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>formaggi di bufala, Campania

(Moved from Feb 11, 2008)

A fussy lot, these Campanian water buffaloes.
No, they refuse to live on cold miserable boglands, no, never in foglands, loglands, not even on heather-strewn English moorlands.

If it had to be marshlands, it had to be in Italy, preferably not too far from the lovely Amalfi Coast. Think nice old ladies. No, they wouldn't fancy biking down to Salerno, but yes, they do adore its sunny and mild Mediterranean climate.

You wouldn't find these content bovine mammals singing happy cow tunes, but you just might catch them belting out O Sole Mio.

***Composed Cheese Plates, served with warm cranberry nut bread, fig marmelata and honey, L'Impero Restaurant, NY

Ricotta di Bufala, (Buffalo's Milk) Campania
Ficaccia (Buffalo's Milk) Campania

Tomino di Vinaccia (Buffalo's Milk) Campania
Nostrale d'Elva (Cow's Milk) Piemonte
Caprea (Goat's Milk) Campania
Robiola di Teresina (Goat's Milk) Piemonte
Pecorino Cinerino (Sheep's Milk) Campania

Blu di Valle d'Elva (Cow's Milk) Piemonte


>jiapeng -> chanpon -> champong

(Moved from Jan 14, 2008)

Why agitate for culinary fission?

Let's just celebrate the beautifully willful cultural transcendence, a.k.a. hodgepodge.
Once upon a time, a resourceful restaurant owner created a hotchpotch (no, not le hochepot) of a dish for Chinese students studying in Japan, and named it "Nagasaki chanpon" (長崎ちゃんぽん) after
Hokkien (Fujianese) "jiak peng" (吃飯) which means "eat a meal".Fast forward. Many generations later, informed noodle lovers in Los Angeles go after champong (짬뽕), a positively fiery hotchpot made popular by Chinese immigrants to Korea now running restaurants in L.A.'s Koreatown.
"Chanpon is a Japanese word meaning a mixture of disparate things. One common usage is in 'Nagasaki chanpon' which is a noodle dish developed in the international port city of Nagasaki, where a mixture of ingredients (fish, vegetable, and meat) is tossed together as a topping. Among the international community in Tokyo, the word chanpon is used to describe the blending of Japanese and English (as in 'it’s so oishii ne.'), distinct from more mainstream forms of bilingualism which involve switching between one or the other language." - The Momoko Ito FoundationThis seafood dish with such hybrid identities hails from a place which, sadly, becomes the epicenter of the bomb explosion. Now the home of Nagasaki Peace Park, this city had cooked up a veritable ancient fusion of a dish, certainly not the atomic kind.

Of course, it is possible the word chanpon came from the Malay word campur, to mix. Why not a fusion of both sources? A convergence.

>春子鯛 kasugodai, young seabream vs. 血鯛 chidai, crimson seabream

(Moved from March 12, 2010)

Talk about ephemeral.

Fish equivalent of young spring chicken, likened to cherry blossom, pink-tinged kasugodai (or sakuradai) the young sea bream/snapper is only available in spring (March/April).

kasugo (春子 "spring child") + tai (鯛) = kasugodai (春子鯛)
sakura (桜 "cherry blossom") + tai (鯛) = sakuradai (桜鯛)

Incidentally, fully grown crimson seabream, Evynnis japonica, chidai (血鯛, チダイ, ちだい, "blood tai"), stays relatively small, and can also be called kasugodai. This pink and bright red beauty resembles madai but doesn't grow as big. So popular, she goes by numerous names. Hanadai (花鯛, ハナダイ, はなだい, "flower" tai), dekodai (デコ鯛 , デコダイ, でこだい, "forehead" tai), hidai (ヒダイ), chikodai (血子鯛, チコダイ, ちこだい)...
Grocery Trekker, not a fish expert, can't possibly attempt to cover all the bream and porgy varieties here. See for yourself in this Wikipedia page. Scroll down to "主な「鯛」", and that just covers main (主な) tai (鯛). But we hope to bring you more when we happen to notice them on restaurant menus here in America.

>matodai, the star of International Fish of Mystery?

(Moved from Mar 12, 2007)

Another tai. But this punk has already made a name, or two, for himself.

