Eating Bologna – Trattoria Leonida

Restaurant: Trattoria Leonida

Location: Bologna, Italy

Date: June 7, 2011

Cuisine: Bolognese

Rating: Big menu, great food

ANY CHARACTER HERE

We continue our sojourn across Emilia-Romagna. It was a rainy day in Bologna, and we stopped for lunch in this Trattoria in the old town, just east of the pair of leaning towers. It was selected by the intuitive method, glancing inside to see if it felt right.


All sorts of antipasti are stored in a number of display cases and on some tables at the front.


And a bit of roast rabbit on a plate with potatoes!


The tables at the front.

A delicious course of marinated salmon carpacio with olive oil and red peppercorns.


A ricotta and fig torte, declared to be very tasty.


Classic Tagliatelle Bolognese!


Parpadelle with boar ragu. This was an amazing pasta.


Stricchetti with sausage and peas in a pink sauce. Very tasty, although when ordering it I expected a white sauce.


Roast rabbit (taken from the plate above) in a balsamic sauce.


Turkey in balsamic sauce.


The condiments for the salad.

The usual mixed salad.

This pasta must have been awful!


And to wake up, some more expresso.

This random pick turned out extremely well. The food was fantastic, and the other customers only local businessmen.

Click here to see more Eating Italy posts.

Waterloo & City

Restaurant: Waterloo & City [1, 2]

Location: 12517 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066  310.391.4222

Date: May 21, 2011

Cuisine: Gastropub

Rating: Really tasty!

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There has been real growth in the gastropub catagory here in LA during the last few years. Part of this is probably the recession which has encouraged somewhat lower key dining, but there’s probably more to it. When I first moved to LA (early 90s) things were dominated by flashy higher end “event” restaurants each with its own blend of novel fusion cuisine. Good examples of this would by Chaya, Matsuhisa, Chinois, Spago, Abiquiu. The next wave after that were the farmer’s market driven joints like Josie or Gjelina. In any case, on to Waterloo & City.


A view of the bar. This is a pretty big place.


The menu.

The drink menu. I didn’t feel like wine, so we tried out some of these.


“Oh Rickey! Russian Standard Vodka, Fresh Raspberries, Lime, Soda.” This tasted like fresh raspberries. It was sweet, but not too sweet. Good.


“Tamarindo Fever. Tequila Blaco, Tamarind, Grand Marnier, Habanero, Lemon, Lime Salt.” I’ve been trying a lot of these “hot drinks” lately. I like them. This was good, sour and hot at the same time. But it was really hot. Not enough to bother me, but enough that I worried about heartburn if I drink say, 2 or 3 of them.


This special cocktail had vanilla Stoli, fresh lemon juice and some other stuff. It tasted like a lemon candy.


Bread.


Waterloo has a lot of charcuterie. This was a small plate on the left, on the right are “Shrimp & Zucchini Blossom Fritters, piri piri hot sauce.” A tempura fried variant on the Italian favorite (in that case usually stuffed with ricotta).


“Yellowtail crudo, shallot & ginger dressing, spring salad.” This was very tasty. Besides the fish there was a bit of burrata and tomato in here too. But the fish was very succulent, and the ginger based dressing delicious. With all this stuff, including the radish, there was a very complex but harmonious flavor/texture thing going on, not unlike a dish at Red Medicine.


“Steamed mussels, red thai curry, lime ginger, ciabatta.” A very nice adaption of the french classic.


“Hand-cut pasta, English Peas, Italian Sausage, Parmesan.” Even though it was two nights in a row I couldn’t resist this dish, as it is close to one of my favorite pasta types. Yesterday’s version was a little better, but this was very nice. The sausage was flavorful and after chopping it up a bit so some could get in each bit made an excellent foil to the buttery sauce.


“Wild mushroom pizza, smoked mozzerella, truffle oil.” If I didn’t know better I’d have said that this was a bacon and mushroom pizza! It was really good. First of all, the crust was thin and chewy, but not over burned. The cheese was gooey, and the smoked mushrooms really really meaty. Good stuff, I should have tried their Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza, as they stole my idea!


“Beef Wellington.” Sweet and sour onions on top of a puff pastry, sitting on bacon wrapped asparagus.


