Friday, October 27, 2006

Sweet Potato Fries

So, we'd gotten sweet potato fries at Grasshopper, and again (twice) at Pearl. Ei-Nyung seemed to really like 'em, and at one point, had bought sweet potatoes. I happened to get home relatively early one night, and figured I could try to make sweet potato fries.

Basically, the recipe was pretty simple. Boil the potatoes for about ten minutes, then take 'em out and let them cool. Cut 'em into fries. Simple, but a little difficult because the exterior of the potato is now realtively soft, while the interior's still pretty dang hard. I don't really know *why* I was supposed to boil the potato, so it's probably worth trying this once without bothering to do the boiling step. I suppose if I had been intent on peeling the potatoes, this would have made the process easier, but I wasn't, so whatever.

Then, fry the potatoes in 300 degree oil for 5-7 minutes, until they become just wilted & soft. Take them out, and drain them on a rack for about 10 minutes. For me, I had about four or five batches to do, so I was able to just keep frying, and by the time I was done with the last, the first was ready to go.

The next step is to fry the potatoes AGAIN, except this time at 350 degrees, until they're golden brown. Then place again on a draining rack, salt, and eat. Deliciousness.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The French Laundry

Outside the French Laundry

Thanks to P & M for getting us reservations with them at the French Laundry as a wedding gift. It was a spectacular evening, full of incredible food, and hanging out with friends. Couldn't ask for much better.

Ei-Nyung worked from home, and I took the latter half of the day off so that we could make it up to Yountville in time, given the traffic heading out of the Bay Area on a Friday afternoon. If I lived up that way, I'd get a hybrid for sure, just for the ability to use the carpool lane. 1:20 after we left, we arrived, and found a parking spot across the street from the restaurant, a quaint little two story building. Next to our parking space was the French Laundry's garden, which had all manner of beautiful vegetables and such. Frankly, I was surprised - there's no fence, there's no... anything to protect it from anyone who'd want to grab whatever they wanted. Maybe a security cam or something, but no physical barriers whatsoever. Not that most people are like, "I'm gonna steal a head of lettuce!" but still...

The French Laundry's Garden

So, we got to Yountville a little early, and spent some time next to a little fountain with a statue of a fireman surrounded by rose bushes. Cute little park. We wandered down to check out Bouchon - we were interested in the bakery, where we picked up an orange mascarpone cream/hazelnut/chocolate tart, a couple cream-filled cookies, and a raisin pastry (and a bottle of water, since I hadn't had anything to drink all afternoon. Expensive water is going to be a running theme, here).

Outside Bouchon

We went to the little patio in the back of the bakery, and ate the tart, which was delicious. Subtle orange mixed perfectly with the hazelnut, and the slightly crispy chocolate... beautiful.

Mascarpone Orange Hazelnut Chocolate Thingie

We walked around a little more, curious about how much it must cost to live out here, then headed back to the park to sit on a bench and talk for the hour we had to kill before the reservations. P&M were delayed getting out this way, so Ei-Nyung and I had a pleasant time hanging out.

When P&M arrived, we got seated, and the meal began. Here's an important point: When someone asks you if you want sparkling or still water, the correct answer is "tap." "Still" is not the same as tap water - "still" water comes in eleven dollar bottles. This is a good point to note *before* the meal starts (which is why I'm pointing it out here), rather than after, when you've consumed more in water than you'd spend on most very nice meals. For future reference, and so that no one else makes the same inadvertent mistake.

Now, the meal, and I'll get to the end first. This was an extraordinary meal - the best single meal that I've ever had, without question. HOWEVER - we've eaten at a number of quite nice places in the last year or two, and had meals that I think compete in the same sphere as the French Laundry. The French Laundry beats them all - but *for the cost*, I can't say that this is number one on my value-to-pleasure ratio. Currently, I think Manresa "wins" when you factor cost and availability in. But still - money no object, I'd choose the French Laundry over anything else I've ever eaten in a heartbeat. For a complete meal, that is. The single best dish I've ever, ever eaten anywhere is the hot-oil scallop sashimi at Morimoto.

But I'm hemming and hawing at this point only becuase the meal was *so expensive*. If I can put the price aside, still, the quality of food was just astonishing.

Lemme go get the menu;

  • Gruyere Gougers - the same basic puffs that Ei-Nyung made for the FL dinners we did a while back, except that these were filled with some sort of cheese. Delicious, but actually flavor-wise, something we'd experienced in its entirety before.

