Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vietnamese French Coffee

on a cold day a few weeks ago, Jench and I went to eat Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant. I had been for Pho many times before, but it was the first time I could finish the entire bowl AND have something afterwards. I prepared myself for the meal by not pre-eating (as is customary while waiting for one's dining partner), and was proud of myself for finishing the giant bowl of noodles and soup. After accomplishing my goal for the night, I ordered a cup of "vietnamese french coffee" to finish up the night. The little filter contraption used to make it is surprisingly cheap; you can get it for less than $5 here, and $6, $7, and $8 on Amazon. Because it typically takes a dark French roast, the coffee that is brewed is amazingly rich. Paired with just the right amount of condensed milk (a favorite of mine anyways), it is the perfect end to a big meal. You can also recreate the same flavor with turkish coffee, but the bonus of having a filter (no filter in turkish coffee) is that you don't drink any grounds at all.

Here is a primer on how to make Vietnamese French Style Coffee

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to Break Up Petrified Brown Sugar

I bought a bag of Trader Joe's Brown Sugar (pictured is just the sugar, without the brown) and left it in the cupboard for a very long time. When I wanted to bake cookies last night the entire bag of brown sugar was solidified into the shape of the bag. Good thing Trader Joe tells you how to re-soften brown sugar. I had to use a hammer to break up the solid piece into small enough pieces to come out of the bag. The proper way to make petrified brown sugar soft again is to put the sugar in a large bowl and drape a wet kitchen towel over the bowl over night. It worked like German engineering!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Melamine in me?

On a trip to the big Asian Food Market, I gave in to nostalgia and bought a jar of Horlicks - the gigantic-motherlode size. Horlicks is a malted dairy based drink (or is it because you mix it into milk that it is dairy based?) that we used to drink all the time while being happy bouncy kids in Taiwan. Mix a few scoops of the straw colored powder with some warm milk and you have yourself one sleepy kid. My favorite was when, sometimes, the powder didn't melt completely, and would form sweet sticky blobs at the bottom of the mug. Horlicks is made by GSK (holla! my former employer), and is widely sold in Asian countries, Jamaica, and England. I have only been able to find it in the USA imported from Asian countries. Usually, the jar is 400 grams, as you see on Amazon. The only size available at the Asian Store was 2 kilograms! FIVE times the size of the normal 400g jar! I've found the 2kg jar online for 10.99 British pounds, and also in Euros at 29.00 euros. According to google calculator, that's $16.42 and $36.59, respectively, for 2kgs of malty goodness. I think I paid $19.95, or about $1 per 100g.

When the whole melamine-in-milk scandal blew up in China and its associated businesses (which practically includes everybody), I got a little worried that my $20 worth of Horlicks would tragically be tainted with melamine as well; I would be enjoying its rich flavor at the risk of giving myself kidney stones. :-(

Luckily, it seems GlaxoSmithKline still sources its milk from English-speaking countries (UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand). I looked specifically for Malaysian lists of safe dairy products because my 2kg jar is meant to be sold only in Brunei and Malaysia (translation: if you bought it in any other place, drink at your own risk). This list includes source information provided voluntarily by the companies themselves, which means it may not be 100% accurate. The products probably have to be tested individually to be sure. Although some of the sources for some of the companies look quite suspicious, (Campbell Cheong Chan (M) Sdn Bhd - Milk ingredient from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, France, Indonesia and USA...I don't quite believe that they could get milk from Singapore and Indonesia and not from China) I think (hope) Glaxo is a trustworthy company and would stick to their British roots.

If I get kidney stones, you know who to call. Until then, I will be scraping the sticky blobs of Horlicks off the bottom of my mug.

UPDATE: Hong Kong tested a bunch of dairy products and these are acceptable

Kiddie Food Critic!

I read this article in the New York Times and could not stop myself from "awwwww"-ing away. A lonely kid was tired of eating hummus alone while his parents were running late, so he went to the opening of an Italian restaurant and critiqued their food! SO CUTE! They should make it into a movie.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tao, Midtown East, NYC

I should backdate this post to August, when my computer was broken, but I am too lazy. I went to Tao with 7 other friends on August 8 (reservation for 8 at 8pm, on 8-8-08). While everybody else was watching the Olympics' Opening Ceremony, we were eating copious amounts of sushi in a loud and huge restaurant. Reservations are months in advance, so make your reservation early (unless you are related to Uncle Richie).

