Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Corso 32


I was a huge fan of chef Daniel Costa, who in my book, makes the most amazing pizzas, calzones and tomato bisque ever.  I felt like a lost soul when I heard he wasn't making them anymore and left Cafe de Capo.  Not to sound like a creeper, but I stalked him around a couple times while he worked at Red Star, just to try his take on gastropub food and wishing that he would return to full Italian cuisine one day.   Then my prayers were answered when I heard he extended his wings and opening his own restaurant, Corso 32 earlier this month.


Last week, I finally got a chance to visit the new restaurant in downtown.  The ambience of the restaurant really reflected his personal style and visions.  The vibe of the restaurant was very lively, warm, casual.  There was an opened kitchen facing the entrance and patrons can see the chefs at work as they're coming in and out.  The restaurant was buzzling with a constant turnovers throughout the entire time we were  there.  With indie, grunge playing as the soundtrack that night, the majority of his patrons  in their late 20's - 30's enjoyed themselves drinking, dining, and socializing (many of whom I'm sure are well acquainted with chef Daniel).  No doubt, this is Edmonton's new "It" spot.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Le Cafe Siam - French Cuisine Restaurant in Bangkok

This is where Cute Pig is hitting up next month!!

The food at Le Cafe Siam in Bangkok looks AMAZING!! I can't wait! The plus side is it's right by my house!! woop woop

Aside from using local ingredients, they also import shellfish from Canada and Maine. Can you look at this video and not drool? Irresistible..



Watch chef Anthony Quarchioni interview on Idine.


Ho Mok, steamed curried fish recipe

 

Traditional ho mok is wrapped with banana leaf bowl and are often sold on the streets or at floating markets. It has soft custard-like texture but with creamy coconut flavour and red curry fiery.  Since banana leaves are not as readily available in North America, artichokes or ramekins can be used as containers for these curry delights.  

Ingredients:
3 artichokes
1 cup tilapia, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. red curry paste
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 cup cabbage finely sliced
1.5 cup coconut cream
1 egg
1 tbsp. kaffir lime leaves sliced
1-2 red chilies

Preparation:
Rinse artichokes in cold water.  Slice off the top part and trim the edges of the artichokes.   Open up the artichoke from the centre, scrape out all of the fuzzy choke at the inner core and discard.   While leaving the artichoke heart in tact, line the bottom with cabbage and set aside.

Whisk egg in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine red curry paste, coconut cream, and tilapia in a bowl and mix well.   Add fish sauce and egg to the curry mixture and continue stirring.  Pour the mixture into the artichokes and garnish with coconut cream, red chilies, kaffir leaves and basil. Steam for about half an hour at high heat.

The artichoke petals can be eaten by placing a bit of the steamed curry on top of the inner part, and you can nib away by pulling the tender pulpy part of the petal.  Discard the remaining petal.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Easy way making fiery Mapo tofu recipe

 
I woke up half way through hibernation, hungry and cold.  I glanced outside to the blizzards and wish there was already food on the table so I could quickly eat it and go back to doing my thing.  Since I have a block of tofu in the fridge, and there was a foot of snow outside and still blizzarding, I thought of the spicy mapo tofu to warm me up from inside out.
While I was reminiscing about the best Mapo tofu I've ever had, which was at South Ocean Seafood restaurant in Richmond, BC, I started looking through hundreds of recipes, and each had different ways of making it.  As I was wondering what the easiest way would be to tackle this dish, I have to give thanks to chef Ben who helped me simplify this recipe, making it easier for me to follow through. 

Starting off the day with 7 courses at La Pagode...

 
One morning after picking up my sister from the airport, I got ambitious and decided that today would be   the day we order the house special 7 dishes of beef, or Bò 7 Món ($38), at La Pagode on the west side.  I've visited the vietnamese restaurant numerous times, mostly sticking to the usual pho, vermicelli bowl, or stir-fry combo if I really wanted to change things up.  This time, I let my stomach do the thinking and felt it was the right thing to do.  Don't let the description fool you.  Even though it's listed that the special is for two people, there's actually enough to maybe feed up to four.  From what I've seen, La Pagode is the only vietnamese restaurant besides Pagolac that offers Bò 7 Món on their menu.  They're prepared almost the same way at both restaurants and I remember that it was very tasty at Pagolac.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

First authentic ramen place opening in EDMONTON?!

