Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gala Parfait: Cruising the Cheese Highway

On the Table Set podcast this week, Greg and I get our single on and help Andy brainstorm non-lame ways for parties of one to socialize in today's isolating, media-driven world.

Two words: FOOD PARTY! (duh.)

With interactive subjects like cheese and wine tasting (or even rooftop crustacean cracking), breaking the ice is a breeze. We also get spoiled by a special guest, Barrie Lynn the Cheese Impresario who takes us on a curated cruise down the CHEESE HIGHWAY.

Listen to The Table Set: Single Mingle in the City

And try Barrie Lynn's mouth-watering dessert recommendation below! SUPERCHARGE.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Croquer: Salt's Cure

I'm still pretty iffy when it comes to Twitter.
I mean, I tweet... it's just not my forté as far as communication goes. I guess I'm getting the hang of it. "Meeting" some folks and networking a bit. I've definitely never been asked out on Twitter - or have I?
Following Foodbuzz Fest the little bird did deliver one proposition... a tweet from the baking blog goddess Joy the Baker herself:
@windattack @chocomeat i think the three of us should get dinner. there... i said it.
Naturally the Wind Attack and I were down for food fun. But where would our trifecta of particular tastefulness agree on meeting?
Salt's Cure, of course.
It was a happenin' night at the restaurant, a spare, open-kitchen West Hollywood storefront seemingly operating on word of mouth (no signage then). The bar around the exhibition kitchen was lined with pickle jars and twenty-somethings, the high ceiling collecting the room's jabber and sending it back down in garbled echoes. Joy the Baker was fashionably late and looked smashing. Met by candlelight, the three of us smiled cordially (not unlike a good first date), reviewed the bottle list and got acquainted.
Our server helped us select the 2005 Benjamin Silver Syrah. Round, sexy, bold fruit makes this a lovely food wine, but also just a great WINE wine.
Salt's Cure is a glorified butcher shop, so of course charcuterie is the way to go. We started with the pickle plate and built up a board from there. The house-pickled selection included cabbage, cucumber, watermelon, tomato, and jalapeño.
The three cheeses braced by almonds, dates, and honey were the always winning Red Hawk (cow), Camellia (goat), and Stout Cow (raw cow).
We couldn't resist the sultry duck ham. Who knew prosciutto could get more luxe?!
An order of cured lamb shoulder followed the cheeseboard, resting on thinly sliced apples. Delicious.
We split two entrees, snagging the last Lemon Snapper per our server's strong suggestion. What a sublime dish! The fish was juicy and tender, bites melting like creamy lemon-zested butter pats. Atop a mound of wilted kale, fried lemon peel and crisp potato sheers, the dish was a triumph of simplicity. It was unaminous - we were in love.
How long could we ignore the other, more fragrant plate on the table? One taste of the Chili Braised Pork-N-Grits and I was smiling. Akin to a REALLY GOOD tamale, the marriage of steamy corn meal product and luscious fork-hugging pork was -as always- simply trouble. We tried to be polite, but crossed utensils more than once over this dish.
Dessert. First out was a Dulce de Leche Semifreddo, or, an experiment in monochromy. Maybe it was the wine, or the lingering pleasure of the entrees, but I don't recall this one blowing me away (yet I do remember the fresh boiled peanuts on top, which were salty good times).
The other dessert, a Sticky Walnut Heirloom Pumpkin Cake was more favorable, if not suffering from an identity crisis. Pumpkin pie? Sticky toffee woohoo? Cake?? Whatever the genetic makeup, it was a toothsome end to an impressive display from Salt's Cure - A very welcome LA addition, especially in a neighborhood known for... Well, I think there's an Astro Burger close-by?
7494 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046; 323.850.SALT
Salt's Cure in Los Angeles on Fooddigger
Salt's Cure on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gala Parfait: Grilling Cheese

