March 6, 2014

Downgrading mom

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It's mom's birthday and as is customary, I flew back to Taipei to take her out for dinner.  Last year was a big one and we ended up at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and I wanted to do something a little different this year.  Remembering the food from my two dinners there fondly, I dialed the number for Justin's Signatures - only to hear a recording telling me the number's not in use.  Fook!  Another restaurant at the top of my Taipei list is gonzo... Where else can I take mom?!

So it's back to L' least you can't go too wrong with Oncle Joël... Dad and I picked the menu that was just short of the full tasting menu, while I advised mom to pick out two à la carte courses.

Our amuse bouche had foie gras custard at the bottom, with Port wine reduction in the middle and topped with Parmesan foam.  A nice start.

Le pied de cochon en croustillant et jeunes pousses amères - was there ever a chance that I would pass up this dish?  No way in hell... The pig trotters were diced up, wrapped and deep-fried.  Soft and fatty inside, with some acidity to cut the fat.  Slurp.  Now if I could only get something 3 times this size...

Le risotto au foie gras poêlé et vieux porto - very nicely done.  Risotto was just about perfect, with creamy texture and the starch of the rice just coming out.  The cubes of pan-fried foie gras were perfectly done.  Happy camper, I was.

Roasted pork leg - very delicious, and there were lots of full-on porky flavors... which may be a little too heavy for some.  Tender and juicy.

Purée de pomme de terre - it's been a while since I last had my favorite mashed potatoes... and mom still laments that the portions nowadays are so much smaller.  She was served the mash in a small Staub cocotte on her first visit, but since then it's been given out in these smaller, egg-like bowls.

Le canard laqué aux épices, navets et endives an aigre doux - this was some delicious local duck... cooked to perfection as it was still pink, tender and succulent.  Somehow this got mom and I talking about the duck breast we had in December at TASTy (西瑅牛排), which was really nicely executed and great value given the price...

La banane sur sa crème fondante au chocolat et aux éclats de miel - mmmmm delish!  Bits of stewed and caramelized banana, chocolate and honey crunch at the bottom... in addition to some coconut ice cream.  Inhaled.

Coffee macarons, chocolate truffles - the coffee macarons were pretty tasty, and not too soggy tonight.

Mom was a little disappointed in her scrambled eggs with black truffle, as the truffle just didn't leave enough fragrance in her mouth.  So I promised to take her to have some good truffle in Hong Kong... next year.  She did like her pan-fried foie gras though...

Tonight my poor mom was a victim of my lack of planning, as I hadn't brought over the right wines on my last 2 visits home.  My wine fridge in Taipei was very poorly stocked, and the best bottle needs to be reserved for another dinner later this year.  So she had to make do with this lowly bottle of Bourgogne tonight... Not only was it not a grand cru, it wasn't even a village!!!  Although, truth be told, this is probably the best Bourgogne EVER... and to those in the know, there is a lot more than meets the eye...

And Benoît didn't even bring us the Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru glasses tonight... only the Riedel Vinum series.  I guess he didn't think the wine deserved to be in the Grand Cru glasses!

2004 Domaine Leroy Bourgogne - nose was open and beautiful right from the first pour.  Farmy, leather, floral and violet, lots of sweet fruit here, with forest and potpourri notes later.  The wine was very cloudy.  A great wine to drink now.

Well... mom wasn't a big fan of the wine.  She found it a little "stinky", and thought the alcohol level was too high.  Well yes, mom, tonight you were made to drink a wine that was only 10 years old, while in the past your son always offered you wines from either your birth vintage (1943), dad's birth vintage (1940), your wedding anniversary vintage (1969) or your son's birth vintage (1970)... It's pretty tough for 40 or 70 year-old wines to still be sharp and alcoholic!

After that little discussion, mom finally admitted that her palate for wine had been spoiled... by me.

In spite of the fact that the wine was below her usual standard, I think she was reasonably happy tonight, and appreciated that I had flown back to spend her birthday with her.  I guess I'll have to do better next year!


Camemberu said...

Your mom is a very fortunate woman!

Peech said...

Catherine, I only hope that she realizes it...


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