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Three of us had dinner at Papillon last night (Hudson & W. 11th.) Probaby it deserves more of a write up then I am going to give it. They've been open about 2 weeks and have not been reviewed yet that I know of. This is the chef from the much hyped but ill fated Atlas (Central Park South) which closed earlier in the year. Evidently the chef went back to Europe, but now is back again in NYC at this much smaller location.

The place gave me a weird feeling at first. You have to enter through the bar next door (which looks like just another bar on Hudson, but is actually part of the restaurant.) Then you go through the back into the actual restaurant. Not a problem, really, but there's something about the layout I don't like. In any case, our waiter was very good, and she quickly turned my intuition from doubtful to hopeful.

The menu is short. Either a two or three course prix fixe (where the third course is either cheese or dessert) for $35 and $45 resepctively. We had a thai spiced pumpkin soup (with a martini glass on the side filled with some crazy pumpkin sorbet concoction,) frog leg salad with some sort of (Atlas signature) foam all over it, and the best item, a langoustine tartar with a crustacean foam and an anchovie (it worked.) We drank a nice Meursault. Other apps included a fois-gras, a mushroom dish, and I think one thing I can't remember. Everything was small (or, not overly large) and well presented. Definitely get the langoustine.

For the main course we had a chicken dish, a stripped bass, and pig cheeks. Pig cheeks got the thumbs up although I didn't indulge. Very rich like the short ribs at 71CFF. The chicken was reportedly cooked to perfection, as was my stripped bass. The bass is all I can comment on really, and it was done well, over a puree of jerusalem artichokes. A big pile of bitter greens on the side was a great touch. Very nice.

And then dessert. Get dessert. Get five. By far the best part of the meal. Three chocolate dishes which the waiter explains with the actual percent of cacao involved. Something called "Wylie's Margarita" which is another one of those crazy foam concoctions involving limes and salt served in a martini glass. It's named after 71CFF chef Wylie who I guess gave them some sort of special lime juice to use (I don't think he knows his name is on the menu though.) If you can wrangle a few words with the pastry chef maybe you can get sent the little sampler we closed with which contained some small cookies and a bunch of strange tasting sugary cubes which completely blew my mind. Oh yeah, and the toasted sugar coated macademia nuts weren't too bad either. Did I mention dessert was the best part?

Anyway, aside from the weird room (which I can't even say why I think it's weird) Papillon is looking good. Very empty last night, so you might want to go soon (before the reviews come.) At $45 it's a pretty good deal for the level of food you get. The wine list seemed small to me, and I had trouble locating a red to start with, but we had a decent rioja with the mains. My guess is they need some help in that area, but I'll have to wait for the more learned opinions on matters of the vine.

Afterwards we walked into the White Horse Tavern where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death, learned of the Yankees loss, and sat for awhile discussing WWIII. The table next to us kept going for the juke box, playing Frank Sinatra over and over: "Start spreadin' the news..." It seemed like everyone thought the Yankees had done well enough. I think the same goes for Papillon.
- jim 11-05-2001 3:08 pm [link] [1 ref] [1 comment]

Today was a beautiful day, spend a few hours at the brooklyn botanical garden: rose garden if full bloom, fragrant garden where you can rub all the plants and smell, local plant garden with seseme seed, sunchokes, jimson weed.....
- Skinny 11-04-2001 9:45 pm [link] [add a comment]

The daily news had a devastating review of Opia (130 E. 57th) which contained this gem of sentence describing the "plaster mound of chickpea purée" that came under the grilled bass: "If taupe had a flavor, this would be it." Ouch.
- jim 11-03-2001 5:08 pm [link] [add a comment]

Argentina again ...

Argentina has the best store-bought mayo I've ever had. Good oil, good eggs, and lemon juice.

- mark 10-30-2001 1:01 am [link] [1 ref] [4 comments]

Mike, that monkfish you cooked last night was first rate. Any tips for the rest of us less gifted over the fire? Also, do you have a favorite spot to buy fish?

Thanks for dinner!
- jim 10-29-2001 2:38 pm [link] [5 comments]

had some extremely tasty and clean chinese on the upper east side last night Henry's Evergreen 1288 First (69 st)
- Skinny 10-28-2001 1:07 pm [link] [add a comment] is a food weblog that might be interesting.
- jim 10-27-2001 4:04 pm [link] [add a comment]

In the first-century A.D., the Roman poet Martial sent his friends the following invitation:
- dave 10-26-2001 4:51 pm [link] [add a comment]

Impressions of Argentine food

Basic food groups: beef, sugar, caffeine.

Produce: Tomatoes and lettuce rival Salinas, CA quality -- whether in Buenos Aires or at a fruit stand on a dirt road in the remote northwest provinces. Fruits and veggies are plentiful, high quality, and cheap. Can't speak for produce quality in Patagonia, suspect may be similar to Scottish and Welsh produce quality. (Gotta love them root veggies!)

Seafood: I've never seen such a dearth of seafood in a country with such a long coast line. (See "beef" under basic food groups.)

Beef: $5 bucks at a sitdown restaraunt for a large, tasty and tender steak from sirloin or beef tender.

Cabrito: If you're ever in Salta, check out the cabrito asado -- an explosion of flavors

Empanadas: Favorite snack food in Argentina. (See "beef" under basic food groups.) They consist of filling held in a small round "tapa" of dough which is folded in half. Beef, chicken and sometimes onion/cheese are the most common. Baked or fried, but baked is best.

Salteño Empanadas: People in Buenos Aires and the pampa speak in reverential tones of the empanadas from the Northwest. "My grandfather is from Salta, and he always makes Salteño empanadas -- the best." BA empanadas are very simple, but the Salteños use a dozen different ingredients in the mixture for the filling.

