Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"Early bird special"--3 course tasting menu at Tailor's on Broome & Thompson with Albee! Since there were two options for apps, entrees, and desserts, we just got one of each--between Karen and Albee, I have the two most optimal dining homies to maximize tasting menus and...testing restos period :D Karen's sis used to work here as pastry chef--took me a while enough to eat here! Did have drinks w/ Albee here last winter--butternut sqash & palernum (and rum) was AAAAAAWESOME!! got me...toasted...real quick too :P
Again, to open with whatever I ended with!--some gelee. and butter. shhhh! The red pepper gelee (yes, as in bell pepper) came with the check--nice, cleansing, a little sweet, a little peppery :) The butter well--of course that was at the beginning with them breads--just look at it!! ^_^ Pretty, non? Not the best tasting butter for how crafty it looks with some herb & salt speckled on it, but soft it was and still enjoyable. Nummmay num num....
I just like when butter or ice cream is scooped out like that :) Plus this butter seemed whipped and thus scoopable like that. Couldn't really taste the salt or herb sprigs--the olive bread that came with it was yum (no exclamation mark, just as is :P) and the raisin/walnut bread was fragrant--but not that flavorful. I def liked the olive bread--it's reminiscent of the stuffed bread they served @ Il Satollo in the Testaccio neighborhood in Rome--but his bread was more stuffed with goodies and maybe some spinach I think? We even asked to bring the breadbag home for breakfast the next day--OH ROME. Anyhoo, this was a nice bread offering for NYC but I thought...but I just didn't really feel like finishing the bread =/.

First up--sesame sweetbreads (poached before deep frying!) with banana puree and purple mustard paper. Also had seared red snapper with watermelon, olives, coconut 'caviar' and charred ramps!
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The sweetbreads were an early favorite--def like this better than the Sorella sweetbreads!! Damn that quince marmalade there! The waitress mentioned that part of why they're so good is that they poached it b/f frying, which of course keeps it moist/tender, and gets a better crust! The frying @ Sorella does render a consistent crustiness but--it was boring and a little on the small side -.- LOVED the mustard paper--tasted a little curry-y in aftertaste but only mildly. Thought it went excellently with the sweatbread and the taste and texture of the puree! Nice little booster/kick to bring it all together.

Seared snapper was refreshing--a little raw so it went cooly w/ the watermelon--which I'm sure has been messed with (in a good way) somehow given Tailor's penchant for molecular gastronomy here and there and infusing stuffs--def had more color and consistent flavor in all the melon chunkcs. If i'm wrong then that's just damn good melon! The snapper once in a while smelled a little fishy which translates to not the freshest--but by my discernible nostril I'd say it went well overall. Def a summer dish--on the fence if I'd order it again. OH!! and the COCONUT CAVIAR! :) crunchy, a little sweet, great texture to complement the dish. Charred ramps was actually nice and a new way to have it for me--which actually, refreshed my feelings for it since I reaaaally burned out on ramps :P Upon hindsight, I quite liked this dish actually...

DEFINITELY would've wanted to try the maple infused snail with bacon, parsley, and toast!! Next up--miso butterscotch pork belly w/artichoke & green apples, and black garlic chicken with long beans and shitake!
LOOOOOOOOOOOOVED the black garlic chicken--the breast was cooked sous vide...had great texture, very moist. The dark meat--which is my fave anyhoo!--was pulled and had a beurre blanc sauce with somethign else I can't remember :( :( but so yum! LOOOOOVED the sauce. The white meat was eh compared to this. The shitake, as shitake tends to, soaked up MUCH MUCH of the sauce so it was pretty salty and intense--but awesome nonetheless b/c i lurve it! and it was balanced out with the chicken. The cooking method, I'm a rube to the super infused biz so...I can't begin to deconstruct in my head. ORDER THIS. and...lots of other stuff :)
Pork belly--I'm a bit in a pork belly overload but this was nice. Which is why this picture is smaller :) Miso butterscotch sauce was VERY nice. Rich, viscous, but not saccharine or too savory--very nice. I've cooked with honey miso so this was easier to process in my head for me haha. Pork belly was a bit...wait for it...wait for it...too fatty. Blasphemy I know! *shrug*. As much as my palate's tired of pork belly this was nice. I think it could be a smidge more fall off the bone like @ Perbacco. mmmm. damn i need to hunt down pics of that from Claud's cam!!

Desserts--kinda hit or miss :( There was an eggless lemon curd with lemon chips, huckleberry sauce & shiso foam, and chocolate cake with malt ice cream, mushroom paper, candied maitake mushrooms, and peanuts.
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The cake looked like it had gone thru those NO2 containers that people make the foams/espuma with--and it def looked like what I remember seeing when Anthony Bourdain went to Spain and they made the foam choco-cake nuked in the microwave at El Bulli w/ the brothers Adria!!! Too bad it could've been a little sweeter, a little more chocolatey :( Ice cream was fine--mushroom paper tasty & fun. Candied maitake!! Makes a lot of sense actually! Pretty nice, interesting texture--a little hard to grasp at first but...tastes just like any other candied fruits except way less artificial and achingly sweet. I like--It didn't...really seemt o make sense with the choco cake & ice cream but...nice to have separately.

Lemon curd--I don't like lemon pastries, lemon creams, lemon...desserts :( This however, was very very very much infused with lemon goodness and was pretty tart and punchy--good for any lemon lovers...esp since it left behind the artificially sweetened and chemically extracted...lemmony-ness. Shiso made NO sense on there--u know how i LOVED the mint ice cream @ Craftbar for tasting just like a mint leaf in all its leafy goodness? This jsut tasted like...garnished cilantro--it calmed down the intense lemon flavor but...just felt like I was eating feed. Lemon chips however...i liked! go fig.