Inside is the medium steak (could have been a bit rarer), fois gras, and maybe some more bacon/pancetta. Certainly rich…


“Crispy confit pork shank, spring potato, bacon salad, peas & favas.”


Look at this sucker! Confit (twice cooked in it’s own fat)! Then deep fried! It was just a ball of piggy goodness.


The dessert menu.


Special. Glazed beneits with creme anglais and raspberry jam. These were REALLY sweet, coated in a bit of carmel I think too (you can see it pooling beneath). Very much to my taste, but not for those that don’t have a MASSIVE sweet-tooth.


“Sticky Toffe Pudding, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream.” Also excellent, with a not so dissimilar flavor profile. Both were intensely sweet. The ice cream helped cut it.

Overall I was very impressed with Waterloo & City. Things were extremely tasty, and there was a lot of stuff on the menu that I wanted to try but couldn’t. I’ll have to head back. It’s, however, not a light cuisine. Which is perhaps why it suited my taste.

For a second review of W & C, click here.

For another recent gastropub visit, check out Ford’s Filling Station.

Locanda Portofino – In the Neighborhood

Restaurant: Locanda Portofino

Location: 1110 Montana Ave. Santa Monica, Ca 90403. 310-394-2070

Date: May 20, 2011

Cuisine: Northern Italian

Summary: Tasty neighborhood Italian

ANY CHARACTER HERE

For whatever reason Los Angeles has a lot of Italian restaurants. There’s a lot of competition and innovation, and as far as I can tell we’re about tied with NY as the best town in the US for this wonderful (and justifiably popular) cuisine. This also means that there is a total and ridiculous excess of neighborhood Italians. I’ll try any of them once, but I pretty much never go to 75% of them a second time. There are just too many good ones to eat some ho-hum boxed pasta. In any case, Locanda Portofino is one of the good ones.


The menu.


I’m very partial to Amarone. They’re pretty much all drinkable (and grapey).


“Ceasar salad.”


“Bresaola con rucola. Thinly sliced cured beef with virgin olive oil, lemon, rucola and shaved parmigiano.” A very nice rendition of this classic.


“Penne vodka. Penne with light cream tomato sauce, shallots and vodka.”


“Tagliatelle alla boscaiola con salsicce. Green and white egg tagliatelle in a light cream sauce with pancetta, ground sausage, mushrooms and green peas.” I love love this pasta. It’s not far off from al carbonara either, but isn’t eggy in the same way. I love the combo of the peas, the two types of pig, and the peas. No wonder my cardiologist gives me a hard time.

Pretty much anything on the menu here is well done, but this was just Friday date night and so there are only a couple pics. Still, if you live on the Westside, forget those chain Italians, or the lame kitchen “red sauces” and go to Locanda Portofino, Delfini, Palmeri, Osteria Latini or the like. Or if you want higher end: Capo or Drago.

The Lobster claws at the pier

Restaurant: The Lobster

Location:  1602 Ocean Ave. Santa Monica, California 90401.  310.458.9294

Date: April 29, 2011

Cuisine: Seafood

Rating: Great view, decent food.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Every couple months we go to the Lobster. It’s located right at the top of Santa Monica Pier and has a tremendous view of the pier and the ocean, lots of seafood, and a lively scene. It is a little overpriced, but view spots tend to be.


The top of the pier.


The main room inside, with views of the ocean.


The menu.


Typical sour-dour seafood resteraunt bread.


A kind of chimichuri dipping sauce for the bread.


The wine list. I got a couple glasses of the ever reliable J.J. Prum Kabinet Riesling.


“Organic Country Fresh Farms Baby Greens. Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes & Shaved Parmesan with Red Wine Vinaigrette.”


“Manila Clam Chowder. Applewood Smoked Bacon & Weiser Farms Fingerling Potatoes.” This was a slightly different take on the New England clam chowder. I liked the clams in the shell factor, certainly makes it pretty. The broth had a nice flavor, but without the thick creamy whiteness of the totally traditional variant. It was a bit more like a corn chowder, or certain types of traditional Irish soups.


