Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's Knot Bread, Even Though It Is

This was inspired by one of the bread servings I tasted at Alinea a few months back.

While the radish isn't particularly as notable as I would have preferred, the bread is wonderfully smooth and chewy, and the egg wash atop created a nice crispy crust for the poppy seeds to stick to. I might consider doubling the radish amount to get more flavor into the dough.

The recipe is fairly simple. It's a basic bread dough, with radish puree, nothing special.

Radish Poppy Seed Knot Bread

3 tsp Dry Yeast
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Egg
1 Bunch of Radishs (puree'd)
3 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Salt
Poppy Seeds

Proof the yeast in the water with the sugar, and then add the egg and radish puree. Stir in about 1.5 cups flour to form the sponge, and beat well. Let spong-i-nate for about 20 min in a warm oven.

Add the butter in small cubes, along with the salt. Start mixing/kneading in flour until your dough comes together and is smooth, and not sticky (but not too dry either!!! better on the sticky side, than the dry side!). Raise in warm oven for 30 min.

Punch down dough, and then take hand-full sized gobs and roll into snakes, then tie into knots. if the dough is too tense for knots, let it relax for a few minutes, and then continue. Let rise for about 15 min, and meanwhile preheat oven to 350 F.

Bake until toasty brown (about 20 ish minutes).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tomato and Bean Soup

My soup obsession continues.

With all the great ripe summer tomatoes everywhere on the market, along with my basil plants overflowing, tomato soup is a perfect way to use all that summer freshness.

Tomato and White Bean Soup

2 lbs Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 medium Onions (about 10 oz), coarsely chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3.5 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste (preferrably sun-dried)
2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander Seed
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
15 oz Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
few bunches of Basil, chopped
Dash of Cream
Salt and Pepper

First, peel the tomatoes by slicing an X on the bottom of the tomatoes and blanching in boiling water for 1 minute. Core and quarter the peeled tomatos, and then cut each quarter in half. I guess that's just essentially eighths. EIGHTH THE TOMATOES!

Heat the oil in a soup pot (5-6 quarts), and saute the onion and garlic until just softening up.

Add the tomatoes to the onions, along with the stock, paste, paprika, coriander, and cumin. Salt and Pepper to taste, and bring to a full boil. Then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 ish minutes.
Mix the cornstarch into a paste with 2 Tbsp of water, and add the paste along with the beans to the soup. Allow the soup to heat throughly (another 10 min or so), and then add in the basil and cream. Stir and ladle into bowls!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shrimp Bisque

First, I have to admit that I absolutely adore soups. Winter, spring, summer, it doesn’t matter. Second, shrimp bisque is probably my favorite soup of all (although tomato bisque is right there with it). This recipe is sort of a mish mash of all the flavors I found great in shrimp bisques that I’ve tried. The vegetables in the soup prevent it from tasting overly fishy, while the cream adds that distinctive creaminess, and the cayenne pepper give the soup a little bite.

Shrimp Bisque

Olive Oil
2 Leeks, green and white parts coarsely chopped
2 Carrots, chunked
1 Onion, chunked
2 Celery Stalks, chunked
3 cloves Garlic, smashed
¼ Cup Brandy
¼ Cup Dry Sherry
4 Cups Seafood Stock
4 sprigs Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 lbs Shrimp, peeled and veined
¼ Cup Butter
¼ Cup Flour
2 Cups Half & Half (or Cream, if you want it really rich)
3 Tbs Tomato Paste

Begin by sautéing the leeks, carrots, onion, and celery with some olive oil. After the veggies begin to brown up, add in the garlic, toss around. Add the Brandy, and stir until the alcohol evaporates. Repeat with the sherry, and then add the seafood stock. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and cayenne, and bring to a boil. Allow the soup to cook on a simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Bring the soup up to a full boil, add the shrimp, and then remove from heat. Stir the soup until the shrimp are cooked and pink, about 5 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a processor, and store in a separate container from the pot it was cooking in.

In the original soup pot, melt the butter, add the flour, and whisk until the roux comes together. Add the half & half, along with the shrimp soup puree and whisk until it begins to thicken. Whisk in the tomato paste and serve bubbling hot with a few flash seared shrimps!


