[Ed. Note: Andrew Chalk reviews The Family Meal, a cookbook recently released by Ferran Adria and the other chefs at elBuli. He is in the process of cooking his way through the book. However, Chalk found a mistake in the recipe for mackerel with potato stew. He notified the publisher who acknowledge the faux pas and the recipe will be corrected in the next printing.]
Until it closed on July 30th of this year, El Bulli was not just a three-star Michelin restaurant, it was the three-star Michelin restaurant. Located on the barren Catalonian coast north of Barcelona, El Bulli was only open for half of the year. There was just one seating of 50 customers per night. Over the past decade, El Bulli averaged 250,000 reservation requests a year. That translates into fewer than 3% of the requests actually getting a table. (Those odds make scoring a weekend reservation at Lucia a piece of cake). Maybe the other 97% of us should form an “El Bulli Rejects Club” complete with our own t-shirt and secret handshake. I mean El Bulli was the only place to sample the unique cuisine. You couldn’t cook the food at home. It involves liquid nitrogen, Pacojets, tons of exotic ingredients like pine needles, and a Ph.D. chemist on staff. I guess those of us in the 97 percent club will never get a chance
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If you are looking for some good Halloween libations to do the same tonight, consider one of these. I’ll be drinking the Miner Chardonnay.
Some selections were sent for editorial consideration.
2009 Gilgal Chardonnay – from Isreal in the Golan Heights region near the Sea of Galilee, this rocky terrain produces a mineral rich, intense Chardonnay filled with tropical fruit like pineapple and banana, with melon and ripe pear. A good wine to enjoy with grilled white fish and shellfish. Continue reading "What to Drink Now: Halloween"1 Comment »
We are seeing a nice trend develop with gourmet food trucks and wine bars. Il Cane Rosso and their mobile oven kicked it off with an association with Times Ten Cellars. City Street Grille kicked it up with Two Corks and a Bottle. This week, we have Green House at Times Ten Lakewood on Thursday evening.
On Thursday evening, several of the trucks, including Nammi, Trailercakes, and Ruthie’s, will be at D Magazine’s Front Row Live.
And your gentle weekly reminder: Trucks get service maintenance (Enticed is off this week) and they move locations. Check Twitter and Facebook feeds. Jump for your schedule:2 Comments »
Last March, Chad Houser (co-chef and co-owner of Parigi) and his friend, Randy Potts, traveled to Lebanon. Their goal was to meet Kamal Mouzawak, a Lebanese chef and restaurant owner. Mouzawak operates Tawlet, a unique restaurant in Beirut that rotates talented cooks who prepare food the only way they know how: buying local. This culinary buzzterm isn’t a trend, it’s a way of life in Lebanon. And Houser and Potts spent a week in Lebanon visiting farmers, wineries, and restaurants. Houser got a chance to cook a Texas-inspired meal at Tawlet. Their story, written by Potts, is inspiring.
In March 2010, I read a story in the New York Times about Kamal Mouzawak, a Lebanese chef and restaurant owner. The Times piece dubbed Mouzawak “the Alice Waters of the Middle East” for his dedication to bringing together people from different religions and cultural backgrounds by creating a farmers market in Beirut. He is a farm-to-market visionary.
I told my friend Chad Houser about the story, because I knew he and Mouzawak shared the same belief in the powerful bond that can be created by cooking and sharing food. His mother grew up on a farm in East Texas and spent her summers selling produce at the Dallas Farmers Market, and his family had a tradition of big Sunday suppers built around the bounty from their garden. Houser brought that spirit to Parigi, the restaurant where he is co-chef and co-partner. He is also president of the Dallas Farmers Market Friends and one of the founders of Cafe Momentum, a nonprofit restaurant that serves as a culinary training facility for at-risk youth. So I knew Houser would appreciate Mouzawak’s story.3 Comments »
When a restaurant has something worth shouting about it hosts a dinner for the media. Mignon realized that they had something worth screaming to the ceiling about when they announced Chef James Sleeth’s new Game Week Menu. The press dinner took place last week. I was fortunate enough to be invited and I came away impressed. We started with an appetizer of Braised Wild Boar (potato gnocchi, grilled fresh figs, shaved truffle cheese and aged balsamic), $13, which expertly long-cooked those fruit and meat contrasts into a compote that was simply ideal for the upcoming cold weather. It seemed to be a dish that would be difficult to top were it not for the Elk Tenderloin (pommes Anna, caramelized pearl onion, candied pecans, rosemary oil and demi-glace), $49. Elk is one of the treats of Colorado ski country but a rarity around Dallas.
Jump for more. Continue reading "It Is Wild Game Week at Mignon in Plano"
ery year the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) holds their Caesar Salad competition to raises funds for their “Days of Taste”program. Days of Taste teaches schoolchildren about healthy eating, nutrition, and raise the awareness of obesity in children. This year was the 20th competition and it was rather special. AIWF volunteers assembled 12 of the past winners to compete in a taste-off voted on by the 500 attendees. The AIWF volunteers did a fantastic job organizing this event despite some key personnel being hit by illness (and even a bereavement) immediately prior to the date. They should be proud of what they accomplished that made it such an instructive, enjoyable and contributing event. And congratulations to this year’s winner: Del Frisco’s Chef David Holben.
One of the most interesting things about the Annual Caesar Salad Competition is that it has never been won by a Caesar salad! At least not one assembled by Caesar Cardini back in his speakeasy days. Chefs have gilded the lily by adding a protein-related side dish as, shall we say, a lagniappe. This year was no exception so, without delay, the chefs who made this the biggest AIWF fundraiser of the year, their year of victory and what they prepared in addition to their salad for attendees at the Westin Galleria this year.
A few general points:1 Comment »