OCTOPUS ANYONE?

We are so proud to show off the talents of one of our very own, SVP. Truly a masterful culinary creation. Stan was inspired by one of his favorite chefs, Jason Howard, to recreate a dish while adding his own flair. The outcome leaves one with eyes that dive in and a palate that yearns for a bite! After posting the photograph of his re-creation on Instagram the original chef Jason Howard gave proper kudos to SVP saying ” wow chef, you just owned it and more, I myself am inspired by you ” To top it off, the elite Four Magazine also re-posted Stan’s creation to their site offering even more praise. We are so proud to have such talented artist on our team. Congratulations Stan. Brilliant Work!

stan chef jason howard stan four magazine

Small Plates

The New York Times

For the magazine’s fall Food issue, NYT treated six second graders from P.S. 295 in Brooklyn to dinner at Daniel, where the seven-course tasting menu goes for $220 a person.

LE DODIN: A PARISIAN GEM

Just down the street from the Arc de Triomphe in the 17th arrondissement, we discovered a little gem of a restaurant called Le Dodin. The restaurant is on a small street in a very vibrant and very Parisian neighbourhood. The chef, Mark Singer, is American and speaks French like a native as he spent most of his childhood in France. His mother was a huge influence on his interest in cooking growing up as she diligently mastered Julia Child’s style of french cooking. The family also made constant use of their garden’s fresh vegetables and fruit. Fast food was strictly forbidden in the Singer household! For many years Singer was the only american chef in Paris. He studied under the tutelage of famed chef Auguste Escoffier.

This night we were celebrating a birthday with my husband’s french cousins. The only other patrons at the restaurant that night were an older American tourist and his dinner companion sitting at the table next to us. Singer’s wife was both hostess & waitress, and did an excellent job keeping the tables satisfied! I regard truffles as Manna of the Gods, so we could not resist choosing the special truffle tasting menu. The amuse bouche was a bite of a warm potato salad with truffle cream. Next came a beef consomme´, flavored with truffle oil and topped with puff pastry.  After that was a rich truffle risotto served with a large shrimp wrapped in pieces of fried panko strips. The creaminess of the risotto tasted delightful with the sharpness of the truffle. Following was a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth Coquille St. Jacques scallop, split in half with a slice of truffle in the middle and a creamy truffle sauce. The dish was served with julienned leeks, which was a perfect complementary flavor. For the perfect cleansing of the palate, the chef sent a refreshing sorbet with fresh mint to prepare us for finale.  The last dish was wild duck served with truffle sauce. To be honest, this was the most disappointing dish, as I felt the duck had the texture and harshness of liver. Not even the truffle sauce could save this dish, perhaps it was the wild duck… As for dessert, Chef Singer presented seethed cherries served with truffle flavored ice cream.

The menu had many creative uses for truffle and we were pleased with the overall experience. The dinner was expensive as we chose 3 bottles of wine to complement our meal. I will definitely return to try other tasting menus.  $$$$.  42 rue des Acacias, 75017 Paris.  01.43.80.28.54

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JUSTINE’S BRASSERIE- AUSTIN

My husband and I had the opportunity to eat here recently while visiting Austin, Texas.  That was about a month ago and I haven’t been able to get the food out of my head since then.  Walking up to Justine’s you’re not quite sure what to expect.. The neighborhood does seem a bit sketchy in areas. However, Justine’s is nestled away on a nice lot with a large garden patio out front.  As you go inside the restaurant you feel as if you step back in time.  The nostalgic feeling reminded me of a juke joint in the 1940’s. The hostesses were very cute & sweet and promptly seated us at a fabulous table. As I peruse the menu I am infused with the vibe Justine’s is trying to create; a french restaurant that plays old school blues. Great music and atmosphere that I really enjoyed! For my appetizer  I had the lump crab and cucumber salad  that was light and delicious.  The vinaigrette they dressed the salad with was the perfect flavor to compliment the crab.  For my main course I had the pasta.. A simple dish of spaghetti and ragu sauce that was so flavorful I believe its the best I ever had.  The wine pairings the server offered definitely complimented the meal. After that, I was so full that I couldn’t have dessert. Regardless, I definitely plan on going back the next time I’m in Austin.  A very satisfying dining experience!