Since it was the summer, we gravitated towards more refreshing dishes. Not pictured is the table-full of appetizers that we all shared. At first, the atmosphere was very much like a family dinner in a polite family. We were passing dishes around and making lettuce wraps for each other. When the sushi came out, the atmosphere changed to "fend-for-yourself."
By the time dessert rolled out, we were all in a feeding frenzy, digging madly at the mounds of ice cream and sweets.
Check out the little buddhas in white, milk, and dark chocolate! After dinner mints or after dinner buddhas?

Stanton Social, LES, NYC

Stanton Social is a bar/restaurant in the Lower East Side that was "the IT place" to go to for starlets back in 2005/2006. It is still a happening place, years later, as we had trouble getting reservations before 10:45pm on a Saturday night. For those of you who only go for the purposes of drinking, you really should try a few (or 10) of the dishes there. On a dark and rainy night, trust that Stanton Social's specialty cocktails and tapas-sized dishes will warm you up. Small groups would have a good time sharing the plates, but if you went by yourself, it is recommended that three plates will be enough to fill you up.

Well, because one of our party was related to one of the owners, we would order things and more things would come out with the things we ordered. Got that? Here are the tasty treats...I apologize for the quality of the photos. It was VERY dark inside the restaurant. I could barely see where I was aiming, much less read the menus lit by small tea light.

Crab cake corn dogs - very crispy, a little heavy to be the starting dish. - Tasty, but would probably have them serve it later in the meal.
French Onion Soup Dumplings - a portmanteau of asian soup dumplings and French onion soup. The cheesy crust is very tasty, but watch out for the HOT HOT HOT soup inside the dumplings. Six dumplings served in traditional escargot plate, with individual dimples for each dumpling. - Interesting combination that works. A Stanton Social special that should not be missed.
Chicken and Cashew Spring Rolls - I would have liked to see the "skins" of the spring rolls less browned and more crispy, but that's just the Chinese girl in me talking. It was hard to tell that there was cashews inside the rolls. - Perhaps it would be better if the sauce were more spicy than sweet?
Red Snapper Tacos - the upscale version of late night taco trucks' fish taco. The dipping sauce on the side didn't really augment the flavor of the taco that much. I was pleased that there was corn salsa inside the taco though. - Tacos with corn = THE BEST!
Herb-dusted Frites with Red chili aioli and ketchup - The fries were tasty alone or dipped in ketchup. Dipping them in aioli was a little hard to justify, as the flavor wasn't anywhere strong enough to warrant the added calories. I had AMAZINGLY delicious truffle oil aioli with frites before at Riviera, and I think that has spoiled me in the frites-avec-aioli category. - fries were good, but again, not very strong in the sauce department, are we, Stanton Social?
Stanton Social Beef Wellington - I could see how this would be the perfect meal if I had not had all those other tapas right before this was delivered. Filet mignon coated with delicious mushroom duxelles (minced mushrooms and spices) and foie gras, all wrapped up in puff pastry and baked. - If you don't get anything else, at least get the Beef Wellington.
Duck Confit Empanadas - duck confit has always been my favorite thing to order ever since I had a taste of its rich and crispy flavor at a restaurant in Arles. The strength of duck confit is that it is at the same time juicy and crispy; putting it inside empanadas is an interesting combination, but loses that crispy quality. - Despite that, I would definitely get the duck empanadas again. TASTY!
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Ravioli - I once tried to make acorn squash ravioli and it was probably the worst thing on the face of the planet. These butternut squash and sweet potato ravioli at Stanton Social are a far cry from my acorn version. -Slightly sweet but not dessert-sweet, they are a good bridge between the "meal" and "dessert," at a restaurant where the progression of the dinner and courses are not well defined; eating outside the box, so to speak.
By the time desserts rolled out, my stomach had already left for the day. Note the double shot of dark liquid in the background. I believe it is espresso with Patron (tequila). One whiff of that and fly-weights like me will be drunk in a second. It is a very good way to end dinner/charge up for a night of going out.
The long tray is the Chocolate Sampler - Left to Right: "ring dings" (like truffles coated with nuts?), chocolate muffin, chocolate panna cotta, chocolate pudding (in the cup), chocolate gelato, and chocolate peppermint patties. The peppermint patties were VERY heavy on the mint...I would not eat it in one bite. Chocolate pudding was amazing, definitely try that and the chocolate gelato. The panna cotta was a little thick but very smooth. - For single ladies out there who spend weekends eating Ben and Jerrys Phish Phood while watching chick flicks, I would recommend putting on some clothes and ordering the chocolate sampler plate. Chances are you'll get your chocolate fix and maybe some drinks purchased for you by strange men. Win-win situation for everybody!
Last but not least is the warm donuts. These are the same donut balls you would get at dim sum (Hong Kong's version of tapas). The three sauces are raspberry, caramel, and chocolate. -This dessert wasn't out-of-this-world-omg-amazing, but it was a pretty good end to a very long meal.
Dishes I could not order but wish I had space for: beef carpaccio, chicken mole taquitos, tuna tartare roll; and for dessert, "Coffee for Two"

