Archive for January, 2011

Sunday Football – Playoffs

Football is a major event at our house and the playoffs are a serious event.

Green Bay Packers vs  Chicago Bears – pre game and first half

Home-made Guacamole

Cheese and Pretzels and lots of chips plus another shot of the guacamole

Wine pairing by David

First wine

Half-time First Game

We had gone to Chinois for dinner the night before with the idea we would have Chinois left-overs plus a couple of add-ons for the game.

Roasted Cantonese duck

Steamed bao with stir-fried vegetables and Plum Sauce for the duck  (David stole his bao, duck, quail, ribs etc before the photos were taken)

Crispy glazed quail with Red  Pepper Strips

Barbecued baby pork ribs with soy honey glaze

Duck Fried Rice

David’s pairing with Chinois leftovers

Wine #2

Now the BIG Game – Steelers versus New York Jets

Half-time Steeler Game

THE TV SET

Half-time Sandwiches

David’s last pairing

3rd wine

Thank goodness the Steelers won!

Alain Rondelli

Michael Bauer’s blog this week highlights one of my all-time favorite chefs, Alain Rondelli. He asks the following question –

Whatever happened to Alain Rondelli, a chef’s chef?

Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 5:32 AM in Between MealsChefs

Read here for the complete entry:

http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/michaelbauer/2011/01/20/whatever-happened-to-alain-rondelli-a-chefs-chef/?gta=commentform#commentform

My comments at the end of the article are re-posted here.

Each and every meal we had at Rondelli was incredible. I remember once Rondelli was trying to make miniature bagels for a caviar dish he had in mind. He worked on those bagels for weeks. However, I think, our first meal at Rondelli set the scene for many meals to come.

Alain Rondelli had a special 20 course menu that could be specially ordered in advance.  For our anniversary, one year, we decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, that Sunday was one of the hottest days that San Francisco had ever had – about 95 degrees. We arrived at Rondelli around 6:00 PM and left around 1:00 am. The menu is produced below exactly as Alain wrote it. (In places I had trouble reading his writing). After the first 5 courses, we were dripping wet and took a short walk on Clement street to try and cool off. The next 4 courses were wonderful, but the heat was getting to us so we asked if we could move to a table closer to the door. Another break was called for after 3 more courses and we took another short walk up Clement. By then, it was beautiful outside – cool, but balmy. As we came inside, I mentioned to the maitre d’ that it was too bad there were no outside tables. Literally 4 minutes later, a table had been set up outside on the sidewalk with the potted palm from the hostess station for decoration. The next 8 courses were equally incredible, but we were now able enjoy the cuisine to the fullest. We kidded Alain later in the evening and asked what was the number of this table as we would love to sit here again. Of course, Alain said there has never been a table set in this location. We named it Table A, the hottest table in town. We had a plaque made and presented it to Alain on our next visit. That plaque is still there and if you go to Chapeau, you will see it to the right of the entrance on the ledge by the front window.

Needless to say, we went many more times to Rondelli and never saw a menu. Alain cooked and we ate and ate, although not the 20 courses.

The 20 Course menu – 7/30/95

Cromesquis de Foie Gras

Chilled Beet Soup, Horseradish Cream

Foie Gras, Dried Figs, Warm brioche

Cherry Tomato, Radish, Crouton, Balsamic

Chicken Wings glazed, Capers, Vanilla

Frogs Legs and Crayfish, Watercress, Hazelnuts

Osetra Caviar, Baked Potato, Condiments

Anchovy Tart, Tomato Confit, Black Olive

Bass, Spiced Crust, Corn Croquettes, Paprika

Salmon, Crispy Skin, Quinoa, Bell Pepper

Marrow (?) Potato, Red Wine Vegetables “Matignon”

Roast squab, Garlic, Natural Jus, Potato Soufflees

Chicken Contiser with Truffles, Port Ravioli

Lamb “Pot au Feu” Gregano, Lemon, Horseradish

Oxtail, Tapioca, Young Ecrevets

Pear and Roquefort, Black Pepper Gastrique

Mascarpone Sorbet

Financier Caramelized, Fresh Fruits

Chocolate Cake, Crunchy Pecan

Cotton candy

 

Hand-written Diploma given by Alain after finishing the 20 course meal

Vito’s Pizza

The “boys” have settled on the couch ready for THE Steeler Game – this involves yelling at the television set, cheering when the Steelers are winning and swearing when the Steelers mess up a play.

