Category Archives: Fine Dining

Seattle – Waz

For K’s birthday went to this new Japenese restaurant that serves up kaiseki meals only. Since it was a milestone birthday went a bit crazy and split a sake flight and each had the wine pairing.  The meal was great and some new flavors even though I’ve been to Japan three times. I had never had sesame tofu, it almost tasted like mochi and had the same consistency. I normally won’t eat pumpkin but really liked this preparation, as K said it tasted like unagi which probably was why I liked it. I would’ve eaten a lot of of the wagyu if given the option, just lightly torched and melted in my mouth. The salmon had great flavor but was overcooked, basically well done when I make it at home it’s medium rare most times, I will say the presentation was beautiful. The rice dish was K’s favorite while I’m torn between the fried fish cake and the eggplant and duck.

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Sakizuke: sesame tofu, sea urchi, dashi broth

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Hassun: hydrangea temari sushi, braised kabocha pumpkin, corn tempura, braised octopus

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Suimono: fried fish cake clear suop

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Tsukuri: oyster, A5 wagyu, amberjack

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Takiawase: eggplant, duck breast, asparagus, white miso glaze

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Yakimono: shio koji king salmon, salmon roe, green strawberry, grated daikon, garlic scape

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Gohan: snapper rice with dashi broth, pickled vegetables

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Kanmi: custard pudding, roasted bean flour ice cream, seasonal fruits

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Seattle – Tarzan I Jane

We’d been eager to try this modern Spanish restaurant for their Sunday paella meal. While it’s fairly pricey the meal was fantastic and I’m already planning on going back for the much fancier dinner. We’re so full from this 5-course meal that started before noon that don’t even need dinner. We each started with a different gin and tonic since it’s a specialty there, K had the I and I had the Forca. Both were excellent and we sipped while enjoyed the view, there is an open kitchen with a wood burning stove and they had  mini gardens hanging from the ceiling.  Sadly they don’t hand out menus so I’ll do my best to remember each course. Everything was amazing and the paella was K’s favorite even though I ended up eating 2/3rds of it. The rice was crispy and the rabbit was flavorful. I really liked the sausage and poached egg, I nearly asked to buy some sausage to take home even though there are a few purveyors in Seattle that have amazing sausages for sale.

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Blackberry gazpacho

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Seafood ceviche with avocado

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Sausage with poached egg

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Rabbit, snail, artichoke and kidney bean paella

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Chocolate cake and deconstructed lemon tart with apple and coconut icecream

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Chocolate tuffle and olive oil gummy bear

 

Seattle – Eden Hill

To start the new year one of my favorite Seattle restaurants was hosting a Figgins wine dinner. I’m usually not a fan of pumpkin at all and the veloute was really good. K liked both beef dishes the best and I would agree although I really liked the miso ice cream, I finished off hers as well.

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Octopus terrine – mango vinegar, citrus mayo Earth tea puff – foie gras mousse

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Aged Beef Tartare – fermented habanero tostada, fish caramel, cured egg

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Pumpkin Veloute – matsutake, pumpkin leaf, truffle

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Lamb Neck Sugo – celery root lasagna, horseradish, thyme, olive

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Wagyu Fillet – smoked marrow bordelaise, broccoli, pommes fondant

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Miso Caramel Ice Cream – cocoa miso, coconut granola, dark chocolate

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Foie Gras Cake Batter – strawberry, sprinkles, pair cake

Los Angeles – The Baazar

For the second night in a row we went to another Jose Andres restaurant that was significantly better than Cleo. It helps that it wasn’t Christmas and near the Staples Center, but the food was just incredible. Tapas is one of my favorite types of meals to eat and I went a bit overboard ordering but we only left one piece of the beef cheek which was the last savory dish to come out. They have a totally separate dessert area where all their creations are on display so we could go eat with our eyes before filling our bellies even more.

