Tag Archives: mushroom

Frasca: food, wine, and chocolate

“I always pick the second least expensive wine on the menu.”

I went with my friend Mark to Frasca, and he picked the bottle of wine. As you can see, Mark is a very discerning wine drinker. Lest you he’s a total plebe, he picked a lovely Cotes du Rhone that tasted like blackberries, smoke and spice. Nom.

Frasca’s beautiful. Once you get past the slightly confusing black curtain in the entrance, you find yourself in a wood-panelled room full of beautiful people and delirious smells. Aside from that, you might want to eat there because of the restaurant’s, for lack of a better word, pedigree. Among other accolades, co-owner Chef Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson won the 2008 James Beard award for best chef in the southwestern US. Co-owner and wine director Bobby Stuckey is a Master Sommelier. Oh, and they met while working at The French Laundry. Huh.

Anyway, back to food. The market salad was clean and bright, with nice acidity. Garnished with two kinds of cheese and beauitfully salty salami, it was a great start to the meal. I’ll admit, though, that Mark’s braised lamb dish was exceptional.

Mark’s next course was a duck thigh ravioli, which was as delicious as it sounds. I had a lobster pasta alla guitara, thin noodles (think angel hair pasta, but with a fancier name) tossed with lobster and lemon. Rich, redolent and succulent, this dish could have been the end of the night and I would have gone home happy.

Of course, I kept going. We both got the Colorado beef shoulder, which was so. freaking. good. Enrobed in a salty, sweet, rich and acidic jus, the beef was cooked to exactly medium, all seared and crusty on the outside. Served on a ricotta cream with meaty mushrooms that soaked up all the jus, it was tasty. And then some.

For dessert, I had the house special bombolini, otherwise known as warm, deep-friend pillows of delicious. With a passionfruit centre in the middle and dusted with icing sugar, the bombolini looked a bit like doughy eggs. Served with homemade vanilla ice cream, the hot-cold combination was beautiful. Mark’s chocolate peanut butter torta was a peanut butter mousse on luscious chocolate cake, with banana ice cream.

And because that wasn’t enough, I insisted on getting a plate of house chocolates. More on those tomorrow.

Frasca Food & Wine
1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO
303-442-6966
Frasca Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

‘Wichcraft is a lifesaver

The thing with travelling is that sometimes you can’t be picky. Sometimes you’re surrounded by tourist traps and fast food, and you just want something good. Not fancy, not expensive, just good.

Well, if you’re in New York City, you can rely on ‘Wichcraft. I thank my stars that Tom Colicchio started this chain of shops that serves fresh, tasty soups and sandwiches at a great price point.

When I was there, I ordered the tuna sandwich on baguette. They manage to toast the baguette without making it all crunchy and painful to eat. The tuna was nicely accented with thinly sliced fennel and lemon, which made the whole thing fresh and bright. I also had a cauliflower soup with parsley oil. The taste and texture were exactly what they should have been.

They serve bread sticks on the side, which is cute. The walls are covered in giant food photography (can you say food porn?), and there’s a great selection of pop culture, fashion and food magazines to read while you’re munching away.

I wish I had tried the grilled fontina with morels and truffles, but oh well.

Note that the location at 60 E. 8th Street is dangerously close to Broadway Panhandler. Broadway Panhandler (65 E. 8th Street) is a fantastic kitchen store – one that I could easily spend hours in.

‘Wichcraft
various locations
New York, NY (also San Francisco and Las Vegas)
'Wichcraft on Urbanspoon

Dine Out Vancouver: db Bistro Moderne, take two.

Yesterday’s post was about my first, and rather disappointing, visit to db Bistro Moderne. Today’s post is about my second, and rather enjoyable, visit to the same restaurant.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the service was better. This is probably because we had a late table on a Wednesday night, and the restaurant wasn’t nearly as busy as it had been on Saturday. We were seated in an alcove away from the rest of the restaurant, which afforded a little bit of privacy.

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Strange Christmas traditions

My family is a little, erm, unconventional. My dad is from Hong Kong and my mom is from China, but they met in Canada in the early 1970s. I was born in Vancouver and raised as a Chinese kid in a white neighbourhood. Case in point: the last time I was in Hong Kong, I was five years old. I got off the plane, saw hordes of Chinese people, and asked my mom if we were in Chinatown. Yup.

So I’ve grown up with this mixture of Chinese and Canadian cultures. For instance, my mom is a devout Christian and eschews most Chinese superstitions. But, she still refuses to clean the house on New Year’s Day for risk of sweeping away good spirits, and she arranges furniture according to the principles of feng shui.

Our Christmas traditions are no exception. We usually have a big dinner party around Christmastime, but it’s just a matter of convenience whether it’s before or after Christmas. We invite 12-15 people over, crowd around the dining table, and eat with chopsticks from plates.

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Bon Appetit: Fast Easy Fresh

I went to Books to Cooks last night for a demo by Barbara Fairchild, editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit magazine. She was talking about her latest book, The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook. The book is organized around key shopping ingredients (turkey, pasta, potatoes) so that you can use it at the last minute. Most recipes use between 6-10 ingredients, so it’s definitely designed to be used when you don’t have much time to cook.

While she talked, an assistant prepared a roast chicken with gremolata butter, bacon-wrapped dates, and mushrooms en croute. I had to leave before the chicken came out of the oven, but it smelled delicious. The mushrooms en croute were really tasty, with meaty mushrooms and a kick of lemon zest on a baguette chip, with melted parmesan cheese on top.

But oh, the bacon-wrapped dates were delicious. It was a juicy pitted date stuffed with smoked bacon, with the whole thing wrapped in bacon and baked until it was crispy, smoky, salty perfection. I had to exercise serious restraint, but I still ate three of them.

There were also wine tastings from Farmstead wines and Barrel Select. Tasty.

It was a perfect way to spend a snowy evening: in a cookbook store, listening to Barbara Fairchild talk about food while eating delicious food and tasting lovely wine. Life doesn’t get much better.

Cupcakes and crack dip, oh my!

I made a whack of cupcakes and hors d’oeuvres for a friend’s birthday this weekend.

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