Kitchen Table 14th Visit — London (8/2016)


A mid-summer visit to Kitchen Table is always a treat.  And while the food did not disappoint, my pictures on this trip did, as I was experimenting with my camera and did not have time to check on the results through the evening (I was sitting between two food bloggers/Instagramers).  So, this is mostly just to record the meal experience and not so much to appreciate the dishes visually.

They still had the white Rioja, so I went with that for my wine.

The first bite was hand-picked scallop served raw.  On top was some cured and smoked scallop roe.  It was finished a little fresh mayonnaise and pickled ginger.

Next up was the baked crispy chicken skin with mascarpone cheese and bacon jam.  They went back to not uniformly cutting the skin into a standard shape.

The Parker house rolls were served this time with turbot roe that has been cured with salt, smoked and then whipped to a light spread.  On top were some lemon zest, brown butter, and the burnt tops of leeks.  Another roll was offered and taken.

For the full write-up, click here.

Castangna 2nd Visit — Portland OR (7/2016)


On this mid-summer return to Portland, I debated whether I was going to go back to Castagna for a second visit.  I decided to go back because I didn’t really find any other place that I wanted to go to, and it was summer, so I wanted to see what the offerings would be.  A few days before my arrival, I was able to book an early-evening reservation for that Saturday night.  Again, there were two menus to choose from and a variety of wines.

I went with the full Chef’s Tasting menu and a glass of Chardonnay from Mâcon.  Just as before, they offered an alternative/additional selection for the main meat course.  Instead of the pork (or in addition to), I could choose to have Japanese wagyu beef.  I asked about the pork, and it seemed like something I would like anyway, so I opted to decline the beef this time.

The first presentation was a refreshing “cocktail” course, with Hendrick’s gin, shiso leaf oil, and melon and cucumber juices.

The next snack was albacore tuna tartare in a kohlrabi wrapping and finished with fennel blossom, micro-basil leaf and basil oil.  This was a nice, creamy and crunchy bite.

For the full write-up, click here.

Farm Spirit 2nd Visit — Portland (7/2016)


My first visit to Farm Spirit was in the late spring. I wanted to come back during mid-summer to see the full range of ingredients that they would be using to construct their menus.  I had booked a reservation for the late seating on a Friday.  A few days before I was scheduled to be there, I received an email from the chef asking for a favor – could I switch to the earlier seating because someone during my seating needed an extra seat at the last minute for a family member.  Since my schedule was flexible, I readily agreed.  The party was so grateful, that they paid for me to have the wine pairings with my meal.  As I had already pre-ordered the non-alcoholic pairing (which I really wanted to have), I opted to have both pairings with dinner.

The meal started with a carrot snack.  This was carrot custard with carrot tartare in the middle.  On top was carrot foam, carrot leaf and a carrot flower.

The beverage pairings were a blueberry spritzer made with blueberry vinegar, juniper and herbs and a Crémant de Loire (sparkling wine from the Loire region in France).

For the full write-up, click here.