Sunday, December 21, 2014

Singapore's BLUE GINGER more Peranakan in paradise (12-21-14)

Our last evening in Singapore before the cruise today (we will return here at the end of the cruise) took us to another Peranakan cuisine hideaway that has the highest ratings in town for this rare cuisine found only on the Malay Peninsula. The BLUE GINGER ( is an assuming spot that belies its
hidden talents. We arrived and came through the door to see a crowded small room with only locals. After we checked in the hostess told us to head through a door and up the steps. Our joke to ourselves was, "oh, they stick the tourists upstairs." WRONG! On the second floor was another room, a bit less crowded and not one Westerner in sight. We were taken to a nice table looking out over the street, but seconds later asked to move to an alcove to make room for a larger group. No problem. I marveled at the paper napkins on the tables, as linens are only found at the rare fine dining establishments or fancy hotels. Only one of the employees, clearly the manager or such, spoke decent English, but the bi-lingual menu helped us to try and make some decisions.
We ordered a bottle of wine from the very short list and again agreed on the Sauvignon Blanc, this time Black Cottage from New Zealand, as this usually works well with the intense local spices.
A note on the menu said that $2,50 (1.65$US) is charged per person for rice, pickles and Sambal Belachan, that spicy chili-shrimp paste that we are in love with.
In the end they only charged the adults, which was fine. The pickles are yummy with spice and a bit sweet and sour, as well as a hint of peanut (a la Thai). They were crunchy and made up of carrots, cabbage and much more that we couldn't decipher.
Sam ordered the Crispy Chicken Bites (think nuggets) with Asian chilli dipping sauce, and devoured them quickly but without the sauce. I tasted and decalred the sauce divine. Will ordered KUEH PIE TEE or shredded bamboo shoots and turnips in a pie tee cup with a mini-shrimp garnish. It was a tasty simple dish with four little pastry-like cups that you popped into your mouth and got lots of different flavors. I went for the OTAK OTAK or Fish Cake as I do love the Thai version. Well, these are completely different as they are made with turmeric, galangal, chilli, candlenuts and that lovable shrimp paste then cooked in lime leaves a la tamales. They even have the same consistency but tons more flavor and of course are fish-based.

Main courses included Sam's simple SATAY BABI or fried pork satay which really were slices rather than skewers. Will chose the AYAM PANGGANG 'BLUE GINGER' which was made with dark chicken meat, coconut milk and spices. Each is served family style and the server comes with a huge rice basket which is served to each person in massive portions on your plate which you then add the various dishes o along with condiments. I could not decide between two Tiger Prawn dishes and the guy who spoke English said the UDANG NONYA was spicier and drier rather than the UDANG MASAK ASSAM GULAI which had a tamarind gravy. I chose the NONYA with preserved bean paste, fresh garlic, chilli and spring onions. These Tiger Prawns are not huge but the portion of five with heads and tails on dressed in chili paste filled me up fast. The spice was just right and I had to suck the superb sauce off each head.

A trip to the WC gave us the non air conditioned section with no paper towels, but it was clean, as almost everything is in Singapore.
Dessert for me was Soursop over Shaved Ice which was divinely refreshing. I had this fruit recently in the Turks & Caicos and adore it now. Will chose the GULA MELAKA which is chilled sago (think barley bubbles) with honey sea coconut. I was too full to taste, but he said it was also quite refreshing and light.

Off to bed and wishing we could just eat more of the great food.
At least the hotel breakfast here at the Fullerton Bay Hotel offers many superb local dishes from chicken curry to sweet pork buns, spring rolls, wontons, dumplings and more which change each day. We avoided the congee, but loved the variety of Eastern & Western delights!

Slinging around in Singapore; yummy hawker food and so much more...(12/20&21/14)

Our two days in Singapore have been spent with our guide Phil who really knows local food well. The first day he pulled his car right up to a storefront and we sat ourselves on small stools at a table by the road for DUCK/RICE. Now every Eastern Asian meal has rice, so many of the meals are called simply duck/rice, fish/rice or the most famous chicken/rice; each vendor of course has his or her own recipe.
This was the most delicious one in town for sure and came with pickled cabbage (like sauerkraut), tofu, and the most yummy cooked peanuts with slices of duck breast all over a mound of rice in a rich duck sauce. It was divine and all for $4.50 Singapore per portion (that's about $3.35US each monster-sized place) which is amazing. Of course, chili-prawn paste and garlic-lime sauce were on the side; I could use these every day. The drinks we chose were A&W root beer for Sam and a superb aloe-vera tea-like drink loaded with chunks of aloe fruit at the bottom, which were sweet and reminded me of lychee.

