For too many reasons, I’m unable to fall asleep… and despite having now caught up on my magazine subscriptions, I find myself even more energized than before. So I blog.
1. Dana Cowan, editor of F+W has been through my hometown of Kansas City lately and noted both Cassis (for their Boursin-stuffed tomatoes) and The Ten Cup, a breakfasty-lunch cafe where 10% of the proceeds go to charity.
2. The annual Avocado Festival is about to take place in Carpenteria, California (October 6-8). I missed it both years when I lived in Los Angeles, but by all reports from friends, the avocado ice cream was worth the trip alone.
3. Saveur features Lawrence, Kansas in a piece called “5 Food Towns.” Among others, it mentions Tortas Jalesco [sic: should be Jalisco], Free State Brewing Co., and Pachamamas (clearly they missed, or chose to disregard, Lauren Chapin’s less-than enthusiastic review. But, we all here in Kansas City know what her opinion’s good for…).
4. Gourmet tells me that the top 50 restaurants in the U.S. (issued bi-decade) is topped by Alinea. I say hooey – over-rated. Neither of my two meals (see here and here) there were anything to rave about. Novel? Without a doubt. Creative? Yep. Gorgeously presented food? Absolutely. Tasty? Spotty. Poor service? Unfortunately. Expensive? $175 for 24 courses – you decide. No. 1 in the country? Not in my book. I find it interesting that Homaro Cantu, chef at Moto (see my meal here) is on the cover of the issue, but doesn’t make it on the list. I’ve been to 10 on this year’s list: Alinea (#1), Chez Panisse (#2), The French Laundry (#3), Per Se (#3), Alan Wong’s (#8), Daniel (#9), Le Bernardin (#10), Charlie Trotter’s (#13), Jean Georges (#27), and Manresa (#42) – 11 if you count my tuna burger on the patio at Michel Richard Citronelle (#12). Surprisingly, I had been to just as many restaurants on the previous 2001 list – which included Topolobompo (#20), Kinkead’s (#27), Tribute (#31), and blackbird (#33) – more if you count my tuna burger on the patio at Michel Richard Citronelle (#18). As many have noted, and I agree – rankings/lists like this one is all about marketing. But, I’ll admit, it’s fun to see who the media are doting on now.
5. “Strip Stakes” in Gourmet is a revealing look into the by-invitation only restaurants for the extremely high rollers (called “whales”) in Las Vegas hotels. Dropping millions in slot machines and black jack/poker tables will get into The Paiza Club (named after the golden tablet that Kubla Khan presented to Marco Polo to enable him to pass through China freely) at the Venetian – an extremely high-end Chinese restaurant that serves everything from steamed rock cod taken live from tanks, to $5,000 bottles of Cognac served in Baccarat cystal decanters. At the MGM Grand, whales are invited to The Mansion, where Hui Pui Wing (one of the most celebrated chefs from China) perpares whelk in sesame butter, chicken wings stuffed with shark’s fin, and bamboo fungus stuffed with bird’s nest. Here, Peking duck is called “The Winged Goddess of Victory” – now how’s that for Chino-Greco fusion?!?!? *LOL* To be sure, these are tables that I’ll never get to eat at – but the food sounds amazing.
6. Lastly, recipes I want to try: Warm black Mission fig, walnut crunch, and blue cheese tartlets (Bon Appetit p. 194); Truffled toast with radicchio and egg (Gourmet p. 16); Espresso Sambuca tapioca pudding (Gourmet p. 246); despite my aversion to cheesecake, Mini cheesecakes with wine gelees (F+W p. 255); The Modern’s Chef Gabriel Kreuther’s Olive oil-poached salmon with horseradish broth (F+W p. 243); Fresh corn souffle with bacon and Comte (F+W p. 218); Beet and goat cheese “ravioli” (F+W p. 238); and “Shit on a Shingle” (Saveur p. 20). I’ll leave that last one up to your own imaginations…
I’m still not sleepy. Oi – tomorrow’s (er, today’s) going to be a very long day….