Meet matodai a.k.a. Mr. John Dory a.k.a. Saint Pierre,
born Zeus faber Linnaeus. The fish darling du jour, he is a marked fish.

Mato (mark, target) + tai = matodai. See the evil eye?

>Grilled John Dory with garden lettuces and Champagne sauce - Chez Panisse, Berkeley, CA

>Sauteed John Dory, tomato marmalade, fingerling potatoes, and nicoise olive vinaigrette - The Conservatory Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, CA

>Matodai nigiri - Blowfish Sushi, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand
>St. Pierre fish with laurel and fresh fennel - Amadeus, Almancil, Portugal
(He makes occasional appearances as matoudai or matoodai as well...)

Picture courtesy of

>chatty bistro menu at Chez Papa Resto

(Moved from April 4, 2008)

A beautiful San Francisco night at the newly happening downtown Chez Papa Resto. A bereted chubster holding a red wine glass winks at you. A cartoon drawing at the top of Chez Papa's sensible dinner menu, that is. It comes with a ratatouille side, too, of course. Cute.
You can order "Jessie is in Cuba" cocktail made with Rum Toucano, Chambord, fresh fruit juices and soda. Under it is a perky comment, "....Still!!!!! We are jealous!"
Papa Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Dadaists, even the 5th street zombies make cocktail contributions.
Pastis "will be served the traditional French way. Water and a few ice cubes on the side. We suggest a ratio of 1 to 5. Ask for a "Tomate" (pastis and grenadine) or a "Perroquet" (with mint) or "Mauresque" (almond syrup)". Why, thank you, papa. I go for the red tomato, not my usual choice of plain old pastis. Our bubbly server from Marseille beams.

Under Valrhona chocolate fondant you find our papa exclaiming "of course, a cognac!... or a port!"

When it comes to cheese, "wine pairing becomes more and more subjective". (You think, papa?) "For example, Sauternes, hearty red wine, Calvados, Sancerre could all stand up to some cheeses. One well accepted rule is to marry products from a same terroir i.e. Loire cheese, Loire wine. We leave other rules with you... to be broken. Enjoy!"

How genial. It feels warm, stylishly casual, and welcoming. And talky, like my own papa.

--photos by Sharon Hahn Darlin

>kebab кебаб and meatballs тефтели

(Moved from Feb 25, 2009)

I am surprised by the paucity of online Russian-English food glossary, in Cyrillic.

Since you enjoyed my foray into the menu of CHEBURECHNAYA (ЧЕБУРЕЧНАЯ), I will contribute just a few more items. The restaurant menu, by the way, comes with a handy calorie guide next to each dish, which I've added here as well, just for fun.

Meatballs Тефтели 452.5
Chicken breast Куриная грудка 232.5
(Lamb) Lulya kebab Люля кебаб 340.2
Lamb chops Баранина отбивная 399.7
Lamb testicles Бараньи яички 260
Veal feet soup Хаш 336.2
Veal heart Телячье сердце 263.7
Beef sweetbread Говяжья железа 245.2

Home-made sausage (not Колбаса) Домашняя сосиска 428.7
Lamb fat Бараний жир 664.5

Too many calories? Black tea (черный чай) and green tea (зеленый чай) are both listed as having 0 calories. Ура!

>chebureki чебуреки and samcy самсы

(Moved from Feb 6, 2009)

This kosher Uzbek restaurant in Rego Park doesn't really want you to know its name. Why else would they call it CHEBURECHNAYA (ЧЕБУРЕЧНАЯ)? "You speak our language, or else..."