Today our lunch was at the Maxwell Hawker's Stalls which is a covered hawkers' center with what must have been hundreds of storefronts in four rows or so of an indoor market. Many were closed as it was Sunday, but the selection was still amazing. Samuel migrated immediately to the steamed and fried dumpling stand and Phil and I headed to the CHICKEN/RICE, but you must choose from almost a dozen of these. Phil explained the long line was for a place that Gordon Ramsey and Anthony Bourdain had both declared the best in town, but that the chef there had since left and opened his own stall 3 doors down (where many news articles graced the stand declaring 'CHICKEN WARS' in Singapore between the two vendors) that's where we headed. There are sauces and clear chicken broth as well with each dish and while it was nice, it was not an historic dining moment. The egg & oyster omelet was good, although Will did not like its slightly slimy consistency. The hit dish was Hokkein Noodles with shrimp & calamari. A fried banana was had for dessert and then we headed to the smoothie stand where dragonfruit/passionfruit smoothies were in store for Sam & I and Will chose the drangonfruit/yoghurt smoothie as it proclaimed to help with weight loss and memory recall!
It was a yummy two days in Singapore for sure....and we shall return here after our cruise for more tasty local tidbits.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Singapore's CLIFFORD PIER proves perfect for Peranakan Cuisine (12-20-14)

While staying here in Singapore for a couple of days before our cruise we are having the opportunity to taste many types of amazing Asian cuisine. Our first night, we were exhausted from the long flights, so we dined in our hotel at the Clifford Pier which is a huge 1933 pier over the water on Marina Bay which has been lovingly restored to great colonial grandeur with modern décor. The huge arched steel ceiling is awesome as are the massive chandeliers. The chairs are lushly upholstered in silver and there are banquettes curved with tons of pillows that give "casbah" feel. Sam settled into his corner of the banquette and quickly drifted off to sleep missing dinner completely!
We loved the fact that the sparkling water was our favorite, Badoit from France. A bottle of Yalumbia "The Y Series" 2013 Viognier was extremely rich and a wonderful match to our rich and spicy seafood dishes.
At first the service was slow; we had to turn around multiple times to get someone to bring a wine list and take our order, despite the fact that the room was swarming with servers with earpieces, looking very Asian CIA.
First came a starter of UNI GLASS NOODLE, a true modern take on Pernakan (the mélange of Malay/Singapore and other local cultures) noodle dish served cold with Sea Urchin, Salted Egg, Salmon Roe, a tiny black fish roe (smaller than most caviars) in a truffle sauce with shaved truffles. Decadent, yes, but awesome flavors that exploded in your mouth.
We shared two very traditional Pernakan main courses. I ordered the CHAR KWAY TEON, fried mixed noodles (there were several different sizes), prawns, squid, Chinese sausage, chives, egg in a sweet chilli soy sauce. There is also pork in the dish and it is traditionally fried in lard for extra flavor. This one was excitement in the mouth and my favorite dish of the night. Will loved his dish more which was LAKSA, a soup of prawn, rice, vermicelli, quail eggs, fried bean curd puffs, and bean sprouts in a spicy coconut broth.
A side of KANGKONG BELACHAN (not related to King Kong:-)), but a stir fried green veggie akin to a bok choy/string bean/spinach cross but called Morning Glory here in a spicy chilli sauce with dried shrimp Belachan. The belachan is the shrimp chilli paste used here for everything which I adore and the dried shrimp are like bacon bits in it.
Speaking of dried...there were fish toasts on the table when we sat with four sauces(no one ever told us what they were), and one sported dried softened peanuts and small dried anchovy like fish which was yummy as could be.
Will ordered the Feh Tariq Ice cream which was like a coffee/honey flavor and served with gooey yummy Honey Comb Crunch....even though Samuel had just woken up, his braces could never have gotten through this delicious treat.
We rolled back to our room to head to sleep, looking forward to another day of new food discoveries.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

BENOIT in NYC is the bistro for brunch (12-7-14)

