Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coffee Break

No new coffee stuff today. Probably tomorrow. Not a whole lot of time for a write up, but thought I would share some photos from the ACF National Convention. These are all from the petite fours part of the ACF Culinary Youth Team USA's cold food display. What a nightmare these must have been to construct!

 Pistachio & Raisin Nougat, Pistachio Croquant and Macaron:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Layered Cake, Grape Glaze, Marzipan Grapes: 

Lemon, Vanilla, Champagne and Concord Grape Pate de Fruit, Meringue Sticks, Pate a Choux Filigree, Sugar Champagne Glass:

Goat Cheese Mousse, Wine Poached Pear, Honey Tuile, Chocolate & Royal Icing Wine Bottles:

Strawberry Bavarian and Gelee with Rose Glaze, Strawberry Jam Sandwich Cookies, Strawberry Crisp:

The petite fours display:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

(Mis)Adventures in Coffee Making

I had some big things planned for today. Okay well maybe not that big - but I was going to break out my immersion circulator and make some sous vide coffee but then we had a hurricane hit in freaking upstate New York - I suspected that I would lose power (which I did) and didn't want to have that bad boy running when that happened. SO instead I decided to make some other ridiculous (to me anyway) brews and force them on my father and sister. I didn't really go the same length to record temperatures and times and all that stuff so...just have fun with it.

What did I make?
Norwegian Egg Coffee: Basically this is coffee that you brew with eggs in it. The something or polyphenols and with which to bind i--- just read this if you give a shit. Heres my recipe(s):

Batch A:
Brew: Norwegian Egg Coffee
Grinds: 40 g, mixed with 50 g cold water and 25g egg whites
Water: 500 g boiling, 141 g cold.

Basically you make a paste with the grinds, water and egg whites. Toss it into the (500 g) of boiling water. I let it rip for 3 minutes, at which point I took it off the heat and added the remaining cold water. I let it sit for 3 more minutes and then strained/filtered it.

Batch B: 
Same as above except I used 25 g of whole eggs rather than just the whites

Getting ready to strain and filter my egg coffee.
The egg white coffee came out pretty good...it was very middle of the road, no real strong or objectionable flavors. I would definitely make this again. Sadly, I cannot say the same about the whole egg coffee. While it wasn't terrible...it tasted like...well coffee with eggs. In fact if you told me you had some egg flavored coffee I would assume it was way worse than this actually was....but thats not to say it was particularly good. 

I also decided to make some salted coffee. Adding salt to your coffee has been on my radar for a while now but Ive never bothered to try it...basically because I never remember to. When I was searching for stuff to make today it dawned on me to give salted coffee a whirl. The idea is pretty straight forward. Salt is a flavor enhancer...so why not use it to enhance the flavor of your coffee? The trick that everyone seems to mention is adding a bit of salt to your tonic water to make the bitterness from the quinine disappear. 

So after a bit of research - and I do mean a bit - I decided that I should be adding about 0.05 g of salt per 300 g of coffee. Some people add the salt prior to brewing, some after. I added it after. Only reason was so I had some plain coffee to contrast with the salted coffee. So anyway...I made my normal coffee (31.8 g grinds, 510.29 g water), scaled it to 300 g, added the salt and...well that was it.

The regular coffee was alright, but...the flavors were not balanced at all. It was really all over the place and pretty acidic...I wasn't too crazy about it. The salted version was...much better. The salt definitely helped to calm down the flavors...it made it taste much more balanced...but the finish wasn't the best. I think that has more to do with the crappy coffee I was using than the salt. Its probably worth looking into this a bit more. 

I wanted to have something else to try...mostly because I was bored. When I was looking around online I stumbled across a recipe for Taiwanese sea salt coffee. Apparently this is the number one selling coffee drink in Taiwan. The recipe I found said it was pretty close to the 85 C (think...starbucks) recipe...so I gave it a whirl. I had a bucket of regular old cold brew coffee in the fridge. All I had to do was make some whipped cream with salt and put some on top. Easy! The recipe said to use 6 g of salt per 230 of heavy cream, which I did...and was INCREDIBLY salty.

And...you guessed it. This was gross. I could see it maybe being okay with a lot less salt...but it was definitely really salty. If I ever goto Taiwan (it could happen)...or if I happen to be in Irvine CA...I will buy a cup of this stuff to see how far off mine was. 

So...interestingly enough...all three of us didn't really agree on what was best and what was worst. Heres the results..