I AM ECSTATIC! First Beard Papa's came to town, and now Sanpachi, a ramen chain straight from Sapporo, Japan, is soon to open its door in Edmonton!  Unlike Vancouver where ramen joints flourish, this will be the first ever Japanese ramen joint to open in Edmonton and the location will be in the south side on Calgary Trail. Finally, we don't have to fly to Vancouver every time we crave a descent bowl of ramen.  A fancy "fusion" version and udon noodles simply don't fill the void either.  I'm talking about flavourful, rich broth, chewy house-made egg noodles, tender slices of pork from a place that is actually authentic and owned by Japanese people, not just random interpretations of how ramen should be.  As far as I'm concerned, real ramen is currently non-existent in Edmonton.  Hence, this is probably one of the most exciting and refreshing news ever!  It's nice to see Edmonton culinary scene finally progressing.  Now that I've expressed my optimism, here's my concern:  If it's only a franchise, will it be authentic (especially in Edmonton)?   I've eaten at fast food chains in Japan and I thought they had excellent control over quality of their food.  With Sanpachi also being a fast food chain, I hope they have some ways of maintaining quality here.  Although, I've heard that the Vancouver location is doing quite well.  I guess the ramen lovers in Edmonton will have to wait and find out.

d'Lish Urban Kitchen and Wine Bar


Opened this past September, d'Lish Urban Kitchen and Wine Bar has been re-modeled, and re-concept from former d'Lish Urban Meal Assembly Studio.  It was transformed into a trendy restaurant lounge with modern touches, while providing a warm and cozy atmosphere.  When we arrived, only two other tables were filled, and the patrons all being in their late 40's and up. I noticed their tables were set up fairly close together.  It was a fairly quiet night, and their choice of old school music playing nearly put me to sleep.  I could see this place being a hip spot on weekends like Suede, especially if it provides nice mash ups of chill out, lounge, or jazz music.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Red curry with roast duck and prawn recipe

 
Ingredients:
2 tbsp. red curry paste
1.5 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-3 kaffir lime leaves
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp. fish sauce (salt can be substituted)
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup winter melon, sliced
200 g barbecue duck, sliced
10 red or white grapes
6 prawn, deveined 

*Optional fresh basil to garnish

Preparation:
At medium heat, stir-fry red curry paste with vegetable oil for about 2-3 minutes.  Add kaffir lime leaves and continue stirring for another minute.  Separate coconut cream, which is on the surface, from coconut milk in the can.  Add the coconut cream to the pan and stir until it is well mixed with the curry paste.  Add barbecue duck and saute for another 3 minutes.  Slow add the remaining coconut milk, and water.  Stir continuously and bring the curry to boil.  Add winter melon and grapes.  Season with fish sauce and sugar.  Let simmer for about an hour until the oil starts separating.  Add the shrimp just before turning off the heat and cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Serve in a large bowl and garnish with basil.




Friday, December 17, 2010

The Deliciousness of Duchess Bake Shop

After reading about the reviews and hearing the reputation of the Duchess Bake Shop,  I had to check it out for myself.  One evening, during one of the worst snow storms in Edmonton this year, I marched in through the snow banks to the famous bake shop.  I have to add on a side note that for the location that it is at, I would have to say that this place is a "hidden gem". The atmosphere of the bakery was warm and inviting with a wonderful, lingering scent of freshly baked pastry. If there wasn't for the snow storm, I would've liked to stay and enjoy a cup of warm latte.   As I pressed my face against the display case, I don't really have a sweet tooth, but I was mesmerized by the arrays of delectable desserts and pastries.  The cakes and tarts were presented very elegantly, while the pastries, pies, and sandwiches looked enticingly rustic.

Holidays special-candy cane macarons


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Afternoon drama munchies: shrimp crackers, veggie chips and chili dip

 
As my homemaker mode kicks in, I love to curl up on my couch and watch my K-drama marathon.  The favourite right now being Secret Garden (Thanks to my sister!).  Of course while watching a juicy drama, you need something to munch on the ease the intensity or heighten the enjoyment.  I like to choose snacks that have flavours resemble to the mood of the drama I'm watching, just to REALLY get with the program.  Hours would go by, and by the time the drama marathon is over, I would probably gain about 10 lbs.
 


