Tuesday, June 30, 2009

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas

The highlight of my Las Vegas food adventure was having dinner at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in MGM Grand Hotel. We had the Menu Decouverte (a 9-course Discovery Tasting Menu) and four bottles of fantastic wine to accompany the food. I got way too excited about the dinner that I forgot to bring my digital camera so I had to use my iPhone camera to take the pictures and, later on, I also lost the menu and a list containing the names of the wines that we had on the way back to our hotel.

L'Amuse-Bouche - Foie gras parfait with port wine and parmesan foam

Le Saumon Fume - Smoked salmon in an herb gelee with a light wasabi cream

Les Huitres - Poached baby Kussi oysters with French Echire butter

Le Homard - Maine lobster in a tomato sauce and green asparagus

Le Foie Gras - Foie gras ravioli in a warm chicken broth with herbs

La Maquereau - Mackerel with warm leek salad and crispy potato

La Caille - Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffled-mashed potatoes

1st Dessert - Peach sorbet and mouse (? - forgot the description)

2nd Dessert - Almond crunch, mouse and acai flavored cotton candy (? - forgot the description)

Le Cafe - Coffee and chocolate

Fleur de Lys, Las Vegas

I also checked out Fleur de Lys, another Hubert Keller restaurant in Las Vegas where I had Chef Keller's Elegance Menu — a four-course tasting menu.

It started with amuse bouche of Tempura Halibut with Potatoes and Chayenne Coulis.

Ahi Tuna Tartare with Fennel Slaw, Ginger Ponzu, Fennel Seed Tuile

Slow Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Herb Spaetzle, Wild Mushrooms, Alsatian Choucroute, Paprika

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Duck Confit, Chestnut Puree, Cippolini Onion, Ginger Gastrique

Valrhona Chocolate Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Shake, Bailey's Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce

Petit four

Monday, June 29, 2009

Burger Bar, Las Vegas

Apologies for not blogging in the past couple weeks... I had been on vacation in Las Vegas and New York. I ate lots of good food in both cities and I will try to post them in the next few days as much as I can.

First, I went to the Burger Bar — Hubert Keller's restaurant in the Mandalay Hotel in Vegas and had the American Kobe Beef Burger and skinny fries. They're good but I think the Black Angus Beef Burger (which I had twice later on in the next couple of days) had the most bang for the buck.

Note: The picture quality here is not as good as I wanted it to be because I used my iPhone camera and the low lighting in the restaurant.

Also, look at this interesting brunch dish at Bayside Buffet in Mandalay Bay Hotel. Crab legs for brunch? I think it's very excessively Vegas! Love it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spiced Turkey Chili

I had my first chili ever a couple weeks ago at Ryan & Stephen's place during another BlackJack evening. I love the taste and the homey feeling of a bowl of chili so today I decided to make my own chili. After asking Mo-Fo and Stephen how they make their chili, here is my version incorporating some of their recipes.

1 lb ground turkey
1/4 lb butter bean - soaked, blanched & skinned
1/4 lb black eye peas - cooked for 30 minutes, drained, saved the broth
1 onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded & finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bayleaf
2 tablespoons siracha hot sauce (or any hot sauce)

  • Stir fry the chopped onions with 4 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat until they caramelize (10 minutes)
  • Add in the chopped garlic, red bell pepper and jalapeno pepper and cook for another 3 minutes
  • Add the ground turkey and seasonings (coriander, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, chili powder, nutmeg & bayleaf), cook for 5 minutes
  • Add in the tomatoes and the beans, cook for a couple minutes
  • Add enough bean broth until it almost covers the chili mixture
  • Stir and mix well, cook until it boils
  • Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1.5 hour (stir every 15 minutes or so)
  • Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper
  • Add in the sriracha sauce, mix well and serve

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sushi, Sashimi and Macaron

Today I went to see the new Disney Pixar movie, Up. It was really beautiful and it reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki's movies and Pixar's Ratatouille . After the movie, I felt that I should honor them by getting some sushi and sashimi from Nijiya Market and French macarons from Patisserie Delanghe.

Japanese sushi & sashimi (Inari, tuna, salmon, uni, hiyashi wakame seaweed salad, hijiki nimono seaweed)

French macarons (chocolate, vanilla, mocha, lemon, pistachio, strawberry)

King of Noodles

Last Thursday, I went to the the California Academy of Science's NightLife to celebrate the World Oceans Day Celebration and one of the main events was a moderated discussion on sustainable seafood. After the party, Shun, Danny and I went to King of Noodles for dinner. It was a nice small Chinese restaurant that made their own noodles. We enjoyed it very much.

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings with Green Chives

Green Chives Pancake

Beef Stew Noodle Soup

Monday, June 8, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sweet succulent blueberries are here. I bought some last weekend from the Farmers' Market and made Ina Garten's Blueberry Crumb Cake. It's super easy to make and the result is so satisfying - moist, crunchy (thanks to the Streusel) and delicious cake!