French Green Lentil & Arugula Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette atop Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Toasts

Sourdough Loaf
Olive Oil
6 oz Goat Cheese
¼ lb. Procuitto
1 cup French Green Lentils
1 cup Chicken Stock
3 sprigs Thyme
1 cup water
5 oz Arugula
1 Red Onion Sliced
1 clove Garlic minced
3 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
¼ cup Olive Oil

Oven at 375 F

Rinse lentils, and place in small sauce pot. Add chicken stock, water, thyme and season with salt. Bring to boil and cook for 15-20 min. Don’t let them get mushy!

Begin by slicing the sourdough into 1 inch thick slices. Rub with olive oil and crisp in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove the toasts and spread the goat cheese even over the toasts. Top with a ribbons of prosciutto and put back in the oven until the prosciutto begins to crisp up. Mix up the balsamic vinaigrette by combing the vinegar and the honey, and then drizzling in the olive oil while whisking.

Sauté the onion and garlic until it begins to caramelize, and then add the vinaigrette.

Pour the warm vinaigrette/onions along with the drained lentils over the arugula in a large mixing bowl, and toss to coat. Serve the toasts with the lentil/arugula salad overtop.

I modified this recipe from Tyler Florence’s similar dish.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Squid Ink Noodles

These noodles are made with squid ink, which gives them their distinctive black color. While cooking, they omit a slightly briny odor, like the sea, but as far as taste, they're just like regular noodles. They're more for that wow "black" factor than anything else.

While I didn't make these, I can at least vouch for their tastiness. Although, it wouldn't be hard to make your own. All you need is 1 or 2 tablespoons of squid ink added to your regular semolina pasta recipe.

The brand I used is called "La Campofilone," which are surprisingly the best dried noodles I've had recently. They say that they only use semolina, and eggs (no water) to make their noodles, and then slow dry them at slightly higher than room temperature. I don't know much about noodle making, but apparently they do, because these dried noodles are the closest thing to fresh noodles that I've had short of the real ones.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bacon CC Cookies with Maple Glaze

Or any other time really. But these cookies are made with bacon, which makes them better than normal cookies! As Mike said, "Bacon is the candy of the meats." This started out with Liz sending me a link to a similar recipe. I made some minor modifications like adding rolled oats and such, and then tried it out.

I personally, think they're great. I got a lot of mixed reactions when I started making these. But I've yet to have someone say they didn't like them. The bacon adds a nice salty/smokey depth to the sweet cookies, and the maple-cinnamon glaze reminds me a french toast and the syrupy bacon that usually accompanies it.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Maple-Cinnamon Glaze


1 cup butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup finely crushed walnuts
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups bacon bits (real bacon!!)

Directions-preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs until creamy. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir together. Dough will be slightly soft. Add in the oats and crushed nuts. Add in chocolate chips and bacon bits. Stir until well integrated. Set dough balls about 2 inches apart on heated baking stone.

Bake cookies for about 12 minutes, or until the dough starts to turn golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack while you ready the glaze.

Maple Cinnamon Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoon cream
1 tablespoon water

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. If lumpy, use a whisk.

Spread a small amount of the glaze on the top of each cookie and top with a small piece of crisp cooked bacon.

Nori Crusted Ahi

I got this recipe from another site, and decided to modify it a little for my own tastes. I got a lot of mixed reactions on the nori flaked ahi. Some liked it, others said they'd rather have it without. Either way, I liked it and that's all that matters.

Nori Crusted Ahi

3-4 Ahi Tuna Steaks
4 Tbsp Lime Juice
4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
3 Nori Sheets
1 Cup Chicken Stock
High Temperature Oil (like vegetable, I used tea oil)

1 package Flat Rice Noodles
2 Carrots, sliced
hand full of Snow Peas
hand full of Bean Sprouts
3 Green Onions, sliced
Sesame Seeds

Begin by boiling a large pot of water. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, and throw the noodles in for 8 min to soften.

While waiting for the water to boil, place the nori sheets in a processor, and pulse until the nori is flaked, like fish food. Combine in a bowl, the lime, soy, honey, and vinegar. Dunk the tuna in the soy mixture, and set aside and cover. Add the chicken stock to the soy mixture in a small sauce pot, and reduce by half over medium-high heat.
In a wok, fry the carrots for 1 min in a little oil, and then toss in the other veggies for about a min, then remove from the wok.