So when I'm watching intense Asian drama with a lot of emotional roller coaster rides, my pick for snacks are shrimp crackers and veggie chips with chili dip.  The shrimp crackers can be bought package or you can buy the uncooked kind and fry them yourself.  Personally, I prefer frying them myself since they are bigger, fresher, and I love watching them expand in the fryer. The flavour of the chili dip is as bold and intense as the drama I'm watching.  Both are as addicting, and I simply can't have one without the other.  

The chili dip is made out of Thai chili paste called Nam Prik Pao.  Don't let the name scare you.  Even though it is made up of roasted chili and ground dried shrimp in soya bean oil, it is sweet in flavour and not very spicy at all! It is often used for preparing the infamous Tom Yum Kung, and a bunch of other stir-fry dishes.  And this time, I'm using it as a dip!  The flavours are sweet with the aroma of roasted chilies and a bit citrusy, not something that you would get sick of real quick. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Son-in-law Eggs Recipe

This recipe goes out to my dear friend Tammy Chan Tse who absolutely loved this dish from the first time she tried it.  I normally would never even look at hard boiled eggs, let alone eating them, unless they are devilled eggs or this spectacular "son in law" eggs.  So most people reading the name, if they are unfamiliar, must think...wth is in this dish??? Well, let me explain.  "Son-in-law" Eggs, or "Kai Look Kaey" (ไข่ลูกเขย) is a Thai dish consisting of fried hard boiled eggs, topped with sweet tamarind sauce and friend garlic and onion.  I did some research to where the "son-in-law" part came from, and unfortunately, there are no side stories or relevance behind its name.  Traditionally, the dish was often made for special ceremonies, such as weddings, which was probably how the name got stuck.  If you haven't tried it, it is definitely worth a try.  It is filled unique flavours you never thought you would taste with eggs!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Smoked salmon canapés



I don't know if anyone's with me on this but when I live by myself, I find little motivation to get up and cook a meal.  It just seems like so much hassle sometimes, most especially when I have the whole day of doing nothing ahead of me.  So to trick myself, I would make fancy cocktail appies even though no one was coming over (yes, sad isn't it?)... But it works, since I am more appealed by fancy looking bite-size hors d'oeuvres.  So whether you are hosting a cocktail dinner, or a lonely diner like me, here's my way of making smoked lox salmon canapés.  Hang on, I've heard so many different terms; smoked, gravlax, lox.  What are the differences??

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How I made a WTF cake...

Birthday Rum Cake Wtf Cake
So for my grandma's birthday this year, I decided to bake a rum cake.  To be specific, I wanted to make it like this Italian restaurant does, or at least similar concept.  The top layer of the cake is very dry and airy, and the creamy icing and the bottom layer of the cake is nicely drenched with rum flavour.  I knew I won't be able to make it exactly like that, but at least had the same concept it mind.  So on the day of, I had everything planned, including all the shortcuts.  Everything was pretty much pre-made and it should've been simple enough...

The reason why I enjoy cooking food more baking is because cooking is more of an art, while baking revolves more around science.  There is very little room for tweaking and free-styling without the risk of your baked goods collapsing.  It is also the reason why I only bake once a year.  I dumped a shot of rum in the dough, and another shot in the icing.  From what I read from an online recipe, 2 shots should suffice.  I was proved wrong.  The bright side was that I got to use the spatula I got from Foodbuzz Festival... Yay.....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thai Flavours: Finally! Authentic Thai food in Edmonton!

I never ever thought I would find it, but without any expectations, Thai Flavours definitely showed me the way.  I've had prejudice about most local Thai restaurants being way overpriced and making food too sweet.  Thai Flavours is yet the first one I've come across to have the authenticity of the motherland.   Opened since 2007, the family owned restaurant is fairly small in size with only around 10 dining tables and more catered towards takeouts.  The entrees are around $ 12.95 while the salads and appetizers are around $ 7.95 to $ 9.95 which are still on the ball park for Thai food prices here.  I was there for my aunt's birthday and they were able to accommodate and cook up special dishes that may not otherwise be listed on the menu. The appetizers and Laab Moo are on the menu, while the seafood were special requests.  If you are are interested, just give the restaurant a call and request in advance.  They should be able to give the price list for the dishes.  The restaurant also offers catering as well.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The perfect green curry recipe



Thai green curry is a famous Thai dish that is easy to make.  There are certain tricks and cooking steps one must know in order to achieve authentic flavour.  Once you master it, there is no need to order take out from a Thai restaurant ever again.  For green curry paste, I use Thai brand, Mae Ploy, which I will list the links for Amazon on the bottom of the page.  