1: Black Salted 
2: Black Unsalted
3: Norwegian Egg White
4: Norwegian Whole Egg
5: Taiwanese Sea Salt


1: Norwegian Egg White 
2: Black Salted
3: Black Unsalted
4: Norwegian Whole Egg 
5: Taiwanese Sea Salt 

1: Black Salted
2: Norwegian Whole Egg 
3: Black Unsalted
4: Taiwanese Sea Salt 
5: Norwegian Egg White 

1: Black Unsalted
2: Norwegian Egg White 
3: Black Salted
4: Norwegian Whole Egg
5: Taiwanese Sea Salt

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adventures in Coffee Making Part III

Todays coffee only differs slightly from yesterdays. When I was living in Chicago, I pretty much stuck with cold brewing coffee because I had such a small window of time in the morning every second saved was...well..appreciated. I would stick with four scoops in my nalgene, topped with cold tap water and in the fridge until it was time to drink it (usually 14 hours minimum). I really enjoyed this brew but never experimented much with it. Occasionally I would fill the nalgene with hot water from the tap and then place it directly in the fridge - and I always thought/suspected that it produced a better tasting cup. So...thats my lead up for todays experiment. What I did for this was place the grinds in the brewing vessel, topped them with 100 g of 94.4 C water, let them sit for five minutes, and then finished filling them with room temperature water. You'll notice my ratio is slightly different (+7.61 g of water) than it has been - this is just because of an accidental over pour and not wanting to toss the whole batch.  For the heck of it I also compared it with my regular old automatic drip again. I did regular and aerated pours for each batch. Here we go:

Batch A:
Brew: n2o in 1 liter canister
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: Tap, filtered through a Brita, 100 g @ 94.4 C, 418 g at room temperature
Charges: 2*
Brew Time: 15 hours 18 minutes in fridge
* When I first sealed the canister and started the first charge I noticed some gas leaking. I immediately discharged all gas, opened the container, resealed it, and then charged it with 2 new charges. I dont think this had any effect on the brew.

Batch B:
Brew: Grinds and h2o in 1 liter plastic container
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: Tap, filtered through a Brita, 100 g @ 94.4 C, 418 g at room temperature
Brew Time: 15 hours 18 minutes in fridge

Batch C:
Brew: Automatic Drip
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: Tap, filtered through a Brita, 518 g at whatever temperature my KRUPS brews at...hot
Brew Time: A few minutes

So the first thing I noticed this morning was that the two cold brews were darker in color than they have been. Batch B & C were both relatively clear, while Batch A was as cloudy as it has been.

Batch C:
As you can see, the color is dark and it is relatively clear. Sorry about the condensation on the lens.

Batch B:
 You may have to click the photo to enlarge it - but, again - you will notice that it is relatively clear compared to batch A below

Batch A:
 Dark in color, very cloudy. The oils that I mentioned seeing on the surface of the n2o brew day 1 were back today on Batch A - as you can see here:

Batch B: 
There was also a very small amount of oils on the surface of Batch B.

While its not entirely apparent in the photos above, because of different lighting, Batch A & B are virtually the same color - the only difference seems to be their clarity. Batch C was a slightly darker shade than the other batches. 

Batch C - I think I prefer the regular pour over the aerated pour..for no particular reason. It still tastes a little funny when compared to the cold brews. Much more acidic, the flavors seem...out of whack.

Overall, the flavors of Batch A & B seem less sweet to me than they have in the past. They're definitely still sweet up front, but it dies off much faster than before. The dominate flavors are dark and roasty. Batch A finishes with a flavor that I can only describe as wheaty or malty.

Like yesterday, Batch B tastes pretty much like a watered down version of Batch A. It also tastes...cleaner (if that makes sense). The flavor does not linger at all - once you swallow it is gone. Batch A really sticks with you for a while after swallowing. Definitely gives you coffee breath.

Thats it for observations. Heres the rundown.
1: Batch B, Regular pour
2: Batch A, Regular pour
3: Batch A, Aerated pour
4: Batch B, Aerated pour
5: Batch C, Regular pour
6: Batch C, Aerated pour

So it seems the aerated pours, which I have preferred leading up to the post, were not favored today. Could this be because of the method used in brewing? Or just because of the flavors I wanted this morning? Who knows. Definitely seems like the hot automatic drip sucks though. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Adventures in Coffee Making Part II

So for todays coffee I redid the n2o cold brew that I made yesterday and compared it to what I would consider my normal cold brew coffee.

