, unfortunately, but here are what you might expect out of this wonderful and unique omakase experience.

We started with a West Coast oyster with whipped nigorizake and caviar, among other ingredients. I opted for the drink pairing which mixed in sake, beer, and cocktails - starting with sake to pair with the oysters.

There's the Purple Peruvian scallop with noc chuom and leche de tigre
Sushi Bar

Oo-toro, pineapple, brown sugar, wasabi, soy
Sushi Bar

White prawn from the Gulf of Mexico marinated for 3 days in chermoula. The prawn was oasted, then topped with dehydrated matcha, kelp, wasabi, and soy
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The prawn was paired with a cocktail made with Japanese whisky, port, lemon, matcha, kelp, soy - the three ingredients matched the garnish on the prawn sushi itself.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Carnivorous Birthday Dinner at Bazaar Meat (Las Vegas, NV)

I spent my birthday weekend last December eating and drinking my way through Las Vegas with some friends from LA. We had some pretty stellar food throughout the weekend, including a meat-centric birthday blowout at Jose Andres' Bazaar Meat!

One of the hardest decisions you'll have to make during a dinner at Bazaar Meat is which cow you want your steak that night to come from. One of the most special meats they have is the Vaca Vieja, which means "old cow". This is 8-10 year old Holstein dairy cow (cattle for beef is typically slaughtered starting from 18 months and dairy cows from 4 years), and vaca vieja is typical meat found in Basque Country. Because of the age, there's actually more flavors to the vaca vieja meat, but the server warned that it could be an acquired taste.

Since we wanted to try as many things as possible, and the steak tartare is made with vaca vieja, we decided to try that particular meat as a tartare, and try a different one for our steak!

The components of the steak tartare was beautifully plated and then later mixed tableside. We ordered the Classic Tartare ($32)
Bazaar Meat
See the dark color of the vaca vieja? It's very distinct from other beef at the restaurant.
Bazaar Meat
The tartare was a sirloin cut, prepared tableside with Savora mustard, egg yolk, HP sauce, and anchovy.

Bazaar Meat

Friday, August 12, 2016

Devouring the Bar Menu at Grill 23 and Bar (Boston, MA)

Grill 23 and Bar may be celebrating 30 years of being one of the best steakhouses in Boston, but don't forget about the "Bar" part of the restaurant! Grill 23's bar menu features some great cocktails and satisfying bites like these Foie gras slider on cider doughnut with jalapeno jelly.
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No, really. Seared foie gras on a donut! I went to the bar menu launch party there and I think I ate 3 of these babies, and still wanted more. I would definitely come back for these - Foie gras lovers have to try them!

Grill 23 and Bar also has some nice cocktails - I love Death & Taxes in particular, with the smokiness of the cigar infused bourbon and the sweetness of the peach.
Grill 23
Grill 23

Monday, July 25, 2016

Steak with a View at SER Steak + Spirits (Dallas, Texas)

Dinner is not just about the food. Dining out is an experience, and sometimes the view makes the experience. That is the case at SER Steak + Spirits in the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the food and the service are also solid, making your night admiring the Dallas skyline even more enjoyable.
SER Steak
SER Steak
I visited SER the evening before Valentine's Day, so I got to try the prix fixe menu they had for V-day. They had live music and dancing going on, as well.

The amuse bouche was a spoonful of bay scallops with truffles
SER Steak
I opted for wine instead of cocktails, that night, because how can I say no to some Louis Roederer Cristal champagne?
SER Steak
When I visited in February, SER has just gotten their new Executive Chef, Kevin Spencer, and the Valentine's Day menu really let him show off what he's about while he slowly changes the regular menu. I loved the second course of Kobe tataki, beech mushrooms, soy, avocado, pig ears, orange.
SER Steak

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Epic Foie Gras Heaven, Au Pied de Cochon (Montreal, Canada)

I had a great foodie trip to Montreal earlier this year, and of course, one of the highlights was the famed Au Pied de Cochon, also affectionately known as PDC. I went there for a foie gras-filled dinner that was unforgettable.

Au Pied de Cochon

To start, combining this rich and delicious favorite of mine with the quintessential Canadian dish was the Foie Gras Poutine ($24, Canadian dollars, obviously)
Au Pied de Cochon
The fries were duck fat fries - crispy and doused in house gravy. Chunks of amazing foie gras and cheese curds made this possibly the best poutine ever.

As if foie gras was not decadent enough, there's the breakfast dish of your dreams: Plogue a Champlain ($29)
Au Pied de Cochon
Buckwheat pancake, Canadian bacon, potato, egg, and foie gras in maple syrup reduction.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Brunch at Terrine (Los Angeles, CA)

When one thinks of brunch in Los Angeles, al fresco or patio dining comes to a lot of minds, especially during the summer months. The fairly new Terrine has a beautiful back patio shaded by a tree canopy.

