5 Last Suppers of 2011

5 places I will be fantasizing about this New Years Eve as I sit in San Antonio babysitter-LESS and in my hummus stained yoga pants (my kid has a real thing for hummus).

Liquids and Solids in Lake Placid NY. I would like to ring in the New Year not only in my hometown, with my favorite people on the planet, but in this hip place with ecclectic farm to table fare.  Oh and maybe sipping on a balsamic fizz and kissing a local ski bum. Amen.

I’d eat these scallops and crispy sage again in a heartbeat! (Picture taken from my Fall 2011 trip to Liquids and Solids).

Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder CO. Exceptional Italian fare with an impeccable wine list, not to mention a hottie Top Chef Master Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson and even cuter Sommeliers. What better way to ring in the New Year than with some good ole fashioned eye candy AND good eats?

I never thought I’d love sardines (pictured above).  Actually I don’t love sardines, except when I’m at Frasca.

Flour and Water in San Fransisco. New Year = New Restaurants. This new restaurant delivered the best service I had in 2011.  The food compliments the service with delicately perfected house made pasta, oven fired pizza, and this dish with a light green Romanesco.

 Candle 79 in NYC Speaking of green spikes. Why not start your New Year with some elegant roughage and a clean colon? Twice I distinctly remember having vivid dreams about this place.  I am not ordinarily a big fan of vegan dining.  I think that making really good vegan food is very very challenging and most chefs just don’t make the cut.  Candle 79 is the exception in my book.  The dishes are artistically plated and the ambiance is wonderful but most importantly, the meal is succulent and delicious.  I’d trade some bubbly for a shot of wheatgrass any day.

 

The Ravenous Pig in Orlando FL All this vegan talk has got me craving bacon and cheese. I would like to nestle up in a cozy chair tonight at the Ravenous Pig. The meats are house cured and the flavors are surely a way to rock in the New Year.  I particularly loved the unassuming atmosphere at this spot.  Given the clientele and the location in Winter Park Florida I feared the staff would hoity toity their way right to my black list.  Quite to the contrary though, everyone from the busboy to the chef who came out to greet our table made me feel like I was coming in for a meal at home sweet home.

(Above is a picture of the house cured charcuterie and cheese plate, photo credit: urbanspoon)

Come on make me jealous… Where will you be having your last supper of 2011?

Where ever it is, I hope you enjoy your last bites of the year. Cheers and thank you for reading.

 

French Laundry Survival Guide… Part 3

I know, I’m really milking this French Laundry thing for all it’s worth. People, a 5 hour 18 course dinner needs the tender lovin’ care that it deserves. The posts just keep getting better, like an aging wine.  Speaking of which, you must be wondering..”What the hell did she drink with this over-the-top meal?”

Fish, Wine and Truffle Time

Tip: If you’re a wino newbie like me then trust the Sommeliers. I know it sounds like I’m trying to lure you into a white windowless van. Really, if there ever was a time to trust, it would be at The French Laundry.  I promise no sketchy vans are waiting for you in the parking lot.

My bro was my date and he’s pretty handy with wine so I had the inside scoop on everything we tasted.  If you have any younger siblings who are searching for a career path, tell them to become a Sommelier.  That way you can take them to The French Laundry with you once they achieve international wine stardom. The Sommelier was our master tour guide walking us threw the grape vines of Tuscany.  Each tasting was wonderfully paired like pearls and white teeth.

Tip:Start off with Champange or something bubbly. It’s a celebration.

Wine and Fish go together like Fish and Wine

Here is the Sautéed Fillet of Atlantic Suzuki.  Alongside this delicate fish was freshly plucked broccoli, crisp red radish, zesty navel orange, crisp cashews, Padrón peppers (Spanish pepper) and green orange Aigre-Doux

Above is The French Laundry Caesar Salad. Also known as: My Best Bite Of The Evening. In one nibble I was brought back to a rained-the-enitre-week-vacation that my family took to Maine. I remember the rain and the lobster: buttery, juicy, tender, screaming to be tasted. These sweet-butter poached Maine lobster mitts were accompanied by pain perdu (the forgotten bread), parmesan pearls, romaine lettuce and a hen’s egg emulsion. I will never look at  “Caesar Salad” the same way again. Damn You Frenchy!

Bread and Budda

Tip: Don’t fill up on the artisan bread.  This stuff is worth its weight in gold.  It will rock your pants off and will require some serious self control to avoid over indulging. Oh and by the way there were TWO choices of butter.  One local butter which was creamy and delightful. One from Vermont with a touch of sea salt and a slice of heaven. Ok, I’m bias.

Family Plug: My Dad has an in with the French Laundry butter maker, Diane Sinclair. She is my new Butter Goddess (sorry Paula Deen). DIane is a fellow Vermonter and her butter tastes as if it were churned within minutes of arriving at your table. Satin sheets of butter. Who knew butter could be so sexy. Hi Dad.

