Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Dinner with a friend last night at Alder, first time trying their tasting menu, though I'd been once before for the pub version.  I didn't eat at WD~50 all that often (though my last milestone birthday celebration was in their wine cellar), but it was fun and fascinating, and I like the way Dufresne's mind works.

As always with an inventive tasting menu, this was kind of a mixed bag.  The cauliflower was, I'd say, more interesting than delicious, while the potatoes were a fantastic reimagination of the tapas staple.  Then the silver dollars took the okonomiyaki concept and executed them in a way that was more breakfast pancake than Japanese eggy omelette pancake...not entirely a success.  But the chicken was delicious and the ice cream cake sublime.

Overall the whole meal was less experimental than WD~50 but then again, far less extravagant and still a very interesting, thought-provoking, evening out.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cherry Calfoutis

Speaking of exotically named desserts [my post on kouign amann] I had some friends over for a very informal evening and decided to make a cherry clafoutis [Slate] as an easy but tasty dessert.  Came out well, I think, nicely in between being cakey and custardy.  And of course this is getting to be a great time of year for local cherries.

In reading more about them I came across a sort of cousin from Brittany (clafoutis comes from Limousin [Foodreference.com] in south-central France) called a "Far Breton." [Epicurious] That's a beautifully evocative name for a dessert.  Sorta like a Paris-Brest [Martha Stewart], though I'm doubtful I'll ever make one of those complex bicycle-wheel-looking creampuff things.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kouign Amann Day in SF

I got together with a friend in San Francisco yesterday, who told me that it was "Kouign Amann Day" and we should go celebrate.  I said, "Is Queen Aman a transvestite, or the wife of a middle eastern potentate?"

Once he told me the spelling, I realized (thanks to Trader Joe's selling them frozen) that Kouign Amann are in fact a deliciously flaky pastry.  In my head they're sort of a cross between a coissant and a danish or cinnamon roll.  I'm sure Dominique Ansel wishes he'd invented them.

Anyway, who am I to deny Kouign Amann its day?  So we headed to b. patisserie to partake in the goodness. 

Like Shark Week, this is an artificial, made up holiday that I can wholeheartedly endorse and support.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Kissaten Jin Bento

Growing up in Hawai'i, and spending my junior year of college in Japan, mean that no cuisine is closer to my heart than Japanese food is.  I'm super fortunate that one of the many cultish ramen joints in NYC, Jin Ramen, is relatively nearby, but even more fortunate that Jin recently spun off a next-door place, called "Kissaten Jin," that does bentos and donburi and soba.  ("Kissaten" means "coffee shop" or "cafe" in Japanese, which is what the place is during the day...but they get cooking in the evening.)

And while the lines out the door often dissuade me from the cultish ramen, Kissaten Jin almost always has a seat free for a hungry fan of Japanese comfort food.
What's better than a beautifully presented, tidily compartmentalized meal with a little bite of this and that, and some sticky rice and miso soup to go with?

Not much, that's what.