This mouthful could be a test to see if we can handle their macabre menu. Yes, to see if we are indeed serious about veal feet soup ("hash", хаш) and lamb testicles (бараньи яички). Unfazed, we just might ponder lamb heart (баранье сердце) or veal heart (телячье сердце). Can we stomach fried beef brains (жаренные говяжьи мозги)? Wash all that down with some Tarhun (Тархун) flavored with woodruff? Or we might prefer a bit of Dushes (Дюшес)?
It's not as scary as it first seems, and it's good to find out that lagman ("ramen"/"拉麺", лагман) and morkovcha (морковка) are as reassuring as hot pea soup (гороховый суп) and borscht (борщ).(Their menu doesn't seem to like the letter "u"; pumpkin is sometimes spelled "pampkin" and mushroom becomes "mashroom".)Assorted dumplings, chebureki (чебуреки) and samcy (самсы) "dough products", are filled with meat, vegetables, potatoes or ... ribs.Time to open a bottle or two of Zhigulevskoe (Жигулевское) beer or Borxhomi (Боржоми), and partake of trubochki (трубочки), kholodets (холодец), achikchuk (ачикчук) , matbuha (матбуха, or Hebrew מטבוחה), kartoshka (картошка a.k.a. potato), or of course, pelmeni (пельмени). Chak chak (чак чак) or lavz (лавз) for dessert.

This is serious stuff. No mere bacon sausage, if you know what I mean.

>A good egg

(Moved from February 9, 2007) 

Have you ever measured the size of that extra large egg in your fridge? I keep forgetting how little an ordinary hen’s egg can be.

Minimalist Manresa appropriately chose an ordinary farm fresh egg to express the chef's taste and artistry, also an homage to Alain Passard's chaud-froid d'oeuf fermier, sirop d'erable.

The EGG is an ambitious concept. This deceptively simple little soft-boiled egg with the top lopped off (the 4th amuse bouche) attempts to represent almost every facet of our contrasting flavor sensations.

Sweet represented by maple syrup,
Sour represented by sherry vinegar,
Salt sprinkled on top,

Savory soft yolk 

Texture contrast between the salt and the whipped cream top.
Cooked on the outside, raw on the inside,
I did taste a bit of pleasant bitterness as well,
And yes, the egg was delivered hot and cold at the same time.

As the casually Californian yet conceptually operatic dinner drew to a close, Luca the waiter drew a big circle in the air with his two index fingers, joining the imaginary mignardises - olive madeleine and pepper “gumdrop” gelee offered at the beginning of the meal and the chocolate madeleine and strawberry “gumdrop” gelee at the end.

It all ties together.
A good way to sum it up, in an eggshell.

>(Tamil Nadu) idli vs. (Czech) knedlík

(Moved from Feb 24, 2009)

Last weekend, I was invited to Fremont, California, to a cozy home of relatively recent Indian immigrants. Realizing that it was one of those little apartments so immaculate you would be truly ashamed of not taking your shoes off, I fretted having chosen to wear ensemble high heels. If I knew I would be treading in bare feet, I'd have worn something else... (yes, it's silly, but just try being me. I know, you wouldn't want to.)

On their buffet table were too-pretty-to-eat little jewels of Indian snacks, samosas and chaats.

The hosts later brought out something somewhat unexpected at a Hindi-speaking home. Idlis. Oooh. I had forgotten about idlis.

My first experience of Indian food was Tamil, since Singaporean Indians are mostly from Tamil Nadu, South India.
Ellapugazhum Iraivanukee (as the Oscar winner Allah Rakha Rahman exclaimed at the Awards), Tamil sambar/sambhar and rasam are delicious.
An idli or idly is a Tamil staple. At first glance, they resemble perfectly round sugar cookies. Then you realize these are not desserts. Soft spongy bland cakes made of lentil and rice flour, you place a couple of these in a bowl and add gravy and chutneys of your own choosing.
Jump to another continent, to another country I love, Czech Republic.

Tamil spongy bread's texture is strangely reminiscent of Czech dumplings. Not as pretty, perhaps, and bigger than idlis, I never got tired of dousing gravy on my doughy (potato) dumplings in Prague. Gloppy mess or not, knedlíki, too, were delicious.

There are other steamed cakes, of course. What are your favorites?

>poblano and guajillo

(Moved from Oct 24, 2007)

I came across a most remarkable dish at Topolobampo in Chicago.
As my sister put it, my face lit up like the "Ratatouille mouse". I suppose the "mouse" had a moment, too, but it was the critic's Proustian moment I recall more vividly. Yes, it was that good.

(It was great to see my sister chatting with the Portuguese waiter in her limited Portu... well, Spanish.)
There it was, the second course in my tasting menu, named "Celebration Menu". It was a rather simple looking tomato and mushroom soup, but oh, my. It was paired with 2006 St. Hallet "Poacher's Blend", Barossa Valley, Australia, which was good, but forget the wine!