I definitely recommend getting reservations if you are planning on going as a group of more than 3 people. Each plate is designed to be shared among 3, but they will serve the food in servings of four and just charge you for one extra if you do go in a group of four. The bar scene was pretty lively, a good mix of down-and-dirty-LES-ers and yuppies/trust fund NYU-ers/everybody else. I've had great experiences dining out in groups, and Stanton Social is no exception. The servers are very friendly and eager to give suggestions, and they pace the plates in waves so that you aren't overwhelmed with a bunch of plates but the flow of food is constant. The total bill for 4 people, including 5 drinks, was around 200 dollars. I think that's a pretty good deal for dining out at a posh restaurant in New York.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Shaved Ice, Yuan Shu Ling

During a frigid torrential downpour in the middle of summer, I went back to the small town in Taiwan where I spent most of my childhood. It was only gloomy when we embarked on visiting our old elementary school, but the day became quite wet by the time we hit the old shaved ice store. I use the word "store" very loosely because it was just some tables set up in somebody's living room. In Slovenija they had similar house-restaurants called gostilnas, interspersed among tightly spaced houses. Unless you live in the neighborhood, these small eateries are hard to find, as they hardly post signs advertising their existence.

My old elementary school - It seemed much bigger when I was a kid. Perhaps if I were looking at the school from the perspective of the child laying on the ramp, it would still appear as big.My friend Angela seeking shelter from the rain under a lamp post. If you look carefully at the ground, you'll see how rainfall in Taiwan is unique (at least, I've never seen it in other places I've been to). When a droplet of rain meets its cousins on the ground, it doesn't merely join them in a big puddle. The droplet forms a bubble, floating on the surface of the puddles. Don't ask me why that is.What to do when there's a drenching storm outside? Eat shaved ice! Here's an alley much like the one where our shaved ice shop is located.
The brown one is chocolate flavored, and the yellow mound is passion fruit.
This one is called "trekking in the snow in search of berries."(踏雪尋梅 ta shue shun mei) The term is usually used to refer to the popular activity in Japan of trekking in the snow to look for cherry blossom trees in bloom, but the last word also means berries. Clever, eh? The little bit of yellow you see peeking out from beneath the strawberry syrup is passion fruit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Computer!!!

I am proudly writing this post on my new computer! The only bad part is that Dell preloads all computers with lame Vista. MWAHAHA by the end of the night it will be partitioned to less than 10% of the hard drive and I will be using linux again!

I really enjoy the feel of the keyboard! and a remote control that plugs into the extra card slot! and a 8-in-1 memory card reader! back-lit LED screen that is eco friendly and power saving! weighs 1/4 of what my computer used to weigh!

Can you tell I'm excited?! Look forward to new juicy posts as soon as I get time to load some pictures!!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Wow, it really has been a long time since I've posted. My old ThinkPad exploded, and while I thankfully saved all of my pictures on the external hard drive, I have no way of getting them on the internet. Please accept my apologies as you and I eagerly await the arrival of my new computer.

-the soon-to-be owner of a Dell seXPS

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rue Cler - Durham NC

Durham, North Carolina is one of the most deadly cities in America. One is more likely to be shot while walking around in Durham than in the most dangerous neighborhoods of LA or NYC. Knowing that, I find it interesting that it is also a city of glorious restaurants. One such restaurant is Rue Cler, found at the corner of E Chapel Hill St and Rigsbee St:

View Larger Map
The sun was just starting to set as we arrived at Rue Cler, and the slanted beams of dying sun flooded the entrance of the softly lit bistro. We picked a table next to the window, so that it seemed like we were almost sitting on the street; giving us a clear view of passers-by. The restaurant itself isn't decorated in any special style. The main dining room had the decor of a typical modern-looking restaurant, but then there was a perplexing little room next door that served as an extension of the restaurant. It was made to be a rustic boulangerie, quite the opposite of the polished main restaurant. Minus one point to whoever thought that one up. Another thing that was weird about the restaurant were the walls. It really seemed like they just took an old and dying turn-of-the-century store front and put up some Ikea-looking things in it, without caring that the ceiling and walls were VERY unfinished. It wasn't even raw-brick-contrasted-against-glossy-paint chic. It was more like there-are-foot-prints-on-the-unfinished-2-x-2's-nailed-on-the-wall-from-a-construction-worker's-boot. Look above the doorway that leads to the perplexingly rustic boulangerie. You'll find the dusty footprints.

