December 17, 2008

Team Christmas dinner

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Tonight we finally had our Christmas dinner for the team, and after much deliberation we settled on Brasserie on the Eighth at the Conrad, my old favorite. I know the staff pretty well, so we were assured to receive good service on this evening.

While we waited for our food, my colleagues were hungry and dug into the fatty, delicious rillette on the table. These are absolutely irresistable, being made from shredded pork and lard. Yes, lard. That is what makes it soooo yummy and irresistable. Once you dig into it, it takes a lot of will power to stop. One of us - who shall remain nameless - had three serving of it, and in fact took to stuffing it inside a baguette to make a "sausage roll" out of it...

I started with my old standby: caesar salad. Today, however, it was a tad disappointing. Not that the taste of the salad was off, but it was the fact that they did not toss it to taste in front of me as they used to. Having your caesar salad made to order according to your tastes has always been something I enjoyed at the Conrad. But I guess it wasn't to be tonight.

I decided to have something different for main course tonight. While my colleagues were having the char-grilled kurobuta pork chop on my recommendation, I gave the Wiener schnitzel a try. I had never seen this on the menu at a French brasserie, so I thought I'd see how they would fare. They did well. While I was initially surprised by the fact that there were two medium-sized schnitzels instead of one giant piece covering the whole plate (as is traditional), the taste was pretty authentic and good. Definitely worth another try.

As usual, the staff was exceedingly nice to me. This time we were offered individual soufflés that turned out to be on the house. The ginger sauce was actually pretty nice.

The main disappointment tonight actually was the wine. I brought a bottle of 2001 Kistler Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard, but it never really showed its full potential. The wine was a bit acidic on the palate at first, which improved with aeration as it gained body in the decanter. But it fell far short of what it could have been, and in fact performed worse than the Kistler Sonoma Coast that I had a few weeks ago.

It's always a pleasure to go back to the Brasserie, with food that is solid and not fancy. It also doesn't hurt if the staff knows you and treat you I will continue to patronize them in the future.

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