*Consomé de Jitomate y Hongos: Rich consommé of roasted tomatoes and cilantro with poblano and porcini mushroom flan and brioche croutons.

The dark consommé (sorry, consomé here) had decadent flavors of roasted vegetables and mushrooms, nary a drop of fat, and I was truly sorry I couldn't have the flan and eat it too. Now, if this dish doesn't make one want to experiment with poblano chili peppers...
1) Carnitas Dos Estilos
Flaky-pastry empanada filled with pork carnitas, pork belly slow-cooked carnitas style, with Yucatecan tomato salad, paired with 2006 Knappstein Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia

2) *mentioned above

3) Langosta en Calabaza al Ancho

Pan-roasted Maine lobster stuffed with delicata "chilaquiles" in Tracey's organic delicata squash sauce, ancho chiles and sweet garlic, paired with 2005 Luca Syrah, Altos De Mendoza, Argentina.

4) Borrego en Salsa de Pera y Guajillo

Chile-marinated, roasted Elisian Fields rack of lamb, guajillo chile sauce, bacon-scented potato-apple torta and jicama salsa, paired with 2003 Graziano Kazmet Vineyard Zinfandel, Mendocino County, California.
Another revelation. The pear-infused red guajillo chile sauce had all the sweetness and heat you would hope for.

5) Trio de Suenos

Upside-down caramelized pineapple tart, black and white chocolate cream cake with pumpkinseed-olive caramel crunch, lime-infused custard with apple shaved ice and raspberry "broth", paired with 2003 Capcanes Pansal Del Calas, Montsant, Spain.

<--a amuse="" bouche="" hefty="" span="">

A little something after the meal -->

It's about time you visited Chicago - for just the spice you needed.
(Here are the other tasting menus. "Seafood Menu," "Mole Menu.")
Update: President Obama celebrated here at Topolobampo restaurant with this Celebration tasting menu just before he was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

>turkey rice with peas and carrots, chez Quarter Meals Soup Kitchen

(Moved from August 4, 2009) 

A tall, bright-eyed pretty woman named Maria with a young Debra Winger vibe has found time to volunteer at this Berkeley soup kitchen for years. She's a firefighter serving at Oakland station 17. She handles her slotted spoon deftly, plops onto paper plates a generous scoop of fluffy rice with bits of meat in it, plus a scoop of peas and carrots. Today is my first day of volunteering. I am assigned the job of handing the plates to the steady stream of people coming in. Two college kids (?) serve at the salad/fruit/bread table. Surprising facts:1) Almost all of the diners are men.
2) Yes, there are creatively carved ponchos and torn ski jackets with down sticking out, but many are actually dressed well. Some are dressed like office workers.
3) This soup kitchen starts serving around 4, wraps up by 5. (In my imagination, dinner is served around 7.)
4) Berkeley Food and Housing Project, which runs this "Quarter Meals" soup kitchen program at Trinity United Methodist Church on Bancroft, is short on money. They only serve hot meals Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and bagged lunches Thursdays and Fridays.
5) They don't cook the meals in their own kitchen. Food comes prepared from another soup kitchen. They used to cook here, when their kitchen hood worked.
6) A considerable number of the diners are vegetarians. Today's menu was; turkey rice, boiled peas & carrots, plain rice, salad, pears, bread.
Alas, I didn't get to sample the food. Looked good!

photos by Sharon Hahn Darlin

>meatball pasta, peas and green beans, day 2 at Quarter Meals Soup Kitchen

(Moved from August 6, 2009)

Yesterday was Day 2 at Quarter Meals, Trinity United Methodist Church. (Day 1 report here.)

I feel like I've already become a seasoned volunteer. No one tells me what to do, but I know to take plastic flowers out of the pantry, place one on each table. I see new faces in the kitchen. Spider, the manager, is tossing the salad ingredients into a large plastic bin, also the "serving bowl." Again, my job is to greet the diners with a smile,
hand over platefuls of pasta and beans, a cup of water. Well, no one tells me to smile, but I figure smiles can't hurt.There are fewer diners compared to Tuesday. I ask Spider why that is. "Money management." "?" "Well, when they get their check, they go buy food for themselves, when they should come and get free food here. Bad money management." I nod. "When do they get their check?" "Well, some get it on the 1st of the month, some a little later." I ask about the absence of women diners here. "They cook better food at the Women's Shelter on Dwight. They have no reasons to leave."Not surprisingly, I recognize quite a few repeat visitors. Most are dressed the same as Tuesday. A kid I haven't seen before places his plate and water on his skateboard.