Place the softened noodles in the wok, and place the veggies on-top. Pour the reduced soy over the noodles and toss to coat, until everything is hot.

While the noodles are frying in the wok, heat a heavy skillet with a few Tbsp of oil on very high heat. Take the soy dipped tuna, and "bread" the outside with the nori flakes. Once the oil begins to smoke, add the tuna steaks to the skillet, and sear for about 30 seconds on each side. An important note, try not the place the nori crusted tuna down after you crust it. The nori will come right off, and it's hard to put back on. Just crust the tuna and stick it in the hot pan.
Slice the tuna, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and place atop the noodles in a bowl.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Neapolitan Pork Cutlets

This is a combination of apple, onion, and mushroom over marille pasta with mascarpone cheese.

Neapolitan Pork Cutlets with Mascarpone Cheese and Marille

1/2 stick + 1 stick Butter
4 Pork Cutlets or chops
1 Onion, sliced
2 apples, peeled, cored, sliced
8 oz button mushrooms
1 Tbsp Tarragon
Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
14 oz dried Marille
Olive Oil
1 cup Mascarpone cheese
Beef Tomatoes, halved

Oven to 300F
Bring pot of salted water to a boil

Lightly season the cutlets with salt, pepper, and paprika. Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a skillet, and fry the cutlets over medium low heat for about 5 min each side. transfer to a dish and keep warm.

Fry the onion, apples in the pan until lightly browned, transfer to the veal dish and keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 stick of butter in skillet. Gently fry the mushrooms, tarragon, and pepper for about 3 minutes. sprinkle in the sesame seeds.

Cook the pasta until tender, but still firm to the bite.

Drain the pasta, and plate. Top with mascarpone, and a sprinkle of olive oil. Place the onions, apples, and cutlets ontop of the pasta. Spoon the mushrooms on to the cutlets, and place in the oven for 5 min to melt the mascarpone.

Sear the halved tomatos and serve with the pasta.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dr. Pepper Ham

Yet another mish-mash of recipes and ideas. I've done hams before in the traditional honey/brown sugar/pineapple syrup sweet glaze, with a cherry-port glaze, and a "city" ham with mustard and ginger snap crust. So this time I wanted to take what I liked from each recipe and blend them into something incredible. I think I succeeded with this one.

I kept the cherries from the cherry-port glaze, but lost the port, and added a bit of merlot that I happened to draining that night. Along with the spice of whole ground mustard from the city ham, and a bit of brown sugar to help make the glaze syrupy, I added a good bit of Dr. Pepper to the glaze. At first, it might seem a bit weird to either add soda to your ham, or that I've stuck too many things into a simple glaze, but it turned out great regardless. The mustard kept the ham from turning that predictable salty-sweet flavor, and gave it a bit of bite. The cherry/merlot/Dr. Pepper glaze reduced wonderfully into a thick sticky mess, which stuck to the ham, and began to caramelize in the oven, making it even more delicious. I think the cherries and merlot complimented each other well, and the cherries cut down on the "winey" flavor that might otherwise have overpowered. As for the Dr. Pepper? I just got lucky seeing it somewhere. And it worked out great. Dr. Pepper has an excellent flavor for ham, and it's dark, which looks pretty in the glaze!

Dr. Pepper/Cherry/Merlot-Glazed City Ham

1 Hickory-Smoked, Cooked, Non-Spiral Cut Ham
1/4 cup Whole Grain Mustard (i used grey poupon country dijon)
1/2 cup Cherry Preserves
1/2 cup Merlot
1 cup Dr. Pepper
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Begin several hours in advance, by putting the ham (still shrink wrapped) in a bucket and covered with hot water and let sit for an hour or so. Replace the hot water when warm, and let sit for another few hours. This is to raise the internal temp of the ham and reduce cooking time later without drying the ham out.

Oven to 250 F

When the ham is uniformly warm (use your temperature probe: ~ 70F - 80F or so), remove from water and plastic. Rinse ham and discard the pad covering the bone. Make thin cuts on the ham fat in the pattern of a diamond. This helps the ham stay flat while cooking, instead of curling up, and makes for easy removal of the fat later on when it's glazed.

