Friday, December 28, 2012
Since I arrived before they opened, I had the opportunity to look into their pastry case. Their croissant was inside, waiting for the next customer. Question: how long was it waiting though? I'm not sure when it was made, but it definitely wasn't made that morning or the night before. It had been sitting there for a little while, maybe a day or so. It didn't look fresh or taste fresh. It didn't have that buttery, flaky, crispy topping. It just had the soft outer shell to match the soft inside. Even more disappointing was that it didn't have any almond paste inside. Their version of an almond croissant, was toasted almonds on top. This could have easily been the croissant in 7-Eleven on your way to work.
The Le midi, which is a crepe prepared with pears, maple syrup, and blueberry spread, was nice and sweet and crepe cooked well. It just too small. With any crepe, I'm expected one that can fill the length of a plate. This made it to a disappointing three quarters across. Even with it folded on top of itself several times, it was still barely an eighth inch tall. The flavor was good though and I would be willing to try one of their savory ones if I had the opportunity.
FYI...I wanted to get one of the waffles from the pictures, but they stopped making waffles. :(
Saturday, December 22, 2012
If I hadn't had enough carbs yet, I tried their Millet Muffin. I never heard of millet before here, so why not try it. It was slightly on the dry side, not extremely dry though. The millet was interesting? It gave a similar texture as nuts to the muffin. However, it didn't have any flavor like nuts typically added to muffins. I would get it again if it were available. It had enough interesting flavor and texture.
To add a bit of protein to all these carbs, I moved onto their Yogurt Parfait. It was a delicious vanilla yogurt with berries on the bottom and topped with their homemade granola. The granola is spiced well and not too sweet. It hit the spot.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Each dish had unique qualities, whether it be the complexity of the sauces or tiny additions to elevate the texture. Nine times out of time, it will be delicious and have flavors you probably haven't had before. My only complaint would be the cost. I think it was over priced for what I received.
I left enjoying the meal, but disappointed with the price and how fulfilled I was with the quantity of food.
Friday, December 14, 2012
When I came to Philadelphia I had one agenda item, to make sure I try a real Philly Cheesesteak. Why not try it at the place Andrew Zimmern recommends. I asked to have it prepared the traditional way, which comes with sautéed onions with the steak. I like how the cheese lines the bottom of the bun, giving a minimal protection from the juices. You don't want a full barrier since you want it to soak in a little, giving the bun that extra delicious flavor. This is truly the real deal. The steak is prepared well and cut thin to allow the flavor to come through. It was worth the trouble getting here
I now ventured to the exotic cuts to try what brought Bizarre Foods out. To get a sampler, I chose the pork, beef, and tripe all on one sandwich. The first flaw is not having the cheese line the bread for a barrier for the juice. The juices although add flavor to the bun, it also transforms it into a soggy mess if you don't eat it in 5-10 minutes. Its not an option to "take it home" to eat it later.
All three meats were cooked well. Its easy to over cook the beef and pork consequently drying it out. Not in this case. Both were still juicy and not crispy. If the tripe had been under cooked, it would have been too rubbery, but it wasn't. It too had the correct texture. All three meats couldn't compare to the steak. They all lacked in flavoring. The only one that looked marinated was the tripe in a tomato base, but none of the flavors came through.
I didn't particularly care for the cooks attitude who also took my order. I mentioned that I was from out of town and this was my first real Philly steak. He wasn't any help or made me feel welcome.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
So far, I've tried their Dune Climber that includes artichokes, Garlic Parmesan Fries, Poutine Fries, I-80, Bacon Made Me Do It, and Kon San Road
So much to talk about each one, so I separated it into two categories: I'll Take Seconds and No Thanks, I'll Pass
I'll Take Seconds - Parmesean Garlic Fries: I would definitely order another round. They are nicely fried and crispy, but its the garlic that sets it apart. The minced garlic was plentiful and you could taste it throughout the whole order. Dune climber: the two elements that elevates the flavor are the artichokes and capers. The contrast of the acidity from the artichokes and the saltiness from the capers are an excellent balance. Kohn San Road: It has peanuts, bean sprouts, green onions, lime, cilantro, and sriracha. It's an excellent blend of texture, acid, and heat. I can order this one two, three, or as many times as I'm there. It's also lighter than the other dishes, giving it an advantage.