People line up for second helpings. A "first timer" gets priority. Some don't eat vegetables, some only eat vegetables. Dinner is over before you know it. I step out before 5 pm.
A beautiful
sunny day in Berkeley.

>secret of the Hainanese chicken rice

(Moved from December 8, 2006)

First, here's the outline of the ***secret*** recipe of the proper Singaporean Hainanese chicken rice.

Bring a big pot of chicken stock to a boil. (~212F) Don't add any salt or seasoning. Turn off the heat, lay a 3-pound whole chicken (or just chicken breast if you want) in the stock, and cover the pan. After about 15 minutes (or until the stock cools to about 130F) plunge the chicken in ice bath to stop cooking it. Bring the stock back (close) to boil, while the chicken sits and waits. Repeat the process for a total of about 40 minutes steeping time (there IS a mathematical formula for each different volume or thickness - a fascinating topic.)

Cut it up, Enjoy with chili ginger sauce, cucumbers, rice cooked in chicken stock, and a simply seasoned broth made with the remaining stock.

Q: The temperature seems awfully low, considering we bring it up to something like 375F for oven roasting.

A: Once the chicken is exposed to the initially boiling water, the surface bacteria are destroyed.
Then it is cooked at an average of 180F, which is exactly the internal temperature we want to achieve (check your meat thermometer). It could be a lot lower, but overcompensate so you don't scare cautious American cooks.

Q: Steeping it below boiling temperature does sound dangerous. Will it cook through in 40 minutes at only half the temperature of oven roasting?

A: You are basically equalizing the water temperature and the meat temperature. Water is a much more effective heat transmitter as opposed to hot oven air - many many more molecules at work in a dense medium.
If you happen to have a cooker that can keep the water temperature constant at 140F - 180F, that'll do, too, but make sure you kill the bacteria.

Q: Why does it taste better?

A: The ideal texture of some meat, poultry or fish is achieved by cooking it at around 140F within the ideal cooking time window (when it's just cooked through). Overcooked chicken is just about the worst thing, yet most people are used to it.
Adding salt to the broth raises the boiling temperature, and that's not ideal. Boiling temperature of water is just a marker, like a $100 bill. It doesn't mean anything to the chicken!

image from taken by pat2bach at Chatterbox, hotel Meritus Mandarin, Singapore

Q and A by Sharon Hahn Darlin

>twice cooked pork

(Moved from December 11, 2006)

Some cooks really knew what they were doing.

They long ago figured out the best scientific method possible for cooking a chunk of meat.

The reasons Chinese (Sichuan) twice cooked pork, hui guo rou, makes so much sense;

1) The most tender meat results from being cooked (see Hainanese chicken) in water (ideal temperature as low as 160F - 180F) for effective heat transfer and to prevent drying out. The meat has to stop cooking at the point when the center is barely cooked through, still slightly pink, which takes a lot less time than you think - matter of minutes, not hours. We are not making English boiled pork here.

2) What's missing here is the flavor we like so much when we normally grill or sear the meat - the surface browning ("Maillard reaction") and caramelization. So the Chinese chopped up the barely cooked, juicy, tender, easy-to-cut meat into matchstick strips, covered them with marinade, and gave the now enormous total surface area a brief but intense hot wok searing action.

Whatever seasoning you add to enhance the dish seems only incidental.


>shallow pickle 浅漬け, sticky pickle べったら漬, rice bran pickle 糠漬け, lucky gods pickle 福神漬...

(Moved from March 19, 2010)

Pickles! So many varieties of pickles are popping up in American menus. And yes, there's so much we have yet to come across. It's high time we learned all about the fascinating world of these side dishes and condiments, before we eventually spot them on our menus.

