May 2, 2020

Supporting chef friends: 3-star social distancing

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Hello Kitty and I have been cooped up at home for much too long, and the long weekend provided us with an excuse to meet up with friends and take a break from the pressures we've been under.  We decided to pay Hairy Legs a visit at Caprice, since it has been a long, long time since Hello Kitty was last there.

With the government-mandated social distancing rules still in place, we couldn't all sit at one table... and had to put some distance between us.  Not the best arrangement, but we still ended up enjoying ourselves.  It's been a while since I was last fed by Hairy Legs, and I was curious what was coming our way.  As usual, I gave him carte blanche and this time didn't specify any dishes I wanted.

First the amuses bouches:

Button mushroom and foie gras gelée tart

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar

Pita with curry chicken mousse - always a nice bite, and supposedly Suveg's contribution.

Alaskan king crab, prawn gelée, fennel mousse, coriander, ossetra caviar from «Petrossian» - a classic dish to pair with the Champagne.  The sweetness from the crab and the fennel mousse worked well with the umami from the gelée and the salt of the caviar.

Of course, Hairy Legs decided to give us a generous amount of gold foil because... well, you know...

Jacques Selosse Version Originale - beautiful nose, with sooo much marmalade, and a little salty plum.  Just delicious.

Unfortunately, our friends didn't realize the two bottles had different disgorgement dates... so they instructed the staff to pour the second bottle into glasses that hadn't quite emptied.  Oh well...

Maquereaux au vin blanc with green pea purée and verbena - the Japanese mackerel was nicely marinated in vinegar and came with a surprisingly firm texture.  The pickled veggies on top were nice, and worked well with the sweet, creamy purée.  Flavors of spring, indeed!  The very strong flavors of the fish was nicely tempered by the acidity and the fruity flavors of the Dagueneau Silex.   This was a very thoughtful pairing from Hairy Legs.

2004 Didier Dagueneau Silex, en magnum - green apple, kinda ripe, a little flinty, pretty nice.  Riper than the the last bottle I opened, but still very lively.  Also worked well with the cheese board later.

Homard bleu from Brittany, morel, mushroom and tarragon - I gotta say... the lobster was pretty damn big, but in comparison the morel was gigantic.  The tarragon was pretty beautiful.  The sauce was made with lobster head, strawberries, raspberry vinaigrette, and one secret ingredient which Hairy Legs wanted to see whether I could taste...

Finely diced shroom and tarragon underneath the lobster.

Oh, and that secret ingredient?  Beetroot.  FUCKING BEETROOT!  Thankfully I didn't taste it.  In fact, the sauce was really delicious.  Well played, Hairy Legs...

Sea bream from Brittany, white asparagus from Loire, caviar, saffron sauce - apparently the sea bream weighed in at 4kg, and was indeed very tasty.  I made a joke about the puny asparagus, since The Man in White T-shirt has been serving some giant ones looking like some monster schlong...

That saffron sauce, though... was just FUCKING BEAUTIFUL.  Made with Pedro Ximenez vinegar, it was sweet, fruity, citrusy, and creamy.  I would have asked for more bread just to wipe it all up.

1974 Paul Jaboulet Le Chevalier de Sterimberg - very oxidized, very caramelized, lots of beeswax.  Dry and savory on the palate.

I wasn't surprised when Hairy Legs came out with this hunk of Kagoshima tenderloin in a lotus leaf... since I already told him that we were bringing a big, American cab.  As usual, it had been smoked with cherry wood.

Hello Kitty and I asked for 'rare', and our slices were pretty red.  Pretty nice.  The peas, pea shoots, and purée offered a nice contrast.

2012 Georges Roumier Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Clos de la Bussière, en magnum - eucalyptus, fragrant, sweet fruit, floral, some smoke and a little animal.  Just beautiful.

2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon - unfortunately, this bottle was corked.  Surprised that Victor didn't let us know.  Decanted for 1½ hours.  Definitely showing lots of green bell pepper notes along with that wet cardboard.  Still ripe and sweet on the palate, though.  A shame.

The cheese board was brought over, and due to the disruption in the global supply chain, selections were relatively paltry.

Saint-Félicien - nice and ripe, creamy, with some acidity along with the salt.

Fourme d'Ambert - I got this since it would work well with the Trimbach SGN... and it did.

1989 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Émile Sélection de Grains Nobles - really sweet, lots of honey, marmalade, orange blossom water, and acetone.

The pre-dessert was a steamed cotton cheese cake with gariguette sorbet, gariguette strawberries, yogurt cream, and balsamico jelly.  Love strawberries when they're in season.

Blue Mountain coffee tart - this, boys and girls, IZ DA SHIT.  This was the result of a dinner with Hairy Legs a few weeks ago.  DaRC and RoRo were raving about a coffee tart made with Blue Mountain coffee, which used to be served at Robuchon a Galera.  So Hairy Legs messaged Francky Semblat during dinner and got the recipe right then and there.

This was just AMAZING.  The coffee flavors were so intense, and so fragrant.  This was unlike any other coffee tart I have ever tasted before in my life.  This was THE ONE.

Tarte au pommes - with vanilla ice cream on the side.

Mignardises - starting with madeleines à la minute.

Salted caramel hazelnut tart

Passion fruit cheesecake

Raspberry religieuse

Yuzu and cardamom chocolate

Chocolate with barley

This was a lot of fun.  Hairy Legs delivered some classics but also some new, knock-out dishes.  So, so happy to be back, and also happy to have shared such fantastic wines with the gang.

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