Put the warm ham in an oven bag, and stick your temperature probe into the center of the ham but not touching the bone. Place the hame on a baking tray cut side down. Bake until the internal temperature of the ham is about 115 F.

While the ham is cooking, mix the cherry preserves, merlot, and Dr. Pepper in a blender and blend until the cherries are not chunky. Be carefull as the Dr. Pepper will foam up when blended. Put the mixture in a small sauce pot, add 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and stir over medium-low heat until reduced at least by half, or until syrupy.

Take the ham out of the oven (about 1-2 hours later), remove from bag, and place on a baking pan, or roasting pan cut side down. Remove the fat diamonds and excess fat from the ham. Brush or spread the mustard on the ham, and then rub (careful 'cause it's hot) the 1/2 cup brown sugar over the ham and mustard.

Increase oven to 300 F

Give the ham, a good basting with the glaze and return to the oven. baste periodically until the internal ham temperature reaches 130 F, and the glaze begins to caramelize.

Au Gratin

I made these to go with the ham. They're really simple, and delicious. I mean what's not to like? cheese, potatoes, toasted bread, sounds like a plan.

I must admit that I've never done au gratin before. I've dabbled with scalloped, and have a wonder version that uses herbs de provence... but that's for another post. I just sort of scavenged around the intarwebs looking for trends in au gratin recipes and took what I liked from each one, and made this recipe. I admit I used cheddar cheese soup from a can, instead of making my own cream of cheddar, but I figure it still turned out edible, so no complaining.

Au Gratin Potatos

3 lbs Potatoes, peeled, and sliced 1/8-1/4 inches thin (i used russet)
1 smal onion, halfed and sliced (think half-moon slices)
2 10.5 oz Cans Cheddar Cheese Soup
10.5 oz cream
10.5 oz milk
1 cup of Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 slices bread
white pepper

Oven preheated to 350 F.

Begin by making the bread crumb topping, by putting the bread slices and parsley in a food processor and pulsing until coase crumbs. set aside

Whisk the cheddar cheese soup with the cream and milk until smooth. You needn't heat it, as it will all be going in the oven anyhow.

Begin by layering a 9x13 pan with a 1/4 of the sliced potatoes (we'll make 4 layers), followed by a 1/4 of the onions. salt and pepper the layer, and then repeat for the second layer. On the second layer, sprinkle half the cheese, and then add half the cheese soup. Repeat layering again with third layer, then a fourth, followed by cheese, and cheese soup. Sprinkle a little paprika over the whole thing and put in oven uncovered for roughly 50-60 min (until the cheese starts to brown up). After the hour cooking, sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the whole thing and bake another 10 min until crumbs toast.

Let sit 10 min before serving.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Finishing up those Anchovies

I was looking around for a way to use up the extra anchovies I had from making caesar dressing, and came upon this blog:

Seeing as how living in Socorro doesn't really lend itself well to fish, I decided to swap the fish with some chicken breast, and it turned out fine. This is surprisingly simple to put together and make. It takes less than 20 minutes to cook.

For once, I would recommend using the pre-packaged polenta tubes instead of making it yourself, not because homeade polenta isn't delicious (and it is), but because the polenta "cakes" will hold together much better with the pre-packed tube stuff. I wasn't able to find the tubes of polenta, and just ended up making my own, and rolled it up in aluminum and chilled it overnight, but it still tended to get a little smushy when I broiled it. Still tasted great, though, just a little sloppy!

Seared Chicken Breast with Wilted Kale and Portabella with Tomato Caper Polenta

4 Chicken Breasts
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Cayanne Pepper

14 oz. can of petite diced Tomatos
2 Tbsp. Capers (rinsed)
3-4 Anchovy Fillets, mashed with the tines of a fork.
1/2 tsp. Thyme
Salt & Pepper

Tube of Polenta
Parmesean Cheese

1/4 cup sliced Shallots
2-3 Portabella Caps sliced
3 Garlic Cloves
4 cups Kale, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
Splash of Balsamic Vinegar

Combine the tomatos, capers, anchovies, thyme, and some salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Begin by turning on your broiler.