Let's start with the word "tsuke" in tsukemono
(漬物, pickles). Grocery Trekker has chosen the list from our friendly Wikipedia's list of pickles with the word "-tsuke" (漬/漬け) in it. (The word becomes "-zuke" when something comes before it). Grocery Trekker has PAINSTAKINGLY added the meaning. (PHEW!)

浅漬け = asa + tsuke = shallow pickle
Bettarazuke べったら漬 = bettara + tsuke = sticky pickle (it comes from べとべと betobeto, "sticky")
福神漬 = fukujin + tsuke = lucky gods pickle
Kasuzuke 粕漬け
= kasu + tsuke = sake lees pickle
からし漬け = karashi + tsuke = mustard pickle
Matsumaezuke 松前漬け = Matsumae + tsuke = pickles from Matsumae, Hokkaido
Narazuke 奈良漬け = Nara + tsuke = pickles from Nara
糠漬け = nuka + tsuke = rice bran pickle
Senmaizuke 千枚漬け = 1000 + mai + tsuke = thousand leaves pickle
Shibazuke 紫葉漬け(柴漬) = shiba + tsuke = purple leaf pickle
Wasabizuke 山葵漬け = wasabi + tsuke = "horseradish" pickle
Rakkyōzuke 辣韮漬け = rakkyo + tsuke = rakkyo onion pickle

And so many more. Let's all get in a pickle. Shall we?

>crosnes at Per Se

(Moved from Mar 19, 2007)

I am “looking forward” to “deconstructing” Per Se’s heavily “quotation-marked” menu, “course by course”.

Yesterday, I chose their nine-course Tasting of Vegetables option. I got to sample the nine-course Chef’s Tasting Menu as well. (Wine: one generous glass of Chateau d’Armailhac Pauillac lasted through the meal.)

Would you like a quick verdict now? It was a solidly executed dinner in a pleasant dining room with a wonderful view of Central Park and Upper East Side buildings. The service was well choreographed yet it felt charmingly casual. The staff looked happy to be working there – they all smiled sweetly, always ready to show off a joke. When I bumped my shoe against the chunky table leg (hidden behind layers of fabric skirting the table) the server remarked, “You found our drum!” I found this quite delightful. Was the staff knowledgeable? Yes, but they didn’t know certain details about the dishes - they misidentified a few ingredients. They did go back to check and came back with correct answers. The menu changes daily, so it must be hard to keep up with everything. Details later…

Were the vegetables better than, say, Manresa’s? Surprisingly, (perhaps unsurprisingly?) no. As good as the fare at their older cousin, the French Laundry? No. I almost didn’t make it to New York last Friday when JetBlue canceled their flights due to weather. (How did I get to New York on Friday, then?? Magic!) Some New York streets were hardly passable. Perhaps some of their vegetables didn’t make it? Wait, by Sunday it should have been just fine – it was a relatively sunny slushy day. Not as cold as Saturday in Brooklyn where I joined in the Saint Patrick's Day celebration at Two Boots.

Per Se’s veggies weren’t as pretty as I was expecting, either. I discreetly took pictures of the dishes (I never thought I’d do that… damn bloggers), so you’ll get some idea. I apologize for the picture quality - I am not a professional photographer. Please click on it for a large image.The dish I liked the best (which just happened to be the prettiest), pictured here. "The deconstructed version”:

Cold Horseradish Bavarian Cream Custard, Marinated Red Onions and California Crosnes
with Lamb’s Lettuce

A server compared cartoony caterpillar-like crosnes to sunchoke/Jerusalem artichoke. You can see a paper-thin red coin of beet chip. Dried beet powder sprinkled on the plate. A dark beet cube. A slice of crosne "swimming" or "frozen" in the layered "Bavarois" gelee. The beet chip was delicious! The prominent green is the lamb's lettuce, a.k.a. mache.

