I had this post done yesterday, when it really was my birthday but after mistakenly pressing the back key while in my browser I lost it all. Does this mean I'm now cautious, writing in a word processing program and cutting and pasting? Of course not.
Not only was it my birthday but the blog's birthday also. This year has flown by and although I have drifted somewhat from my original intentions this blog has helped me in a number of ways and connected me with a lot of wonderful people.
Winter is officially here and it's time to tweak the menu a bit. Fall fruit crisp is a little dated now as is a frozen pumpkin souffle. Duck with apple-onion fritters and star anise gastrique will probably give way to venison in some form. I think I'm going to have venison carpaccio for breakfast. I seared some leg last night with a coffee/chocolate spice rub and I think I'll make the dogs jealous. The braised lamb shoulder will probably be supplanted by short ribs, or perhaps a pork confit shoulder and reserve the short ribs for specials.
On our last city trip the culinary highlights were lunch with kudzu at Poggio (thanks again), the polpettone was great but no match for the company. We had dinner at Scott Howard, in the old Cypress Club space. He's stated he's trying to develop a national reputation, which he says is impossible in Marin. He should try it up here. So, everything about the place says "big-city, serious food". I personally preferred the whacky Bugs Bunny goes to the supper club decor of Cypress Club but the change looks fine also.
Service-wise they're new. Not bad, just groping around a little. We almost never go somewhere in the first 6 months but for some reason made an exception this time. Some of the service stuff seems to flow from the top though. Plates are too big for the tables. Things like that. The principals of any place should sit down and experience this stuff. It doesn't matter if it looks great if it can't be delivered gracefully. Also, note to any ambitious chef. Put salt and pepper on the table. Not having it there is just obnoxious. We know you can cook, you found the backers didn't you. Now, acknowledge that palates are different and that you cannot intuitively know each and every diners preference.
We had the charcuterie sampler (oxtail terrine, pintade gallantine, duck rillettes,
country style pate) of which the rillettes were the GM's favorite, a pork belly dish with an almost candied top, scallops with veal cheeks and cauliflower puree, lentils with shredded duck confit, gnocchi with sage and Parmesan (the only dish without much flavor), roasted beets with a shaved
porcini/purslane salad, and a coconut cream pie.
Chef Howard recognized us from a previous visit (again thank you kudzu) to Fork and said he'd be "embellishing" our menu, which he never did. He needs to watch that because while I certainly don't expect to be comped anything if I'm told I am and I'm not....
We also saw a "John Waters XXXmas" with my mom and the Filllmore was serving food. Who knew? It had been a long time since any of us had been at the venue. The last time for my mom she was cleaning the chandeliers. I can't remember the last show I saw there. At any rate the GM thinks I should do my own John Waters XXXmas menu since the Fillmore missed the opportunity. So I may post something using the lobster from Multiple Maniacs. I might skip the rat dinner from the credits of Desperate Living though.
We're getting ready for our crew party this Thursday. I've got a 109 rib roast ready, I'll have to roast a tofu for the vegans though. We'll be closed Christmas Day but I'm sure busy as hell the days leading up to it.
Ok, I'm off to ponder what to do with Meyer lemons.