On Sunday I had a good amount of spare time for brunch prior to a 4 hour opera performance and really wanted to fuel up. I chose BENOIT ( located at 60 W 55th Street, just off 6th Avenue and very central to everything.
I arrived early at 1145am and the dining room was quiet, when I left at 130pm, it was jammed with a line waiting for tables, so always reserve.
BENOIT is the baby of French uber-Michelin starred chef Alain Ducasse, but this is basic French bistro at its best, nothing over the top, not even the prices.
The room has a beautiful faux ceiling of blue skies with clouds and lots of B&W period French photos from the mid-20th century and earlier. There are those large bistro posters and lots of French staff, so you feel truly in a classy French bistro with lots of blonde wood tones, crisp linens and red velvet.
My server was French-born with a truly wonderful accent to boot and the pumped music is simple French chansons of all types, but never loud.
The menu is simple with starters, soups & salad, fish, meats and breakfast type brunch items, which I usually avoid, although the little girl next to me ordered the French toast and it looked awesome piled high with marinated fresh fruits.
I was greeted with a small plate of piping hot crispy cheese gougeres which were so welcome on one of the coldest days of the year so far.
The bread came slightly warmed in a cloth basket to keep it warm and was sliced baguette as well as brown country. The butter was nice, but it was not the quality of good French butter.
Due to that cold I started with the French ONION SOUP which arrived steaming and covered with a gooey stringy browned Gruyere that was the best I have ever tasted outside of France. The soup was scalding hot and again I welcomed this on the bitter cold day as I warmed up so fast. I had asked my server to hold off bringing my main course and he was spot on with his timing. The magnificent plate of Hand Chopped PRIME BEEF TARTARE with a Watercress Salad on the side. The meat was speckled with salty capers and used mustard and pepper well for spice. Small baguette crisps sliced thin and crispy were on the side for crunch and shmearing. The Dijonnaise vinaigrette on the salad had the requisite mustard and reminded me oh so much of my time in cooking school in Dijon, France decades ago. The glass of GIVRY 1er Cru 2010 (not 2007 as listed on the wine list) "Clos Saint Pierre" from Thenard was ideal with the tartare and I was in no mood for a chilled wine with the bitter wind outside.
I looked around at the many varied dishes and the portions were large (even the side and main salads), as mine was, and everyone seemed to be VERY happy with their choices from burgers, to charcuterie to omelets. Only the brunch drinks (at $12+ each) seemed to come in small chintzy glasses....stick to wine.
I ordered some coffee and was way too full for dessert, but then the manager brought over two slices of marble pound cake that was the most buttery I have ever tasted. He said that the pastry chef makes him a loaf to eat for breakfast each week.
I was thrilled he offered me a taste of this  simple yet divine creation.
We return to NYC as a family in March, and I think Benoit beckons for dinner or another brunch!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

multiple bravos for BRABO venerable Virginia wine dinner (12-3-14)