“Grilled Wild Columbian River King Salmon. Coleman Farms Baby Broccoli, Caramelized Onion, Weiser Farms Fingerling Potatoes & Tart Cherry Gastrique.” This would have been good except for the fact that while it was ordered medium well, it was medium-rare, and the pink inside didn’t have the firmness it should, but had turned into that kind of salmon mush. We actually sent it back. Cooked right it would have been fine.


“Butter Poached Lobster. Tutti Fruitti Farms Sweet English Peas, Wild Mushroom Ragout & Lobster Mash.” I usually get this, and there’s a reason. I love lobster. I love buttery bisque-style lobster sauces. I love pees, and mash potatoes go well with all of the above. Really, what’s not to like.

The hopping bar scene. It was even more crowded outside on the patio.

The Lobster is fairly typical of mid-high end ocean-view American places. The food is better than Gladstones (see below), and if you order right can be very good, but it certainly isn’t a stellar kitchen. Still, it can be a fun place and a very enjoyable meal, particularly if you enjoy our favorite North Atlantic crustacean.

For two reviews of Gladstones, check HERE and HERE.

Taking back Little Saigon

Restaurant: Little Saigon

Location: 6218 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044-3210 (703) 536-2633

Date: April 22, 2011

Cuisine: Vietnamese

ANY CHARACTER HERE

One of my favorite places back “home” (Washington D.C.) is Little Saigon, a local hole in the wall Vietnamese place with absolutely stellar food. I reviewed it once before, but I’m back again for more.

This is just a page of the 6 page menu, for the whole thing look at the older review.

A nice sparkling wine goes well with Vietnamese.

My dad also brought this old cab. But it was corked, and probably not the worlds best wine to begin with :-).

Table condiments.

This is marinated raw beef, soaked in fish sauce, with onions, chilies, and basil. Not a typical American flavor, but amazing nonetheless.

These are an interestingly different take on these classic soft Vietnamese rolls. Besides some of the usual veggies (lettuce, mint, bean sprouts, vermicelli, shrimp, etc) they also have a bit of spicy pork sausage.

With the crucial dipping sauce. These are really tasty.

This is a four person portion of the rice noodle pork soup with some kind of dumpling. There’s also cilantro, scallions, peanuts and who knows what else. But it’s certainly delicious with one of those complex flavor and texture profiles that is typical of good Vietnamese.

The individual bowl (approximately a quarter of the first bigger bowl).

Chicken wings sauteed in butter and garlic. Basically Vietnamese fried chicken. Sweeter and crunchier than the American equivalent and way strong on the garlic. Very good for sure.

Crispy orange duck. This must be Chinese inspired, but it’s amazing, totally amazing. The duck is perfect, and the sweet/bitter tang of real orange peels (not to mention the schechuan peppers) delectable.

Mixed seafood (all the S’s – shrimp, scallops, squid) in lemongrass sauce. Nice tasty subtle flavor to the sauce. This is a fairly exotic taste, but really good.

Little Saigon never disappoints. And this whole meal was like $80 for four!

JiRaffe is no Joke

Restaurant: JiRaffe

Location: 502 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401. 310.917.6671

Date: April 1, 2011

Cuisine: French American

Rating: Santa Monica Classic

 

To me, it seems JiRaffe has been here forever. It opened in 1996, and to have made it 15 years in Santa Monica is no small feat. The space next door (which is a really nice two floor space) has had 7 restaurants in the same period! JiRaffe remains not only in business, but busy — and good. It is headed by Chef/Owner Raphael Lunetta and serves creative California adapted French influenced flair with a concentration on farmer’s market ingredients. Lunetta was ahead of the recent trend exemplified by places like Gjelina, Rustic Canyon, and Fig. His style is more classic, but not in the least outdated.

The nice two floor space. There is a loft (not visible) with a number of tables too.

The cocktail menu.

“Blood Orange Cosmopolitan, Grey Goose Vodka, Key Lime and Fresh Blood Orange.” This is the kind of real cocktail I like to see, not the saccharine kind of concoction I got the other week at Gladstones (see here), but a drink made from fresh ingredients and no flavored alcohols. It was tart, but really flavorful.

The appetizers.

A variety of breads.