No Thanks, I'll Pass - Poutine Fries: although they are good, I wouldn't be ordering another. The gravy and the egg blend together well, giving it a smooth rich sauce. However, it's just too heavy. Even with sharing the fries, we didn't finish them. Bacon Made Me Do It: having apple smoked bacon, fresh tomatoes, and green onions. Bacon on anything is good and although this was good, I don't thing it's as complex as they hoped. The bacon gives texture and saltiness, but the flavor is still a basic one note. It didn't seem as good as the Kohn San Road. I-80 has beef brisket gravy, wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, fried egg. This is just a little over the top. The egg, mushrooms, and onions if left to only those ingredients would have been nice, but the gravy puts it over the top. It's too heavy with the gravy, egg and cheese. Not sure why they kept adding components, they should have stopped while they were ahead. I have to emphasize, it isn't bad or has a bad flavor, it's just too much.
Monday, December 10, 2012
I wish I could comment on all of them but I have to stick with the parfait and crepe romanoff.
One absolutely shocking piece of information, yet unfortunately valuable was the caloric count signs next to the pastries. WHY?! But thank you. It was extremely helpful to learn the pastries that I really wanted and how I shouldn't be getting them.
The parfait was very large and well balanced with sweetness and crunch. The berries are a nice fresh touch to the yogurt. The house made granola topping has the right amount of portion to mix well with the whole parfait.
The crepe romanoff is a sweet crêpe topped with fresh strawberries with brandy sour cream sauce and cinnamon. It's a nice light crepe, thin and not really filling at all if you were to eat it by itself. Get some other protein with it and you'll be all set.
The chefs came out and did an excellent presentation on the evenings activities with their upcoming fall menu. We started the evening on an unconventional food with two sorbets. Vanilla Bean Strawberries and Creme Fraiche were sweet and designed to cleanse the palate. A nice textural surprise were the chopped pistachios at the base of the sorbet, give addition counter balance of texture and sweetness.
Next dish was Yellow Fin Tuna Carpaccio with chili vinegar, mango coulis, rice crisp, and mango lime foam. The tuna was so smooth, cut perfectly thin to bring out all the flavor. There is a nice balance between heat from the chili oil and the acid from the lime foam.
The sandwich dual off. DY Spindini with buffalo mozzarella and lemon butter against the Croque Madam with gruyere and quail egg. The spindini was nice, light, and smooth. The fresh herbs on top gave it the fresh earthy flavor. The capers was a nice addition to add the saltiness. Even though it was good, the Croque wins the challenge. Its the delicious and refined comfort food that I was hoping to get out of the sandwich. When you break the egg, it's yolk glazes the sandwich nicely and with the salty, nutty gruyere cheese, it adds the necessary balance.
Potato and Mushroom Ravioli was next with bay scallop, enoki, lobster creme plated with their Croquille Saint Jaques. Oh, that ravioli haunts me to this day. I can't find another place to reproduce it. It was magnificently delicious with it topped with the light lobster sauce. The bay scallops also with the lobster sauce causes you to say mmmmm as well. Now, combining the two, what a disappointment. Why did they combined them? I sliced the bay scallop and placed it on top of the ravioli and together, they individually lost their flavor and didn't create some new unique taste.
Now for their playful attempt for the Tribute to the Cheeseburger with sweet potato, tomato nage, romaine, sauce mornay. It is a fully deconstructed cheese burger. It of course doesn't resemble any cheese burger you'll find and if you taste the individual parts, you would come to the same conclusion. Now the genius of the concept, if you place each component on your fork together, you got yourself a full flavored cheese burger. Each element was executed thoughtfully and carefully. Each one was perfect, but the two at really stood out was the tomato nage and the mornay sauce. Those two were very delicate and individually, you would probably say to yourself, really, what is that. Then you had it to the "cheese burger", oh man, you have a perfect "ketchup" and "cheese". This was simply a wow.
