September 21, 2017

A very tasty stuffing

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I'm dining with the Locusts for a second night in a row, and tonight we chose to go to Tasting Court (天一閣) since, to my great surprise, they turned down an opportunity to visit my favorite private dining facility on account that they would be served too much food...

This was the first time I tried booking myself a table, and without a special menu being organized, Mr. Locust chose the most premium of the three options offered.

Steamed abalone with dried peel (陳皮蒸鮑魚仔) - this was pretty good, and the chiffonade of aged mandarin peel delivered the familiar fragrance.

Wild clam scalded with sake (日本清酒浸蜆) - very surprised that they screwed up on something so simple.  There was waaay too much ginger and waaay too much sake, so it was pretty easy to choke on the broth should one decides to drink it.  The clams, though, were fine.  I guess they didn't really want us to drink the broth...

Chinese grilled pork chop with soybean (西班牙黑毛豬叉燒) - I still like this a lot, as the marinade of Chinese black olives (欖角), black beans (豆豉), and aged mandarin peel (陳皮) makes the pork very tasty.  The cut we received tonight was much fattier than I remembered from previous visits, and this meant the pieces were even more tender.

Slow-cooked chicken soup with fish maw and conch (花膠螺頭燉雞) - pretty good.

Steamed fresh flowery crab with aged Shaoxing wine served with rice noodle (香醉紅蟳) - Mrs. Locust was very restrained when it came to this dish, which left Mr. Locust and myself working on most of the flower crab.  This, of course, was the pièce de résistance... and it certainly did not disappoint.  Against my better judgement, I scooped up large servings of the rice noodles (陳村粉) which had been soaking up the delicious sauce.

Spicy baked tiger prawn with peppercorn and chili (椒香焗大虎蝦) - the smell of cumin hit us soon after the pot was laid on the table.  Lots of spices here made the prawns pretty tasty.  There was both the fiery sensation from chili peppers and green peppercorns as well as the numbing sensation from Sichuan peppercorns.

Traditional herbs and soy sauce braised goose (醬碌獅頭鵝) - this was very, very good.  The goose was, naturally, very tender, with nice depth of flavors thanks to the spices and soy sauce.  The crunchy slices of pickled lotus root did a nice job of providing balance.

Steamed lotus seed in winter melon roll with broccoli (荷塘吐艷) - nice idea and presentation, but too bad the execution failed.  The broccoli was fine, and they took the time and effort to roll up those thin slices of winter melon, but the lotus seeds at the center of those rolls were completely unseasoned.  Unseasoned lotus seeds end up tasting green - and unpleasant... basically just shy of tasting like mold.  I persevered and swallowed the first few of those lotus seeds before complaining about them and seeing that Mr. Locust left them untouched on his plate.

Fried rice with ginger, dried scallops, sakura shrimp and egg white (薑米瑤柱櫻花蝦蛋白炒飯) - redemption.  This was SO.FUCKING.GOOD.  Anytime you've got flied lice with shredded dried scallops with egg white - done at high heat - means you've got a very tasty bowl.  The flavors also got a boost from the finely chopped preserved leafy mustard (梅菜).  Adding pan-fried sakura shrimp (桜海老) raises the game to a whole different level.  DAMN!

Blended jujube coconut juice pudding (椰汁棗茸糕) - the usual dessert.  I like this, but I think it's time that the chef came up with something else for dessert...

Huadiao with dried jujube dessert drink (花雕紅棗飲) - cool and refreshing. 

I brought a couple of bottles tonight...

2007 Joh.Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett - much sweeter than expected from a kabinett.  Lovely on the palate with great structure.  Nose of muscat grape and a little white flowers.

2000 Etude Pinot Noir Heirloom - initially not much sweet fruit, probably a little over the hill now.  A little more fruit later after aeration.

In spite of a couple of shortfalls, this was a very good meal - as I had expected.  Even without a custom-made extended menu, this continues to be a lot of food. But there are worse things that could happen, right?

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