Slice the polenta tube into 1/2 inch slices and lay on a tray, ready to be broiled.

Prep the chicken by lightly oiling, then sprinkling with salt, pepper, and cayanne.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add a little oil, and lay the chicken in to brown. 3-4 min on each side.
While the chicken is browning, pop the polenta in your broiler, for about 10 min on one side, 'till it crisps and browns.

Start the heat in another large skillet or saucier with a bit of oil. Throw in the shallots and mushrooms, and lightly saute. Add the garlic and cook a short while longer. Finally put the kale in the pan, pour the water over top, and slash with balsamic. Cover and let steam about 10 min.

After the Chicken is browned on both sides, pour in the tomato concoction and let that reduce a bit for 10 min of so over medium-low heat

When the polenta is browned on one side, flip it, top it with some cheese and put it back in the broiler to crisp the other side. It shouldn't take long.

Assemble everything on a plate and enjoy!

When Angels have a Tea Party

I found this recipe from a blog through Tastespotting and had to try it out, considering how much I love tea. This cake is unbelievably moist and tender, and actually tastes like tea (unlike some other tea cakes I've tried before)! I topped this cake with a dollop of whipped cream, and of course, had a cup of tea. With some friends we almost ate the whole thing in one night...

English Breakfast Tea Angel Food Cake by Carole Bloom


1/4 cup loose English breakfast tea leaves (or other black tea)
1/2 cup boiling water
12 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cups superfine sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Put tea leaves in a bowl.
Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over leaves. Let steep for 10 minutes. Press leaves through a fine mesh sieve and collect all of the tea. Mine came to about 1/4 cup of tea.

Prepare tube pan with parchment on the bottom. Do NOT grease. The cake needs to be able to cling to the sides and climb up the pan. If you grease it the cake will collapse.

Sift together the cake flour and 3/4 cups superfine sugar in a bowl. Add salt and set aside.

Place the egg whites in a grease-free bowl of a standing mixer. Whip on medium speed until frothy and then add the cream of tartar. Once you have soft peaks then slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup superfine sugar. Whip until the eggs are glossy and firm, but not stiff, peaks.
Slowly add the 1/4 cup of tea, and flour mixture in 3 additions.

Transfer to the prepared tube pan. Run a knife through the batter to get any air bubbles out and then gently tap on the counter. Smooth the top out. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 to 1 hour, until cake tester comes out clean.

Invert the pan over a bottle to cool. You do not want to cool bottom down on a cooling rack or the cake will collapse. Cool to room temperature before trying to remove from pan. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Then around the center tube. Invert the pan over a plate and remove the bottom of the tube pan. Remove the parchment.

Real Caesar

Don't cop out when doing caesar salad. Make your own dressing, it's well worth the effort (which isn't much). And real caesar has anchovies! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


3 Tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp soy sauce
salt & pepper

3 cloves garlic
4 anchovy fillets
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp oil from anchovy tin
1 tsp dry mustard (I used whole mustard and ground it up so it had a little more texture to it than powdered)
1 egg (boiled for 60 seconds if you're averse to Sallmonella or whatever)
8 cups torn Romaine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Mash garlic clove and anchovies into 2 Tbsp of olive oil until a smooth paste is formed. Using the tines of a fork for the anchovies can help you get a start.

Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, lemon juice, anchovy oil, and mustard.

Mash/whisk in the egg until smooth.
Rub both sides of chicken breasts with 1 Tbsp olive oil and soy sauce. Season with salt & pepper.

Grill chicken about 8-10 min until no longer pink (about 165 F) <-- that's important! NO HIGHER!! or you get dryness.

Slice chicken just before serving

Toss Romaine with dressing and Parmesan.
Add croutons and sliced chicken breast atop.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Journey to Alinea

It’s been quite a while since I’ve put anything up here. I don’t have a working camera, or even one to borrow, so I haven’t been able to blog anything.