The amuse, a mushroom cream cappuccino. Very tasty, almost truffle flavored and very rich. They actually goofed slightly and brought this after our appetizers, making it more of an intermezzo, but it didn’t matter.

“Roasted Organic Beet Salad, organic beets, carmelized walnuts, dried cherries, goat cheese cream, banyuls-ginger vinaigrette.” This dish has become ubiquitous, but I suspect JiRaffe was one of the earliest to offer it on their menu (it might have been an 80s Wolfgang Puck invention, but I’m not sure). This particularly implementation has always been one of the best I’ve ever had. The sweet of the beets pairing beautifully with the sharpness of the goat cheese, and the chewy crunch of the walnut/cherry combo adding to the effect.

“Purple Peruvian Gnocchi, rock shrimp, pearl onions, mandarin tomato concassé, herb infused tomato nage.” Although these gnocchi look like the grubs I encountered in china (as a breakfast condiment for congi), they tasted delicious. The sauce was extremely buttery, and paired perfectly with the soft little pillows and the tender shrimp.

Les entrees.

“Crispy Scottish Salmon with parsnip puree, white wine braised fennel, and an aged balsamic nage.” Note that the fennel was substituted out here for spinach.

“New Zealand Lamb Rack, yellowfin potato samosas, vegetable moussaka, thyme-scented lamb jus.” The lamb itself was delicious, exactly what you’d want. The jus perfect as well. My only complaint was the samosas which were very bland, tasting only of potato. I’m not such a plain starch fan. They were okay soaked in the jus, but I would have preferred a strong curry flavor or something.

JiRaffe also has a VERY yummy looking dessert menu, but we were too full to partake. The full menu can be found HERE.

Overall JiRaffe is a Santa Monica classic, and for good reason. This is a solid kitchen and everything is very tasty. The menu remains consistant. It does change, but in a slow evolutionary way, mostly swapping out seasonal ingredients and preserving what is essentially the same dish. They could experiment a little more, but they do have a good thing going.

iPad 2 – Less is More

Second Generation iPad

Being the consummate gadget man, I succumbed to the iPad 2 upgrade. In fact, I even ordered it at 1:01am, only 1 minute after they went on sale (at the Apple online store). Despite my jumping on the bandwagon, it took 13 days to come too. Mostly because I got a 3G model and those were slow to ship.

In any case, over the last year I have been pleasantly surprised at how incredibly useful the iPad is. I’ve already written one article about it, which is all still true. I owned a kindle before the iPad and found that to be of very limited use. Primarily it was good for long vacations where I previously would have dragged 20-30 paperbacks (weighing down my suitcases). With the kindle, just one little device covered that. And the thing had a tremendous battery life. But reading on it was annoying, mostly because the page turning was so slow and the screen only held about 60% of s single paperback page.

Enter the iPad. Seemingly just a giant iPhone, it’s actually radically different. As a book reader it holds a full page, and it’s fast. You can flick back and forth fast enough that it’s “browsable.” This was excruciating on the kindle. The screen is a little harder on the eyes, and the battery life only 10-12 hours instead of weeks, but the speed and size are more important to me. Plus, when you get an email, or feel the obsessive compulsive need to check today’s blog stats, you can just flip over instantly (IOS 4.2 on — so useful I was running the beta for months). It’s also just a darn comfortable way to do all your casual computer crap in bed, in the kitchen, watching tv, etc. There are a number of reasons why. Unlike even a laptop, it’s instant on, you can tuck it in the couch and grab it when an email comes in or you feel the need to look up actors on imdb (which I now do constantly). The battery life is such that as long as you charge it while you sleep, you can do whatever the hell you want with it during the day and not worry. This is so not true of any laptop, including the amazing MacBook pros and airs with their long battery life. You still have to plug them in if you are going to use them all day. The iPad isn’t a necessity, but it sure is convenient.