The food itself was not bad at all. For the low price of $25 you can get the 2 course prix-fixe menu of something salad-like and something meat-like. For $35, you can get the complete three courses including dessert. What is a French meal without dessert?

Both Shanna and I got the radicchio salad with candied walnuts and little slices of mandarin oranges. I am definitely not a fan of the bitter radicchio. My French mom used to take away the sting of the radicchio with a sweet mustard vineagrette. The chef at Rue Cler skimped on the vineagre, but the salad was still pretty good as long as you made sure to have either a bite of mandarin orange or candied nuts with each bite of radicchio.
I got North Carolina shrimp with goat cheese and yuca. Yuca is also called cassava, and it is definitely not one of my favorite things. Perhaps I was expecting the familiar savoriness and starchiness of potatoes, but the unexpected crunch of the yuca confused my mouth while it was trying to enjoy the tastiness of the shrimp. I'm not sure that the goat cheese was necessary.
Shanna's second course was devine. The asparagus was cooked just right...tender at first bite but still sufficiently crunchy. The lone egg was a "farm fresh egg," which, as I noted before, is yellower and more flavorful than a grocery store egg. The yellow sauce is hollandaise, the CORRECT sauce to put over asparagus. (ahem....bearnaise is for steak).
Always a sucker for duck and brussels sprouts, I seem to have gotten into a rut of ordering duck every time I go to a French restaurant. The sauce was slightly sweet but mostly meaty, (with the added help of the lentils for body). The duck was barely cooked, still tender and juicy like it is supposed to be eaten. One thing Rue Cler knows how to do is meat.
Shanna got a shepherd's pie with a leg of lamb. Har Har, get it? SHEPHERD's pie and leg of LAMB?!
What is a French dinner with no dessert? Below is a crepe drizzled with chocolate sauce and creme anglaise.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Food Identification

Time to play Guess What This Is! I have always maintained that food is beautiful, not only when you style it, but in general. Are those white blobs not the most elegant thing you have ever seen?Here is a more complete view. Can you guess what this is?

It's a container of frozen lu stock!(滷汁) Here is the English wikipedia for lu wei. The fat from the stock rose to the top to form beautiful little circles. Kawaii!

Mura - Raleigh, NC

Due to request by some friends who patiently sit through my photo sessions before digging into their meals, I am anachronistically posting photos of my latest food conquest.

Mura is a decently new restaurant in North Raleigh, part of the completely revamped North Hills shopping center complex. I remember North Hills as being a half-abandoned lot back in high school, where store fronts were so cheap that a handful of high schoolers could afford to rent one out to build the decorations for their winter formal. That is not the case today, where Kobe beef at Mura can cost $69.00. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard that right. Raleigh - Entree - $69.00. I think we've hit a new high.

We took advantage of the great weather to sit outside, but unfortunately it made for poorly-lit pictures. For that, I apologize. Dinner started off with VERY lightly seared tuna marinated in ponzu sauce, served with a sriracha paste. When I've had tuna before, you could see at least 1/8 inch of cooked edge. At Mura, they try to only cook the surface. I was extremely impressed with the pile of orange paste that presented itself, enough so, that I flagged down our waiter and asked him "what is this and why is it so good?" According to him, it is a puree of crab, shrimp, and daikon, mixed with sriracha. Some food purists might say the spiciness ruins the subtle flavors of the tuna, but I say it was brilliant!
left: TNT Crunch - shrimp tempura with spicy mayo. I made him bring out more sriracha because it lacked the TNT that was promised. If you order the TNT Crunch, make sure not to get it "mild."
center: Ebi Maki - Shanna's choice. Soft shell crab with asparagus, avocado, topped with wasabi dressing and spicy mayo. Very good.
right: the Mura Roll - basically a ton of fish rolled inside of rice, nori (seaweed), and thinly sliced daikon. I wasn't particularly a fan of the daikon on the outside, and the roll is much better without the cilantro in the middle overpowering all the other flavors.
I am sort of bewildered by the tackiness of the logo, "Mura" embossed on the dessert plates. I tried to obscure it with the tiramisu. The tiramisu torte looked a little like a bench. I must admit I am not used to the ladyfingers being on both edges of the dessert. Sauces from the inside, out: dulce de leche, caramel, dark chocolate, enveloped in raspberry syrup.
Shanna's choice of dessert, a chocolate torte with ice cream. Now that I think of it, the weather was perfect for ice cream!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sappho, Taipei