Batch A: 
Brew: n2o in 1 liter canister
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: 510.29 g, tap, filtered through a Brita, room temperature
Charges: 2
Brew Time: 15 hours in fridge

Batch B:
Brew: Grinds and h2o in 1 liter plastic container
Room Temperature: 24.7 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: 510.29 g, filtered through a Brita, room temperature
Brew Time: 15 hours in fridge

So I did break out my 'real' camera for todays comparison. However its pretty apparent that I still do not really know the finer points of photography. I tried using a backlight to really show the difference in color between the different brews but that just kind of made my pictures really dark. Either way - if you look at the picture above you can see the difference - Batch A, on the left is much more opaque than Batch B, on the right.

Above you have the regular pour of Batch A. The only difference I noticed between today and yesterday was the absence of the oils on the surface. Not sure what would cause this but...okay. The flavor was, as far as I could tell, identical to yesterdays brew. One thing I did not note yesterday, and which happened again today was I had to change the filter in the middle of straining Batch A because of an excess of fine particles. This was not the case for Batch B - which was identical with the exception of the n2o.

Above you have the aerated pour of Batch A. My process was the same as yesterday, pouring the coffee between two glasses 20 times. The bubbles you see on the surface are there because this was the last cup I poured before snapping pictures - it did not have time for them to work their way out. 

 This was the regular pour for Batch B - it looks a little weird in the picture mostly because its a crappy picture. This looked identical to the aerated pour which is pictured below - showing the clarity much better.

Okay so..Batch A tasted more or less so exactly the same as yesterday. The aerated pour wasn't quite as mellow as I remembered it being yesterday, but it was still my favorite pour by a large margin. Batch B tasted much more like Batch A that the hot automatic drip did - making the comparison a little more difficult today. For the most part Batch B just tasted like a slightly watered down version of Batch A. As I mentioned above, and from what you can see in the pictures - Batch A was much more opaque than Batch B. From what I understand of coffee brewing in general - the pressure on the grinds when you make espresso helps extract oils which emulsify and become the crema in the end. My best guess here? The pressure in the isi canister is much greater than what is produced in an espresso machine - so maybe the oils are suspended throughout the coffee rather than in crema on top?

 Or maybe Im an idiot. 

So top to bottom. Best to worst. My favorite was the aerated pour of the cold n2o brew. A distant second  would be the regular pour of the regular cold brew. Just a hair behind that would be the regular pour of the cold n2o brew. And in last place is the aerated pour of the regular cold brew. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adventures in Coffee Making Part I

Okay - so first things first. Im going to apologize now for the less than stellar photography in this post. Everything was done in a bit of a rush and I can see that its going to require a bit more thought and maybe even breaking out my 'real' camera. These coffee posts are going to be..on going - so it will be fun to see the evolution of the photograph...I guess.

So a friend and I have been randomly bullshitting about coffee and fun ways of brewing it (stemming from him having some ordeal with a broken burr grinder and a coffee snob, and me then talking about the old silex that was found in my attic). So fast forward a bit and I was sitting around thinking about making some desserts and how I have yet to use my iSi canister that Ive had for about a year...and I remember reading about how you can make instant infusions with the iSi canister. For some reason the first thing that came to mind was coffee...and then I was off, in the bowels of the internet, trying to find any information I could possibly come up with. And there was a couple sites that had talked about playing with it. And I mean a couple...as in two. Im sure theres more but my googling skills are only so-so. 

Anyway, in the time I spent searching for information on what I will now refer to as the "n2o brew" I came across about a million other variables that people take into consideration when brewing coffee and some pretty interesting ideas on how to get the perfect cup.

 Im rambling now. Time to get down to business. Ive decided to pursue a better cup of coffee - no matter how impractical it is. And because of the lack of information out there (or at least the lack of information-that-greg-can-find-quickly) I am going to document my results on here. Because theres a lot of really long brew times, I only have one iSi canister, etc.. these wont be very...scientific, but I will do my best to document everything and be as consistent about things as possible. So here goes (and please remember my disclaimer about the photos!)

