June 10, 2013

Six knives

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OK, so maybe I AM David Lai's biggest fan… Why else would I be back at On Lot 10 just 10 days after my last dinner here?  Truth be told, this dinner was just like the last one - I was here to introduce the restaurant to more members of Tigger's extended family.  What Grandma Bear wants, Grandma Bear gets.

I was trying to keep the dinner light, but maybe I was overdoing it a little… The kitchen had a few ideas of their own…

Bellota iberico ham '36 month' - upon arrival I was told that the organic vegetables 'crudités' were unavailable because of the recent rain, so the kitchen sent this out instead… Not exactly the same thing, but I'd never complain about having jamón!

Whole steamed extra large artichoke, truffle vinaigrette - Mrs. Tigger announced firmly that she could finish one all by herself, and therefore we needed two of these for the table.  Yes, ma'am!

Tête de veau, chilled and thinly sliced, ravigote sauce - David knows I love this, but I wasn't gonna order it for this crowd… Absolutely delicious… soft and tender ox tongue, browned collagen, crunchy garnish with wonderful acidity.  Very yum.

Red prawn capellini, summer truffle, prawn coral reduction - it's no secret that I loooove carabineros, so David suggested that we order this.  The prawn was really delicious, and but for the very first time I didn't get to suck out the head!  The head had been cleaned out to help make the sauce for the pasta, which was tomato-based.  Sweet basil and summer truffle lent their fragrances to the dish.  A single portion is pretty light.  I could probably just come here and have about 4 of these…

We love the fresh catch that David brings to the restaurant on a daily basis, and always look forward to whatever he decides to throw at us.  Tonight the plate came bearing two spottedtail morwongs (三刀魚), along with some clams and potatoes.  These morwongs are quite a delicacy, although I've never had them before myself.  With my first mouthful, I closed my eyes and started to moan in ecstasy… The flesh was soooo soft and tender… as if I were eating something fluffy like marshmallow… The flavors were very delicate, and it was clear as day that these were very fresh… possibly still swimming in the ocean this very morning.

I have to say that the liquid at the bottom of the plate was pure gold.  I think if we were at home, Mrs. Tigger would have picked up the plate and drank from it.  Come to think of it, I probably would have, too!  But we were content to use some delicious bread to soak it all up, all the while defending the plate from those pesky waiters who kept wanting to take it away from us…

I was pretty happy with the amount of food tonight, as I was satiated but nowhere near being stuffed.  However I know the others still had room for more, and they've been staring at other tables getting their food.  We inquired about the amount of time it would take to prepare the extra course we wanted, and we were told that it would take half an hour.

We waited just under an hour for the dish to arrive.  An hour during which there were 5 people at the table without much to do… Not many happy campers tonight as a result of this episode.  After being on cloud nine with the carabineros and the morwongs, we fell back down to earth and landed with a loud "THUD!"

Roe crab paella, chorizo sausage - the crabs sure had plenty of roe… especially inside the top shell. But this was pretty hard roe, made even harder and drier with the extended cooking time.  The crab meat was pretty decent, but the real star was the rice at the bottom of the pan.  Plenty of chopped tomato and chorizo here, with lots of goodness from the crab.  Nice smoky flavors.

I brought two bottles of wine tonight, was for some reason was initially worried that we would have difficulty finishing them.  Little did I know…

2007 Jos. Joh. Prüm Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese - nose of petrol and minerals.  Pretty sweet on the palate, and showed some carbonation.  I must have drunk about half a case of this wine with this family...

1985 Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde - sweet and ripe fruit, leather, floral and lovely, violet, smoked meats, plum and black olives.  Medium-light body now, with noticeable acidity.

It was getting a little past bed time for the Tiggers, and we were pretty full by now, so we skipped dessert and decided to call it a night.

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