Sunday, April 28, 2013

the right order

ordering right

despite the FAA sequester, we managed to converge on the lotus of siam for lunch on friday and i managed to order just enough food.

outstanding: fried dried beef (nua dad deaw), a uniquely textured and tenderly fibrous dish of wok-cooked pounded jackfruit and pork (thum-ka-noon), and a warm salad of fermented sausage and fried rice (nam kao tod).

late in the game, after the lunch crowd had dispersed, we really splashed out. the scholium project's nutty blend of cabernet, merlot, and petite sirah from separate vineyards (the 2005 "satrapies of the east") needed more air than we had time to give it. it was tangy and vibrating but quiet and reflective nonetheless; lighter-seeming than its 15% of alcohol. filled with dark purple fruit and plenty of tannins still, a wondrous, confusing silk purse made from a sow's ear.

Saturday, April 27, 2013



viva las arepas is on the strip a couple of miles south of downtown. i went there to continue my commitment on this trip to getting around entirely by human-powered means while eating only interesting foods. these arepas are freshly griddled, with crunchy outsides and delicate crumb; not dense and leathery masa-pucks. the pernil is rich with flavour and fat, but the grease is well under control. they are generous with the arepa stuffings, to a fault. if you enjoy fresh corn and cheese, you will enjoy their cachapa. it travels poorly, mostly because it is so delicious fresh off the griddle. for dessert, have a guava and cheese pastelito, which they will fry for you on demand. the salsas are outstanding. with your arepas come squeezebottles. one contains a bright green raw salsa of parsley, jalapeno, garlic, lettuce, cilantro and water—a completely pureed chimichurri. the other is a brilliant, lush, cooked salsa of roasted red tomatillos, jalapenos, serranos, garlic, parsley, and chicken stock.

worth the walk through the the tacky wedding chapel district.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

taco de adobada

serious business serious business

i found my way to tacos el gordo thanks to dave feldman, who points out that it's excellent even when it has no need to be. this taco is serious: freshly-made corn tortilla griddled in pork drippings, then filled with just-sliced shavings of chile-spiced grilled pork, dressed with salsas of tomatillo and avocado, chopped onion and cilantro, and topped with a warm raw pineapple baton. i went back for another.

"treat yourself to deliciousness daily!"


the remains of a bowl of khao soi and a plate of nam prik noom, at the lotus of siam. it is worth mentioning that the coconut cream on their sweet sticky rice is lightly flavoured with something that makes it improbably tasty. galangal? and let's not forget their wine list containing a slew of rieslings from rebholz. extraordinary.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


de moor, aligote 2011

every famous wine region has an Underdog Grape. burgundy's is aligoté. malolactic fermentation supposedly went to completion in this vintage, but it sure doesn't taste that way. perfectly clean with beautifully balanced acidity and a touch of austere and dusty herbage. another glass always seems like a good idea. and maybe another piece of something chalky, creamy, and goaty.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

blanc bleu de rizet

blanc bleu de rizet

courtesy of our man at murray's. chalky, unctuous, briny, delicious, good for arteries and cholesterol count.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

creams and ices

with 4x cardamaro, followed by yet another spectacular tart (rhubarb this time) and a cheese whose name i forget.

juniper, buttermilk thyme, and arabic coffee, at bondir

the sausage looked like meatballs, the meatballs like salami

at regina, the correct number of large pizzas to order for a 6-person group is 3, not 4. while some may ask the kitchen for extra oil on the mediterranean, it may be prudent to add it at the table instead.

too much pizza

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

a relaxed rectangularity


angiolino maule's sassaia is a nice garganega from gambellara in the veneto, all coppery nosed and cloudy, and used to be trivially priced. no longer: it's up in the mid-$20s now, from $11-ish. three apartments ago in 2009, having enjoyed the sassaia, i splashed out for a bottle of 2004 pico (the bottle has a tag on it that says $29.95). i had just begun to explore natural wines and it felt like a lot of money. so it stayed unopened in a succession of basements, rolling around in a box next to my bags of dovetail chisels and handplanes. i finally opened it today to celebrate certain events in the universe. the cork resisted but was eventually persuaded to exit with grace. the wine is surprising but not outlandish and quite fine: the smell of cooling blood, a relaxed rectangularity, sweetness with a touch of apple acid and resin, warmth in the back of the palate and the throat. i'd drink it with rare venison and walnuts; one out of two ain't bad.



the menu looks extraordinarily unpromising, but this is some serious food made chinese-style with south-east asian flavours and east coast ingredients. tempura-fried eggplant slices with smoked salmon and kewpie mayonnaise, for instance. the truffled soup dumpling was my first experience of justifiable truffle use in an asian restaurant. also noteworthy: steamed fish like the teochews would do it. soon, they will open a peking duck restaurant and cocktail lounge (naturally) in the basement space.

Friday, April 5, 2013

new and improved


the original Smash! are a norwegian innovation: salty, friable corn cones dipped in chocolate-flavoured hydrogenated vegetable fat—remarkably delicious. Smash! combines nearly every possible obesity-inducing quality, so why hasn't it overtaken the US snack market? a mystery.

Smash! comes in many formats including this latest: Smash! BITES, which are Smash! fragments enhanced with tiny cubes of fudge caramel. unlike miniSmash! and ice cream Smash!, Smash! BITES are barely recognizable as Smash!

so often, what is heralded as progress is merely change.