You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jim's birthday dinner - Gallileo III

UPDATE: Galileo III closed September 2011

For Jim's birthday, we chose Galileo III. We had been given a very generous gift certificate to Galileo as a thank you for taking the wedding picture for our friends Ted and Bruce's wedding and decided to use it for Jim's birthday dinner. And not just any dinner but the 12+ course Chef's Choice Tasting Menu. You heard me right boys and girls, 12 courses. Plus dessert. *
*actual number of courses we were served was 10 - see my follow up at the end of this post.

We got to the restaurant about 30 minutes before our reservation and paid a visit to the bar and pestered Chris the bar manager. We each ordered a cocktail and a short time later, were treated to a small plate of the thinnest sliced Mortadella ever and some warm bread. It was heavenly. With drinks and our pre-dinner treat behind us, we were seated at our table to begin our dining extravaganza.

With help from Chris and our server, we selected a nice bottle each of white and red wine to go with the meal.
Reflection from the wine glasses on a shelf behind our table

An assortment of breads were brought to the table with a side of ricotta, parsley and garlic butter.
Then the courses began.
First Course:
Burrata: Imported Burrata cheese over roasted peppers marinated with capers, garlic, Sicilian olive oil.Second Course:
Tonno delle Isolelle Isole: Salad of Fregola, chopped tuna, smoked, bottarga of tuna, curly endive, blood orange dressing.Third Course:
Bagna Cauda: Flan Duo of warm red peppers and Jerusalem artichokes in a Bagna Cauda (anchovy garlic) sauceFourth Course:
Budino di Parmigiano: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese pudding top with a layer of Burrata cheese, cream of porcini mushrooms, sliced black truffle. (Ours were missing the black truffle) Fifth Course:
Raviolini del Plin: Small “pinched” ravioli filled with beef, veal and chicken. Served in a sauce of veal jus, butter and sage.Sixth Course:
Tortelloni: Tortelloni filled with red beets in a chive cream sauce with poppy seeds.Seventh Course:
Butternut Squash Ravioli: Ravioli stuffed with butternut squash. Topped with crushed ameretti cookies and a butter sage sauce.Eighth Course:
AnatraFettuccine all”Anatra: Spinach fettuccine with duck meat stewed in tomato and vegetables.Ninth Course:
Capesante: Sauteed sea scallops atop yellow & black polenta, sautéed lobster mushrooms, cream sauce.Tenth Course:
Coniglio: Roasted loin of rabbit served over braised legs with pancetta in a sauce “alla Ligure” of stewed celery, onions, olives and walnuts.

Barbara had Crostata di Mele. Apple crostata, honey-roasted pecans, caramel gelato, apple jelly.Jim had Torta All’ Olio D’Oliva. Olive oil cake blood orange sauce, mascarpone sorbetto, crispy pine nuts, vanilla poached fennel.And some lovely coffee
The food was in a word, fabulous! Jim's favorites was the artichoke flan. The delicate texture and flavors were wonderful. My favorite was the budino. I called it sex in a spoon (Jim said I'm not that limber). We would easily order any of the 10 dishes again. In fact, some we had already eaten on two previous visits.

And Chris, Bar Manager extraordinaire, was terrific as always. Thank you Chris!

As good as the food was, we felt the dining experience could have been better. The tab for this meal was $360 meal (before tax and tip). This was the Chef's Choice Tasting Menu which we said we would be ordering when we made our reservations. It's not like they weren't aware what we would be ordering.

Issue 1: You'd think they would have seated us closer to the open kitchen but no, we were in the farthest corner behind a wall from the kitchen between two service stations.

Issue 2: The online menu says the Chef's Choice is 12 plus courses plus desert. Trust me, we were very full after 10 courses but I can imagine there are folks out there that would argue this with the server and either say to bring two more courses or lower the price of the meal. There needs to be consistency with what you advertise and what you actually offer.

Issue 3: Where was the chef? Even if it wasn't Chef Donna in the kitchen, you'd think the who ever was in charge of the kitchen would have made at least one appearance just to ask if we had any questions or to see how things were going. Just sayin'

We'd still say that the food is worth a visit. But to get a better bang for you buck, each person at the table should order the 3 or 4 course meal + dessert and have everyone get different items. You'll be able to get to choose what you want and have slightly larger portions which lends itself to sharing and swapping bites.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Live Octopus

Live octopus (San Nakji) is a delicacy in Korea. They pull it out of the tank, humanely kill it, chop it up, and serve it with sesame oil and salt. I had it once in Incheon about 20 years ago, and finally got to have it again in LA. We went to Masan Restaurant, which I assume is named after the coastal city of Masan. Here's the video:

It's very tasty, but it's hard to pick up because the suckers stick to the dish. I had to use my chopsticks and my hands to encourage them to let go, then dip them in the sesame oil-salt mix, then pop them in your mouth. The texture is chewy and crunchy. They'll stick briefly to your mouth but come off easily. And they're very tasty to me.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Matsuhisa Sushi Los Angeles

(By Jim)

Sometimes a trip can be a fortunate accident. This happened to us on Monday. We were in LA for a work conference for me that would be happening on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we came out early to see LA and go to a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (BTW, look at the 12/9/2010 episode at the end of Lucy Liu's segment to see the backs of our heads.)