The First Generation, in a Tuff-luv case

Now as to the iPad 2. If you don’t have an iPad and are at all interested (plus have the disposable $500-829). Get one. The first gen ones are going on sale cheap now too. But if you already own a first gen iPad, it’s more about personal tolerance for being slightly outdated. The new one doesn’t do anything the 1st can’t except for video chat. But it is thinner, lighter, and about twice as snappy. For me, that alone is worth it. As I said, I’m a gadget freak and I use the pad all the time, everyday. The thinness and weight are noticeable, as is the speed. It’s certainly snappier. Apps load faster, the muitasking flips between apps much more smoothly. Not that the first iPad was slow, but this is faster. If you are into the games the GPU is supposedly 9x faster. Infinity Blade and the like seem very zippy now, and they weren’t bad before.

One other thing worth mentioning is the developer only multitouch gestures added to iOS 4.3. Now to use these, you have to connect the iPad to your Xcode 4 enabled Mac and turn on developer mode. This is a free download for devs, or a $5 purchase from the new Mac AppStore. I’ve only been using these for a few days but they’re awesome. Here’s yet another example of how Apple likes gets the little things right. There are 4 gestures. One to bring up and down the multitasking bar. Another to go back to the home screen, and a pair to flip back and forth between apps. It’s surprising how convenient and natural these are.

I haven’t gotten used to the subtle button changes on the new iPad yet. There is more angle to the bevel and this gives the physical controls, including the docking jack, a slightly increased inset, but I’m sure in a couple of days they’ll seem normal.
I got one the the crazy new covers too. I love the cool magnetic lock and the auto turn on / turn off feature. We will see how well the cleaning component does. The thing is ultra slim and light in the cover, particularly compared to the cushy but bulky full leather case I had on the old one. But on the other hand it’s a bit slick, and I’ve already fumbled it once and certainly don’t want to drop it. I might have to see if someone sells some sticky little tape/decal. That was a nice thing about my old case.  I have a thin sticky rubber case on my iPhone 4 for just for the texture.

All and all the iPad 2 is like everyone says, a typical Apple evolutionary tuneup to an already brilliant product. Certainly it’s better in nearly all ways, and the combination of Apple design, software, and heavy vertical integration makes it hands down the only tablet worth considering. I’m writing this blog post on it while out on the town, and while theoretically I could do that on my phone, I never would.

My previous iPad article can be found HERE.

Side by Side

The thickness

 

Seconds at Sam’s by the Beach

Restaurant: Sam’s by the Beach [1, 2, 3]

Location: 108 W. Channel Rd.(PCH), Santa Monica, CA 90402. 310-230-9100

Date: March 12, 2011

Cuisine: Cal French International

Rating: Stellar food and unparalleled service.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I already covered the background to Sam’s in my FIRST REVIEW. Let’s just say this is a local place with an unusual and inventive menu that’s worth a drive.

I’d never heard of this “lesser” Bordeaux, but Sam opened this half-bottle and it was very nice. Characteristic Saint-Emilion smooth. The 8 or so years gave it just enough age to settle the tanins.

Today’s menu.

The usual amuse. Little fried pockets of spinach and cheese.

Homemade bread and the olive oil sesame dip.

“Roasted Beet Salad, mixed with onions and tomato in Aged balsamic dressing, served with Feta Cheese croquet.”

This was a special. Seared Kanpachi (young yellowtail) with arugula, avocado, tomatoes, in a citrus ginger vinaigrette. The dressing was to die for, and mated perfectly with the sushi grade fish.

“Vegetarian Crepes. Homemade Crepes filled with Swiss chard, wild mushrooms and zucchini served in tomato coulis.” This is a half order, as the normal one has two of the burrito-like crepes. This is a very nice vegetarian option, and surprisingly hearty. The sauce is bread dippingly yummy.

“Lamb Chorizo Risotto, Carnaroli rice prepared with lamb sausage, fresh spinach, feta cheese, in meyer lemon broth.” This isn’t your typical Italian Risotto either, but it’s spectacular, and much lighter. There is a lovely tang from the lemon, and the sharp goat cheese, and the sausage is to die for.

The dessert menu.

His creme brulee is straight up traditional, and it’s the second best I’ve ever had in the world (there was this one in Avignon…). The meat of it is thick, creamy, and all vanilla.

A new dessert (at least for us). This take on the flowerless chocolate cake is moist, dense, and chocolately — as it should be.

Sam is also starting a new thing for Sunday nights, pizza night!  He has a pizza oven. We’ll have to come back and try these, see how they compare to my Ultimate Pizza. I’m particularly eager to try the Shawarma.

