Archive for October, 2009

Les Nomades – Chicago

On Wednesday, October 28, the roving reporter was in Chicago.  Business associates suggested and arranged for dinner at Les Nomades.   I knew Mary Beth Liccioni from the Merci Julia event in 1993. 

The Chicago Tribune, August 13, 2009 review headline says a lot:

“Times change; Les Nomades does not.  And that’s a good thing. Ontario Street restaurant requires jackets and our respect.”

What a pleasure to visit a restaurant where the patrons are well dressed, the noise level is muted allowing conversation, and the servers and sommelier are totally professional.

The menu is designed for DIY tasting menus. 4 courses $115 and 5 $130. One of my associates did not want dessert.  Could he have an additional main.  “Of course, sir!”   Later the same gentleman wanted an extra ravioli for the duck consommé.  He had only gotten one and he loved it.  “I’ll be right back, sir!”

That says it all.  The food is not timed out.  It is solid French with beautiful presentation.  The wine list is excellent.   It is not cheap, but it is a good value for expense account dining and special occasions.

the room

The Room




 Amuse – Pumpkin soup with a gougere

sweetbreads app

 Roasted Veal Sweetbreads, Spanish chorizo, smoked paprika and potato


 Pates Maison – assorted house-prepared pates served with cornichons and toasted brioche

duck consomme

 Duck consommé with organic root vegetables and duck confit ravioli

crispy farm egg, crawfish, smoked bacon

 Crispy farm egg, rouge vif d’etampes, crawfish, smoked bacon, Chanterelle mushrooms and Iberico ham


Red wine

Red wine



Roasted Venison Loin, parsnip puree, pickled cherry, Swiss chard, pearl onion and bacon aigre-doux



Slow-Roasted Veal Tenderloin, wild mushroom ragout, pommes puree, preserved lemon and sauce Perigueux



 Rack and Loin of Lamb, Lyonnaise onions, Chanterelle mushrooms, English peas and lardons


tarte tartin

  Fresh Apple Tart with green apple sorbet



  Artisan Cheese


petits fours

 Petits fours



This is a post that is somewhat food-related. Obviously, it is not my usual type of post, but I thought Roberta deserved a post of her own.

Many years ago, after a fantastic lunch at L’Ambroisie, located at the Place des Vosges in Paris, we decided to explore the area.

Place des Vosges – gorgeous – yes

Well, we wandered into Modus Art Gallery at 23 place des vosges and we were captivated by the The Mobile Sculptures of Vincent Magni.

As this was many years ago and the exchange rate wasn’t punishing, we fell in love with Roberta, one of Vincent Magni’s mobile sculptures. We did buy her and had her shipped to our home. Last night, Los Angeles had heavy winds. Little did I know that with heavy winds, Roberta farts! I am not kidding she makes a sound that absolutely reproduces the exact sound of someone farting. It was an interesting dinner – perfect Flannery steaks, creamed corn, Ridge wine and Roberta farting.


Roberta 1

Roberta 2

Flannery Steak

Bryan Flannery steaks are amazing – worth every penny.

Flannery steak

Bryan Flannery Ribeye – excellent

Flannery steak with corn

I have a new method of making creamed corn. I make Julia Child’s blender hollandaise and refrigerate it to mayo consistency. Then take out hollandaise and let come up to room temperature. Cut the corn kernels off the cob, including the “juice.” Microwave corn until warm and then add the hollandaise by spoonfuls. The Laguiole knife was bought at the Laguiole factory in France.


wine with flannery

Wine with dinner

Farmer’s Market

The Toyota Hybrid Farm to Table Tour concluded on Sunday October 25 starting at 9am. “Taking place at the Brentwood California Certified Farmers Market, Toyota created the Farm to Table Tour to highlight farmers markets around the country and the benefits they offer their communities, and to celebrate the food produced by each market’s farmers and vendors. Oh and to help promote their hybrid vehicles too, obviously.”

“During the event, in booths throughout the market, local chefs and farmers will be paired together for a day that highlights the Market’s offerings. The chefs will prepare special tastings showcasing their partner farm’s fresh ingredients and visitors will have the opportunity to sample the chefs’ creations while also learning more about the market vendors, their products, and how to buy and eat seasonally. The chefs will be serving up samples from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.”

“The market is located one block west of Bundy at 741 S. Gretna Green Way. Test drive a Prius or Highlander Hybrid and take home a John Boos cutting board as a thank you gift.”


In any case we went. Didn’t test drive the Prius or Hybrid so no John Boos cuttting board. (The Steeler game started at 10 am so this was a very fast Farmer’s Market experience!)