Ingredients:
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. green curry paste
1 chicken breast, sliced
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 pumpkin, cubed (optional: can be substituted with your favourite veggies)
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp. fish sauce
30 ml Thai basil
2-3 chilies

Preparation:
In a saucepan, heat oil at medium heat.  Stir-fry green curry paste for a minute.  Add chicken, fish sauce, and kaffir lime leaves.  Stir fry until chicken is cooked.  Slowly add in coconut milk, then pumpkin. Bring the curry to boil.  Stir until the paste is well mixed into the coconut milk.  Lower the heat and let simmer for 1-2 hours.  A good curry comes with patience.  When the oil starts to separate from the curry, all the flavours from herb and spices have come out and it's ready.  Add fresh thai basil.  Remove from heat and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Get the ingredients from the link below:

Thai Taste Fish Sauce (200ml) Coconut Milk Organic (400 Brand: Ontario Natural Food Co-op Tilda Fragrant Jasmine Rice (500g)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wine tasting in Napa

Earlier in November, I geared up for my first trip to Napa Valley, and was quite delighted that it was a beautiful sunny day.  I was ready for a full day of culinary and wine tasting adventures.  Being my tourist self, I purchased the Go San Francisco card which included Taste Napa Downtown (a $20 value).  It was an easy, no brainer guide which enabled us to "taste hop" certain vineyards and tasting rooms in the downtown area.   Even though I wanted to see the beautiful Castello di Amorosa, I decided to save it for the next trip when we will have more time for sightseeing.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Traditional Thai Appetizers: Ma Hoh and giant sago dumplings


The following appetizers both have the same filling but are served in 2 different ways, as Ma Hoh and sago dumplings.  Growing up in Bangkok, I often bought bags of small sago dumplings from a street vendor to nibble on while being waiting to be picked up by my mommy after school.  As a starved student yearning to go home, these were lifesavers.  Now living in Canada, I miss having that novelty of having thai street vendors readily available. I didn't discover about Ma Hoh until recently, but I assume the dish has been around for just as long.  I haven't seen these guys on the menu at any restaurants in Canada or the US and would like to introduce them to all the Thai food lovers.  These tasty tidbits are very sweet and savoury in flavour than other Thai appetizers.  Like tuna salad shots, they are also great for dinner parties.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This is a bit immature... but it brings the LOLs

I found this product while grocery shopping and thought Grace flavoured soup mix labelling was absolutely hilarious.  Sorry if anybody is offended!

 


Here's another photo of Grace food product, cock flavoured instant noodles, courtesy of my friend Mayna.  I'm glad we share a common interest in food.

 

This brings me to a very important question, has anyone tried it??

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Bazaar by Jose Andres

After missing the chance to go to WD 50 in New York, I made the Bazaar, where I also heard much reputation of their innovative approach to tapas, on my priority list for my one day trip to LA.  Shortly after landing, I made dinner reservation and headed to SLS hotel where the restaurant is located.  

The Bazaar is split into 5 dining sections, each with different  atmosphere, function, and menu.   We were seated in the dining room called Rojo Y Blanca, right in front of the kitchen viewing where the magic happened.  Our charmingly handsome waiter was extremely knowledgable about the cooking process and ingredients used in the dishes.  He was also able to recommend and differentiate between the dishes.  Although it didn't help much with the decision process, he was very helpful since I wanted to try food that are cooked differently than normal.  The modern tapas were not too pricey.  Though the portions are small, they are pretty good value for the type of modern, high end restaurant it carries itself to be.  We selected only 3 tapas from the menu since we just came straight from Roscoe's and were pressed for time before another dinner arrangement.  Of course, I regret that we didn't try anymore when we could've. The nitrogen coconut ice cream, cubed gazpacho...those were the things I opted out on and now living in regret...Y_Y 


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Traditional Thai Appetizer: Miang Tuna (Tuna salad)


 
Miang Tuna, or tuna salad, is often arranged in bite sizes.  It's another dish that is high in nutrients and low in fat and carbohydrates.  The tuna contains a lot of herbs and lime zest which give the flavour quite a kick.  This dish can be enjoyed on its own as a light lunch, or as appetizers.