Vito’s pizza was definitely the choice for food.

Basic Cheese Pizza with Pepperoni

Vito’s Terra Firma – Sausage, Pepperoni, Olives, Onions. Mushrooms

Senza Formaggio – No Cheese, Light Tomato sauce, Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, Kalamata Olives drizzled with Olive Oil

Pizza Margherita – Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, Mozzarella

Most people would have beer with their pizza, not my “boys.”

That’s Saturday football!

Collectibles

As a lover of all things culinary, I have been collecting food and wine related objects over the years.

Some of my collection.

Also a music box

The mouse sings “That’s Amore”

Santon bought in France

Santon bought in France

Stuffed bear with fake wine and cheese/grapes candles

Salt and pepper shakers

La Cachette Bistro

La Cachette Bistro has changed its menu to highlight “New French Tapas Menu.” The menu is divided into small plate cold dishes, small plate hot dishes and a smaller entree menu. The idea behind the change is to attract a younger crowd and emphasize more casual dining – white tablecloths are covered with paper a la Bouchon in Yountville.
To be honest we chose La Cachette Bistro because we had a 30% off coupon from Blackboard Eats.
The room is bare bones and uninviting with the main decor being posters on the wall.
We brought our own wine which was superb.
We ordered one dish at a time, hoping to leisurely enjoy our meal.We  indicted to our server that we were not in a rush, wanted to take our time and enjoy a dining experience.
Filet of Sardines a la plancha with a Saffron Lime sauce – this was excellent and we were anticipating a wonderful meal.
Crispy White Smelts served with aioli – the smelts were greasy and barely edible.
Bistro Jeanty’s perfect smelts
Homemade foie gras terrine with rhubarb gelee – this was served within 3 minutes of the smelts being bussed. The foie was ice cold as if it had just been removed from the refrigerator. It was impossible to spread the foie on the toast.
Bistro Jeanty’s foie served at room temperature and lusciously spreadible and delicious.
Homemade Spanish sausage with Saffron Rice – again this was served in about 4 minutes after the foie was cleared. My guess is that the kitchen had pre-prepared the sausage and rice so it could be served quickly. We had clearly indicted that we wanted a leisurely meal – how can 3 to 4 minutes between courses be leisurely?  This was more hotel banquet type of food with the emphasis on efficiency and low labor cost.  Careful execution didn’t seem to be an important consideration.
Veal Sweetbreads with Persimmon and Caper Glaze – in true La Cachette form this again was served in less than 4 minutes. When sweetbreads come out this fast there is no way that this was cooked to order; it tasted like warmed-up food.
Boudin Noir with potatoes – the saucing was excellent, but the boudin and potatoes suffered from that “get it out fast syndrome.”
Bouchon Beverly Hills excellent boudin with the creamiest butter-laden potatoes and grilled apples.
The only saving grace of the evening were the two delightful couples sitting next to us. We had fun inspite of the mediocre food.

Urasawa

Happy New Year to everyone.

New Years at Urasawa is a very special experience. I decided to not take notes or photos (forgot my camera) so this is just a short, quick post with the bottom line being that the food, the wine plus our neighboring diners can only be described as perfect.

Attached Image

Brandon, whom I have never met before, happened to be at Urasawa New Year’s Eve and by coincidence happens to read this blog. He took the above photo (he didn’t forget his camera)!  This was our list of wines for the evening. We didn’t drink the 1996 – it was back-up in case the 1947 was corked or ….  The 1947 was spectacular, no browning around the edges, very deep color, solid Burgundy flavors of raspberries, cherries – smooth deep finish. Blind we would never have known it was over 60 years old. (Detailed notes on the wine from John). We gladly shared the 1947 with Brandon and Hiro.

Some highlights – Hairy Crab served first as a “salad” and later served cooking in the shell on a brazier, Ikura with Shark Fin, Seared Japanese beef, Wondrous Spanish Mackerel, Toro tartar with caviar, Shrimp, Uni with Matsutake Mushrooms, Shabu Shabu and sushi and sushi and sushi with pristine fish.

This is a pitiful write-up for a splendid meal. Brandon did take photos of this special New Year’s Eve meal and he promised to send them on to me. Hopefully, I will be be able to post his photos here.

Many, many thanks to Brandon. All of the photos are his – not only he is a good photographer, but also a wonderful dining companion. What a serendipitous first meeting!

 

 

 

 

The perfect New Year’s Eve finally captured in photos thanks to Brandon.


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