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Serrano Ham – tomato bread

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Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche – leche de tigre, sweet potato, freeze-dried corn, cilantro

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Eggplant Tempura – local honey, buttermilk

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Oxtail Steamed Bun – watermelon radish, cilantro, serrano chili

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Fried Squid – Aioli, parsley puree

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Not Your Everyday Caprese – cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella

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Local Baby Beets – smoked yogurt, pickled carrots, walnuts, avocado

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Uni & Eeel Rice – strawberry, black garlic, wasabi

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Japanese Tacos – bbq eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron

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“Philly Cheesesteak” – air bread, cheddar, wagyu beef

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“Rossejat” Negra – paella-style pasta, squid ink, sepia sofrito, shrimp

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Jamon Croquetas – fried quail egg, escalivada puree

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Secreto – Iberico bellota, salsa verde

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Seared Wagyu Beef Cheeks – black garlic, cherries, black olive

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Sangria

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Rebel

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Liquid Nitrogen Caipririnha

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Rum Baba – white chocolate, coconut, lime

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Crunchy almond praline, bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate tart

 

Auckland – Sidart

For our last meal we went to a restaurant that like to push the boundaries and offers a Discovery menu. The six amuse were quite good and fun and not very filling while we both thought the celeriac and scampi dishes were lacking in big flavors. The scampi could’ve used salt or been cooking in ghee. The fish was great and was K’s favorite and while I liked it too the pork and duck really did it for me. Just don’t like how the protein was hidden under veggies on a few dishes.

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Miso – olive, thyme

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Pomme Souffle – vinegar

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Carrot – farro, linseed

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Pecorino – artichoke, sumac

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Daikon – sesame, nam jim

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Shiitake – white soy, kaffir lime

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Celeriac – bone marrow, hazelnut, apple

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Scampi – nasturtium, seaweed

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John Dory – kohlrabi, macadamia, horseradish

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Pork Belly – mushroom, leek, turnip

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Duck – radicchio, date, foie gras

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Parmesan – black garlic, Sauternes

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Fennel – sorrel, cucumber, passionfruit

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Pine – black sesame, raspberry, eldferflower

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Salted Caramel

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We had the chef’s table so got to see all the action

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Queenstown – The Bunker

For my friend’s last night in town we headed over to the Bunker for their tasting menu. It was relatively short and we were able to make the steep climb back to our accommodation. He and K went for the seafood options while I chose the meat options, unfortunately the hunters couldn’t get a boar so my first course was venison instead. The food was excellent and it felt like we were in a NYC 70s steakhouse with the dark wood panels and a fire place, the pictures from 70s movies like James Bond and Breakfast at Tiffany’s just added to the time warp feeling.

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Mozzarella, Tomato, Balsamic

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Scallops – cauliflower pannacotta, roasted pork emulsion

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Venison – loin & rillettes, artichoke hearts

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Abalone – black foot paua beignets, smoked oyster gribiche, parmesan croute, aromatic cream

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Hare Loin – horopito braised leg, confit kumura, sour cherries, kawakawa juice

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Berry Sorbet

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Salmon – saffron clam skordalia, roasted fish soil, gaspacho gel, kale

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Lamb Backstrap – shoulder ragu, noisette potatoes, minted broad bean yoghurt, juniper juice

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Kiwi Pavlova – strawberries, mascarpone, kiwi fruit granita, pistachio crumb

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Brie, Blue, and Manchego

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Queenstown – Jervois Steak House

We were recommended JSH by the host at another restaurant we wanted to dine at but they were full. K and I will be going in a few days but unfortunately my buddy will already be gone by then. It was a very good recommendation, I’m always wary of going to a steakhouse since it’s an easy meal to make at home and I was seriously considering having the duck breast but after reading about how their different types of cows are raised I decided to take the chance and get one. I was not disappointed, even my friend who shares my opinion was highly impressed with it, perfectly seasoned and cooked.
I went with the Wakanui Blue cattle are grass fed initially then finished on grain for the last 70 to 90 days. Like the grass-fed equivalent Angus, it has characteristic fat marbling running through the muscle but due to being grain fed the marbling is much greater and more intense throughout.
The ravioli were light and flavorful, the sauce wasn’t too strong so could really taste the meat. The marrow was great and a lot of it, much different than in the US where sometimes only get 3-4mm of marrow since the bone is so thick. There was a bit of meat and gristle on the other side of the bone and SSW and I went cavemen and picked them up to get as much off as we could, I suspect the kitchen anticipated this since it was seasoned with some salt. Both he and K went for the venison and it tasted great, just not as good as my steak. The onion rings were so good I asked if they had been cooked in beef tallow but it was canola oil. I have no idea how they got them to taste that good but I’d go back just to get a basket that I don’t have to share.

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Crayfish Ravioli

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Roasted Bone Marrow

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Venison – goat cheese, beets

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Wakanui Rump Steak

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Best Onion Rings Ever

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