 
Ingredients: 
1 canned tuna, drained
1 cup ground pork
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. lime zest
2 tbsp. grated ginger
1 thinly sliced shallot
5-6 lettuce leaves
1-2 red chilis for garnish

Preparation:
In a frying pan, cook ground pork for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.  Place in a separate bowl and add tuna; mix well.  Add garlic powder, lime juice, and salt.  Mix again.  Add ginger, shallots and lime zest.  Divide lettuce leaves into small size bite size pieces and scoop the tuna mixture on top.  Garnish with julienned red chilies and serve. 



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Laotian style moose jerky


I'm pretty sure I've tasted moose meat before in Banff over a decade ago.  But since it was a mere distant memory, I pretty much consider this my first time all over again.  I was presented with a plate of jerky, coated with coarsely pounded lemongrass.  "It's moose meat!", as I was told by an ever-cheery family friend.  It was a deep brownish hue, much darker than beef.  As I stared into it, I though about the big furry gentle creature with enormous horns hiding in the forest.  "Aww, they're such gentle animals" the PETA in me thought.

Nonetheless, I took a bite.  "Hmm, it's pretty good!"

The jerky has also been marinated in garlic, lemongrass, sugar, and soy sauce before being dry cured and grilled to crisp.  It was sweet, with a bit more gamey taste.  Very chewy, but herby in flavour thanks to the lemongrass. 

Sure enough, the PETA in me went home and the Flinstones in me came out instead.

"Let's bring out the beer and sticky rice!".

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles

I had made it my mission to eat as many fried chicken, preferably with waffles, as I could for this recent trip to the US.  Because Canada is so far up north, finding tasty southern fried chicken is about as rare as finding your lost diamond ring in the ocean, or finding an authentic Thai restaurant around here.  The last time I had a good chicken and waffle, believe it or not, it was at A&W in Thailand.  Very random combination.  While I was in New York, I didn't get to go try this wonderful place located in Harlem that my sister kept raving about.  Who wouldn't be enticed by the words "fried chicken" and "mimosa" in the same sentence? So when I met Geri of Princess Gourmet in San Francisco, she firmly recommended Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles, a California-based soul food joint opened by a Harlem native.  As my US trip was coming to an end, I made it the top of my list of things to do in LA.

After a gruelling incident where we almost missed the plane, we safely arrived LA and immediately booked it to Hollywood.  There was a distinct sign of a cartoon rooster wearing a hat standing in front of a giant waffle.  We knew they meant business.  An intimidating security was standing outside, guarding the perimeter from rascals who were hanging around the restaurant.  As a tourist, I naturally took it as a precaution.  We were led inside of restaurant where it was quite dark with glowing pink and yellow neons.  It wasn't very busy, and everybody seemed comfortable enjoying their meals.  I was excited and ready for some soul food!


The menu is pretty straight forward, listing different ways you can order their fried chicken.  I didn't hesitate to order the half chicken, south western style with 2 waffles for $15.30.  Keeping it simple, keeping it real. We also wanted to order the Mac n' Cheese on the side and saw that the portion was so small for $4.50.  We asked for a mix of grey and dark meat to get the best of both worlds.  As much as I wanted to devour everything myself, I ended up sharing since this huge portion was out of my league.



Buttermilk battered and twice fried, the chicken was wonderfully flavourful and extra crispy.  They were good on their own, but I must add a touch of magic; hot sauce.


I usually wouldn't slather my waffle with all the whole scoop of butter, or empty my cup of syrup.  But this time, I went all out.  My waffle was crispy, fluffy, and buttery.  I even drenched it with syrup and enjoy the whole experience with the crispy chicken...AND hot sauce!  At that point, I no longer cared how many calories or saturated fat I was consuming.  Lets just say I lost self control as though I and ate like a pregnant woman on a rampage.  It was everything I imagined.  Alas, my craving was finally satisfied.  

$

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken sandwich and truffle fries @ Norman Rose Tavern

After all day of wine tasting in Napa Valley, a quick snack was needed to east off the buzz.  Once again thanks to my Micheline Guide, I pointed to Norman Rose Tavern, a gastropub known for "classic, American comfort food". I went there searching for a tasty, crispy buttermilk fried chicken.

Though it was crispy, I didn't find that their buttermilk chicken sandwich was that well seasoned.  The meat wasn't juicy and succulent either.  The watercress salad, or whatever it was sitting on, was drenched in creamy peppercorn mayo.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad.  It was just..... mehhh...., coming from a fried chicken lover.   I thought it was a bit steep paying $10.95 for an average chicken sandwich with no sides. Definitely incomparable to the Naked Lunch fried chicken sandwich, but a whole lot better than Wendy's. 