Terrine
Terrine's kitchen is headed by Chef Kris Morningstar (formerly at Ray's and Stark Bar) and he's doing some great things. This was one of the restaurants I had to try on my recent trips back home to LA.

I ordered the Eggs in Purgatory (spicy tomato sauce, fennel pollen, basil, pecorino, crostini, $14)
Terrine
Yes, I have a soft spot for eggs in tomato sauce, but Terrine's version of shakshouka is one of my favorite brunch dishes we tried. The sauce isn't too spicy but rich in flavors. Their bread was also especially good which made the dish even better.

We had to order this: Terrine de foie gras with prunes and fleur de sel - and baguette, of course.
Terrine
The foie gras accompaniments are different between their lunch and dinner service, but both are worth ordering. This terrine was a wonderful version of a classic, smooth and rich. Welcome back to California, foie gras.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ames Street Deli (Cambridge, MA)

Backbar is one of my favorite bars in Boston, so when the same team opened Ames Street Deli near MIT, well, I was quite excited (and scared for my wallet).

Ames Street Deli is open from morning until evening with different offerings throughout the day (making the place even more dangerous for the wallet!). In the morning, come for a kouign amann. Ames Street makes a great one, the layers are so flaky and crispy with the baked sugar.

Kouign amann
They also have breakfast sandwiches and scrambled egg donut and bacon and egg donut! I'm not quite sure yet what those are like because I haven't woken up early enough to go to campus for those, but I'm certainly intrigued. The kouign amann is also typically gone by late afternoon, so you should come earlier for that, too.

At lunch, you'll find sandwiches. The sandwiches are on the smaller side, but each order comes with a side dish! I really enjoyed the Rabbit Sandwich (mustard bread, rabbit mortadella, pork liver, beets, radish)
Ames St

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Trio Menu at Next Restaurant (Chicago)

I've been visiting one Grant Achatz restaurant/bar per visit to Chicago, starting with Alinea, then The Aviary, The Office, and now, finally, Next. As you may know, the menu at Next changes every few months, and we're not just talking seasonal changes but complete, absolute shift to distinct themes. There had been Modern Chinese, Bocuse d'Or, Chicago Steak, and other themes. This time, since it is the 10th anniversary of Alinea, the theme is Trio. This is the restaurant in Evanston that Grant Achatz was working at when he met and subsequently partnered with Nick Kokonas to open Alinea. The menu thus evokes techniques and dishes that he served 10 years ago at Trio.

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Our meal started with Osetra,caviar avocado, sugar, lime
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This goes back to when they started playing with "neutral flavors" with the hardened sugar chip that adds texture to the dish.

Rock shrimp, cranberry, Meyer lemon, vanilla bean
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A simple fried shrimp skewered with a stick of vanilla bean to enhance the aromatic experience.

When we were first seated, we were given a glass of rose. Now, they bring a bottle of housemade bitters that we can add to the rose based on our own taste preferences.
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Crab, coconut, ten bridging garnishes
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Monday, December 8, 2014

$1 Oysters, Great Cocktails, and More at Russell House Tavern (Cambridge, MA)

One of the recommendations I received before moving to Boston was to have cocktails at Russell House Tavern. They do have great drinks, but now most of the time, I come here for the $1 oyster special, which starts at 11pm til closing.

Russell House Tavern
I previously had made a list of $1 oyster places in Los Angeles, but there are even more in Boston! Still, there's a big range on quality, and Russell House Tavern is on the top end where that's concerned.
IMG_3258A lot of places don't serve the freshest oysters when they do $1 oysters, but I've had great experiences with Russell House Tavern, and I've come 3-4 times. The first time they had Island Creek oysters. I also had Moon Shoal oysters once. Not only the types, but these are also fresh and cleaned properly (unlike the $0.50 I had at Red House which were not that fresh and weren't even really cleaned well).

The cocktails I've enjoyed included the Howling Winds ($12): Ansac cognac, yellow chartreuse, cinnamon syrup, lemon, butterfly absinthe, bitters, and Battle of Trafalgar (pictured below, $10): Pimm's no 1, elderflower liqueur, Batavia arrack, honey, lime.
Russell House Tavern
There was also Burma Nights ($13): Bombay East Gin, P.F. Dry Curacao, Orange Flower & Jasmine Waters, Lemongrass, Regans No. 6.

I've tried the other dishes which tend to be good and reasonably priced like the Steamed Moosabec mussels, Spanish chorizo, fried garbanzo, white wine, grilled Fondi bread ($10)
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Kali Dining: An Underground Dinner with Chef Kevin Meehan

When I saw foie gras on Kevin Meehan's Kali Dining menu, I knew I had to go before I moved away. Kali Dining is an underground dinner party that takes place at different locations throughout the year. The menu is set (at $65 when I attended) and this time it was in a beautiful home in Marina del Rey.

We got there and mingled while watching chef Kevin Meehan and his team at work. The dinner is BYOB and there were plenty of wines to go around. The dinner party was pretty small, no more than 20. Meehan makes a great host too, chatting and joking with everyone.