After seeing La Brea Tar Pits in the morning, we headed over to the Apple Pan for lunch. Unfortunately, after driving 30 minutes, we found it closed on Mondays. Bugger. OK, there were several sushi places we saw on the way back. So, we stop at a big one on La Cienega. And it's closed. And Barbara's getting anxious. Buggershitpisswee. But there's another place across the road that looks like sushi. Matsuhisa Sushi. OK, whatever, sounds Japanese.

I walked in, and realized that it wasn't any sushi place, it was Nobu Matsuhisa's sushi place. Damn, this will be expensive. But we get in, look at the menu, and find some things that were both a good value and incredibly tasty.

Nobu's well known for his black cod with miso sauce, but we were both in the mood for sushi, so we decided to both go with sushi-bar-style food. I know, but we were both addled.

Anyway, so we both got set meals. Barbara got the sushi plate, 8 pieces, a roll, and miso soup. I got the sashimi and tempura plate.

Miso soup

Sushi plate
(from top by line: tuna roll;
Tuna, yellowtail, salmon, squid;
halibut, mackerel, shrimp, egg omelet.)

Salad and mixed tempura (shrimp, pumpkin, onion, zucchini)

Tuna and halibut sashimi

My opinion? One, this was excellent. But to really experience the excellence of Nobu Matsuhisa, you need to order more exotic things, like the crab legs with a knob of crab meat, deep fried, that the ladies who lunch ordered next to us. They were talking about houses (For $8 Million, it's a Steal!!!) Ehh, whatever.

Also, you need to remember you're in LA. The menu is expensive. And cash is the great leveler. They don't care how you're dressed, as long as you have the cash. Barbara was worried about how she was dressed, and we might have ordered more had she been more comfortable.

Nobu was in the house, and came out to visit some of the diners, so we know he was present for quality control.

Finally, there are many places in LA with excellent sushi and cooked Japanese food. These places are usually called izakaya, and have small plates and drinks. We also visited Izakaya by Katsu-ya in Manhattan Beach and Japonica Dining in Redondo Beach. For the price, these two were better deals.

Bottom Line: Matsuhisa is excellent sushi, but you really need to get off the basic plates to get the real Matsushia experience. We'll go back, and we'll do that next time.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Totally nontraditional scallops with champagne sauce, chanterelle mushrooms, homemade green beans, and roasted potatoes.

Scallops with Champagne Sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Add scallops to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add mushrooms and shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Stir in Champagne, mustard, salt, and tarragon, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Serve with scallops.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dinner at Corduroy

The bar upstairs at Corduroy has one of the best deals in town. Three courses for $30. We took my sister there for dinner while she was in town last week. Our friend, Beth, joined us.

Dinner was superb, as always. The pictures below speak for themselves.

We started out with the Filipino Spring Rolls. They come with a spicy dipping sauce and are additively delicious.

My sister got the Charred Tomato Soup. The first picture is the bowl before the soup was poured. It is a mixture of tomatoes and basil oil. The soup is poured into the bowl at your table. Rustic, earthy, creamy and one of my favorite soups.

Beth ordered the Duck Confit as her entree. This is perhaps the best duck confit anywhere! I'm normally not a duck fan, but I could eat this everyday if I had to. It's served on a bed of frisée.

I got the Faux Rib-Eye (a cut of beef from the shoulder). It's served withLyonnaise Potatoes and green beans with pearl onions. This is a very tender, very beef cut and far more than I was able to eat. Jim lucked out having the leftovers for lunch a couple of days later.

Gen got the Grouper with Sushi Rice and Hajiki. It's seasoned with ginger and sesame oil. The grouper was outstanding and the ginger/sesame flavors really brought the dish alive.

Jim had the Tuna with Sushi Rice and Hajiki. Same dish as Gen's with different fish. Just as delicious.

For dessert, Jim got the trio of sorbets. Pineapple, Concord Grape and Peach. Absolutely fantastic!

Gen and I each got the Pistachio Bread Pudding. It's served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I'm a sucker for bread pudding. This one was moist, dense and full of pistachio goodness.

And lastly, Beth got the Flourless Chocolate Cake. This is a big dense hunk of chocolate cake served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. If I wasn't so full already, I would have gotten this.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Barbara's Birthday Dinner at Galileo III

Happy Birthday Dinner. Chef Roberto Donna just reopened Galileo. Commentary to come later.
UPDATE: Galileo III closed September 2011

Barbara with a pear Sidecar.

Porcini cake with cheese, roasted caps, and truffle sauce.

Budino pudding of parmesan cheese, truffles.

Mezzeluna filled with lump crab, tomato and orange sauce. Transcendent combination of flavors. Who knew tomatoes and oranges played so well together.

Scallops with yellow and black polenta.

Pinched ravioli stuffed with pork, chicken, and beef, sauce of browned butter and sage.

Squid ink taglianeni with lobster tail and lobster cream sauce.

Veal tenderloin medallion.

Monkfish wrapped with pancetta.

Hazelnut semifreddo ice cream.

Chocolate torte with basil and vanilla ice creams, limes, and coconut.

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