However, this past week I was up in Chicago, and had reservations for Alinea. For those of you who don’t know about Alinea, Gourmet Magazine ranked it in 2007 as the #1 restaurant in America. Seeing that I was going to be up in Chicago, I couldn’t pass up the chance to eat at this once in a lifetime place (hopefully twice when my wallet recovers). I made reservations for three, and my two good friends Babicz and Liz accompanied me that evening to the most extravagant and wonderful meal I’ve ever beheld.
The restaurant exterior is very humble, just a simple black building, with but one doorman waiting outside to let you in.

Not only was the food amazing, and dare I say revolutionary, but the architecture and ambiance, along with wonderful wait-staff and sommeliers, made the night unforgettable to say the least.
Although a coat is required for dinner, the dress was rather casual, and not at all snobbish.

While the wait-staff certainly could have been arrogant if they chose, they were wonderfully attentive and constantly cracked jokes with us, told little anecdotes, and seemed genuinely concerned that we were having a good time, and our needs were met (actually surpassed).

The only drawback is in my wallet. The total experience cost me about $300. That’s $195 for the tour, about $40 for the glasses of wines, some tax here and there, and about $50 for tip. It was totally worth the money, but my walled is indeed lighter than before.

Thanks to Liz’s camera and picture savvy prowess, I have a photo essay of the night’s 24-course tour.
Steelhead Roe

The first dish was brought out and looked somewhat like a bug on a stick. The waiter explained that a soft center of coconut was embellished with steelhead roe, and wrapped in a lime blanket. The whole thing was wrapped around a vanilla bean, which we used as our utensil, but not before the potent and wonderful sent of vanilla from the bean wafted into our senses. Babicz exclaimed upon eating it that she had never tasted so many distinct flavors in her mouth at once, and I have to agree.


I still have no idea what they were even talking about, however this dish was explained to be the skin of boiled down soymilk that was rolled and then fried. Around the crunchy yuba, spiraled a shrimp with garnishes of chive and orange zest, all nestled in a small dish with a miso mayonnaise.


To be consumed in a single bite, this chunk of king crab was wrapped in layers of passionfruit, zucchini, and hearts of palm, along with a dollop of pureed avocado.


Salsify is a root that is cooked, and has a taste that resembles oysters. Along with the crispy fried exteriors of the salsify, came smoked salmon mousse and smoked salmon poached in olive oil. The caper and dill sauce that decorated the plate was pungent and refreshing, while the dehydrated bell pepper and red onion provided bright flavors and good textural contrast between the soft salsify, mousse, and salmon.


This one came out on huge pillows that were filled with nutmeg smoke that seeped out as you ate and filled the nose with wonderful smells. In the center was the most perfectly smooth white bean puree topped with a crispy pancetta chip and Guinness foam. Arranged around the centerpiece were various assorted garnishes that we were encouraged to mix around with each other and the beans in different combinations. This was probably my favorite dish of the night, despite its seeming simplicity. All the flavors were wonderful, and I really enjoyed the freedom and fun to mix thing around on my plate and play with the flavors.


When the waiters brought this bowl out, we were told this would be a somewhat interactive course. A forkful of duck with “Thai” flavors was organized on a fork, which sat in a bowl of butternut squash soup with intense banana foam. The dish couldn’t be set down until the forkful of duck was taken, lest the bowl fall over from imbalance and spill rich soup in our laps.


The lamb was a very complicated dish with lots of flavors. In the middle the lamb was coated in a red wine reduction, and each corner of the plate focused on a differing flavor. Enoki mushrooms in one, buttery onions and crispies in another, the stickiest candied walnut ever with lentils, and a beet pierogi. And don’t let that red sauce smear in the middle fool you, it was like getting punched in the face with red bell peppers.

Hot Potato

This one is fairly well known, and for good reason. The dish is presented in a bowl with a pin that contains a ninja looking appendage. The pin is slid out of a wax cup containing a cold potato soup, which dunks the hot potato ball with the truffled ninja hat into the soup and the whole thing is taken like a shot.

Pork Belly

A wonderful combination of pork belly atop polenta with pickled vegetables under a blanket of smoked paprika, which the waiter described as a sort of “bbq sauce.” This was excellent.

Chicken Skin

The one dish that I really didn’t care for. I was expecting more of a fried chicken sort of texture, but the the chicken skin tasted mostly of corn meal.