Brew: n2o in 1 liter canister
Room Temperature: 24.4 C
Grinds: 31.8 g, room temperature
Water: 510.29 g tap, filtered through a Brita, room temperature
Charges: 2
Brew Time: 15 h 24m in fridge

So I simply put room temperature water and grinds in the canister, charged it twice and tossed it in the fridge for 15 hours & 24 minutes. Today, when I was going to taste the n2o brew, I also poured a hot cup of coffee made in my KRUPS automatic drip with the same ratio and ingredients. This is more-or-less what I have every day. I also took a cup of the n2o brew and poured it between two cups 20 times to aerate it a bit (just like you would with wine. Sadly I do not have one of those wine aerators so instead I made a huge mess). This gave me three different cups to taste (aerated n2o cold brew, n2o cold brew, automatic hot brew)

 What you see above is the n2o cold brew on the left, and the automatic hot brew on the right. Its a bit hard to tell, but the n20 brew is a lighter color and cloudier than the hot brew.
 There was also a noticeable amount of oils on the surface of the n2o brew - did my best to capture these with my iPhone.
 Versus the complete lack of oils on the surface of the hot brew.
 I was having a hard time capture the colors with my phone so I put all three brews into pipettes. From the top down you have the aerated n20 cold brew, the n20 cold brew, and the automatic hot brew. As you can see there is virtually no difference in color between the two n2o brews and the hot brew is noticeably darker.
L-R: Aerated n2o, n2o, hot automatic drip
So...my results. The two n2o cups were very similar - Im not sure how effective my aerating process was but I do think that the aerated cup was the most enjoyable - same flavor profiles as the plain n2o but not quite as in your face. Both n2o cups were very sweet (everything was unsweetened and black) up front and then mellowed into a somewhat complex, roasty flavor. Definitely good coffee. Now for what was most shocking to me - the hot brew, which I mentioned I have been drinking daily, was practically undrinkable by comparison. The flavor was completely different - if this was a blind test I would not have believed they were made from the same bean. 

So my conclusion - Aerating the coffee helps soften the flavors, n2o cold brew is tasty - but is it tastier than a normal cold brew? And I cannot believe how bad my normal coffee is.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cafe Spiaggia

Its been a while since this meal - so this will be a quick write up! 

I went to Cafe Spiaggia during restaurant week this past...winter. Cafe Spiaggia is the poor mans Spiaggia, both of which are owned (?) by Tony Montuano who you would probably recognize from his...many TV appearances. The dining room here is seriously charming. My table was essentially in a bay window overlooking Michigan Ave..it was really cool.  

 Bread service was great - had a nice sampling of different varieties. 

 Olive, Noci e Pastinache - Just a nice variety of snacks. Cerignola, Gaeta, Alfonso, Torremaggiore, orange zest, pickled fennel, Sicilian almonds, pumpkin seeds, cicerchie beans, walnuts, crispy parsnip strips, sage, parsley. 

Course 1:
Fegato - Rabbit liver mousse, cranberry compote, arugula, baguette. 

Course 2: 
 Gnocchi - Menu says gnocchi...but pretty sure these are cavatelli or some similar pasta. Served with wild boar ragu and Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Course 3:
 Polipo - Octopus, potatoes, sambuca, jalapenos, garlic, lemon. This is the course that I really remember, it was SERIOUSLY yum. 

Course 4:
Gelati/Sorbetti. I dont remember what flavors. Oh well!

I definitely enjoyed my meal here - everything was pretty solid. For a restaurant week menu they really knocked it out of the park. Too often restaurants just fall back to whatever is easy to scoop and serve just to turn tables during restaurant week...and seldom do they take advantage of the opportunity to wow guests who otherwise wouldn't be there. There wasn't anything too crazy on the menu but everything tasted great - the starter was varied and generous, and there was something like ten options to pick from for the other courses.  So yay...good job cafe spiaggia!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

more bbq

Stacys - Jacksonville, TX

Hard Eight - Coppell, TX

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Texas...old and new.

So a few years ago I spent the majority of my summer driving around the United States with no real plan or itinerary. Aside from some National Parks, I only had a few places I had to go. This was one of them:


Are you seeing the theme...?
Dublin (er, uh, Dr Pepper), Texas. The home of the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in the world. What drew me in was the fact that they were still using the original formula - which uses cane sugar instead of corn syrup. 