Brentwood Farmer’s Market

brentwood 1





Gorgeous persimmons, but very expensive. I will wait to get the persimmons from Santa Monica Farmer’s market and a very kind friend who has the sources and does the shopping for me  – see persimmon pudding recipe on the site 


Delicious corn


Nice apples


Cheese quiche from one of the chefs


Neil Frasier from Grace


The best dish was from Neil – risotto with glazed apple



polenta 1

Vegan Soft Taco – horrible

bread 1

Great Harvest Bread Company 

bread 2

More Great Harvest Bread at the Farmer’s Market


pumpkin bread 1

The pumpkin swirlbread is terrific

Site here:


We will go back to the Farmer’s Market for more of the great bread.

Teriyaki Chicken Drumettes

Football season is here and this recipe for drumettes/wings is perfect finger food. Just supply plenty of paper napkins.

 3 pounds chicken drumettes/wings

2 cups soy sauce

4 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup white wine

4 cloves garlic, mashed

1/2 cup oil

1 tsp ground ginger


Blend ingredients together. Pour over drumettes and marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Bake on rack in 350 oven for approximately 1 hour or  1 hour and 15 minutes until done, but still moist. Turn to the other side every 25 minutes. Be sure that they don’t burn.

Use aluminum throw-away pan or line roaster pan with tin foil to make clean-up easier.  





chicken 1



chichen 2


chicken 3


chicken 4


We were the first customers at Takao – literally the very first customers the day they opened. It is our favorite neighborhood sushi bar – we have OUR seats that we can reserve ahead of time, we can BYO wine (although my husband drinks beer) and we can just let Takao do his thing.


monkfish cavia

  Monkfish Liver with Caviar


oysters rtakao

 Kumamoto Oysters with Green Onion and a touch of chili sauce 


scallops - takao

Thinly Sliced Scallops with Summer Black Truffles with Chives, Sesame seeds and a Sesame Seed Oil- Based Dressing 


tuna presented

tuna and tomatoes

 Heirloom Tomatoes, Green Zebra tomatoes, Pea Shoots, Yama Kaka Slices and Skip Jack in a ponzu dressing. The first picture is the dish as presented. The second photo shows the dish “spread apart.” 


nato takao

 Spanish Mackeral Tatake and Nato with Nori – I do love nato and yes, it is an acquired taste.


Baby crab and soy bean tempura

Blue Crab and Young Soy Bean Tempura – Takao is a master of tempura.


grilled toro

Grilled Toro with Onion, Eggplant and Asparagus 



A “no limit” Chirashi that Takao made for another table.


takao uni and salmon eggs

Uni with Quail Egg and Salmon Eggs with Quail Egg


Takao yelloetail

Yellowtail Belly Sushi


salmon skin hand roll

Salmon Skin Hand Roll

Flourless Chocolate Cake

choclate cake before frosting


chocolate cake after frosting


Michel Guerard’s Mother’s Cake

To serve 8


10 ounces semisweet chocolate

10 ounces butter

9 egg yolks

1 1/3 cups sugar

5 egg whites

1/4 cup light rum


10″ pan

piece of cake cardboard – 10″



Preheat the oven to 325

Line the pan with parchment paper. Lightly butter the paper and put in some flour and shake all the flour out so only the flour that sticks to the butter remains.

Melt the chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler.

Separate the eggs. Put the 9 yolks in the bowl of the mixer. Put the 5 whites (notice that there are less whites) in another mixer bowl. MAKE SURE THAT THE BOWL WITH THE WHITES IS VERY CLEAN WITHOUT ANY GREASE. ALSO DO NOT GET ONE BIT OF YOLK INTO THE WHITES OR THE WHITES WON’T BEAT. The trick to doing this is to put the white of each egg in a small container, then add to the mixing bowl of whites. That way if you are on the 5th egg and you get a speck of yolk in it – you throw away only that egg not the whole bowl.

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the egg yolks to break up at low speed. Turn up the speed to medium and gradually add the sugar. Cream or beat the egg yolks and sugar until it is pale( almost white) and creamy. (from 5 to 8 minutes).

Put the mixer on medium low speed and beat the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. Blend well. Take a spatula and mix by hand to make sure that the everything is really mixed.

Using the balloon whip attachment, beat the egg whites until they hold a shape. I beat with the mixer until I get very soft peaks, then using a hand whisk, I finish beating. DO NOT OVERBEAT!!!! You want it to look like soft clouds; they hold a shape, but they are not grainy looking.

Fold the the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Pour 2/3’s of the mixture into the pan (SAVE THE REST OF THE BATTER – just put it aside at room temperature) and bake for 1 hour. Remove cake from oven and place on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold the cake by placing the cardboard on top of the cake, turn it upside down and the cake should fall out of the pan onto the cardboard.

Let the cake cool completely. When cool, sprinkle the top of the cake with rum. Frost the cake( top and sides) with the batter that you saved. Put the cake in the refrigerator. When the chocolate is firm (about 1 hour) put saran wrap or tin foil over the cake gently so as not to ruin the top of the cake. The cake will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.