Sappho technically isn't a restaurant, but I ate some food there that ended up in my camera, so here it is on the food blog. It is located just off of An He Lu (安和路), between Shin Yi (信義) and Ren Ai Lu (仁愛路). The bar is underground, announced by a small sign and a subterranean garden. The interior is dim and mod, and on most nights, you'll find at least a handful of expatriates mingling with the locals. The window in the background opens up to the garden that is below street level.
The bar is known for its live jazz (the bands are often made up of non-Taiwanese performers as well). On the particular night when I was there, we were treated to the fusion of a professional aborigine singer and a back up jazz band. I would equate Taiwanese aborigine singing to yodeling, as they share vocal fortitude and profound lung capacity as well as the status of being a folk art that is slowly disappearing into the memories of older folk.
They serve bar food like any other bar in any other part of the world. Salsa? Nachos? Pizza? What is this? Why are there 2 sprigs of endive sticking out of the salsa? That being said, the salsa was pretty good, and the tortilla triangles were adequately crispy.
I went back once more to Sappho to watch the finals for the World Cup (yeah, back in 2006. I'm way behind on life), and due to the time difference, emerged to see Taipei 101 glowing with the first light of dawn.
This view is taken outside of Sappho, looking from the alley to the intersection with An He Lu.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

E-coffee, Taiwan

E-Coffee is as ubiquitous (double click on the word for a dictionary definition) in Taiwan as Starbucks is in America. The difference is that E-coffee has had a relatively successful streak with incorporating other foods and drinks into their business than Starbucks. With a drink menu of 40+ different espresso drinks, blended drinks, icees, teas, shakes, you can expect to find something to your taste while you type away at your next blog post. Par contre, in a recent NYTimes article, Starbucks is reportedly scaling back their "big evil empire" by cutting back on the breakfast sandwiches and other stuff they have started selling in addition to coffee.

Many of the posts on this blog happened in an E-Coffee. What else can you ask for in Taiwan during the summer?
Free internet? Check.
Air Conditioning? Check.
Beverages? Check.

I think this is a mango blended ice. The coloring doesn't look like mango at all, but that's because it didn't taste like mango at all. It tasted mostly like ice. Not a good experience with the blended ice drinks. I recommend getting something related to coffee.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fresh Eggs From the Farm

Ever since one of my patients raved about the significant difference in taste between fresh eggs and grocery store eggs, I've been meaning to try eggs straight from the hen's butt. I drive through the rural back roads every day to come home from work, passing by a random driveway that always has a cardboard sign propped up against their mailbox that says, "Fresh Brown Eggs." So far, I haven't consumed any fresh eggs, because I always fly past the driveway, or am too intimidated to pull into some random person's house. I woke up this morning at 9am and went to the farmer's market, where eggs are twice as pricy as they are at the grocery store, and thought I'd give their fresh eggs a try. The old farmer man let me take a picture of all the eggs. They are technically "brown" eggs, but it's more like an easter basket than "Brown."In my dozen, there are brown, light maroon, green, even speckled tan eggs!
I am not sure if Latta is the name of the farm, but the old guy had special cartons for his eggs.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Almond Doe Fu

If you know anything about being Asian, you know that almond tofu not anything novel. I think my mom used to make it as a dessert every time we went to a church potluck or get-together when we were younger. Although some people might actually use very silky soft tofu to make almond tofu, the "tofu" part of the name usually refers to the texture of the gelatin. My mom makes it with milk and Jell-o. Sometimes you put maraschino cherries (gross!) or other chopped up canned fruit in it, and chop the jelly part into small cubes. I really only like the almond milk and the almond-flavored cream based jelly. What is new and notable about this set from Yu Ji is that you get the juice separate from the jelly part, and both parts seriously are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.On the left is the packet of juice. You pour it separately so it doesn't make the jelly part any less jiggly during transport and storage.
Then, you have the option to slice the jelly part into smaller pieces and eat it like a soup; or, you can scoop up big slices from the entire mass. Which ever way you choose to do it, Yu Ji Shing Ren Doe Fu is the best! (于記杏仁豆腐) There is one at Tong Hua Street (通化) and Guang Fu Street North (光復北路). I don't know where the other ones are, but their addresses are below.
光復店:2756-5395 台北市光復北路5號之一
衡陽店:2370-1998 臺北市衡陽路101號
通化店:2378-1889 台北市通化街109號
樂華店:3233-3933 台北縣永和市永平路168號(樂華夜市內)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Gordon Ramsay's Maze at The London Hotel