After leaving Dublin - we were headed towards Austin trying to avoid highways along the way. We wound up passing through a very photogenic town - Hico, Texas (pop. 1,341). We wound up stopping because - at the time I was really into photographing ads painted on walls and we saw several of them in town. Almost immediately after pulling over we noticed a statue of Billy the Kid..apparently Hico was his final resting place...a claim that is highly disputed. 
 So while walking around Hico we wound up meeting an older gentleman - from southern California - who was also driving around the country. He was traveling with an elderly couple who had lived in Austin, Texas their whole lives. As we chatted and got to know each other - he invited us to have dinner with them at their campsite. We wound up pitching our tents there as well and spent the night. While Im coasting through this story, it was one of the best experiences I had on this trip and Ill never forget these people. They were so welcoming and friendly and had so many stories about their travels. Anyway - Curtis, the man from Austin, said that because we were headed south to Austin we had to stop at a Barbecue place in Llano, TX called Coopers. He proudly proclaimed it as the best he had ever had which was more than enough for us to head straight for it. We had hit up a few 'best in America' type BBQ places in Memphis only a week or so earlier and were excited to see how this random place would be. Needless to say it was the best I had ever had - by far. One of those moments where you think you have had good BBQ, or at least knew what it was like, but really you have no clue. We got to Llano and didnt really know were we were going - we were using a road atlas rather than GPS for the whole trip. We pulled into a gas station to ask for directions when we noticed the plumes of smoke billowing down the street. We hopped back into the car and followed the smoke to Coopers. They had all their meat in outdoor smokers - you order from the pit and have it dry or dipped. We got a rather large sampling and what really stuck out in my memory were the beef ribs.

So flash forward to this past January when I started at the French Pastry School in Chicago, IL. We spent a good portion of the first day doing a round-the-world style introduction to get to know all of our classmates. And thats when I met Heather - from Hico, TX. Heather - maybe the sweetest person I have ever met, wound up being in the same group of students for the remaining six months and we got the chance to get to know each other and become friends. I think one of the first things I asked her about was Coopers - which she had heard plenty about but never had the chance to go. When I found out I was going to Dallas a month or so after graduation, I told Heather that we had to get together and hopefully take the drive to Coopers. 

So the day after the ACF Convention I headed to Hico to meet up with Heather. When I got into town Heather introduced me to Kevin Wenzel - the owner of Wiseman House chocolates (do check them out! so good!). We chatted for a bit and then Heather and I headed off to Coopers.

I stuck with two beef ribs and some sliced brisket dipped...and boy were they good!

So was it as good as I remembered? No, probably not. But I idolized it. Any time I knew someone going to Austin I told them they had to go here. Either way - it was still really good...and better than any other BBQ I had on this trip. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Town House - Chilhowie, Virginia. The best restaurant in America?

*So after publishing this post I reread it and - while its certainly a love letter to Town House, I'm not sure that I really conveyed how spectacular this meal was. For some time now I have felt...burned out (?) on fine dining or food of the caliber. Too often I get so excited about it and in the end its just okay. I've found that almost without exception chefs today are trying to wow their customers with bells and whistles - that is with new techniques or service trickery (eg: the candle on the table is actually butter for this course)...as if it is more important than the food itself. And while the food at Town House is certainly contemporary and utilizes many modern techniques..the food is the star, not the technique. Every dish I had...every component, every ingredient belonged and served a purpose...to improve the overall dish. Every bite was delicious before anything else. Now...with that being said..:

So for a while now I have been drooling over the serious food porn on Town House's blog. I can't quite remember where or when exactly I first heard about the restaurant or the blog but its been some time. I essentially wrote it off as being out of the way enough that I probably would never wind up eating there. Then this past May I was asked if I would be willing to drive some kitchen equipment from upstate New York to Dallas - where my friend Caitlin would be competing at the ACF National Convention. I immediately agreed to do this and knew right away that this was my opportunity to make a pit stop in Chilhowie. This was certainly going to be the only time in the near seeable future that it would be on the way to wherever I am going.

For those of you not totally up to speed with the Town House story... It goes something like this. John and Karen Shields - alumni of such great restaurants as Alinea, Charlie Trotters, and Tru - decide to leave Chicago to take over a restaurant in rural Virginia...aka the middle of nowhere. They're given carte blanche to do as they please...and the rest is ..history.(?) 

 Now since they took over in 2008 (I believe) there has been some pretty steady buzz. Every now and then Id see a write up here and there - almost always from people who I know and/or trust - saying that this place is one of the best restaurants in America and that it is absolutely worth the trip to eat here.  Now that I've had the chance - I can say that without a doubt it is worth every bit of hassle required to get there. I cannot stress how incredible it was - one of the best meals I have ever had...and certainly the best restaurant meal I have ever had. I have been very fortunate in that I have dined at many of the best restaurants in America and I do not hesitate to say that Town House has surpassed them all - by quite a bit. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the meal I had and I am anxiously awaiting the next chance I get to be there.  

