Fresh Ricotta-Stuffed Heirloom Tomato
Niçoise olive vinaigrette/Saffron croutons/White anchovies
Eggs “en surprise” w/ Chanterelle and Parmesan cream
This dish was also featured on the Voltaggio Brothers website.. Link here http://www.voltaggiobrothers.com/post/shout-out-to-bobby-n
I recently read an article in the New Yorker about chefs traveling with their knives and how it’s become extremely difficult post 9/11.. Chef Ripert discussed the custom case LV was building for him and a few days later he posted pictures of it on his Facebook.. Here is the article and pictures of the case..
New Yorker article
I’m so very proud of myself because I FINALLY conquered risotto!!!
I’ve attempted risotto multiple times and never seem to get it just right, it always turned out kinda clumpy, gluey, or over-cooked. This time however it came out perfectly al dente, creamy, and spread when it hit the plate.
The trick to this is only…perfect timing lol (amongst other things) Everything needs to be added at the right time and the right temp. with your mise en place all ready to go. My ratio was 1.5 cups carnoli rice to 5 cups homemade chicken stock. I first sauteed garlic and shallots, then added the rice and toasted it for a few min. (I know everyone says to deglace the pan with white wine but I hate the flavor that it leaves if using a cheap wine) sooo I just deglased it with some sherry. Another thing that I did differently was I added the stock in two intervals. (insted of 1/2 cups sat a time) First adding 3 cups of warm stock while constantly stirring the rice over med-low heat, then when the stock almost absorbed, I added the remaining 2 cups of stock and repeated stirring over low heat. The point that I knew it was almost finished was when I tossed the risotto back and forth in the pan it acted like a wave of water. Also when you squeeze a grain of rice there should be three little white uncooked spots.
Once the risotto was almost done I added a warm puree of blanched asparagus with parsley and basil to the risotto and cooked it for 30 seconds more then turned it off the heat and finished it with a couple tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of parmesan and tons of salt and pepper. =) (I LOVE SALT!)
Needles to say, this risotto came out orgasmic, creamy, al dente, perfectly seasoned…etc This was a huge feat for me in my culinary journey, I finally conquered this damn risotto! I just hope that it wasn’t just a lucky try.
5921 Valencia Circle
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
858 756 1123
Dined here on March 4, 2011
Rancho Valencia is sort of a hidden gem in San Diego. The area was “discovered” in the early 1900s by movie director Theodore Reed. He suggested that his friend, screen idol Douglas Fairbanks, purchase the property as an investment. In 1924, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks bought 800 acres, named their property “Rancho Zorro” and planted 300 acres with Valencia oranges.
In 1989, adjacent to these historic acres, developer Harry Collins and architect James Morton built Rancho Valencia and several homes in the surrounding area. Working with interior designer Hank Milam and landscape architects Abby Drewliner and Bill Burton, they meticulously planned every resort detail, from the many antique furnishings, the hand-painted tile work, to the positioning of each of the suites and the lush landscaping.
The problem is not much if anything has changed since being built. Although it’s a beautiful property and location, it is extremely outdated especially the restaurant, Up until a few months ago the food matched the décor. If you wanted a well-done filet with asparagus or a basic salmon dish, then this was the place to be. Now as the resort prepares for it’s first renovation since being built, the food is the first glimpse in what we can expect from the multi million-dollar remodel.
Yogurt, Cucumber, Meyer Lemon
This was a nice palate-cleansing dish but I think that it would have worked better as an intermezzo. Being this was the first thing I ate, my palate was fresh and ready for a bold one to two bite amuse to wake my palate up and to show what’s to come.
Winter Root Vegetables, Stems & Flowers, Seaweed
This was one of the highlights of the whole dinner. Fresh crisp vegetables accompanied by a reduced dashi sauce that was rich and robust with a nice smoky flavor that didn’t have me looking for a protein. When I asked where the smoke flavor came from the server said it was a chef secret, as most of us know, rendered bacon fat is always a chefs secret weapon.
Spotted Bass, Brassicas, Black Truffle Jus
The bass was spot on with a pleasantly crisp skin but the sauces are what really made the dish a winner. The black truffle jus with the addition of squid ink added a great earthy brininess to the fish and mixed with onion puree made it perfectly balanced.
Tete presse, Egg Yolk, Snap Pears, Potato
This dish was easily the favorite of the night. You could tell this was a labor intensive dish and must of have taken at least 3-4 days to complete. The tete presse was so ethereal and delicate that it just melted on your tongue. The broth was a reduction of the pork braising liquid and had the same similar smoky flavor that we loved in the dashi sauce. The pickled radishes added the perfect acidity that was essential to cutting through the richness of the dish.
Foie Gras, Date Puree, Candied Garlic, Rosemary
I always look forward to the foie gras course and this did not disappoint. Although the presentation of this dish was a little messy and difficult to capture in a picture. The flavors won me over. This was the first time that foam actually had a strong flavor that complemented the other components.
Beef Entrecote, Leeks, Charred Pears, Caper Marrow Jus
I can’t fault this dish as everything was executed properly. The charred pears added a nice surprising flavor and the jus paired well with the beef. However I recently came to the conclusion that unless the beef is Kobe or dry aged, there really is nothing special about it. I would much rather have a game meat or just something braised.
Chamomile Mousse, Citrus Confit, Carrot Sorbet
This was the only complete miss of the night. The carrot sorbet was way strong and overpowering and the grapefruit left a bitter taste on my palate that just wouldn’t go away.
