November 11, 2008

Birthday lunch

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I had lunch with the boss and my colleague today, since the boss' big birthday was yesterday. We had been planning to have lunch at Pierre since last week, and used this occasion to toast the boss.

We started with a flute of Gosset Rosé, which is a very nice Champagne. Unfortunately I didn't get much of a nose out of it, despite drinking it out of a very nice flute. The wine was great on the palate, very round and nicely balanced without excessive acidity.

There was the usual round of amuse bouche, and we had a pre-starter from the chef. This was a piece of sole, served cold and with a bit of chewy gelatin at the bottom, topped with a layer of Champagne sauce. There is a refreshing "yogurt" of green apple and cucumber on the side. The fish was interestingly chewy, which I find unusual at establishments such as this one.

Moving on to the first course of the Express Lunch, I started with the crispy soft egg. Now what is it with chefs these days? Why is everyone wanting to play around with eggs in this fashion? For the second time in a week, I'm looking at an egg that has a layer of deep-fried batter on the outside, while being soft and molten on the inside. But the one in front of me was sooo good. The egg whites were done perfectly - soft but solid enough to have that jello-like consistency. The egg sat atop a layer of mushrooms - both dried morels and diced shiitake. The fragrance of the mushrooms hits me as soon as the plate is set down in front of me. It was just awesome.

The pan-fried skate wings didn't quite do it for me. It looked pretty enough, topped with a layer of deep-fried croutons, capers and other herbs. Unfortunately there were also bits of grapefruit in the mix, and given my physical condition today it just wasn't what I needed. But I do not wish to take anything away from the chef, for the execution was perfect. The fish was fresh and delicious, but I never like anything with too much acidity... Maybe next time I'll ask the chef to do something else with the skate wings.

I was in no condition to take in any cheese, although on reflection maybe that would have helped settle my stomach a bit more. We did have some cake to celebrate the boss' birthday, which was a giant version of an opéra.

I brought along a bottle of 2001 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, and this wine drank beautifully out of the Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru glasses. It was classic Kistler through and through, with lots of sweet fruit in the nose and a hint of the grilled meats. At 7 years of age the tannins are now silky smooth, and it's such a pleasure to drink.

I stagger back to the office with the boss, and find myself dozing off a bit from the build-up of alcohol in my system...

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