The next item I jumped on was the truffle & parmesan fries ($7.95)!  These were fresh crispy fries with truffle essence, topped with melting grated parmesan.  Okay, those were delicious.  I devoured the plate and have nothing bad to complain.

$
The Norman Rose Tavern on Urbanspoon

Valuable lesson learned here:
Overall, my dining experience in Napa Valley were only okay, though it could've been much more amazing. For example, I should've taken suggestions and went to Ad Hoc, a part of Thomas Keller restaurant group, back in Yountville.  I didn't learn until much later they also make killer fried chicken than Norman Rose Tavern, or anywhere around this area, and at much better value than Bouchon (cry). As my foodie friends responded, "we didn't tell you to go to Bouchon, we said Bouchon BAKERY" T ^ T Well if I did, I probably would also have a better posts to write about.  Rather than listening to a book, always trust your fellow foodies. They know best. Indeed it was a valuable, though wasteful, learning experience from a new foodie that I would like to share with everyone! 




Sunday, November 21, 2010

Comforting Korean inspired congee recipe


It's blistering cold outside today in Alberta and I'm craving something warm and comforting.  This is  my sister's recipe for congee, or rice porridge with a Korean flare.  It's great on a cold winter morning much like this.  The porridge is boiled down until thick paste is formed.  It's easy to digest and has a lot of nutrients from ginger.  A perfect dish for sick days or curing a late night hangover.  

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked rice (if you have left over rice, or you can soak 1/2 cup rice for an hour)
500 ml water
250 ml stock
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green onions
30 ml grated ginger
1 or 2 eggs
1 pack of salted seaweed
a dash of fish sauce
a pinch of salt
white ground pepper to taste

Preparation:
In a large pot, add rice to boiling water.  Keep boiling rice in water and slowly add in stock.  You can also add chicken, fish, pork, shrimp, or whatever type of meat to the congee.  Once the meat is cooked, then, add chopped green onions, shiitake mushrooms and ginger.  Crack in the egg and stir.  After few minutes, reduce heat to low and let simmer before adding chopped seaweed.  Stir frequently until the congee is thickened and turn off heat.  Season with fish sauce, salt, and white ground pepper.  

To add more flavours, garnish fried onions, kimchi and extra crispy seaweed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bouchon Yountville

Following the Micheline Guide for San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country, we visited the recipient for 2011, Bouchon restaurant in Yountville.  Thomas Keller created Bouchon as a traditional Parisian bistro, a more casual version from the French Laundry.  With two other locations in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, Bouchon offers French classics as well as a raw bar.  
  
As we walked in the restaurant, it was lively, crowded and noisy.   It was much too hectic and we were asked to choose between squeezing cheek to cheek at the bar, or burn in the sun outside on the patio.  I decided to sit out on the patio and bask in the sun instead.  The weather was nice, it was more calm and serene.  I couldn't help but admire the beauty of fall foliage coupled with a nice sunny weather.  


The house made French knots were served with fresh butter.  The knots were served warm with chewy doughy inside.  The crust was still pretty hard to bite into.  

The soup of the day was sunchoke soup.  It was fresh though there wasn't much flavour.  It was thick and creamy on its own and became too heavy with the added creme fraiche.  It wasn't so bad after I dunked the French knots in the soup and let them bathe in the bowl.  The bread soaked up the creamy soup quite nicely.


The beef tongue salad was quite delightful and turned out to be more pleasant than I imagined.   Tender thin slices of beef tongue with added crisp had executed flavours.  There were sweetness from beets, tart from berries, and fluffy creme fraiche.  It was a fairly sophisticated dish and I didn't feel like I was eating beef tongue.

 
The roasted lamb leg with lamb jus was a rustic dish.  For medium rare, the lamb a bit over-cooked, and quite bland.  The jus has a concentrated onion flavour, but it could've been more rich with lamb flavour.  It was a dish that had so much potential, but didn't go very far. 

I was a bit disappointed with the soup and entree as they were only mediocre, and the fact that the most impressive dish was the salad.  It was good, but not great enough to book one month in advance or obsess over.  In my opinion, you can find much better value with comparable quality and at lower price elsewhere.  

$$$


Bouchon on Urbanspoon