  • Salmon Coronets

    Salmon Coronet

    The FL's signature item, and something we've both been wanting to try for ages. Eric & Christy made them for the FL dinner, and as good as those were, these were better. Much better. No offense to E&C, but the flavors were so perfectly balanced that every flavor was beautifully complemented by every other flavor. I took a couple tiny bites of the salmon, and broke off a bit of the cone, and they're individually delicious flavors, but the sensation is improved by an order of magnitude when you just take the thing and eat it in one bite, getting the crunch of the cone, the subtle brightness and creaminess of the creme fraiche, and the richness of the salmon all melding together into one mega-flavor. This, to me, embodied the essence of what makes the FL a worthwhile experience - the technical achievement is way out of my reach, and both the conceptual and technical executions are *brilliant* - flawless, in many respects. With every dish, you understand what the intention was, and know that it was fulfilled to the highest level that anyone could expect. Beyond, in many cases.

  • "Oysters and Pearls"

    Oysters and Pearls

    This was the first FL item that we'd never experienced in any form, and it was mindboggling. Out came mother-of-pearl spoons, and small bowl, filled with what appeared to be a yellow custard, a few oyster meats, and a small pile of caviar. The actual description of the dish: "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Beau Soleil Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar. Wow. I mean, wow. The "Sabayon" was a sort of loose-custard consistency, slightly warm, with an onion-chive flavor (little bits of chopped chives were spread throughout). The oysters were immaculately prepared - very ... "clean" - I don't really know how else to describe it. I've had what are supposed to be good oysters before, and I've never really enjoyed them all that much. Sort of, "Yeah, oysters. Whatever." Same thing with caviar. I know it's weird, but a while back, Joe brought home a whole ridiculous pile of caviar, and we ate it all. "Meh," was about as much as I could muster for the experience. Not really my thing. Except that in this? Wow. The warmth of the custard, the saltiness of the caviar, the ocean-y richness of the oysters all came together, and it was like magic. Caviar, IMO, is usually basically salty and fishy. But in this application, it was sort of like how people use anchovies to lend a subtle rich, sort of "depth" to flavors without immediately screaming "ANCHOVIES!!!" In this case, the caviar lent a saltiness, and the fishy taste complemented the oniony flavors of the custard in such a way that you never thought "fishy" - it just made the custard taste more complex, more interesting, enhanced all its flavors without even making its presence obvious. This, to me, was the dish of the night - just a perfect blend of everything.

  • Jacobsen's Farm "Musquee de Provence" Soup


    Hadley Farms Medjool Date, Curry-Scented Yogurt and Cilantro Shoots. When this came out, it was sort of a WTF? moment - we got shallow bowls with a couple random pieces of squash, a couple dates, and a stripe of yellow stuff (the curry yogurt, naturally). And I thought, "Hm. This is high concept, but almost a parody of what people think of when they think of California Cuisine." Then, they came out with a couple little ceramic bottles, and poured a rich orange soup on into the bowl, and it all clicked. Duh. This was a beautiful squash (pumpkin? <-Mr. Ignoramus) soup - rich without being overpowering - the sort of flavor that swirls around your mouth, but never feels heavy, or forced. Then, when you happen upon where the stripe of curry yogurt was, it's a surprising little burst of curry flavor (as you probably know, a wonderful complement to this sort of squash/pumpkin flavor the soup had going on). The dates were odd - almost totally uniform in their texture - smooth, like someone'd managed to puree them without actually breaking the skin. Weird, but very pleasant.

  • "Borscht"


    Ei-Nyung got this, I'll let her describe it.

  • Lake Erie Walleye Pike "Boudin"

    Pike Custard

    Tokyo Turnips, Nasturtium Leaves, Beech Mushrooms and Green Orange "Aigre-Doux". I have no idea what Aigre-Doux is supposed to be, but it manifested itself in this instance as a moderately thick, subtly orange-flavored sauce, upon which a pike custard sat, accompanied by some small mushrooms, some leaves that looked like mini lilipads, and a few perfectly done white turnips. The pike mousse was very subtly flavored, sprinked with some chunky salt crystals (a common and very well-used theme throughout the dinner) that burst in your mouth as you ate the custard. The thing that was interesting to me was that the custard sans salt was so subtle as to be almost plain. But then when you hit one of the chunks of salt, it was like being in a beautiful room with the walls covered in extraordinary art, lit only by a candle. When you hit one of the salt crystals, it was like the whole room lit up for just a moment, then dimmed. And you wanted the room to be bright all the time, but if it was, you'd lose interest quickly. I can't say I'm a fan of Nasturtium leaves, which were inredibly astringent. With the mushrooms and custard, it provided an interesting contrasting flavor, but I made the mistake of eating one by itself, and it punched me in the face with its astringency. It was like eating an aspirin.