We started with the long-awaited amuse bouche of foie gras truffle

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It's a creamy foie gras mousse covered in black crumbs that made it resemble truffles.
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Next amuse: Egg yolk poached in ash oil
Egg

Friday, August 15, 2014

Omakase at O Ya (Boston, MA)

When I asked for sushi recommendation, the name that kept popping up was O Ya - with the warning that it's expensive. Indeed, although you can order a la carte at O Ya, the full omakase runs about $250 and the smaller tasting menu $180. But I have to try it, right? I sat at the counter where I can see the chefs at work. My friend was late so I was getting hungry watching all the foie gras sushi being fired out ...

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Finally my friend came and we opted for the smaller omakase menu. As expected, it started with a fresh Kumamoto Oyster (watermelon pearls, cucumber mignonette)
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Then, we proceeded with the nigiri courses. What makes O Ya different is the sauces he puts on the nigiri sushi. They're not just soy sauce or yuzu, but you can find things like Hamachi with spicy banana pepper mousse
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I loved the texture of the seared hamachi and the banana pepper mousse worked well, although it slightly overwhelmed the hamachi flavor. Maybe slightly less mousse on top?

Things like banana pepper mousse doesn't mean that O Ya veers completely from the traditional, though. Our next course is a Salmon with unfiltered wheat soy moromi
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Moromi is a term you may hear in sake brewing, and I believe it basically means the unrefined or unfiltered mash of grain that is undergoing fermentation. I enjoyed the earthy flavor with the fatty salmon.

The next bite is an indulgence: Santa Barbara sea urchin and Russian Osetra caviar
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An unbeatable combination, of course.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Foie Gras Fantasy Comes True at Mistral Kitchen (Seattle, WA)

It was our last night in Seattle, and it dawned on me that I had not had foie gras while eating my way in another state! I suddenly started craving it and convinced everyone else to go eat foie with me. Our Seattleite friend suggested Mistral Kitchen. Seeing they had seared foie gras on the menu and the fact that it was nearby we decided on it.

We originally just wanted to come here for some foie and drinks and ordered some Seared Foie Gras to share ($19)

Seared Foie Gras

We haven't had it in so long and the seared foie was so good! We also had to get the Foie Gras Torchon, black mission fig balsamic compote ($15)
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We were pretty hungry by this point and since both the foie gras dishes were really good, we decided to eat dinner here after all. At this point I was going to order the lamb loin. We were sitting at the bar and I joked to the bartender that it would be awesome if they could put the seared foie on the lamb. Our bartender said that sure we can! They make dreams come true here!
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Woah. So we customized our own dish.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Farewell to Foie at Takami Sushi with Montes Wines

At least with the impending foie gras ban, there are many more chances to indulge in foie at numerous restaurants in Los Angeles until then. Takami Sushi and Robata in downtown LA also has a rotating foie gras special until July 1. I was recently invited a tasting of the foie dishes paired with Montes wines from Chile, hosted by Takami and Montes Wines. Chilean wines are much more affordable than the European or Californian counterparts. Before the dinner we were served a crisp and refreshing Montes Chardonnay that runs about $11 a bottle.

The first course was a Vichyssoise of foie gras

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Naturally the soup was rich and smooth. It was topped w seared foie, which was a bit gritty.
The soup was paired with a 2011 Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah
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The richness of the soup and the acidity of the wine neutralized each other nicely.

Seared foie gras, caramelized mango, rose reduction.
Paired with 2010 Montes Alpha Chardonnay
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The seared foie here was much better and smoother than the one in the soup and it went really well with the sweet, tender mango!

Braised daikon, foie gras w shallot butter broth, paired with 2010 Montes Alpha Pinot Noir
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I love this since it was a more unique combination and a fitting one for a Japanese restaurant. The daikon was very tender and sweet. Each bite was wonderfully savory and creamy and paired nicely with the pinot.

Next: Nigiri of Ahi tuna and foie gras with eel sauce
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I've had foie gras sushi before, but not tuna sushi further topped with foie! Double the rewards.
This was paired with the only California wine of the night, 2007 StarAngel by Montes, Syrah, Paso Robles.

The last savory course was a filet of beef and foie gras with black truffle in veal stock reduction.
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How can you go wrong with this trio? The beef was very tender, and combined with the oh-so-fatty foie and a generous piece of truffle it was a heavenly bite. I wanted a big serving of this!

Paired with 2009 Montes Alpha Carmenere
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The final course was a couple of Foie gras truffles, fresh berries, and butter wafer, paired with their dessert wine: a 2010 Montes Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer
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I didn't really taste the foie gras but these may be the richest and creamiest truffles ever!

The foie gras dishes will rotate in and out of the menu at Takami until the ban on July 1st, so get them while you can!

Takami Sushi and Robata
811 Wilshire Boulevard #2100
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 236-9600
www.takamisushi.com

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