Let's take a detour from the usual Taiwan food and give you a glimpse of what Sunday afternoon was like during my last trip to New York, shall we? My flight left JFK at 6:30pm, which meant I needed to leave the city by 4:00pm to make it through security in time. Originally, the plan was to go to New Jersey to see my best friend's tail-less, meow-less cat who wears a pink sweater, but the transit time to and from there would have been quite a stretch on my already-tight last day. It was fortunate that I canceled those plans, because Elizabeth (one of the 4 filles who went to Dijon in 2003) called and wanted to get lunch somewhere midtown, close to the Port Authority, from which her bus to Boston was leaving. Not being familiar with any restaurants near Times Square (midtown west) that didn't try to serve up a side of consumerism with your entree of tourist, I went with good ol' to help me narrow down a decent restaurant that wasn't astronomically priced. I originally started out narrowing down my choices by neighborhood, then cuisine, then price, but I wanted to do something different than the Hispanic or French cuisine I had had all weekend. I chose the "London Bar" because I thought it would remind us of London, and since it was a bar, food would come quickly so Elizabeth and I could make our respective modes of transportation. The number I called turned out to be the common line for "maze," a silver and teal toned, less formal restaurant by Gordon Ramsay in the London Hotel. I had heard of his name before in culinary circles, but had not made the connection that this was the guy who has a show on the Food Network.

I think it worked out well that we landed at such a posh restaurant. If the 3-course lunch was a steal at $35, (2 courses were $25, but who would reject a Gordon Ramsay dessert?) I can only imagine how expensive food normally is at maze.

Elizabeth's elegant white cowl neck sweater went well with the sterile-looking silver and teal of the restaurant. All the dishes were the purest of white, and there were nifty little holders of silver for your silverware.
I was impressed by how the waiter poured my coffee. Usually I just pour a bunch of coffee and fill the rest with milk, unable to control how much cream goes in the cup of coffee. He poured about half of the cup of coffee, then added the amount of cream I wanted, and topped the cup off with some more coffee. In the oval container to the right are actual lumps (not cubes, not crystals, LUMPS) of brown and white sugar.
The first course for me was the hand-dipped sea scallops seared with a coating of curry salt. The dish is garnished with a slightly sweet plum sauce and bernaise sauce. I don't know what the two little crispies in the corners are, but they were delicious. I have a suspicion that they are made with the same type of batter as gougeres.
Another view of the scallops. Each was as big as my cellphone.
Despite having lived in Dijon for a semester, I did not actually taste the complexity that is Coq Au Vin. Coq au vin est un plat bourguigon (dish from Burgundy) that is one of the classics in French cuisine. It is characterized by the red wine sauce (usually a burgandy wine). Here, the coq au vin is served with three small bits of baby carrots (very tender but not mushy), on a bed of salty cabbage. The cabbage is like a sauerkraut that itsn't sour. The buttermilk colored sauce to the left is foie gras veloute. A veloute is a creamy sauce that is not creamy. I can only describe it as velvety - not rich, but not watery, if that helps.
They only coated the top section of the chicken with the thick wine sauce. I think it was a brilliant move, because the flavor would have been very overpowering had all the chicken been drenched in sauce. The sauce actually juxtaposes itself perfectly with the crispiness of the skin of the other two pieces of meat.
For dessert, I went with the blackberry lemon cheesecake. It's only a cheesecake in the loosest of senses. The crust, instead of being at the bottom, was a light dusting of crispy crumbs. The top layer of cream is less dense than a regular cheesecake, and is separated from the richer bottom half (that was flavored with lemon) by a thin layer of blackberry confiture (jam). There is a small surprise at the bottom tip of the glass, in the form of pleasantly tangy lemon custard.
Peanut brittle and chocolate truffles with caramel centers finish off the meal.
By the time we got to the petit-fours, nobody had space to eat anymore, so they gave us this nifty little box (about the size of a lipstick holder) in which to pack the petits-fours.