Or per Per Se:
orseradish Bavarois, Marinated Red Onions and California Crosnes with Garden Mache.

photo of Columbus Circle by Sharon Hahn Darlin
photo of pickled heirloom beets by Sharon Hahn Darlin

>"Menu Inspiration" chez Helene Darroze, Paris

(Moved from April 16, 2007)

A memorable meal at Helene Darroze.***
Menu "Inspiration"

195.00 euros par personne, accompagne des vins
(le chef sommelier - Gilles Mouligneaux)


1) Bouillon clair et glace de crustace en infusion de galangal,
poulpe de roche, coquillages, grosse langoustine rotie(Jurancon cuvee Marie 2001
Charles Hours)

2) Ceviche de Saumon sauvage de l'Adour,
palourdes aux oignons doux des Cevennes et fleur d'ail,
aspic de mangue, avocat et concombre

(Chardonnay - Sauvignon 2002

Domaine de Tariquet)3) Legumes de Printemps cuisines en barigoule,
tete de veau de lait sous la mere et foie gras de canard en gelee,
vinaigrette a la truffe noire

(L'Argile 2001
Domaine de la Rectorie)

4) Pave de pageot roti sur la peau, grosses frites de polenta,
pousses d'epinards et tomates confites,
jus de piperade aux olives Taggiasche

(Bergerac sec

Moulin des Dames 1999
Luc de Conti)

5) Pigeonneau fermier frotte de piment d'Espelette,
grille au feu de bois et flambe au capucin, timbale de petits pois a la
francaise, jus lie au sang
(Pic Saint - Loup 2001
Bergerie de l'Hortus, Domaine de l'Hortus)
6) Fourme d'Ambert, confiture de cerises noires "d'Itxassou"

(Les ieres Grives 2002

Gros Manseng
Domaine de Tariquet)

7) Ravioles de mangue fourrees d'un cremeux au fruit de la passion,
gelee de fruits exotiques, soupe au lait de coco,
creme glacee au gingembre

Maury 2001
La Preceptorie de Centernach)

8) Tarte sablee au chocolat "cafe noir",
creme anglaise en infusion de cafe "Arabica", creme glacee au cafe


>marbled ribeye beef, "flower" or "frosty" cut, 꽃등심, 霜降り肉

(Moved from Oct 19, 2008)

Talk about apples and oranges.

Bon vivants routinely attempt good-natured taste-offs, and the quest for the best tasting beef is no exception. Ever since wagyu
(和牛) or Kobe beef rose in prominence, diners have been asking for, and at times disappointed by, the exquisitely prepared dish, as steak or otherwise. It does not help that expectation tends to be rather high when you pay a hefty premium.

Well, not every cut of a wagyu or the pricey 한우 (hanu) tastes the same (do I get to say "duh"?) which definitely makes it an advantage to be friendly with your butcher.

Cattle breed makes a difference, so do feed and age (and preparation.) But the most important criterion is which part of the animal the cut of meat comes from.

Taste is a subjective matter, but one consensus is that the tastiest cut hails from a specific rib area, with rich marbling and just the right balance of flavor. In the part of the world where beef is most treasured, minutely classified and priced accordingly, this would be the "flower" or "frosty" cut - 꽃등심 / 霜降り肉, which are mostly translated as marbled "sirloin". It's a general mistranslation owing to their antiquated dictionaries. What they are looking for is closer to prime rib, rib steak or rib-eye roll area rather than sirloin, within thoracic (not cervical or lumbar) vertebrae 1 through 13. (Cows have 13, humans have 12.)
Another taste criterion: It helps if the cow was fat and idle. (Requiescat in pace.)


>kimchi's cousin janji, 짠지 pickles (지=漬)

More pickles. "Tsuke/zuke" (漬) in Japanese tsukemono is equivalent to "ji", 지(漬), in Korean.
Koreans routinely don't use Chinese characters, because they don't have to. It's fun hunting for these -지 (-ji) suffixes on menus.

janji "jjanji" (짠지) = jan (salty) + ji = salty pickle
oiji (오이지) = oi (cucumber) + ji = cucumber pickle
mujanji "mujjanji" (무짠지) = mu (turnip) + jan (salty) + ji = salty radish pickle
shingunji (싱건지) = shingun (mild) + ji = mild pickle
jutgukji (젓국지) = jutguk (fish sauce) + ji = fish sauce pickle
danmuji (단무지) = danmu (sweet turnip) + ji = sweet turnip pickle
jangaji "jangajji" (장아찌) actually comes from jangji, 장지 (醬漬) = jang (marinade) + ji = sauce-cured pickle

Happy pickle-hunting!