The staff did an amazing job to make the night perfect and the chefs did an excellent job in presentation to the group and on the plate.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
The salad roll was deliciously fresh with the right ratio of herbs, veggies, and tofu. The plum sauce varies from place to place and was happy to find that this one was tangy with a little unexpected heat to make you look forward to the next bite.
The Basil Squid in Thai Chili was pretty good. The squid was cooked well, soft and tender. I'm glad it wasn't over cooked transforming them into rubber bands. It was served in the typical brown Thai sauce that is always very tasty.
Something different from other paces is their spicy tray they provide. It had the typical chili paste to make it nice and spicy. It also had jalapenos, which I'm not exactly sure what you would put them on, dried chili paste, and soy sauce.
When was the last time pumpkin pancakes were on a menu? Recent? Infrequent? Rare for me, my first time. Well, they were an enomous let down. I was expecting hot cakes that were rich in pumpkin flavor. Could be furthest from the truth, unfortunately. They almost taste just like regular pancakes without any special seasoning, such as pumpkin. Now I'm weary to try any of their food.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
It's served on two pieces of rye, a hefty serving of egg salad, enough to fill you up in two sittings if you wish, and fresh crunchy iceberg lettuce. What I do like about their egg salad is that it wasn't too over powering of one flavor or another. It blends well together into a nice creamy serving. However, the sandwich just lacks that extra pizazz to give it a fourth star. It does have creaminess along with the crunch of the lettuce and the bread, but no hidden flavors or anything for you to say, hmmm, what is that delicious flavor that I can't put my finger on.
At the end of the day, it's good, standard fare, but doesn't leave that lasting impression forcing you to drive down to the city for it specifically. I should also mention that it is locally owned and operated, part of the D's revitalization.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
The Summer Walnut Salad has the greens, blue cheese, sliced pears, dried Michigan cherries, and spiced walnuts with an oil based dressing. All the elements were fresh and delicious until you combined the dressing. In fact, I'm so happy to ordered it on the side and I ended up eating the whole dish completely without dressing. It really didn't need it with the crunch, sweetness from the pear, cherries, and spiced walnuts with the tartness from the cheese. The dressing just taste of oil, that's it. Stay away from it or order another one.
Yankee would haves received two stars if I would have stopped there. Since I moved onto the Pot Roast Sandwich, they redeemed themselves with another star. It has nicely grilled bread with very tender and juicy beef. It has a layer of Dijon mustard to give it that extra tang and kick.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
We started with the pickle chips, because I'm a sucker for fried pickles. The chips are nice, but I prefer full pickle wedges. They are nice and tart, stronger vinegar than I normally like. The batter is better than other places. It's a nice beer batter that sticks will to the slices.
I thought the ribs were okay, well seasoned and sauced and importantly tender. However, the pulled pork and brisket were very dried out. The brisket didn't have any of that delicious unhealthy fat to keep it juicy and flavorful. It's all been removed and the meat suffers from this butchery. The pulled pork seemed as though it had been removed from the slow cooking process earlier and pulled apart, then left off to the side to dry out instead of to order. The balsamic beans had a nice flavor to them and I wouldn't do any adjustments there. This also applies for the grits as well, cheesy and a slight gritty texture that grits delivers.
It looks like a neat place to try again and hope that the meats are a little better. I'm hopeful for the pulled pork, but I'm guessing their brisket is going to stay that way because of how they cut it.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Ferndale, MI - Komodo Kitchen; Komodo is an amazing Indonesia pop-up. You will almost question whether if the food you receive is really from a pop-up or from a well seasoned restaurant with a vast amount of experience.
It's extremely difficult to get tickets for the dinner, but if you do, you'll enjoy every moment. Usually when the email goes out about their upcoming dinner, about 10 minutes later, they are sold out. When you receive the email, don't waste any time, register immediately.
