November 19, 2014

Let it snow

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White truffle season is in full swing, and I'm back at Neighborhood to take advantage of their incredible promotion.  Just like last time, my first order of business was to pick out our very own white truffle.  This time, though, I didn't pick based on size.  We actually sniffed each truffle and picked the most fragrant.

There were only two of us tonight, and we weren't too greedy... so we picked one that was just over 34 grams.  The aroma was simply incredible, and this enveloped us throughout our dinner as the truffle sat on the table for the next couple of hours.

Whipped lardo bruschetta - I loved this so much last time that I just had to order it again.  Love the piment d'espelette on top for the kick, and for somewhat neutralizing the strong flavors of rosemary in the lardo.

And of course we have to shave some truffle on top!

Frog legs - this was supposed to come on top of some watercress risotto, but we already had a ton of carbs coming, so we asked for just the frog legs.  They were absolutely delicious.  And guess what?  We ended up scooping all the parsley-accented mash into our mouths, anyway... and that beurre noisette was just incredibly tasty!

Handmade tagliolini - one of the best things to have with white truffles is a simple bowl of handmade noodles with butter.  These looked incredible when they arrived in front of us, with a little cheese shaved on top.

But that's nothing compared to how the dish looked when we were done shaving white truffle on top!  And this was just perfect.  Wonderfully soft noodles, in a rich, buttery sauce, and the beautiful fragrance of white truffle.  Heaven.

Bone marrow risotto - OK, so I didn't like the way it was executed last time, but I still couldn't resist ordering it tonight.  David explained that he felt many restaurants nowadays have gone a little too far with the al dente thing... and he didn't understand why we are getting risotto where the center of the rice grains remain uncooked.  For him the texture of the rice in a risotto should be similar to what you'd get with sushi - where the rice grains still maintained their individual integrity.  I guess things were a little better tonight, but it was interesting to find a chunk of marrow whose texture resembled that of beef tendon.  Still very tasty, and of course we shaved white truffle on top...

Shellfish spaghetti - this was the dish I most wanted tonight... after seeing a picture David has posted some time last week.  Tonight they didn't have any sea urchin shells, so instead of serving us the spaghetti inside the shell, we got it in bowls instead.  I was a little bummed about not being able to take a prettier picture, but the taste was still gonna be the same.

If the sauce tasted incredibly familiar, it was because that was basically David's bouillabaisse.  He takes his bouillabaisse, removes the fish and mashes it up, and then puts the paste back in - thereby creating the viscosity.  Add some shrimp, sea urchin and sprinkle with lots of piment d'espelette powder... Voila!  Incroyable!

We were more than happy to pause here for a while and move on to dessert, but David had other ideas.  He sent out the dish that put me over the edge... which was baked oyster / autumn truffle / lardo.  The oyster really wasn't small... and it was covered with a sheet of lardo.  The whole thing sat on a bed of Puy lentils, with chunks of potato, carrots, and slices of autumn truffle.

Of course, we shaved white truffle on top, too...

We paused for some time before dessert, and went back to two tried-and-true options when it comes to white truffles:

Chocolate palette - not really the correct ratio between chocolate and white truffle, but I don't think I could afford the right amount of white truffle, even at the super low promotional price!

Vanilla ice cream - during my last dinner here, this was the point where the Boss Lady came over and said "let it snow!"  Well, that's exactly what I did today.  And this was MY scoop... Didn't even have to share it with anyone...

Canelés - a perfect ending.

This would turn out to be a long evening in terms of wines.  First up there were two "leftover" bottles along with a "fresh" bottle we popped open...

2011 Robert Sirugue Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Petits Monts - opened days earlier.  Acidity slightly higher than expected.  A little bit of forest and mint.

2008 Damilano Barolo Cannubi - opened days earlier.  Some fruit here and the tannins were softer.

1964 Borgogno Barolo - nose was very savory like soy sauce or tapenade.  Stewed prunes, smoky, and a little medicinal.  After chilling in ice bucket and further aeration, nose opened up well to show orange peel, almost honeydew melon, and some leather.

After dinner we strolled over to Upper Modern Bistro, where some friends were tasting a range of wines from The Hilt in California.  More drinking ensued...

2011 The Hilt The Old Guard Chardonnay - nose full of minerals, ripe, lemon citrus, and green apples.  Still fresh with higher-than-expected acidity.

2011 The Hilt The Vanguard Chardonnay - fresher and more vibrant than The Old Guard, with surprisingly high level of acidity.  Nose became a little buttery later.

2012 The Hilt The Vanguard Chardonnay - very big nose, heavy, toasty oak here, very buttery and also roasted corn, showing a little more of the pungent sulfur.  Most surprising wine and probably my favorite of the bunch.

2010 The Hilt The Vanguard Pinot Noir - really ripe and sweet on the nose, very minty, with black fruits and blueberries.

2011 The Hilt The Vanguard Pinot Noir - a little metallic on the nose, with forest, dried herbs, and a little bit of pungent sulfur.

2011 The Hilt The Old Guard Pinot Noir - very ripe, almost jammy nose, with forest, potpourri notes.  Slightly pungent and green, with some mint.

2008 Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée Clos du Château - very big nose, with farmy, leather, animal, and floral notes like violet.  Also plenty of sweet fruit.  Drinking beautifully.

A very long evening... but very enjoyable.

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