  • "Fricassee" of Maine Lobster "Mitts"


    Roasted Romaine Lettuce, Braised Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Baby Onions, Black Truffle, and "Creme de Homard." This is right up there for dish of the night. The waiter described this as lobster, that had been cooked with butter sous vide, and damn, it was the best lobster I've had. But to me, there were three significant things about this dish, none of which had to do with the lobster: 1.) The grilled Romaine lettuce was really good. And that was totally, totally unexpected. Like a less bitter endive, and a perfect complement to something where the flavors weren't overpowering. 2.) The Baby Onions were *perfect*. Caramelized on the outside, with just the perfect amount of onion "bite". Not limp at all, not underdone at all - absolutely *perfect*. One of those things that I've rarely noticed in other restaurants because though others have done them well, no other restaurant I've been to has done them *perfectly*. 3.) This was the first time I've had a large piece of truffle, enough that the flavor has filled my mouth, and I've known that it was *truffle*. In this case I could taste it clearly and distinctly. And this is the weird part - I can get this flavor for $4.25 at Gregoire, whenever they have their truffle scalloped potatoes on the menu - those are *incredible*, and provide a "complete truffle experience," as far as I'm concerned. So that was nice - knowing that that is what a truffle's *supposed* to taste like, adn that I have access to that experience in a more "normal environment was a pleasant surprise. The dish? Oh yeah, it was awesome.

  • Pork Belly w/Cranberries

    Pork Belly

    This was a substitution that M had requested, and Ei-Nyung got it as well. I'll let her describe it, but IMO, this was the best done pork belly I've ever had, better than the one from Rubicon, IMO, though I think Ei-Nyung disagrees.

  • Devil's Gulch Range "Jambonnette de Lapin"


    Melted Collard Greens, Yukon Gold Potato "Puree" and Blis Maple Syrup. This was rabbit. I've had rabbit before, and never really thought much of it - it was a long time ago. Tasted like chicken. And I like rabbits, you know, when they're not food - but I'd read "The Importance of Rabbits" in the FL cookbook, and you know, frankly, in this situation, if the FL had said, "the third dish is people," I might have said, "Ok, let's give it a shot." So, rabbit. This particular iteration of rabbit was pretty abstract. When it came out, it looked like a small, fried meatball with a bone sticking out of it like a drumette, sitting on a bed of potato puree. Then, there was a canelle of collard greens, which were basically cut up into brunoise-sized pieces. Everything about this dish, IMO, was awesome. The collard greens were very distinctly collard greens, but the astringency of the greens was balanced with the sweetness of the maple syrup, and enhanced by actual brunoise (carrots/celery/onion). The meatball? It was essentially shredded meat, balled up, lightly battered, and deep fried. It felt in some sense like a little chicken falafel ball. But the flavor! It was subtle, yet unlike chicken in any way other than the overall texture. It had flavor, much in the way that good chicken hasn't had all the flavor bred/processed out of it. It tasted like something unique - rabbit, I guess. I'd say that to whip out the SAT analogy style, beef:lamb, chicken:rabbit. Not the super-gamey lamb, but the more subtle stuff, where it's obvious that it's not beef, but you're not beat over the head with the gameyness of most lamb. To me, this was the most surprising dish of the night, and definitely one of my favorites.

  • Elysian Fields Farm "Selle d'Agneau Rotie Entiere"


    I have no idea what that means. The rest of the description: Sunchokes, Haricots Verts, Nicoise Olives, Toasted Pine Nuts and Sweet Red Peppers. I guess the part in quotes above must mean 'lamb' in some form or another. This was probably the most straightforward, and least surprising dish of the night. Good, and again, technically extraordinary, but in terms of a part of dinner, in context, almost ordinary. Honestly, I don't really "get" the lamb/olive pairing. Gregoire did the same thing, and they feel like flavors that just don't go together for me, particularly when you have lamb whose gameyness is so muted that it doesn't taste like anything when you pair it with something really punchy like an olive. Not saying it was bad - far, far, far from it - just in context of the rest of the meal, merely what I expected.

