March 2, 2020

Supporting chef friends: meeting new neighbors

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Fat Donkey and I have been talking about this for a few years - doing a dinner where it's not just the two of us but with our respective partners - and we finally got around to doing it tonight.  With the addition of some new friends, the six of us made it to Neighborhood to support The Man in White T-shirt.

We were, apparently, the only booking they had tonight up until hours ago.  Thankfully there were a few other customers in the house.  Times are indeed tough for the hospitality industry...

Fried padron pepper - a little surprised that tonight these peppers didn't come with anything on top, but of course they are still very nice to snack on.

Basque saucisson "Noire de Bigorre", culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli" - I don't think I've ever seen a serving of these delicious cold cuts disappear so quickly in front of my eyes... I guess that's what happens when you have 6 hungry mouths... and some really tasty, fatty pork!

Veal tartare / oysters / caviar - very happy to see this again after our first encounter last month.

And it's perfect on a piece of sourdough bread.  The combination of salty flavors from the caviar with the briny oysters and creamy veal... plus some acidity and pepper thrown into the mix.  Mmm mmm good.

Local salted fish potato brandade / black truffle - how interesting for The Man in White T-shirt to have chosen local salted slender white herring (鰽白) in place of bacalhau!  The flavors were definitely stronger because of the substitution, but I loved it.  I don't see brandade on menus enough.  The addition of truffle also gave it a new twist.   I could just eat this all day, just gimme some bread to go with it!

Flounder / cherries / hazelnuts - once again we have the sliced flounder with cherries.  The hazelnuts still make this very special.

Fried lamb sweetbreads / gribiche sauce - this was a surprise, and I loved the bouncy texture.  I love gribiche sauce, which worked really well here.

Homemade garganelli / spicy beef / cod tripe ragu - I've always been a fan of the pasta here, and tonight the garganelli came with some beef skirt along with a surprising ingredient.  I do love how there's a spicy kick here with chili powder and Sichuan peppercorns.

This piece of cod tripe was pretty damn big, and it was sooo soft... with lots of collagen.  Very, very happy.

Blackspot tuskfish head - WOW!  I don't think I've ever been served just the head of the blackspot tuskfish (青衣), but apparently it's available at local wet markets.  Served with mussels, chorizo, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, and some basil in a sauce made from chicken stock, olive oil, and butter.  So, soooo tasty.  We cleaned this up pretty thoroughly.

Spring lamb rice / giblets - then the boss hit us with this!   The spring lamb had arrived today, and the loin and leg were just incredibly tender and tasty.  And fatty and lamby.  The giblets tonight included liver, kidney, heart, and even brain.  The only pity was that the rice underneath was a little too wet for my liking, and didn't deliver enough charred rice crispies.

Spiced spring lamb ribs - aaaaaand we got the ribs!  With cumin and chili.  Really fucking good.

Vegetable and Mimolette gratin - very nice, as usual, especially with the different types of cauliflower - including romanesco.


Tonight's delicious food was accompanied by a few bottles:

2004 Inflorescence Côte de Béchalin, dégorgée en Avril 2011 - nice dose of acidity at first. Very easy to drink.

There was a bottle of Meursault from a friend, but I don't remember what it was... Initially served very cold so it was too mild and didn't smell like a Meursault.  Later on it warmed up to show flinty and mineral notes, and also a bit floral with tropical stone fruit.

2004 d'Arenberg The Dead Arm, from magnum - decanted for more than an hour.  Really fragrant, ripe, sweet, with mint and cedar notes.

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