Here are the remnants of my cake & 'shroomies! I have another pic I might upload!
Lastly--ended with a sugar coated red pepper gelee shown above--yes, red pepper. I like :) Overall--tailor has some really good dishes in how they infuse certain flavors and sauces and utilize molecular gastronomy and technical cooking to punch up the dish. A lot of edgy mixes of ingredients are sucessful (others like the lemon curd and shiso well...*shrug*). THe gelees pop up in the drinks menu too which I def think is a nice novelty. It's obvious this is somethign they're much more comfortable with and has been worked on quite a bit.

I'm def excited to go back to try other dishes here--Tailor's rotates what's offered for the $45 3 course tasting menu (available b/w 6 and 7pm), besides the 5 course tasting menu for $80 bucks.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ramps & Fiddlehead Ferns!...

More greenmarket offerings--this time from Union Square market.
This is a little behind, but I'm always behind! After overloading on pickled ramps at various venues, I was uber-stoked to cook my own. After much google-age, settled on sauteeing--totally forgot to cook it with bacon tho! Also had Shitake from the greenmarket, and since I was running out of time I threw it all together.
Probably for the best hat I didn't throw bacon in there w/ the shitake mushrooms, it would've been too much of a melange of flavors and directions. I could see though how it'd be tasty given how mild the actual ramp flavor is! SOOOO taken back by that! Wonderful pungent smell once the leaves were cut--hell, it smelled just sitting in the bag! Best. smell. EVAAARRRRR (yes, with an A!)
Fiddlehead ferns > ramps in my book--a bit pricey too, but they are like a really well-encased asparagus. It has that same texture but a little more crunch. They turn super bright green when cooked and coil up nice and tight. Definitely more fun to play with--but then again my palate might've been worn out on ramps to produce such a bias and thus it fell out of my favor :)

The idea of such a hodge podge of in-season veggies in pan isn't that weird--I think ramps and fiddlehead ferns were on the menu at Spiaggia in the same dish as morels and more craziness too! Next season it'll be fiddlehead ferns as the masthead of spring for me...
I'm kinda glad ramp season is so short--def prefer them pickled since they add more flavor and depth to the little bulbs. Next season mehbeh I"ll just try the diff applications like the pickled ramps on hotdogs @ shake shack...and ramps pizza @ Otto!
I actually made a version of spaghetti carbonara with ramps too--definitely added another texture (like with the asparagus/snow peas) that went well with the dish. Again, mild flavor but served the dish well since the carbonara is pretty rich to begin with. Kind of cut thru the 'heaviness' of the sauce!

ALSO--ramps are actually....SWEET! Mildly sweet, but still sweet! The leaves very much have a spring-onion-y texture to it when cooked, and just as sweet as wilted/sauteed spring onion bits. That's all. yay greenmarkets!! :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bacon wrapped scallops & giant asparagus!...

Cooking w/ Fulton Stall market goodies:
Scallops from Shore Catch, purple asparagus from Sang Lee Farms. The asparagus is amazing--just gorgeous, crisp, refreshing--I'd eat it raw if anything. I still have one bunch left. Never would've thought asparagus was good to eat raw but these ones from Sang Lee are effin' fannnntastic. Not fibrous in the least, sturdy stalks, really robust. Wish I had had a small bunch of regular asparagus from the grocery store to do side by side comparison u go :)
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I have to say tho--I truly despise pan-frying with bacon. On the second batch I burned the garlic so that can't have helped. But the underlying problem is the heavy grease smell that lingers in the air that's like in a thick of mist infused with lard rendering. The bacon was a little thick so it took a while to cook thru. With how hot the oil was and how long I had to cook (and the number of batches), it was just vastly irritating even with the stove fan on and my swabbing down the pan after finishing a batch.
Maybe I'm just doing something wrong--maybe I should've broiled it in the oven after slightly browning the scallops. Maybe I should've taken the garlic out a lot faster. Maybe I should've used thinner slices of bacon. MAYBE A LOT OF THINGS. But it was just a dense mist of stifling bacon cooked humidity!! Not really dense but i mean it LINGERED for long time and I DON'T LIKE IT!!! I HATE BACON WRAPPED CRAP! I really probably should've oven baked after browning like I do my sea bass. Hrmm. Whatever. I'll try it some other time but I'll stick to my damn prosciutto and pancetta.

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THat's kind of the other thing--u realize how shitty general-quality stuff is and u start to realize how unhealthy it all breaks down. That SMELL! If you watch BBC America, there's the show "You Are What You Eat" or something like that and it breaks down a lot of esoteric but...simple things about how food translates into your body when it digests it. Down to the general body odor, geography of your tongue (too much salt makes those little bumps on ur tongue stand out more, and 'white'-ish), etc.

I dunno--maybe I'm drinking their kool-aid but after this, I realy can see the significance in cooking with certain type of oils, how 'healthy' they are or how 'flavorful' they are without just masking it in the general enhancement of cooking in any chunk of 'fat'. I'm not feeling particularly articulate right now--it's like a fiery net of clustered thoughts that's picking up momentum without any particular linear direction for coherent expression :P BUT YES, there IS a TANGIBLE DIFFERENCE in the kinds of FATS you use and all that CRAP and quality of ingredients in relation to health, more so than I previously thought.