  • "Brin D'Amour"

    Cheese Plate

    Globe Artichoke, "Croquante" San Marzano Tomato "Fondue" and Arugula Mayonnaise. Basically the cheese course. Two wedges of a nice medium hard cheese with a piece of currant bread and walnut bread. The tomatoes were very similar to the tomatoes that Ei-Nyung made for the Haricots Verts salad she made for the first FL dinner, but the flavors were more finely tuned, which resulted in a more punchy tomato flavor. P said it had ketchup-y notes, not in a bad way, and he's right - it had an intensity of flavor and sweetness that weren't dissimilar to ketchup. I can't really say much about the cheese - I liked it, but it didn't stand out in my mind. However, the cheese + bread + arugula mayo + tomato = awesome. The globe artichoke was a tiny choke, deep fried to perfection. I wish I'd had a bowl of these to eat as snacks while watching TV or something. Absolutely delicious.

  • Bartlett Pear Sorbet

    Pear Sorbet

    Wildflower Honey Cake and Whipped Tupelo Honey. This sorbet was like eating the perfect pear. Nothing more, and nothing less. Thing is, we've had sorbet at Manresa and FL, and one of the main things that separates these places from other places I've had sorbet is that it's all about the texture. The sorbet has no noticable ice crystals - it's just *smooth*. It feels like cutting into nothing, when you cut into it with your spoon - it's almost like a transport medium for pure flavor. I've tried to make sorbet on several occasions, and the recipes inevitably end with "freeze according to your ice cream maker's instruction manual." To this, I say, "go screw." My ice cream maker can't produce sorbet of a hundredth this quality. So, I guess my only recourse is to go to expensive meals. Alas! This, I think, is simply a technical limitation of home cooking. Not many of us have industrial ice cream machines, and the difference, in a case like this, is painfully obvious.

  • "Chalice de Chocolat a la Noisette"

    Chocolate Apocalypse

    This was one of the most convoluted desserts I've ever seen. White Chocolate "Granite", Toasted Hazelnut "Sable" and Praline "Semifreddo." Whatever all that means. Basically, it was a white chocolate brownie, topped with a freakin' creme brulee, which itself was topped with a milk chocolate/hazelnut cream, which was *all* surrounded by a thin chocolate cylinder. Next to it was the praline semifreddo, which sat on top of a white chocolate granita. Holy crap, this was extraordinary. Just the variety of flavors, the fact that you could eat them all separately, or all together, and that the creme brulee was still noticable because the top still crunched even though it was hidden under a layer of foamy cream? Just totally bizarre, and ambitious beyond my wildest imaginings. So many parts, all of which had to work together in just the right way, then get served within moments of being assembled, lest the brulee get soggy and pointless... damn. Incredible.

  • Additional Desserts

    Assorted Desserts

    These included a creme brulee for the ladies, and the gents got a plum-topped trifle. Both delicious - my personal preference was for the trifle, as the creme brulee was relatively straightforward. Then, a selection of a truffle. I got a butterscotch one, Ei-Nyung got one infused with allspice. Good, but at this point, I was a bit beat up - my head was spinning from the sheer amount of sugar in the desserts. Or the caffeine from the cappucino, or the ridiculous quantity of ridiculous food we'd just eaten. When *even more* stuff came out with the check, I didn't even think about it, I couldn't eat any more.

Total bill: $210 per for the tasting menu per person, $55 between the four of us for way overpriced water.

Wow. That's a lot of scratch. Yes, it's an awesome meal. And for an almost-once-in-a-lifetime experience, worth it easily, simply to know what's *possible* with food, and in some cases, how things are really supposed to taste. It definitely skirts the line where part of my brain is like, "HOLY CRAP that's expensive." But it was a great night out, again, with friends, food and an experience that couldn't be beat. In that respect, who cares how much it costs? Life's for living, and there are some things that if you can do it, you should. For me, this was one of those things.

Much thanks to P&M, who secured the reservations, for both letting us accompany them, and for a wonderful time. Given the opportunity, I'd definitely go back, but probably not more than once every two years or so. And that, if we can even manage to get a table.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Writing that last post made me realize that I've never written a "thing" on Gregoire yet. It's a small place on Piedmont Ave. that has a number of seats, but is primarily a take-out restaurant that serves French food, using spectacular ingredients. Most of the lunch menu consists of sandwiches and stuff for about $8, which is pricey, but not out of the range of most sandwich places these days (at least of this caliber). But, you'll undoubtedly get the crispy potato puffs, at $4.25, because they're totally worth it.