Mate: The people of Argentina are obsessed with mate, a bitter and mildly stimulating (i.e., caffine-like substance) tea made from yerba mate. To add sugar or not is a touchy subject. Mate preparation and consumption is a group activity, which plays into the close personal interaction typical of Argentines.

Dulce Leche: Can be described as a jam-like substance made from camelized milk. It's sweetened, carmelized condensed milk -- much more condensed than typical US condensed milk. Argentines love to have bits of bread coated with dulce leche as an afternoon break during the long interval between lunch and late-night dinner. Dulce leche with peaches sounds like an odd combination, but is a delightful dessert.
- mark 10-23-2001 11:35 pm [link] [1 comment]

get stuffed

- bill 10-18-2001 1:35 am [link] [add a comment]

It's chili in Terlingua TX

- bill 10-09-2001 3:55 pm [link] [add a comment]

last night linda and i had our last meal at 71CFFood with Captain Wylie at the helm, it was without any question the best meal we ever had there too, the pasta made of pure squid rocked but so did all the other 16, as we yum yum'd through a 6 course tasting menu with a different creation for all three quests (my pal passed on dessert to have the squid pasta again) so it was a mere 17 different...:>)....see you at 50 Clinton....and thank you for a real good time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Skinny 10-07-2001 4:03 pm [link] [add a comment]

Eric Asimov reviews AKA in todays New York Times.
- jim 10-03-2001 1:53 pm [link] [1 ref] [4 comments]

Let's get pickled! The first annual New York international pickle day is tomorrow. The fun is on Orchard Street between Houston and Stanton from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- jim 9-29-2001 6:26 pm [link] [add a comment]

Best meal and wine night ever at Manducatti’s
for me was 9/25 following a fantastic
Madeira Seminar from 1875 to 1977:>)

1985 Valentino Bricco Manzone $60
1982 Marcarini Brunate $65
1978 Brovia Rocche Riserva $45
*1978 Pira Riserva $45
1982 Ceretto Bricco Rocche $65
1982 Valentino Raul $80
**1978 Prunotto Bussia Riserva $80
**1978 Giacosa St Steven Riserva $225
*1977 Taurasi Riserva $60

* Bottom two wines of the night
** Top two wines of the night

- Skinny 9-27-2001 2:52 pm [link] [1 ref] [add a comment]

well not really into posting but need to get going

being in the wine/food industry i felt that i should be out supporting restaurants in my area in this downturn

note: we dont eat meat, birds are my new favorite food though, linda fish only so we cant report complete and we only ate at each place once...

Smith St, USA

Grocery--nice food no tingle, need to try again
Saul--too heavy just ok, not going back anytime soon
Patois--we had a great dish here (old friend / ex chef of Nosmo King long ago) of trout served over mashed potatoes in a soup plate with a broth added containing corn and yelow beets, must return
Uncle Pho--we had one yummy and one super yummy here (the Jims Special Tuna!!!), hope they deliver
Banania--great brunch, ok dinner
Ytournel--my chicken as ok, Bill liked his cod gratinee very well, Linda's mussels were week, but we really like this place for the feel, try again soon
Smith St Kitchen--everything purrfect so far, yes its a mostly a seafood joint so its up our alley, we need to try more main courses to fully bless it, cant wait:>)
Not tasted:Cafe LULUc (owners of Banania), Bar Takac, Ferninando's Foccaceria (open since 1904) which close's at 6pm, The Red Rose......

- Skinny 9-25-2001 3:44 am [link] [20 comments]

The New York Post likes AKA.
- jim 9-19-2001 1:42 pm [link] [add a comment]

AKA (49 Clinton) is now open for lunch. Kitchen hours are noon to midnight. No empanadas during the day, but otherwise the menu is the same.
- jim 9-18-2001 5:01 pm [link] [3 comments]

Adventures in Sabayon

I find myself needing useful distractions to get my mind off recent events. One of these distractions is doing homework for a cooking course. Last week's class included four desserts, with a heavy emphasis on eggs. I settled for doing about 1/3 of one dessert for my homework. I took on the task of whipping up a chocolate sabayon which had been used as a filling in a multilayer sponge cake.

I'm using the French spelling for sabayon, 'cause the Italian seems to have entirely too many vowels, especially for a southerner. We often get two or three syllables out of a single vowel, so a word like zabaglione can't help but be bruised.

My first attempt was really quite good until I added the Marsala wine. I had a nice pale yellow custard-like sabayon going, but forgot to add the wine along the way. So I kinda sorta dumped it all in at once, after the egg/sugar mixture was pretty much done -- with nice yellow ribbons, the real deal. With the abrupt addition of wine, the smooth ribbony texture was lost, leaving me with the fluff of air bubbles but without the sensual viscosity of a nice custard. And most of the wine never incorporated. Sugary egg foam floating on fortified wine -- interesting, but not exactly the desired effect.

On my second attempt I drizzled in the Marsala as I whipped up the yolks and sugar over mild heat. I think I now know why I've never been a z-bag fan. I don't really like Marsala. But there's a zillion other alternatives. Sauvignon blanc, grand marnier, cognac or citrus juice come to mind.

I folded in melted bittersweet chocolate, which deflated the eggs a bit, and folded in whipped cream, which added some fluff back. The result is a chocolate mousse-like substance that would be great as an ingredient in most any chocolate concoction as a topping or filling. It's light and fluffy in texture, but intense and heavy in impact. I popped the leftovers in the freezer to see if it sets up as a frozen treat.

Each time I learn some new technique or ingredient, I try to think up a variation of some sort. A warm, light and tart lemon sabayon layered with fresh berries is a prime candidate for experimentation this week.

- mark 9-17-2001 10:17 am [link] [3 refs] [add a comment]