So now that you rushed in a panic to register, you've been waiting for it with anticipation. The dinner began with Sate Tahiti Cantik which was tofu skewered with a sweet lime dressing presented on top of a crispy prawn krupuk with their peanut sauce. When you took one bite off the skewer capturing all the elements, each component played a symphony together cooperating with each other to create a perfectly balanced dish. The peanut sauce that has now dripped off onto the crispy prawn krupuk, which is a shrimp flavored starchy puffy cracker that helps soak up the sauces and give a nice crunch to finish off the appetizer.
Between the appetizer and dinner they served pandan tea, a jasmine tea with palm sugar syrup. What a nice drink to cut through the appetizer flavor to clean the palate. I first thought we only get this glass, but we could continue to order it through the meal. The palm sugar nicely sweetens the drink, but not too much. Just right.
The entree was longing sayur sunda, which inclided green papaya, asian long bean, coconut milk, spicy banal egg, Michigan shrimp sauteed in samba. It was served with jasmine rice medallions, acar salad, and tempeh to accompany the broth, adding heartiness. The curry milk broth was spectacular, seasoned so well and flavorful. The vegetables were cooked perfectly still with a tiny crunch to them, but not over cooked. The shrimp were fantastic, cooked perfectly, and to my surprise was from Michigan! Wow, shrimp here in MI, never would have thought of that. The salad just the right tart to it so help balance the coconut curry and with the jasmine rice in the dish, it was really nice to soak up that broth.
Lastly, the java lava for dessert. Wow, a fantastic way to end the meal. It was wonderfully soft and smooth, yet crunchy at the top with the cashews.
The whole meal's conception and execution was spot on and I look forward to the next meal if I'm fast enough to purchase tickets.
Monday, October 29, 2012
We started off with their octopus salad. It had good texture and flavor. The brininess and vinegar of the dressing adds immediately to the meat. The pop of the seaweed is a standard component to the salad, always a good staple.
We had a variety of sushi for dinner, tuna, salmon, hand rolls, eel, christmas roll, and smelt roe. All the sushi was fresh, presented well and decorative. None of it was super amazing, but all still standard.
To me its all over priced. Its probably due to location, what city its in. You can find everything at other places cheaper.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
A regular purchase lately has been their egg salad sandwich on challah. A usual egg salad is loaded with celery and mayonnaise, but I've found that I really enjoy their version without either of these. Without the celery it is much smoother in texture and doesn't have the sharpness of the celery flavor cutting through everything else. The necessary texture and crunch comes from the fresh iceberg lettuce. To add more flavor, they serve it with a few thinly sliced dill pickles to add to the sandwich if you wish, adding the vinegar to give it a slight sharp flavor. It helps to balance out the little bit of mayo they do use. It's served on challah bread, but this is my only criticism. I don't think the challah they use is the best in town, its more firm than it should be. It's not stale, it just doesn't have that soft, melting in your mouth, eggy flavor that challah should have.
The staff is very nice and they make an effort to remember you as you return. FYI, on Saturday and Sunday mornings, be aware, there will be a wait, but since it's connected to a small shopping mall, you can window shop while you wait.
They have a delicious spread of options for viewing. Make sure you walk around to check out all the desserts.
We tried two: Knafeh and Katayef. When we were ready to order knafeh, there was only one piece left and they told us if we waited a few minutes, a fresh hot batch will be ready. If you have the opportunity to wait for fresh ones that come right off the stove, take advantage of it. When it's fresh and hot, the cheese is wonderfully stringy and the whole dish is nice and sweet from the syrup. Although, it wasn't as sweet as I thought it was going to be. I wouldn't categorize it as a dessert. It's topped with crushed pistachios for extra flavor, texture, and appearance.
The end result, its gooey, sweet, and crunchy. A good combo.
The katayef really doesn't stack up to the knashef. It is not bad but really doesn't offer the level of flavor nor complexity of the knafeh. I guess its not fair to compare them since they are so different, but when your eating them side by side, its hard not to. It's a small stuffed pancake but really not as nicely sweet as the other.