May 12, 2021

Reunion in the 'hood

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One of the places Ninja wanted to hit while she is in town was Neighborhood, and as it turned out LCKitty had been wanting to go there with us for a while.  So gathered the troops and turned it into a reunion of sorts.  After all, other than Sankala, we all used to work for the same bank.

We took the second seating, and as we weren't able to start dinner on time, things were a little rushed tonight.

Chicken liver mousse with summer truffle - this was always gonna be a good way to kick off dinner, as the chicken liver was just so, soooo tasty.

Of course this was best served on bread, but the problem then becomes munching on too much bread, leaving less room for other goodies.

Smoked greater amberjack head - smoked fish heads here are always interesting and special, and tonight we've got greater amberjack (勘八). The flesh was just very silky and soft, like thick pads of cotton. Beautiful smoky flavors.

Mochida Farm fruit tomato / cherry / salted plum salt - awesome combination of sweet Japanese fruit tomatoes and cherries, accented with salted plum and perilla flavors for aromatics. Very refreshing, and helps whet the appetite.

Greater amberjack crudo with breakfast radish - we took care of the head earlier, now the rest of the fish came in thick, raw slices served up with a salsa made with diced tomatoes and capsicum. Another refreshing dish.

Baby horse mackerel / escabeche - didn't expect to see baby horse mackerel (鯵) in the house, especially served as escabeche. Loved crunching on these.

Abalone / sea snails / escargot butter - I loved the way abalone was served on my last visit, and adding some babylonia to the mix provided a variation in textures. Just can't resist that parsley-rich butter à la bourguignon.

Squid / arugula pesto - this was first served last year, but tonight it was even better! Now with shrimp paste, squid ink, and of course garlic. So, soooooo delicious that all I wanted was to inhale everything in that sizzling pan. This looked so simple, but the reality was it was simply irresistible.

Skirt steak and point end brisket in consommé - I'm always happy when The Man in White T-shirt serves up his 清湯腩, and tonight we've got both skirt steak as well as point end brisket served rare. While the turnip in the bowl was nice, the sinfully delicious bone marrow put a big smile on my face.

Budou shrimp paella - it's been quite a while - more than a year, in fact - since I last had one of the famous paellas here. Tonight the special ingredient was budou shrimp (葡萄海老) from the Tohoku region of Japan.

I've only heard of these shrimps but never tasted them myself, so I was very happy to be able to taste them tonight. We've also got mussels from Hokkaido in the rice tonight. I would have loved to have more, but we were all pretty full by this point.

Pyrenées spring lamb / sweetbreads / brains - which was why Big Mac and I shook our heads at the sight of our "main course". These ribs were so, soooo tender and tasty. We also got sweetbreads, brains and merguez, but I had real trouble finishing what was on my plate.

Cannoli - I really didn't expect to see these here, but very happy to take this in spite of my bursting stomach.  Very satisfying.

I threatened the others against bringing any wines, since I had a few bottles I wanted to clear from my collection... starting with a very special gift from a friend:

Hello Kitty Gold Sparkling Rosé - pretty sweet on the palate like candy, and definitely plenty of red fruits.

2009 Hospices de Beaune Corton-Vergennes Cuvée Paul Chanson, elevé et mis en bouteille par Lucien Le Moine pour El Bulli, en magnum -  absolutely beautiful, with lots of toasty notes.  Huge nose of grilled corn, buttery.

1990 Camille Giroud Pommard 1er Cru Clos Les Epeneaux, en magnum - initially a little corked?  Still drinkable, with leather and toast.

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