4710 E 5th St, Austin, TX 78702 (512) 385-2900

 

THE PAINTED LADY- OREGON

The quaint city of Newberg, Oregon is a small but vibrant community of award winning wineries and organic farmers. Although only 25 miles away from Portland, the town is still surrounded by lush greenbelts of rural forests and farmlands. In the center of town sits a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian house which has been lovingly restored by the owners and converted into a restaurant. Our experience at the Painted Lady was a feast for the senses. All the dishes had contrasting and unique flavors. We had a table reserved in a little alcove off to the side of the main dining table which seated all 8 of us. The first dish from the Grand Tasting Menu was the smoked salmon on a bagel crisp served with pickled red onions and topped with creme fraiche. Served in a mini “cocotte”, as the waiter lifted the lid, we could see smoke rising from the lox. It had a delicate taste with a hint of the smoky flavor. The next dish was a cold dungeness crab in a miso broth custard served with enoki mushrooms. The miso broth custard had a wonderful flavor derived from the dashi soup base. The maine lobster ragout with tarragon served over four cheese pasta was delicious. Next came the outstanding dayton chicken roulade with walnut chimichurri sauce and pickled baby carrot. The chicken was baked to perfection and the chimichurri sauce lent the flavors a spicy sweet flavor without overpowering the flavor of the chicken. The next dish was the house smoked filet mignon. The taste of the meat was excellent; a delightful texture of smooth and smoky. Next came an artisanal cheese plate of classics such as brie and goat cheese. For dessert we had the espresso torte flavored with rum, the cocoa cayenne panna cotta, and my favorite, the cinnamon meringue with coriander cajeta custard. The menu ended with freshly baked rosemary madeleines and beer flavored marshmallows. Needless to say, the dinner lasted 4 hours!

Chef Routt and his wife Jessica wanted to create a restaurant on the same lines as the restoration of their lovely Victorian. They kept many elements of the Victorian design but used modern combinations of colors to rejuvenate the decorative flourishes and moldings. For the Painted Lady’s menu they have taken classic dishes and interpreted them with modernistic elegance. Chef Routt is famous for his smoky flavors ( he makes smoked barbecue sandwiches for lunch!) and for his innovative dishes that combine starkly contrasting ingredients while still maintaining the balance of the flavors.

We were so impressed with the tasting menu that we returned the very next night! We felt decadent, but savored the experience of another 4 hour feast, and enjoyed every moment of the well orchestrated menu. The slow roasted salmon and lobster risotto tasted delicate and creamy. Today, the chicken roulade was garnished with heavenly foie gras. Next came a pistachio encrusted filet mignon pan seared to perfection. The slow braised veal cheek beset scallop creamed potatoes and was tender & mouth watering. More excited by the dessert this time, the lemon souffle served with a berry coulis was perfectly fluffy. The flavors of the homemade rosemary ice cream was surprisingly delightful and a skillful contrast to the souffle. The tasting menu priced at $90 seems fair for the number of dishes and all the wonderful combinations of ingredients. A dining experience inside a beautiful Victorian home, as well as the superior & impeccable service only made it all the more special.  201 South College Street, Newburg, OR  97132.  503-538-3850. $$$.

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QUINCE- SAN FRANSISCO

In a restored building dating from the early 1900’s, Quince’s decor exudes modern glamour with old world charm.  The lounge in the front bar is the perfect place to welcome guests for an aperitif.  The dining room is expansive and tables are well spaced.   A large venetian chandelier is the crowning center piece of the main dining room, with high ceilings that have visible earthquake beams, and a back wall of exposed brick.  The Chef’s Tasting Menu was both a visual and delectable masterpiece.  Each course was presented one after the other with precision and beauty like a well orchestrated ballet.  The prelude for the dinner began with a variety of dainty canapes such as a black olive financier with mascarpone cheese and a nori crisp topped with sweet persimmon paste. I liked the subtleness of the truffle tart.  For the first course, the pairing of wild salmon and roasted beets was imaginative and pleasing.  The second course of dayboat scallops were seared to perfection with brown butter and burgundy truffle.  Truly delectable!  Next came the maya prawns served on a tiny kimchee pancake and flavored with kimchee butter.  I am not a huge fan of kimchee, but the taste was not overpowering.  The fourth course was a duck confit and black truffle Agnolotti with maine mussels in a tomato compote.  The flavors of the duck paired nicely with the black truffle and the compote was infused with lemon, capers, and parsley.  The swordfish presented on a bed of parsley puree and toasted quinoa, had a slight tomato flavor.  The last savory course was a delicious arctic char with black trumpet mushrooms.  The dessert offered was not heavy or overly ambitious.  The baked pear surrounded by a chocolate sauce satisfied the sweet tooth without pushing us over the edge.  The grand finale was a picturesque tower presentation of one bite treats like a dark chocolate truffle, a canneles de Bordeaux, coconut macaron, lemon bar, and Paris Brest.  I liked the little touch of sending each guest home with a piece of freshly baked raisin bread.  Chef Michael Tusk takes French and Italian cuisine and uses inspiration from the best ingredients Northern California has to offer.  The result is a four star experience of dramatic good taste and artistic flair.  $$$$.  470 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA  94133.  (415) 775-8500.

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