For the Streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the Cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I used the zest of 1 lemon)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries (toss and coat with 1 tablespoon of flour)
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan
For the Streusel:
  • Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl
  • Stir in the melted butter and then the flour
  • Mix well and set aside
For the Cake:
  • Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined
  • Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife
  • With your fingers,crumble the topping evenly over the batter
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean
  • Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar

Bacon, Chard and Onion Quiche

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas, I hosted the boys (Jeremy, Ryan and Stephen) for an afternoon Black Jack lesson (I was the student). I decided to serve Bacon, Chard and Onion Quiche and a simple salad for some nibbles and the boys brought Champagne + OJ and wine. I used Food Stories' Rainbow Chard and Parmesan Tart and Paula Deen's Spinach and Bacon Quiche recipes as ideas.

1 frozen pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate
6 strips of bacon, cut into pieces and fried until crispy
1 red onion, sliced
4 green onion (red/white part only), sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of rainbow chard, de-stemmed and cut into slices
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup shredder Parmesan cheese
200 mL half and half
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of marjoram
salt, pepper, nutmeg, chayenne pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F
  • Bake the tart for 8-10 minutes
  • Lower the oven to 350F
  • Use some of the bacon fat to fry the onions for 10 minutes until the onions starts to caramelize
  • Add in the garlic and fry for another minute
  • Add in the chard and remove from the heat when chard is wilted
  • Add in the bacon to the mixture and pour onto the pre-baked tart crust
  • Spread the cheese on top of the mixture
  • Mix the eggs, cream, thyme, marjoram, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper and pour on top
  • Bake for approximately 60 minutes until the egg mixture is set

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gialina Pizzeria

Today, I went to Gialina Pizzeria in the Glen Park district with Mo-Fo. I read about this neighborhood pizza place several times in various sites and most recently on Bauer's blog today. It was not our first choice to go there today because we were planning to have an Omakase meal at Yume in Alameda - unfortunately, it was closed for several days because the chef was sick. We arrived at Gialina around 6pm and had to wait for about 10 minutes for our table. It was a little bit surprising to me that there were quite a few small children in the restaurant and, of course, one of them sat next to me.

We decided to splurge so each of us pick an appetizer, a pizza and a dessert and we shared a bottle of wine. The food was generally good - straight forward and tasty. The only dish that perplexed us was the Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream because the shortcake tasted like a savory biscuit. However, overall, we enjoyed our dinner and we were totally stuffed and satisfied at the end of our meal.

Soft Polenta with Goat Cheese, Spicy Chilies & Basil

Little Meatballs with Tomato Sauce & Aged Provolone

Atomica Pizza - Tomato, Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Spicy Chilies & Red Onions

Broccoli Rabe Pizza with Sweet Italian Sausage & Val d'Aosta Fontina

Bi Rite Creamery Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chips, Honey Lavender and Cherry Almonds

Strawberry Shortcake (Biscuit?) with Whipped Cream

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spicy Yuba Omelet

Today at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, I stopped by at the Hodo Soy Beanery booth and noticed that they have tofu skin (yuba). I was surprised that they had it so I bought one to try out at home. I searched for Yuba recipes on my favorite food sites and found a great article on NYTimes on Yuba and Hodo Soy Beanery written by Daniel Patterson (of Coi) who I also saw at the Farmers' Market today (and most Saturday). I decided to follow his Spicy Yuba Omelet - adapted from Minh Tsai (owner for Hodo Soy Beanery).

¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
3 sheets yuba
Sriracha or other chili paste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • In a large, shallow baking dish or rimmed plate, combine the soy sauce, mirin, sugar and ¼ cup water. Mix well and set aside.
  • Spread one sheet of yuba on a work surface and draw a squiggle of chili paste horizontally across the middle. Fold the bottom third up over the middle third, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. Press the top down firmly. Set aside and repeat with another sheet.
  • Spread out the last sheet, add chili paste and place the two folded sheets of yuba in the center, one on top of the other. Fold the bottom of the last sheet over the middle and the top over that to enclose the first two sheets. Press the package firmly, then place in the baking dish with the soy-sauce mixture. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then turn and repeat.
  • Remove the yuba and drain the liquid, pressing gently to expel any excess. Place between two paper towels and press out any remaining moisture.
  • Set a large cast-iron skillet or other wide, heavy pan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the yuba (if it is too large, cut in half and cook in two pieces). Cook for about 1 minute, pressing gently with a spatula to keep the yuba in contact with the pan. Flip and cook for 1 minute, then repeat until both sides are browned and crisp. Transfer to paper towels and cut into pieces. Place on a serving plate and, if desired, dot with additional chili paste.
I've been going to Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market regularly in the past few years but I've never stopped at Hodo Soy Beanery booth to check out what they have. Stupid me... This is definitely a lesson for me to be more open minded and check out new places. While checking their website, I also noticed that they also have Soy Custard (silken tofu) that they serve with ginger-sugar syrup. I wonder if it has the same taste as Kembang Tahu (Douhua). I know that I will check next time if they have it since I can't find a good one in San Francisco.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Beef Rendang

Last week, I went to Lime Tree, a South East Asian restaurant in San Francisco, with Mo-Fo and ShunBun. One of the dishes that we all enjoyed very much was Beef Rendang - which is a dish of beef cubes stewed in Indonesian spices and coconut milk. I remembered seeing a Beef Rendang recipe at Closet Cooking so I decided to make it yesterday. Since I couldn't find beef with good marbling, I used beef stew meats instead. The result was not as buttery as I wanted it to be although I had cooked it for three plus hours ... Fortunately, the taste was really good so I was still happy with it. I served it with fried shallots to add some crunch to it.