Soy and mango combined to create a casing/shell, which was filled with foie gras. The mango shell provided an excellent contrast to the thick, rich and creamy interior. However, my one complaint was that the foie gras was too salty.

Caramel Corn

This was one of the neatest things we ate/drank all night. Out waiter asked us reminisce on cracker jacks while this was in front of us. Surprisingly, the liquefied caramel corn tasted EXACTLY like caramel popcorn. Most intriguing.


The cranberry on the plate was frozen with bitter orange compliments and a hint of chervil atop. Very cold and tart, it melted on the palette, creating almost a numbing sensation on the roof of my mouth. I can only hope they used liquid nitrogen in this preparation. Think high-tech sorbet.

Ice Fish

The serpentine fish dish was molded in the wake of a line of horseradish. While Babicz found the horseradish to be overwhelming, I (loving horseradish) also loved this dish. As it snaked across the plate, it dipped into pools of asparagus, lined with shellfish chips and garnished with parsley.

Apple Cider

The first of the truly bizarre/unique culinary sensations in our palate, a ball was presented in a shot class, filled with walnut milk. We were instructed to take the entire shot at once, and close our mouths immediately, lest we end up with the contents of our shot class all over ourselves. The small ball, upon light pressure, bursts in the mouth releasing heady apple liquid. The richness of the walnut milk went great with the clean apple cider afterwards.

Wagyu Beef

The famed “Kobe” or more politically correct (as we were informed) Wagyu beef, came buried in heated cedar, releasing an intense pine aroma. The cube of perfectly cooked beef was uncovered like treasure from under our steaming foliage to be devoured. Afterwards, the waiter casually added, “you didn’t finish your salad?”

Black Truffle

While the presentation was quaint and pretty, the black truffle in this ravioli was rather over powering. If you’ve never had truffle, this will certainly let you in on the secret as to its taste.


This was another fun and playful dish that combined sweetbreads with cauliflower. The fried cauliflowers adorning the various bits and pieces were conceivably they crunchiest things on the planet. The swimming pool in the middle was made of toasted hay (for horses?) and accompanied by “burnt sauce.” Now hay is rather strange, but burnt sauce? It was quite peculiar, because our waiters warned us that if we tried the black dots by themselves, they would simply taste like burnt (and they did). The magic was their combination with the other elements on the plate, creating complexities akin to toast, and caramelization.


This was one of the most fun dishes of the night. A moving ensemble, raspberry reduction was dusted with dehydrated yogurt powder, and adorned with rose petals. The crispy glass pieces moved back and forth on our table until we couldn’t resist any longer and stopped their pendulum motion to break them into millions of pieces.


Another deliciously fun course, which merged bacon with butterscotch, twisted apply twine, and thyme. These flavors all melt beautifully, and the trapeze afterwards was so much fun to tinker with.


One of the first “desert” or sweet courses, the center focused persimmon, and carrot, with a blob of ginger liquid. Off to the side was a curry with complimented the dish nicely, and cleansed the palate from the sweetness of the persimmon. This dish reminds me of a apple crisp with a persimmon spin. As for the ginger ball, once again, the delicate skin holding the liquid contents burst in mouth, gushing spicy ginger liquid all over the palate. The finishing kick here, was a sailboat looking winter spice “Listerine strip,” which we slipped off its mast and dissolved on the roof our mouth. I wish I could freshen my breath with these everyday.

Licorice Cake

A truly hands free dining experience, we were asked to lean forward and bite a licorice cake, with orange and hyssop, covered in muscovado spun sugar from a wire. The licorice flavor was deep but not overpowering, while the spun sugar cracked and crunched heavily in our jaws.


This had to be the messiest, and most playful dish all evening. We were persuaded to break the chocolate coated “cake,” which contained a liquefied brioche, and a chocolate covered egg yolk, into a pomelo pool and mix it up with gellified smoke. The flavors were peculiar, and unique. This dish was very original, and pushed the boundaries of what I would consider “desert.”


Finally, we ended the night with some coffee. Colloidal coffee, five ways that is. Each cube of gellied coffee was adorned with different flavors. First, saffron, followed by sassafras, Chinese almond, red chile, and some other I forgot. Maybe lavender? You decide. Or better yet, go to Alinea, and experience it yourself!