Oslo – 6/30/18 – Maaemo

Perhaps the most perfect lunch I have ever had.  A gorgeous day and an amazing table with a view of the kitchen.  The brioche was one of my favorite dishes of the year and the smoked reindeer heart was a close runner up.  While Oslo wasn’t my favorite city, I will have to go back.


chilled cherry blossom tea

potato flatbread, smoked mountain trout and fermented turnip

brioche with bone marrow and sage

oysters and aged caviar with salt from the west coast, warm sauce of mussels and dill

smoked mackerel from the Oslo fjord, dried and fresh flowers

fresh scallop from Steigen in two servings, raw with white currant and black currant leaf, cooked in its shell with celeriac and gooseberries


gently steamed king crab claw, smoked scallop roe and lemon verbena
wild turbot poached in an emulsion made from turbot bones, sorrel and mushroom dashi
“Rommegrot” – a porridge of very sour cream, smoked reindeer heart and salted butter with plum vinegar

aged spring lamb with summer salad from Bergsmyrene Farm, garlic and plums from last year

frozen blue cheese with pickled black trumpet mushroom

Norwegian strawberries and cream, fresh roses, elderflower and rhubarb root

brown butter ice cream molasses and roasted hazelnuts

warm Norwegian waffles made with beef fat and koji grains, brown cheese, preserved berries and whipped romme

Birregurra, AU – 3/15/18 – Brae

In this case I think the pictures speak for themselves. Beyond gorgeous. Stunning drive from Melbourne, fabulous guest suites, and a fantastic dinner.








bonito cured overnight with kelp and mountain pepper

prawn, nasturtium and finger lime

Brae farm vegetables and grilled green tomato juice

herb toast and sea urchin
eggplant and salt grass lamb washed with sweet onion juice, fragrant and acidic plants

smoked eel doughnut

barbecued beetroot seasoned with Brae farm honey and rainbow trout roe

iced oyster

hapuku, cucumber and fermented cabbage, pressed chives and yoghurt whey

crayfish and shiitake with Brae farm egg yolk, meat broth and seaweeds

Sommerlad chicken wood roasted on the bone, zucchini ‘nose to tail’

today’s tomatoes



strawberry gum ice cream and frozen passionfruit

parsnip and apple

early autumn fruit from Brae farm and surrounding orchards

baked meringue and macadamia with ridiculously good cream

rhubarb and pistachio, blood and preserved blackberry

Melbourne – 3/14/18 – Attica

Love love love.  Including the ants, grub type worms and possum.
 

Tac’Oz

Aged Santa Claus Melon

Pearl Cooked in Paperbark

Our Vegemite, Our Salada

Witchetty Grubs

An Imperfect History of Ripponlea

Green Ant Pav

All Parts of the Scampi

Chewy Carrots


Mutton Shell

Mystery Meat

Hand Picked Crab and Sour Damper


Red Kangaroo with Truganini


Pumpkin, Offal and Sour Beer

Grilled Marron with Desert Lime

Pests of the Neighborhood


Camel Milk Ice

Whipped Emu Egg

Attica Cheftales

Mexico City – 4/21/17 – Nico’s, Limantour, and Quintonil

Nico’s
Mexico City’s traffic is so terrible that we spent most of the day going to and from lunch but it was completely worth it for the guacamole cart alone.  I think the Eater article calling this the best restaurant in Mexico city was a bit too much, but its still an must-do.  No dish descriptions because we muddled through ordering from an only spanish menu.

Limantour
For pre-dinner cocktails we headed to Limantour’s Polanco location which was close to dinner.  Great drinks and space and I think deserving of its place on World’s 50 Best.

Quintonil
How Quintonil is even in the World’s 100 Best, let alone currently at number 22 is one of the many reasons the list is complete bs.  From the moment we sat down service was confused and just poor as if the right hand did not know what the left was doing.  And despite having inquired ahead of time, they seemed perplexed that we had brought some wine and almost did not know what to do with it.  I made it through the escaroles but when we got to the peas in a chia and tomato broth dish, which was pretty terrible, I had wished so much that we had booked Pujol for a second night in a row.



cactus ceviche with beetroot and orange

shrimp “flauta” with a squash blossom “aguachile”

seafood “vuelve a la vida” ear shell clam, beef tongue with noisette spices

charred avocado tartare with escaroles and mexican herb chips

peas in a chia and clarified tomato broth and smoked lard

trout “puerto nuevo” style, with fermented cabbage and sea weed mojo

dry aged duck breast with bitter almond and habanero puree, with hibiscus and figs

cactus sorbet

six and twelve month aged Ramonetti cheese, mandarin, honey and pumpkin seed


frozen mousse of roasted banana, cateja and basil

Mexico City – 4/20/17 – Contramar, Hanky Panky and Pujol

Contramar
This was an absolutely perfect first stop upon arriving in Mexico City.  We muddled through ordering and ended up with a perfect lunch.

Hanky Panky
I do love a hidden bar.  I won’t share many details to respect their wishes to keep the place secret.  But the entrance was indeed challenging to find and the drinks great.

Pujol
As this was my first trip to Mexico City I did not visit the old Pujol so I can’t really compare.  But I absolutely loved everything about the design of the new one.  And I loved everything about this dinner which has easily been one of the highlights of my year thus far.  Some of these were not necessarily super intricate dishes but they were delicious.  Fantastic octopus and maybe the best cauliflower dish I have ever had.  And why isn’t steak always served with a side of guacamole and a hot pepper?  The mole was all that it was advertised to be although admittedly I decided that mole isn’t my favorite thing in the world (but if it was this is certainly the best out there).

street snacks

octopus, habanero ink, ayocote, veracruzana sauce

cauliflower, almond salsa mocha, chile de árbol

wagyu, fennel seeds, herb guacamole

mole madre 1257 days, mole nuevo

nicuatole

churros

Chicago – 1/28/17 – Alinea Kitchen Table

There are a multitude of reasons that Alinea continues to be my favorite restaurant. As many times as I have been there I am always completely surprised by something new. And I always think back to my first visit quite a long time ago which was the first time I dined alone at a ‘nice’ restaurant. I was so nervous that my hand shook until I had finished my initial glass of champagne. But the experience was perhaps the beginning of my career as a ‘professional’ in conquering a very long tasting menu and I have never felt uncomfortable dining alone since.

I am not sure that I will be able to return to the dining room after this dinner at the kitchen table. I saw the space on my last visit but seeing it and sitting in it are quite different. Just completely fantastic especially with a great group of friends. I very much enjoyed again the dishes that I had previously – especially the scallop, corn, butter that I want several bowls of.  While it is not a substitute for black truffle explosion, the gruyere/black truffle/pumpernickel was delicious and filled the void.  And perhaps my favorite of the night was the very understated parmesan/pea/jamon iberico.  Until next time….




osetra, king crab, condiments

quince, parmesan, date

scallop, corn, butter

cornbread, nori

cider, orange, maple

yuzu

parmesan, pea, jamon iberico


kuzu, pompano, shellfish

pork belly, curry, banana

rosemary, hamachi, kombu

blueberry, lapsang souchong, maitake


mastic, concord

*foie

gruyere, black truffle, pumpernickel

short rib, bitter cocoa, cassis

wagyu, rice, myoga

sweet potato, chocolate, miso

bubble gum, cake, banana



chocolate, cherry, bourbon


sesame, brown butter, gold