Last night I skipped down to Alexandria where we had an awesome meal at BRABO ( about a year ago. I am so glad I got the email about their Virginia wine dinner as this was indeed a special event and I was thrilled I signed up. On arrival we were ushered into the intimate lobby of the Lorien Hotel (where Brabo is located) as they had set us up for about 35 people or so in a private dining area there.
We were served THIBAUT-JANISSON "Xtra Brut" Blanc de Chardonnay which I had tasted before, but forgot how impressed I was with this awesome sparkling wine which is probably the best in the entire state. Winemaker & Co-Owner Claude Thibaut was circling around the room and we had the chance to chat with him about this terrific wine.
Soon we were ushered into the dining room and I was seated next to Jason Tesauro who is the Chief Sommelier & National Brand Director for one of my favorite wineries, Barboursville. Jason was a replacement at the last minute for the venerable Luca Paschina, who has been making spectacular wines for decades in Virginia, and in Italy prior to that. We've know Luca for a long time, and while I was sorry he was not there, I found Jason to be so lively and ebullient that I was thrilled to meet and sit with him. We drank more of the Xtra Brut as the amuse bouche of SMOKED TROUT PANNA COTTA, Verjus Mirroire & Trout Roe arrived. While this treasure was indeed amuse size, I could have eaten a dozen; I just wanted more, but I knew many courses were to follow and I restrained. The creamy panna cotta had many folks thinking this was going to be sweet, but I was not fooled, and the flavor burst from the cream and roe was divine.
The first course was a RABBIT BALLONTINE, Roasted KURI SQUASH, Asian PEAR & Pepitas which wowed everyone. The encased rabbit fillet was tender and delicate and the wine was so restrained it was an ideal pairing. Jason introduced the Barboursville Vineyard "Reserve" Vermentino 2013  and joked that the room was denser with sommeliers then a Vegas dining spot. Indeed, since Brabo is owned by Chef Robert Wiedmaier, his chief sommelier, Ramon, from Marcel's in DC was heading up the staff who meticulously cared for all our wine needs. The bright white wine was dry yet full of tropical flavors in the first pour, which did get lost in the colder temperature refill (but I warmed it up quickly with my hands and was very happy again).
The second course was a Stuffed VIRGINIA QUAIL Breast, CHANTERELLE Mushrooms, Grilled PEARL ONIONS & BACON JUS. Simply said, I chewed every bit of meat off the tiny leg and left not a dribble of sauce on my plate. We joked about asking for bread to insure there was no sauce left, but then remembered more was coming and wanted to avoid those filling carbs! Rachel Martin of Boxwood Estate Winery in Middleburg introduced her "TOPIARY" 2011 as a blend of 68% Cab Franc and 32% Merlot which was a ready to drink now red that I could enjoy with our without food. She explained that the blending percentages vary by year and that while Boxwood is known for reds, they will be unveiling their first white very soon. I was not familiar with Boxwood, other than by name, and am so happy we have another fantastic winery to visit so close to DC.
Third was a FOIE GRAS GATEAUX with Sauce Bordelaise which was Hudson Valley Foie gras enrobed in Chicken Mousseline. Need I say more? The wine was RdV "Rendevous" 2009 which was the only winery without representation. I had RdV's extremely high priced wines at a dinner over a year ago (also in Alexandria at Eve) and while I gave in and purchased 3 bottles of this same wine at $100 each(!!!), I reminded myself that it really needs a while in the bottle as it is a huge Bordeaux style blend of Merlot, Cab Franc & Petite Verdot. I felt this was a bit too overpowering for the foie gras, but many folks felt it was a great pairing; wine is so personal!
Next was a Juniper Dusted VENISON LOIN accompanied by Smoked CHESTNUT PUREE, Swiss CHARD, Glazed BABY BEETS & Red Wine Jus. I knew winter had arrived and anything with venison or chestnuts wins me over in two seconds flat. This dish was no different. The meat was perfectly seared just past rare and oh so tender; the puree enveloping and the veggies divine. The Barboursville Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2012 is my first time with this particular vintage and it has always been my favorite Cab Franc on this side of the earth, perhaps indeed anywhere. This vintage is great and I'll have to make sure we get some in the future, when there is space in the cellar :-)).
Dessert from pastry chef Erin Reed showed her prowess with a Caramelized BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CUSTARD, Jivara LEMON CREAM, HAZELNUT BRITTLE & Frangelico Pearls that was not only delicious, but gorgeous to look at. THIBAUT-JANISSON Blanc de Chardonnay was served, and while I do like champagne, I would have loved a nice sweet dessert wine.
As we finished up Chef Harper McClure who is the chef de cuisine at Brabo emerged along with DC uber-chef Robert Weidmaier to massive bravos, applause and cheers. They deserved much praise for the fine work, dedication and attention they gave to this truly special dinner and event. BRAVOS to BRABO!

Monday, December 01, 2014

The SMITH in NYC(@Lincoln Center) is not totally up to snuff (11-28-14)

While in NYC over Thanksgiving our other dinner in town was at THE SMITH across from Lincoln Center as the three of us were headed to La Boheme at The Met.
I have always enjoyed my meals here, despite the noise and crowds. On Friday night, the quality was down a bit and I may rethink my next visit to the Smith.
The very nice SALMON TARTARE was the spicier of the two according to our server, but not too spicy. It comes in a mason jar, as so many items here do, and has jalapeno, sriracha and scallions for spice on the side. I loved the flat lentil
crisps rather than more bread as they had flavor but not heft. Will adored his Roasted TOMATO SOUP with Cheddar Melt, and it's always nice to munch on the tasty mini-baguettes that come in mini-paper bags with excellent butter.
They also provide complimentary bottles of house filtered sparkling and still water on arrival.
Since I adored the chicken pot pie on my last visit, Will went for the Pennsylvania Dutch TURKEY POT PIE with Cheddar Chive Biscuit Top, and it seems to have shrunk in size, but is still a winner of a dish.
Samuel ordered the FILET MIGNON with Fries which he asked for medium rare. the crust was tasty and crunchy, but while the center was medium rare, the edges were dry, chewy and past medium. He complained it was too dry and chewy for a good steak, and he was indeed spot on.
I chose the Friday night special of LOBSTER ROLL & Chips. The homemade chips were awesome with a spicy kick and while the roll was a good size, it was a bit soggy and messy to eat and leaked all over the place as I took each bite.
The accompanying Agave Lemonade was declared as way too sweet.
Samuel ended with the monster-sized HOT FUDGE SUNDAE which was Vanilla Ice Cream over flourless Chocolate Cake, a nice chunk of Almond bark and a very not fudgey (more thick chocolate sauce) hot fudge topping.
Will liked his STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING that came in a skillet with caramelized apples and vanilla ice cream. The coffee here always gets high marks.
We'll seek other options in the area next time, and maybe return to The Smith at a later date.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