White Truffle My Palette 

Tip: If you are lucky enough to go to French Laundry during truffle season, order the damn truffle course. Order It. Order It even if it means eating Ramen noodles for the next month. Order it if it means selling your house and moving into your parents basement.

White Truffle: The Definition of Inner Beauty. I know the above pictured truffle looks like a calcified pile of cow dung. Trust me, it tastes like a piece of heaven in a gold plated hand basket.  This truffle is legit. We are talkin’ probably smuggled in by the Italian mafia legit.  The truffle lives in the sexy mahogany box and it’s keeper is Thomas Keller. Rumor has it Chef Keller sleeps next to this box and sniffs the truffles in his sweet dreams. The white truffles are white glove delivered and if you order them you will feel for 5 minutes of your life that you are the King or Queen of Spain. They shave the white truffle at your table side and yes, the whole place watches.

What I named…White Truffle Nectar Of the Gods Dish: ripples of white truffle laid to rest peacefully on top of  velvet risotto that was infused with white truffle shavings and finished with a white truffle nectar.  That’s a lot of truffle.  Tasting this dish is equalvalent to suckling the teet of a White Truffle’s ripe bosom.  If you’re into that sort of thing.

My Last Few Bites of Truffle Nectar Of The Gods.

WIne Changer: For the first time ever, I smelled something in the glass. That “something” was the smell of truffles. There is seriously a wine that smells like truffles. There is a God. Sorry yellowtail I think we should see other people. I am forever changed and will be pairing all of my meals from now on.

The wine that changed my life I enjoyed with white truffles:

2001 Fantoni Barolo Riserva “Vigna dei Dardi”
The grape is Nebbiolo (Nebbiolo means
‘grape of fog’). It was like drinking sips of truffle grapes draped in red velvet. Oy Vay. I’m salivating like a truffle dog.

Documenting my last bite of truffle and my sniffer filled with a Truffle wine scent.

Oh man, I’m crying right now. I have to go to the bathroom and get a tissue.

Speaking of bathrooms and tissues. I know you’re just dyin to see what the French Laundry water closet looks like.

Pretty sure Cindy Lauper has used this cashmere toilet paper.

On that note come back soon for Part 4.  There will be meat and Thomas Keller is gonna get involved.

*For more Wine Information visit my favorite wine blogger: Do Bianchi

 

Foodishes of 2011 (Great Gift Ideas)

Defining Delicious Defines A Foodish: A fetish of any and all things food related.

The Mama Foodist: Anything for a good bite. Most likely followed by a trail of cheerios.

Learning Tower This is the BEST thing I have ever spent 200$ on for my kids. I say this with no strings attached. You put this tower up to the counter and you get to cook, laugh, talk, crack eggs, relate and create with your kiddo. Available in all sorts of fab colors.

An Apron and Mini Apron From Anthropologie or Etsy. My daughter loves to have matching aprons and we make cupcakes in them (I know too cute).  It’s just one of those things you can’t ever get back.

Cloth Travel Chairi: This is great for foodie mamas who travel.

The Cooking Fool: Don’t stop just cook.

*Scale: A Vintage One. You need a scale. Digital Sucks.

Dish Towel from Anthropologie. I’m obessed with these things. They make my heart sing when I look at them.

Butter Dish I get more compliments on this butter dish then pretty much any other kitchen gadget I have. It has heart sing factor.

The Silver Spoon: Sophisticated Eater. Most likely wearing pearls.

*Measuring Spoons How freakin’ awesome are these?

**Speaking of Spoons how stickin’ fabulous is this silver spoon necklace? Handcrafted and the perfect Food Lover gift. Yes Honey, I want one. Please.

 Bad Ass Drinkie: He/She likes to get their drink on.

Big Ass Mugs I searched High and Low for these. My husband and I discovered them at the Gruene pottery festival last year. The perfect size with a burn proof handle. Perfection in a Big Ass Mug.

Strand Tea The tea princess in me ONLY drinks this loose leaf tea, handcrafted in Oregon.

 

*Blue Bottle Coffee This coffee is sure to get you high fives from any coffee snob. Do coffee snobs even give high fives?

*Kick Ass French Press Mug   It wont break in your sink.  Yes. Please.

Enhance Your Kitchen’s Chi

*Etsy Kitchen Art

  

*Kitchen Candles: Aveda Holiday Candles get me every year. They’re even fair-trade.

Plants/Herbs:  This little Mom n Pop herb shop delivers to your door. Tastefulgarden.com

*Homemade with Love Gift from Notjustahousewife.net.  How cool is this DIY idea for Kitchen Plants/Herbs? Yes Please.

Check back soon for some more Homemade from Love gift ideas.

* My wish List (Hint-Hint)

All opinions are my own.