Book Review: White Cat

Title: White Cat

Author: Holly Black

Genre: Paranormal YA

Length: 76,000 words, 310 pages

Read: March 12, 2011

Summary: Well written, fun, but a little contrived.

 

This is yet another foray into the world of paranormal YA (I am, after all, doing research for my own writing). Holly Black is a but best selling YA and MG author. This book, unusually, has a male protagonist, and he’s part of a family of “curse workers,” although he himself doesn’t do any magic. He lives in an alternative reality where a small minority of people are able to “lay on hands” in a bad way and curse people. They are known to society, it’s even illegal, and formed into criminal gangs in the 1930s just like the Mafia.

The premise is decent, although I’m not a fan versions of our reality with outed paranormal groups. I didn’t really buy the changes at a social level. The whole existance of this kind of power in volume would throw everything off, and here the only real social change is that everyone wears gloves (because it’s through bare skin that the magic works). We are reminded often of the glove factor.

The writing is very solid and straightforward, in first person present. So straightforward it took me awhile to even notice the tense. Or maybe writing it myself is acclimating me to it. The protagonist is likable and felt fairly real, although maybe not all of his decisions did. And I didn’t really feel the proper weight of his emotions. Big things happen, but without big feelings. By page three or thereabouts we discover he murdered his girlfriend. We’re supposed to still like him. And we do, but mostly because it’s totally obvious that he didn’t REALLY murder her, he only thinks he did. Oh and we quickly hear about the one flavor of curse worker that’s REALLY rare. And guess who’s from a magical family and doesn’t have any power…

But I enjoyed the book — quite a bit — I read it in half a day after all. Another book I attempted to read that same morning was so execrable that I only made it to fifty pages, so this was a vast improvement.

A couple other beefs. At times the writing was so lean that I felt like I missed something in the action and had to page back to find it — but it wasn’t even there. Now, it was then obvious moving forward what had happened, it just seemed that the attempt at leanness and/or agressive editing had taken the edge off the clarity. Then as we moved into the second half we hit the “after the big reveal” syndrome which many books with reveals often suffer from. I’ve mentioned this before (like HERE or HERE), but basically this is where after the big shocker no one really seems to act with appropriate emotional gravitas. I’m used to it, and it’s a tough problem to solve, so I moved on to the ending.

Which was the weakest part. Everything juggled into place such that the people were served the plot rather than their character. The plot wasn’t bad, it’s just that I didn’t really see some of the characters acting like they did.

Overall, the story was fast and fun. As I said Ms Black is a skilled writer, and the prose zipped along, with nice quick descriptions, and she isn’t afraid to be a bit dark or sexy (considering it’s YA). The gratuitous twist on the last two pages bugged me, but I ordered the sequel (which the Twitter/FB buzz says is very good) and another of the author’s books.

How different these neat little package YA books are from a meaty tome like The Wise Man’s Fear (which I finished the same day). There are subplots in that book about the size of this entire story.

For a review of Holly Black’s first novel, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, click here.

Red Medicine the Relapse

Restaurant: Red Medicine [1, 2]

Location: 8400 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, Ca. 90211. 323-651-6500.

Date: February 19, 2011

Cuisine: Modernized Vietnamese

Summary: Really interesting food full of very bold flavors, and at very reasonable prices.

 

For my brother’s birthday we decided to head back to Red Medicine (first review HERE), the casual modernized Vietnamese place in mid-town. Tasty again! Even on a very rainy night it was hopping and we had to get a drink at the crowded bar to wait for our table.

The drink menu features a number of very interesting and extremely well executed specialty cocktails. Plus, these are very reasonably priced at $10. The PDF version is HERE.

“#18 Krome Vodka, Chili-Anise Shrub, Lime, Grapefruit, Peychaud’s Bitters, Basil(s),  Ginger Beer.   Shaken and rolled into a tall glass.   Inspired by Scott Beattie’s ‘Irian Jaya’.” This was one yummy drink. The ingredients were all clearly very fresh, and you could taste each and every element. The sour of the grapefruit in the front, the basil in the middle, the bitters and ginger on the finish. I sucked it down in like 2 minutes.