YC's Ai FIORI exudes elegance, fills you and takes a turn on Italian (11-26-14)

Last night after a long travel day in rain, sleet and snow and a matinee on Broadway we headed over to Murray Hill and the Langham Hotel at 400 5th Avenue (37th St) to escape the Theater District and the crowds. AI FIORI has been open a while and is one of Chef Michael White's growing enterprises (we experienced Marea on Central Park South a couple of years ago), and only a couple of months ago joined the Relais et Chateaux group in its exclusive group of NY fine dining spots.
It was a quiet oasis of calm when we arrived just after 530pm, and the place never got noisy (it was a quiet night for them the day before T-giving), but this, again, is a hallmark of a Relais dining establishment.
Our server Jon arrived with a cheery smile and we settled in for a couple of hours of wonderful food and excellent service. Salted grissini (thin breadsticks) arrived standing in a small shotglass filled with EVOO and herbs for dipping. We consulted with the sommelier and arrived at a new white for us, ETNA BIANCO from Graci 2013 in Sicily which was crispy yet dry and creamy when it got a bit warmer.
The amuse was PARSNIP PUREE with a dab of Balsamic Reduction and Candied Orange which was rich and creamy, but Sam sent his over to me (yay, more for me)....Will declared it was a bit bitter, but I loved the novel combination which was a palate wake-up call.
Sam chose to go right to the pasta section as he was enthralled with the AGNOLOTTI of veal & butternut squash in a divine Sage & Black Truffle Sugo with crispy fried sage leaves on top. It was gone oh so quickly.
We decided to take advantage of the $97 four course prix fixe which includes a starter/pasta/main of fish or meat/and dessert. It's quite a deal since the prices here tend to be quite high at every starter in the high teens, pastas even higher and mains in the 30's and 40's$ range.
Will started with the tender PULPO cooked (as Jon carefully explained each dish as it arrived) sous-vide in garlic & thyme and then grilled a la plancha with fennel, purple cabbage and served over a kicky prosciutto spread that we all could not resist.
My ANIMELLE were soaked in milk veal sweetbreads that were oh so tender as well and melted in my mouth but had a crunch due to the crispy batter oh-so-delicately around each piece.  These came with butternut squash and a superb black truffle jus. On the side was a most interesting Caponata made from pistachios and raisins. I would not call this caponata, but it was interesting and truly to my liking (I'm not a huge raisin fan, especially with such a delicate meat.

For the pasta course I was leaning towards the Duck Confit Risotto but Jon steered me to a wonderful SPAGHETTI with Blue Crab(MD), Lemon, Bottarga & Calabrian Chiles. It was salty, spicy and everything my mouth desired. The crab was worthy of the best we get at home and I was happy I listened to Jon. Will had the same amazing Veal Agnolotti as Sam had and declared it one of the best pasta dishes on earth. He said he wants to have this served at his final meal before he goes on to the world to come!
Samuel had decided to try the Zuppa di Zucca or Butternut Squash Soup with pickled delicata squash, brown butter and pumpkin seeds. The dish usually comes with foie gras, but Sam asked for them to leave it out. He did not care for the soup overall as it was a bit wimpy on richness. I tasted it and must agree because we were expecting a creamier soup more typical of the butternut squash style that Samuel usually adores. Jon quickly agreed to replace the almost untouched dish and guess what Sam chose...another plate of those awesome Agnolotti that disappeared promptly.

Will & I had moved on to an excellent full bodied and intense 2009 BARBERA d'ASTI "Tulin" from Pelissero full of tasty tannins along with a wonderful earthy nose and flavor. It was superb with my ANATRA or Long Island Duck Breast cooked with honey and a crunchy crust of toasted hazelnuts on the skin.  Salty Tuscan Kale accompanied the dish, Cipollini onions, mustard fronds, apple mostarda and a foie gras jus. The combination was divine and the duck cooked perfectly.
Will ordered the VITELLO or Amish veal chop "au four" which came with new potato cake, sage, capers, prosciutto and a rich truffle cheese fondant. On arrival the dish was not very hot, so it went back for a warm-up and returned to Will's liking.  Will said the meat was not as good as the duck, but overall the preparation was good.