While the almost the entire menu changes on a monthly basis, the one thing that remains the same are the potato puffs. They're these crispy-on-the-outside, silky smooth on the inside deep-fried potato balls. Basically, like mashed potato on the inside, but somehow surrounded by a crisp, light crust that they sprinkle with kosher salt, giving it a period little burst of salty goodness. They don't feel greasy at all, and they're unlike any other potato "device" I've ever had. Awesome. It'll come with a dipping sauce of some kind, but that varies from month to month.

The sandwiches vary from "ok" to "incredible." Recently, I had a pork sandwich that I thought was overly mustardy, but I've had sandwiches there that are really quite excellent. It just depends on the month, I guess, and whether a particular concoction aligns with your taste. The preparation and the quality of ingredients are uniformly spectacular.

Dinners are all over the place, ranging from little fried chicken tenders, to elaborate fish dishes, or other interesting meat or vegetable preparations. I've had one meal (lamb kabobs with kalamata olives) that I thought was unspectacular, but everything else has been extraordinary. A recent six-hour braised beef cheeks over penne pasta had a wonderfully balanced, earthy sauce over the most perfectly done pasta I've ever had. So far, it's the only thing I've ever gotten twice. We usually don't go enough to exhaust the monthly menu (maybe twice a month), but this time, rather than try something else, I just got the beef cheek again, sad that it would rotate off the menu in a few days (at the time - the rotation happened yesterday, in fact).

Everything's served in little corrugated octagonal cardboard containers. It's great for takeout, and you sort of always know how much food you're going to get. Which is good, but it makes your weird little value-for-money calculation go haywire sometimes, becuase you know that for dinner, you'll spend about $17 on the entree, and it'll all fit in that octagon, come hell or high water. Still, occasionally, it's definitely worth it. The food there is really, really good - often interesting and challenging, always spectacularly prepared, and always with the finest ingredients.

It's a wonderful place to grab a quick dinner, when you're feeling like you really want something nice, and are willing to pony up the dough, but not the time.

And the truffled scalloped potatoes that you now can't get 'till it reappears some month on the menu are the best potatoes I've had maybe ever. Awesome stuff.


I'm sure I've done something like this before (This is Seppo - Ha! I've ruined Holly's little game...), but I figured I'd do it again, because it's likely that there are random things that have changed in the time since I did it last.

My favorite places to eat:

* Cheap Sushi: Geta (Piedmont Ave.)
* Expensive Sushi: Angelfish (Alameda)
* Upscale but quick dinner: Gregoire (Piedmont Ave.)
* Indian Take-Out: Raj Indian Cuisine (Piedmont Ave.)
* Cheesesteaks: The Cheesesteak Shop (Lakeshore Ave.)
* Brunch: Merritt Bakery (South side of Lake Merritt)
* Chocolate Croissant: Semifreddi's Bakery (Emeryville (yes, I realize my "location" tags are really inconsistent)
* BBQ: Doug's (Emeryville) (sorry, Your Neighborhood Backyard BBQ - you know I love you, but Doug's beats you by just a touch, 'cause they're consistent)
* Burgers: The Smokehouse (Telegraph Ave.)
* Pizza: Zachary's (College Ave.)
* Burrito: Cactus Taqueria (College Ave.)
* Ice Cream: Fenton's (Piedmont Ave.)
* Food on a stick: Askew (Emeryville)
* Fries: Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe (Emeryville)
* Korean Food: Sahn Maru (Telegraph Ave.) (though part of me thinks the *real* answer is Ohgane, and I'm just saying Sahn Maru 'cause I feel guilty)
* Asian Fusion: Cuvae (College Ave.)
* Asian Fusion (Small Plates): Gochi (really damn far)
* Ramen: Himawari (San Mateo)
* Most Frequented Grocery Store: Safeway, in the Rockridge Plaza
* Farmer's Market: The one under the 580 freeway on Sat. mornings
* Vietnamese Sandwiches: That place in San Jose that I can't remember the name of.
* Dim Sum: Koi Palace (Daly City)
* French: Aperto (San Francisco)
* Lunch on a workday: The Thai place in the Emeryville Public Market (Emeryville)

Notably Terrible Experiences:

