November 26, 2011

No way this is better than sex

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I'm back in HK for a very short weekend trip, and accepted a very kind invitation from the Specialist to have dinner at her home.  After our dinner in Paris, she very swiftly acquired a SousVide Supreme and began trying out sous vide cooking at home.  She claimed that all her family members had been satisfied customers, so I agreed to be the next guinea pig.  Well, truth is that I had placed an order for my very own SousVide Supreme for my new kitchen in Taipei...

We started with some 48-month jamón ibérico, which was certainly delicious.  There were a few of those hardened clumps of protein that one finds in aged ham.  Mmm mmm good.

The salad consisted of veggies imported from France...  Apparently my host now feels that the veggies from France tastes sweeter/better...  I myself have no idea.

Next came the first of two sous vide dishes - chicken thigh.  These were slow cooked for about 6 hours, then finished by baking in the oven.  I must admit that I have no memory of ever having had sous vide chicken... The meat was definitely very, very soft and tender... almost fluffy.  Any softer and it'd probably start to get weird.  There was the ubiquitous rosemary, but thankfully they were easily removed and not too heavy.

One of the most obvious items to cook sous vide is steak, and one look at the color leaves very little doubt as to how the beef was done.  The color was evenly red inside, while the meat was quickly pan-fried in a skillet to brown the exterior. Very tender and yummy... bringing out the full taste of the beef.  I've never cooked steak enough at home to master it, and have always had difficulty getting it right.  This is clearly the solution for me!

We paused for a little while and waited for the Specialist's BFF to arrive after her dinner.  It was then that the Specialist broke out a pretty-looking box of cakes from Ms. B's Cakery.  The socialite owner behind this joint needs no introduction in Hong Kong, and the place was opened based on the popularity of some of the cakes at Sevva.  I had never gone out of my way to buy any of these, so I was curious to try.

Better than Sex - of course we had to start with this one.  I was just trading messages on Twitter with Your Highness about the very same creation, and made the snide remark that if one thought this was really better than sex, then one should consider changing partners...  This is simply some sort of chocolate fudge cake, and the verdict?  Three thumbs down.  None of us thought it was even anywhere close to the best chocolate cake we'd ever had...  To think that they had the audacity to attach such a controversial name to it... was simply asking for trouble.

Memoirs of a Geisha - umm... unfortunately the page for this one in my memoir will be left blank... Memorable for the lack of flavor... I didn't get much red bean flavor out of this, and I was left wondering why there was a whole grape inserted in the middle of all this...

Madame Butterfly - again, notable for the lack of flavor.  The top layer was supposedly "exotic" beetroot, but there wasn't even the slightest hint of it.

Banana Lust - the best of the lot.  At least we could tell it was made with banana... but then again it's not really better than the average banana cake.

Fortunately all was not lost.  Besides the good stuff we had before dessert, there was - surprise, surprise! -plenty of wine tonight.

2004 Louis Roederer Cristal - nose was a little yeasty, surprisingly a little pungent - sulfur?  Mineral.  Good acidity balance, though, and very approachable.  The nose turned a little metallic once the wine warmed up in glass.

1970 BV Georges de Latour in half bottle - my third time drinking this great wine from my vintage.  Nose was a little prune, a little smoky, with brett, dried herbs, tea and a little woody.  Very lovely, and pretty much what I expected of this wine.

1971 Biondi-Santi Riserva - lots of sweet grass and herbs... Would have guessed this was a Bordeaux... perhaps a Saint Julien.  Herbs, a little coffee grinds, and perhaps a hint of soy sauce.  Don't have much experience with old Brunellos so didn't know what to expect.  My surprise contribution.

1990 Troplong Mondot - from a stellar vintage with a near-perfect Parker score.  Expectations were high, thanks to the generosity of BFF who brought it on account of me.  Nose of green peppers, tea, a little smoky, minty.  Definitely pretty alcoholic.  Honestly pretty disappointing...

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