Grilled cheese.
I'll admit, over the years the union of gooey cheese and crusty pan fried bread has strayed a bit from the polestar of my culinary interest. But sometimes it just takes one night to remember.. A taste of the glory days to bring it all flooding back. Thanks to Andy (@windattack) and a vision, my passion for crispy dairy+carb sandwiches is renewed.
A late addition to this coursed haute potluck conjured up by a posse of bloggers, I was invited when Esi (@dishingdelights) canceled, joining Anna (@bananawonder), Connie (@conbon) and H.C. (@LAOCfoodie) one cold and windy night, under the congenial care of chef @windattack. The design: For each blogger to create an impressive take on grilled cheese, and pair it with a suitable adult beverage.
The inspiration for @windattack's first course - The Roadhouse rye bread from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Roadhouse bread is an early American recipe combining rye flour and cornmeal with wheat, plus a touch of sweetness from the inclusion of dark molasses.
Filling the slices of chewy rye, sauteed local chanterelle mushrooms and minced capers with taleggio and cave-aged gruyère cheeses.
With a dash of honey on the plate (wouldn't be @windattack without the honey!), course one was raucously successful - sharp, tangy, buttery and robust! 
Since I didn't have time to conceive and prepare a dish, I contributed the pairing for this sandwich, selected with the aid of Jill at DomaineLA. The Domaine du Manoir de Montreuil Cambremer Cidre (cider) from the Pays d'Auge region of Normandy (an appellation contrôlée for cider and calvados) carried aromas of tart apple skins on the head, substantial body sweet with ripe fruit, followed by a surprisingly dry finish. A good pair that could have only been improved perhaps with a touch more funkiness.
@bananawonder presenting her homemade olive oil tsoureki, the star of course two.
Generally, @bananawonder's Greek Grilled Cheese features kefalograviera cheese (a salty, hard sheep milk cheese) and preserved quince on her olive oil tsoureki. But tonight, she confessed, we would know manchego in lieu of the less readily available kefalograviera. But I might not have noticed, the crumbly, light as air tsoureki capturing my full attention, delicately enhanced by the jewels of quince and melty binding.
@conbon and @LAOCfoodie taking a breather.
For @windattack's next course, he too went ethnic and "one-upped Ludo." Inspired by the vadovan naan that opened Ludobites 5.0, @windattack spiked his naan dough with sauteed leeks, cumin seeds, vadovan curry powder and chopped garlic - then used this as the base for his Indian adaptation of the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup. The cheese was fresh homemade paneer, marinated in a cilantro-mint-ginger-garlic yogurt-based sauce for 24 hours. In place of tomato soup, an addictive homemade masala sauce. The naan was slathered with salted coconut butter, filled with the grilled paneer and onions, served with the masala on the side. And a tasting spoon of salted coconut butter - because it was too good not to enjoy on its own! 
@windattack paired his sandwich with Maui Brewing Company’s Coconut Porter, lightly echoing the nutty nuances of the dish.
Crazy good.
By now, it was hard to deny - We were getting full. So while slowly beginning to prepare his dessert grilled cheese, @LAOCfoodie mixed up his paired cocktail for us to sip on first while we rested. The tart Granny Smith Fizz made with homemade granny smith apple syrup and sparkling wine was a hit - and the refreshing tonic our tummies needed.
For his offering @LAOCfoodie melted mascarpone with fresh blackberries, mesquite honey and black currant jam on honey whole wheat Panera bread. The sweet smells from the kitchen made me down a couple glasses of water, desperately trying to find the appetite for this treat!
Gorgeous, and delectable.
Naturally, dinner was followed with a bow tying demonstration by @windattack. And droopy eyelids. The wind howled outside and Granny Smith Fizzes were sipped, the kitchen now quiet. Cameras and phones were set aside. Documentation ceased. The bloggers were sated, and in place of bread and cheese we shared some laughs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Croquer: Mercantile

A perfect brunch is the quickest way to my heart. Despite my intense love for Los Angeles, there has always been a fallow pocket in said heart awaiting its unrequited. Many have come close, but after living in Portland where brunch is quite literally sanctified, I will be the first to admit how high my standards are. Enter the modest and saintly Mercantile. Quietly it entered the scene some months ago tucked in an offbeat stretch of Sunset not used to the weekend brunch crowd. Which immediately made me like it. Still rarely overcrowded, Mercantile offers an extremely level-headed, approachable, and knowledgeable staff, a casual no-frills setting, yet incredibly high end food. It is something this city has been begging for, and I'm praying it continues to deliver.
Serving double as a marketplace, Mercantile has a stocked cheese case, shelves of condiments, affordable hard-to-find house-packed spices, Dolin Vermouth (the best), imported oils and vinegars, and a sinful display of daily homemade doughnuts, 'oreos', canneles, other breakfast goodies and gorgeous desserts.
Once seated in the main market space, lofted dining room, patio or bar, a clipboard displays their brunch menu and all its country comfort glory. If it's a hair of the dog morning, Mercantile makes a mean housemade bloody mary served in a frosty mason jar. Of course there's always a mimosa, but for a twist try their French 75, gin blended with lemon, lime, and orange zest, a splash of juice from each, and topped with sparkling wine.
My first bite at Mercantile was the Chilaquiles (always a defining breakfast dish), theirs made with a pumpkin seed chile sauce, topped with cotija and a sunny side up eggs. A robust, crispy take on the dish, perfectly cooked eggs bolstering a thumbs up.
To share at the table, the Ginger Snap Pancakes with vanilla soaked prunes, mascarpone & almonds. What sounds saccharine is actually quite spicy and refined, a trace of syrup on the plate the only truly sweet component. Recommended for those tempted by breakfast's sweet side, but easily overwhelmed by sugar.
The winner of the first visit was the genius Southern Benedict, poached eggs atop corn meal cakes, a hearty crab-tasso ham ragout, mustard greens, and a purely evil Tabasco hollandaise! Spicy, crabby and decadent.. a veritable Louisiana hangover helper.

Other winners I've had since (oh yes, I've been back) include the Duck Confit Hash with sunny-side up egg, sweet potato, wild arugula, candied black walnut, caramelized onion and mustard. But my favorite dish to date is the Maple Glazed Pork Belly. Quite the "it" dish lately, this pork belly stands apart as probably the best I've ever had, tender and smoky with a kiss of woody sweetness, served over white grits, topped with scallions, and sunny side up egg, and drizzled with a fine maple reduction. Magnifique!

Do yourself a favor this weekend and enter Mercantile's warm embrace.

6600 West Sunset Blvd. Hollywood; 323.962.8202
The Mercantile on Urbanspoon