June 19, 2009

Another bull market lunch

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Another Lunch Club gathering and the second one this month. Somehow we ended up at Amber, where business continues to be good - at least during lunch. The set lunch here isn't exactly cheap, but every table was occupied today. I ran into a friend from Goldman who looked like he was interviewing someone...

The signature foie gras Chupa Chups-style, with an outer coating of raspberry sauce along with a sliver each of gingerbread and beet root, was presented and quickly gobbled up. The shot of cantaloupe soup topped with mint foam and port wine ravioli was refreshing, although I didn't quite appreciate the addition of the port wine molecular 'caviar' into the mix.

My starter was the langoustine seared with Iberian pork chin, summer roots raw and cooked, crustacean yuzu coulis with manni "per mio figlio" olive oil. Needless to say the langoustine was fresh, succulent and sweet. The pork was fatty and very yummy, with a thin, crispy layer of skin on top. But I thought the coulis was a bit strange - savory and a bit heavy with crustacean flavors, then suddenly you hit the acidity of the yuzu.

The main course was something which I had tried last month - short rib braised in Gigondas, garden pea stuffed morels, white onion purée, "tartine de lard cul noire". The Rhone red-braised rib was sooo fatty and soft it was melting in my mouth. Actually it was a bit rich for me, considering this is lunch and not dinner. But I greedily shoved each mouthful in, and lapped up the very yummy onion mousseline. My see lai friend stared me down when she saw that I had left some of the potato mash unfinished, but I just didn't want to push myself over the edge today.

We each received a coconut ice cream "Oreo", which I promptly shoved whole into my mouth and munched on in slow motion, letting the ice cream melt and gradually coat my tongue.

Fresh wild strawberries over hibiscus jell-O, panna cotta & bourbon vanilla ice cream was my choice for dessert. It seems like this season all the fine restaurants in town got their hands on these wonderfully delicious berries. They were very yummy, and the combination with hibiscus was even better. There were bits of crumble everywhere and I made it into strawberry crumble as was suggested. Of course, strawberries and panna cotta is another classic combo that just can't go wrong.

I'm very full by now, and the short rib seemed to be comfortably settling into my stomach. This calls for a double espresso...

While the food was delicious, the air felt heavy at the table. None of us were particularly happy, as we were all preoccupied with issues at work. Hopefully our next meeting will be a happier one.

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