Theres not much I have to say about the food beyond how incredible it was...so forgive me for my...lack of words here (as well as my redundancy) because...for the most part I sound like a baffling idiot:

It was a pretty hot day so I started with a nice cold beer; Starr Hill Northern Lights IPA - recommended to me by sommelier Charlie Berg. Like everyone else in the world I love IPA's and this was a great example - Id love to try more brews from Starr Hill.  

My first course, or amuse, or whatever:
 Oyster leaf - Ive read a bit about these guys but this was my first opportunity to try one...and it was pretty awesome. The texture is that of a hearty green but the flavor is identical to an oyster. Awesome.

Course 2: 
 Flowers - An absolutely stunning salad of flowers and crispy fried artichoke - with an artichoke emulsion poured table side. This is when it really hit me that I was in for a treat. This was so much more than a plate of flowers -  it was a delicately composed salad with a beautiful play of flavors and textures. Everything on the plate served a purpose and nothing was there to just look nice. This was delicious.

Course 3: 
 Zucchini Gazpacho - Razor clam ice, green tomato, green bean, pickled coriander, zucchini...just amazing. Another essentially perfect dish that captured summer in ways that I hadnt imagined possible. Green, fresh, briney, crunchy, refreshing...just unbelievable. 

Course 4:
Barbecued Eggplant - Lemon, basil, black garlic, ashes of smoked mussels. If I were force to pick a favorite dish of the night this would probably be it. But...thats like picking a favorite movie or song...or child. Its just unfair. This was served chilled - which I was not expecting and was simply an explosion of flavor. SO good. 

Course 5:
 Sweet Corn, Chicken, Lovage - Crispy chicken skin, corn silk, chicken liver, chicken reduction. This was incredible.

About this time bread and olive oil were brought to the table. I was told the bread was ciabatta, which I have always thought of as being an airy, chewy, high hydration bread with irregular crumb structure. This was not the case here. Because of this I looked into ciabatta a bit and came the realization that it - along with pretty much all Italian food, is a very regional thing and can vary greatly ..from a dense, tight loaf to what I just described...and everything in between. ANYWAY - the bread was very nice!  

Course 6:
Lobster in Brown Butter & Butter Whey - Spring onions, shellfish cream, lime, crisp scallop, pork stock. Well this was every bit as good as it sounds.  

 Course 7:
Squid 'Risotto' - A risotto made without any rice or diary..Among the very best risottos I have ever had. Ive read a bit about the process of making this dish and was very excited to finally try it and...well like I said, it was incredible. Perfectly toothsome, runny, sweet...great. I feel bad for whoevers job it is to prepare the squid to look like rice!

Course 8:
 Beef Cheek Pastoral - Cows milk skin, toasted garlic, horseradish, grasses, hay, tongue, crispy tongue. Seriously awesome. The meat was all perfectly cooked and hugely flavorful...the accompaniments all provided wonderful contrast...and get it? grass - hay - beef - milk...talk about 'what grows together goes together'...brilliant. 

Course 9:
 Border Springs Lamb Shoulder & Wild Blackberry - Glazed in black malt, barbecued beets, licorice, black olive, caramelized yogurt...While it was not as beautiful to look at as the other dishes - it certainly made up for it in flavor. This was without a doubt the best lamb I have ever had. 

Course 10:
 Liquid Chocoalte Bar - Burnt ember ice cream, sour yogurt, milk, sugar, chocolate soil. A very nice dessert - the highlight of which was the burnt ember ice cream. I would kill for this recipe. It was most similar to a smoked ice cream I had at Boka - but not nearly as overwhelming in the smokey flavor department. Man I would love to have some now...

Course 11:
 A Curd of Sour Quince, Olive Oil, Black Pepper - Dill, pine ice cream, pine shoots, toasted meringue, blueberries. Just look at this dish:
 It was so beautiful it hurt to eat it. 

Course 12: 
 Broken Marshmallows - Cucumber (slush), softly whipped cream, preserved green strawberries, geranium, lemon verbena. My favorite of the dessert courses. So light, so delicate, and beautiful. Just wonderful. 

Course 13:
Cocoa and Black Sesame Chewy Meringue with Wasabi and Lime - Just awesome. 

I also want to acknowledge Charlie Berg and Jeannie Barrett who ran the front of the restaurant with such warmth and care...and were so genuine about everything..its really rare to come across people like this in this industry. This place is something special and I cannot recommend it enough. Go here now. Seriously...You will thank me later.