The main menu. Slightly changed up from when we were here in December. The PDF version HERE. Everything is family style with approximately 3 savory dishes needed per adult.

And the wine-list, PDF HERE. They have a rather odd corkage policy. During the week it’s $25, but they will waive one corkage for each bottle you buy, which is very reasonable. Friday and Saturday, no corkage! I don’t like no corkage, but the list is very reasonable, with many fine sweetish whites (which I like and go with the food) in the $55 category.

Like this favorite of mine, Parker gives it 91. “Extremely bright in aroma as well as palate impression, the Prums’ 2008 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett is dominated by lemon and grapefruit, with village typical cherry and cassis manifesting themselves as an invigorating chew of fruit skin that is delightfully complimented by estate-typical impingement of CO2. Lush yet light, this finishes with not only blazing brightness but a cress-like pungency and strikingly intense salinity and suggestions of wet stone, making your palate stand to attention, wide awake! Plan on following it for a couple of decades, although, unlike many Joh. Jos. Prum wines, I find it (and many of the estate’s 2008s) downright irresistible already.”

“hokkaido scallop cured with lime sugar,  green strawberries, coriander, wood sorrel.” This replaces the excellent “Fluke cured with lime” dish from last time. It wasn’t quite as good, but was still wonderful. The scallop was subtle and soft, the white radish crunchy and bitter, and my favorite part the “lime sugar” floating on the vinegar sauce.

SOFT RICE PAPER / rock shrimp, jackfruit,  black garlic, bean sprouts.” A varient on the typical soft spring roll. Nice textures, and the shrimp were good, but could have used a bit more flavor, or just some sweet and sour sauce.

“DUCK / 5-spice, charred frisee, chicory, tamarind syrup,  grains of paradise.” A repeat, but worth it. This duck has a wonderful charred and sweet BBQ flavor, and it just falls apart. Really succulent.

“BANH MI / foie gras, pate de campagne.” Another irresistible repeat. The rich foie, the crunch of the pickles and crust, and the considerable heat of the seranno peppers all blend to perfection. Similar yet different from the other Banh Mi I had recently at Saam (REVIEW HERE).

“LAMB BELLY / hoisin, hibiscus-onion, sunflower seeds,  salsify, lady apple.” A brand new dish, and a stunner. The dark stuff is the lamb, and the sunflower crusted stuff the salsify. There is a unique blend of flavors and textures here, but the lamb was the stand out. Crispy fried in hoisin it most closely resembled an awesome interpretation of crispy Schezuan beef.

“BEEF TARTARE / water lettuce, water chestnut, spicy herbs, nuoc leo, chlorophyll.” Another goodie. The meat and greens are placed on a shrimp chip. Fabulous interplay of texture and flavor.

“PORK / caramelized black vinegar and honey, prunes, sorrel, dried almond.” Again one of my favorites. This pork is like the perfect sweet BBQ. It just falls apart.

The dessert menu, PDF HERE. We ordered the two we didn’t have last time.

“RHUBARB / mahlab cremeux, hibiscus, gentian,  aromatic willow.” This, I guess, is supposed to be a reinterpretation of a strawberry shortcake. The net effect to me was perhaps a bit more like cheesecake. It was very creamy and pleasant, with the rhubarb itself understated and adding only a subtle sourness to the dish. It certainly looks pretty too!

“LIME SABAYON / cucumber ice cream, cashew macaroons, white chocolate, jasmine.” This dish had strong taste resemblances to Key Lime Pie. Particularly if you got all the elements except for the cucumber ice-cream. This last was good, but through off the key lime thing. The butter colored disk below is the lime I think, and the macaroons had an awesome perfect chewy texture. Overall a really good dish.

 

Overall Red Medicine continued to impress. It offers really interesting and cutting edge food with bold and unique flavors at a very reasonable price point. I love the small dish only format. I’ve become so spoiled by that or long prix fixe meals that I can hardly eat at normal appetizer/entree restaurants anymore :-) If you haven’t been here, go!

To the Chefs and Owners, I thank you, and just hope that you keep mixing up the menu so it continues to offer variety and new flavors!