Overall this was a really great tasting and showed how much the food has evolved at Rancho Valencia. Every component was cooked and seasoned properly and had purpose for being there with exception of the dessert course. Once the remodel is finished and the décor matches the food this is going to be one of the better restaurants in San Diego. I look forward to returning even in the midst of a remodel to see how the food is evolving.
17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive
San Diego, CA 92128
Dined here on Feb 17, 2011
I finally had the chance to try El Bizcocho last night.. Those of you that have never been there, let me first say this, this hotel is in the strangest location I’ve ever seen.. It’s literally at the end of a cul de sac of a residential neighborhood.. The inside of the restaurant is very old school they will be going through a million dollar renovation in the coming months that will hopefully make it a little more up with times..
Now on to the food..
Violet Mustard, Micro Salad
This was a nice start to the meal.. The lamb was super tender and the mustard and what I think was worcestershire gave it nice acidic tang to it..
Frisee, Candied Walnuts, Fennel, Avocado Pudding, Beet Gelee
Beets were cooked and seasoned perfectly.. The only thing I missed was the avocado pudding it got lost in the mix..
Porchetta di Testa
Watermelon Radish, Mache, Fried Shallot Vinaigrette
One of the favorites of the night.. This porchetta di testa was melt in your mouth tender.. Great flavors I would love this sliced a little thicker and on a sandwich.. So good..
40 Minute Egg, Black Truffle, Prosciutto, Essence of Chamomile
The soup was poured table side.. The soup was the proper consisentcy and had great flavor.. I wish that the yolk on the egg was a little bit more runny and that there was more prosciutto throughout.. I like a little crunch for texture in soups..
Apple Chutney, Pan De’Epices, Huckleberry, Arugula
Overall solid but I wish that the piece of foie gras was a little bit thicker.. The chutney was a nice compliment to the foie..
Salsify, Fennel, Bacon Powder, Caramel Froth, Mizuna
Loved this dish second favorite of the night.. The scallop was cooked and seasoned perfectly.. Loved everything it was paired with but missed the bacon powder.
Spiced Guava polenta, Piquillo Pistachio Relish, Olive Crumb
Best dish of the night and one of the best pork belly dishes I’ve had in a very long time.. When reading what was in this dish it sounds a little weird.. Guava polenta? upon trying it everything made sense.. The guava polenta reminded me of peanut butter and the acid from the piquillo cut through the richness of the polenta and belly.. So good loved it!
Bone Marrow, Asparagus, Golden Beets, Smoked Pommes
Not that great of a picture.. It’s been a long time since I had a big piece of filet.. Although this was cooked properly I much rather have a fattier cut.. Ribeye or Ny.. I just kept missing the fat in each bite.. I loved the sides especially the smoked pommes.
Chocolate Pistachio “Creme Brulee”
Good dessert huge portion.. I’m not a dessert person but I actually enjoyed this.. Pistachio is one of my favorite things and love it paired with chocolate..
The zeppoli themselves were nice and soft would have liked them filled with a sauce.. Wasn’t a fond of the strawberry gelee on the bottom.. The only miss of the night..
Overall I really enjoyed the dinner and look forward to returning.. There was some real standouts like the pork belly, scallop and porchetta.. All the food was seasoned and cooked perfectly, execution is there and I was surprised to find out that there is only 4 cooks in the whole kitchen.. Apparently the food and bev manager who is no longer there cleaned house and got rid of almost everyone.. El Bizcocho is definitely in somewhat of a transition period right now. I’m curious to see how this place turns out after the remodel and what Travis will do with the menu..
Relate Restaurant @ St. Germains
Dined here on Feb 3, 2011
Click pictures for larger versions..
I just got back from the soft opening of Relate and wanted to post a quick review of the nights dishes.. I thought it was a solid showing for a soft opening.. Front of house needed a little work but that’s understandable for this type of situation..
Carrot Consommé Shooter
This was a great starter.. strong ginger flavor on the nose from the froth but didn’t over power.. Would love to have a full portion of this.. I didn’t get a picture of this..
Roasted Baby Beet Salad, Golden Beet Vinaigrette
Perfect seasonal salad.. Beets were cooked perfectly and loved the cinnamon vinaigrette..
Butter Poached Lobster, Warm Egg & Caviar Salad, Leeks, Beet Chip with Fennel Jam, Onion Froth
My personal favorite of the night.. Lobster was cooked to perfection.. Leeks were melt in your mouth and the fennel jam was excellent.. Perfect dish all around
My second favorite of the night.. This was a nice hearty dish and wish it was a bigger portion.. The rabbit with the addition of duck confit was perfect..
Spiced Beef, Spinach Avocado Puree, Crispy Porcini Spaetzle, Black Truffle, Guinness Gastrique
This was a solid dish but the portion of steak was to small in comparison to the puree and spaetzle.. Overall though the flavors went nicely together and really enjoyed the spaetzle..
Smoked S’mores, House-Made Graham Crakers, Agave Marshmallow, Chipotle-Orange Ganache, Tequila Crème Anglaise
This was my least favorite of the night.. I didn’t think it really went with the rest of the dishes.. I found the presentation to be a little boring and I’m not a fan of doing heart shape anything..
I think Chef Moody did a great job and I look forward to returning soon.. I think once the front of house gets more comfortable and Chef Moody gets into his rhythm we will be in for great run.. Chef Moody I just want to thank you for letting me join you on your soft opening, it was a pleasure meeting you and I wish you the best of luck..