September 10, 2015

CANVAZ road trip day 2: 3 meals from 3 continents

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I woke up this morning after some broken sleep, and my friend Ducky very kindly drove us around to get some breakfast.  Neighbor Bakehouse apparently serves up some really good pastries, so I picked up a couple of items and brought them back to her place.

Their butter croissant was pretty good, but what really bowled me over was their everything croissant.  Imagine an "everything bagel"... except that it comes with layers of flaky pastry... and buttery goodness.  Take the butter croissant and add sesame seeds, poppy seeds, toasted onions... and add what seemed to be cream cheese on the inside of the croissant.  So freakin' good!  Those onions really pack a punch!  I wished I had bought 2 more of these...

Lunchtime rolled around, and I found myself at Campton Place Restaurant inside the Campton Place Hotel around Union Square.  These guys have themselves a little macaron from the Rubberman, and given that it's located inside an Indian hotel, the food naturally had Indian elements.  I decided to take their 5-course tasting menu for lunch.

The amuse bouche was a green apple, arugula, and avocado foam.  You get the sweetness from the apple plus the very strong flavors of arugula.  Nice.

Spring pea salad, fines herb relish, snap peas, burrata and pickling juice - you've got quinoa, coriander, pea shoots, sugar snaps, watermelon radish, pickled pearl onions, and tomatoes.  Then you've got the burrata.  This made for a very interesting mix of textures, from crunchy to soft and mushy.  I really liked having this salad to start, but the burrata made things a little too heavy... and I could feel it filling up my stomach.

Maine lobster, puffed black rice, cauliflower and coconut curry - the lobster was mi-cuit and still pretty crunchy.  Loved the classic Indian curry with cauliflower and potato pearls.  The tomato salsa was a nice touch, as was the puffed rice to give some crunch.  The curry was nice and tangy.

I was feeling a little full after just two courses... but there were three more to go!

Liberty Farm duck samosa, tomato butter, peach and cucumber salad - this was a lot bigger than I expected... The shredded duck inside was delicious and spicy, and interestingly came studded with crunchy green soy beans instead of the traditional green peas.

Angus beef tenderloin, soubise, caper-jalapeño relish, king trumpets and lemon-thyme jus - now pretty stuffed after the samosa, this wasn't what I was looking forward to...

This was cooked medium-rare, as suggested.  Perfect doneness and color.  Wonderfully soft and tender.  I liked the caper and jalapeño relish on top o the king trumpets.

Blackberry, sorbet, buttermilk cake, lemon-verbena and pistachio "crumble" - a beautiful dessert, but I was already over the edge.  I took the blackberry sorbet with the fragrant lemon-verbena foam on top, and ate the blackberries, but took only one bite of the buttermilk cake.

I was so stuffed after this lunch that I had to take an espresso for digestion, even though I've already had coffee at breakfast...  Anyway, I thought the lunch was very good, and certainly something very interesting.  Unfortunately it was definitely more suited for American-sized appetites than mine.

The godparents picked me up early in the evening, and after checking ourselves into the hotel near the airport, my wonderful godfather indulged me by taking us to one of the places on my "hit list"...

...which is how we ended up at IHOP, just a few minutes' drive away.  It's just one of those things... from school days when I was younger, and much poorer...

I was devastated to find that they no longer have piggies in a blanket on the menu, so I decided to DIY by ordering a short stack of three pancakes, with two sausages on the side.

Then I rolled the pancakes around the sausages myself, creating a not-so-elegant version of my favorite dish.  The pancakes were, of course, drenched in the traditional syrup.

A totally satisfying dinner, although many wouldn't exactly consider IHOP gourmet dining.  But it was what I wanted on my hit list, and I got it.  Having filled our tummies, it was now time to pick up the parental units from SFO and get the road trip started...

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