There were wonderful breads: black olive, country white, multi-grain and sesame seed served with Columbino EVOO and Rosemary salted butter.

For dessert Samuel jumped on the TARTALETTA, a chocolate pastry shell of Loma Sotarento 72% ganache, chocolate chiboust, tiramisu gelato and a bit of chocolate crunch. It was excellent and the hit for me was the gelato and crunch. Will had the MELA or caramel apple confit with brown butter torta, vanilla & cider sorbetto. It was refreshing and lighter and perfect for the season.
Some mignardises arrived of salted caramel, peppermint chocolate, a fruit gelee and one more. There were only four of these and 3 of us, which made for difficult splitting. Jon returned with a bottle of ARDBEG Scotch from Vigeadail in Islay (we had mentioned we liked scotch) and gave us each a complimentary pour to warm us up and send us on our way. Small lemon poundcakes arrived which we just finished for breakfast and they were tasty and moist and just right with the morning coffee.
Not everything was perfect at Ai Fiori, but the flowering service and most of the excellent food made our evening really great. Plus, we missed the massive traffic exodus from the NYC to Long Island where we headed for the holiday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jackie's in Silver Spring is super in the suburbs (11-16-14)

Yesterday afternoon we attended a concert in Silver Spring and headed just up the block to JACKIE's ( where there are smiles waiting on your arrival in this brick garage turned restaurant where the fabric patterns will wake you up and the cozy warmth was just right on a cold wet night. We ordered a bottle of La Cartuja 2012 from Priorat which our server Dan was not sure, so he checked with manager/bartender Ryan and we gave it a go. A warm deep red from Spain that despite its youth is drinking superbly now and goes with so many items on the menu. Samuel chose the TRUFFLE CHEESE FRIES from the snacks menu which was a HUGE portion, not a snack, but yummy nonetheless. By the time the dish is finished though, the cold fries are no longer as exciting as they are on arrival, so gobble up. We also tried the CHICKEN LIVER CROSTINI starter which is a snack of three slices with fresh Black truffles, Arugula Pesto and Grano that is a nice starter. The 3 course dinner special is a steal at $32 (there are some supplements), and includes either snack, appetizer and main or appetizer, main and dessert. Sam continued on to the BEEF SHORTRIB with Smoked Gnocchi, Cabbage Crème Fraiche & Red Onion jelly. the cabbage was not a hit, but he adored the gnocchi and ate a good part of the huge meat portion.
Will started with the Walla Walla ONIONS, LAMB BACON, Raisin, Radish & Kale Chimichurri which is a great dish and awesomely smoky from the bacon and chimichurri. My starter was the Salt Roasted BONE MARROW with Foie Gras CRUMBLE, Shallots, Vanilla(Butter) Brioche which were three huge bones and oh so yummy, but slightly overdosed with shallots making it hard to really taste the marrow itself. The crumble was great and the Foie gras taste came through just fine.
We moved on to a bigger wine, BOBAL from Finca Sandoval "Signo" 2010 from La Mancha in Spain which is groan at a high altitude in lime, but still has huge fruit notes in the wine. Ideal with Will's thick rich Roasted COBIA with Cauliflower Variations(puree& roasted), Black Fig, Prosciutto Vinaigrette & Cheese Gnudi. The puree was intensely salty, which Ryan later agreed with us on, but overall the dish was a star. Chef Adam Harvey has been there a year now, and was out last night, so perhaps the sous chef had oversalted erroneously. My GLAZED DUCK with Fermented Bok Choy, Sweet & Sour Eggplant & Cherry Mustard was cooked on the rare side and yet, still had a crunchy crisp skin I adored.
For desserts we chose two and Samuel gobbled up his Warm Chocolate GANACHE with Concord Grape, Peanut Butter & Salted Caramel Popcorn while Will and I tried the Buttermilk PANNA COTTA with Gala Apple, Oatmeal, & Vanilla Dulce di Leche which was a nice dish, but not your traditionally flavored custard as it did just seem slightly odd, though tasty.
We had a real nice time here and the place was almost dead, so it was very quiet on a Sunday....maybe we need to get out of DC to get to the quiet these days?