* Bangkok Palace (Grand Ave.)
* Herbivore (San Francisco)

Places I wish were better, but aren't:

* Samurai Sushi Boat (Grand Ave.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pearl Oyster Bar

So, Friday, we went to Pearl Oyster Bar, which is on College a couple doors down from Cactus Taqueria. We had:

  • 2 Kumamoto Oysters
    We each got an oyster. Since it was an oyster bar, this seemed like a reasoanble thing to do. They came with a vinegar-y garlic-y sauce, which was good. The oysters themselves were alright - I suppose I don't know much about oysters, but they definitely reminded me of say, the beach, which I thought was pleasant. They had an oystery taste, as well, which wasn't bad, but I'm not a huge oyster fan either, so... yeah. Sorry for being so noncommittal. :D

  • Sweet Potato Fries
    So, if you're a regular reader of this blog (and honestly, who isn't?) you might remember we had some sweet potato fries at Grasshopper, and were impressed by the curry aioli, but not so much by the fries themselves. The sauce was an aioli of some sort at Pearl, as well, and not as distinctive as the curry aioli at Grasshopper, but everything else about this was better, otherwise. The fries were more uniform, better fried, crispy on the outside and silky on the inside. I think sweet potatoes just don't cook like you expect say, a Russett, or something, so you end up with expectations that'll just never be fulfilled. Still, these fortunately eliminated any reason we might have to go back to Grasshopper, which I suppose is a good thing.

  • Tuna Poke
    Cuvae is still the Poki king, IMO, but this place had a nice variation on it that was interesting. You got the same basic garlic/ginger/sesame oil flavor combo that every tuna poki has out here, but this time, it was served in a martini glass, on top of cucumber that was cubed about the same size as the tuna, with a subtle spicy sauce under the cucumber. It was actually a little awkward to eat at first, but it was really quite tasty. This was the first instance, though, of a theme that sort of ran through the meal, and that was that in a lot of respects, the fish flavors were de-emphasized. Though I liked the Poki, it wasn't "TUNA!" it was a very nice combination of flavors that worked more as a harmony than to say, enhance the melody that the tuna might have been. In this dish, that was totally fine, but the next dish...

  • Thai Ceviche
    This was weird. It was five little clusters - one nice, large piece of fish, on top of a salad comprised of slivers of green - I think cucumber, maybe, in a relatively strong sauce. I think the big thing with this one was that the flavor was something I totally didn't expect, despite it being called a Thai ceviche. FISH SAUCE!!! FISH SAUCE MOTHERFUCKER!!!! BOOYEAH!!! was definitely the impression I got from this, and with every bite, it was suprising. Not because it was *bad*, just because when you think ceviche, you don't think fish sauce, I guess. But the biggest thing is that I have *no idea* what that fish was. It had a nice, meaty texture, but it could have been yellowtail, or white tuna, or any number of things. No idea. Couldn't taste the fish *at all*.

  • Lamb Flatbread
    This was a really nice Moroccan-influenced lamb meatballs on a piece of grilled flatbread with a couple different sauces. Weirdly, again, to me I couldn't actually taste any sort of obviously lamb flavor, but maybe it was part of just creating a good harmony of flavors for the sauce. Dunno. It could have been pork, or beef, or sawdust. That aside, though, it was really tasty, I'd love to have it again.
  • "Coffee" & Doughnuts - These were a bowl ful of cinnamon & sugar dusted beignets, with a coffee and cardamom-based "creme anglaise" dipping sauce (it was way too runny, IMO, to be creme anglaise, unless I really screwed up the French Laundry recipe, which I'm pretty sure I didn't. I really liked this, as a dessert. The beignets were nicely fried, and sort of silky, rather than airy on the inside. Very different than your generic 5 cent doughnut holes. The cold dipping sauce was a nice complement to the hot doughnuts, and it all just worked really well, for me.

  • Rhubarb "Dry" Soda
    A rhubarb-flavored soda that Ei-Nyung got. Surprisingly good, and not very sweet at all. Almost like Pommac. And if you get that reference, you're either my dad, or my cousin. Hi!

Overall, I'd go back. I wasn't blown away, but it was reasonably interesting fare, there looked to be a good variety, and nothing we had was bad. At worst (the Thai Ceviche), it wasn't what we'd expected. I'm curious as to whether they have other fish dishes where the fish is the "star" of the dish, or what have you. But it was good enough I'd like to try it again.