What are we out of now?

It is that question which I have taken to reciting without prompt as I answer the phone at 3 Am.  The answer is rarely the same: Buns, Booze, Money, the cook is missing, basement is flooding, new kid didn’t show up… can you come down?  At first my answer was a perky, “Of course!  Hang in there I am on my way,” and now usually just an obscene comment about ineptitude, but no matter the retort I will of course be flying in the door ready to tackle whatever seems to be going awry.  Being the manager of a New York restaurant has been challenging thus far, but I am finding out that I love it.  Last 24 hours: 10 am – 5 pm at work, 5 PM – 2:30 AM @ home, 2:30 AM – 4:15 AM at Work, home to sleep until 10, then back to work by 10:45 AM – 2 PM… and so on.  In spite of the constant erratic schedule I have not yet felt too much strain from it.  It is at 4:30 in the morning walking through Manhattan, sipping a 15$ cocktail in a paper cup, and taking in the end of the night debauchery that occurs when the bars purge their most loyal customers, that you find that serenity which happens amidst the most chaotic situations.  You know when things are so crazy, you run and run all night teetering on panic attack, nothing seems to be going right… and then it just finishes, the people go home, the place gets cleaned, and you find yourself smiling all the way home in the quiet cool early morning.  It is fantastic.  Anyways, work is crazy.  Summer is definitely hot dog and bar season, and that makes us one ultimate destination.  In between crafting cocktails and dogs we are also catering weddings in central park, hosting movie premier events, and taking part in week long drinking adventures (The Manhattan Cocktail Classic for example).  It keeps me very much on my toes, but it also keeps my interested.  Come visit me at work sometime.

Tonight we are heading to the mecca of American/Worldwide restaurants.  Thomas Keller’s Per Se is a 3 Star Michelin rated restaurant, along with 4 stars from the NY Times, and alongside it’s sister restaurant, French Laundry outside of San Francisco, is the ultimate of ultimates.    I am so nervous for this meal it is absurd!  I am sure I will be updating you on how it goes immediately afterward.  http://www.perseny.com/

Quick hello to everyone back in ABQ meeting up for the wedding!  I wish I could be there!  I miss you all!  CONGRATS LINDS!!!!  Much love.

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I didn’t want those taste buds…

Last night Shannon and I got to head down into Soho to the French Culinary Institute {FCI} to watch a demonstration by their head of school and a world leading food scientist, then Shannon and I split ways to sit in on a pastry and culinary course, and then were ushered down to dinner in their restaurant.  It was an extremely interesting night!

The Demonstration was incredible.  We sat in there auditorium while two of the head chefs blew our minds.  We first were given a cup of a crushed up herb, shady I know, and told to swish it around our mouths.  As it turns out the herb contained a chemical in it that temporarily blocks off the taste of any sugars on the tongue!  We were them given a plate of various items to taste and explore how taking away sugar from something would effect it.  On the plate were things like: a strawberry, skittle, packet of sugar, cookie, marshmallow, blackberry, chocolate, etc.  It was one of the most bizarre things I have ever experienced.  The marshmallow felt like chewing on foam, and was absolutely flavorless.  There was just no flavor in my mouth.  The strawberry and blackberry alike were super sour.  The chocolate was just that creamy texture in my mouth without any flavor present at all.  The packet of sugar might as well have been sand.  It was truly bizarre.  Luckily over time the presentation moved on, and our taste buds revived themselves.  Throughout the rest of the presentation we covered new sciences and their applications in the cooking world.  For example: Meat Glue.  A compound that has the ability to bond ANY two proteins together on a molecular level.  It actually makes them into the same item.  You could bond soy beans to buffalo meat if you wanted.  We used it in the demo to bond prosciutto around hamachi tuna, for the purpose if it not coming undone during cooking and ease of cutting.  We created liquid nitrogen ice cream.  Used vacuum chambers to pickle onions in 30 seconds.  Played with various mushroom cooking methods for the best results.  Everything.  It was all extremely fascinating, and delicious.

The class was incredible.  I spent 2 hours in class with some of the lower levels students who were learning to create: rice puddings, risottos, gnocci, and ravioli from scratch.  It was actually extremely impressive.  The head chef was on everyone, blasting technique and method into all of them.  I saw a little bit of talent in that kitchen and whole lot of sweating and frantic people who were in way over their heads.  I am not sure they are going to like where they find themselves when they pop out of that class, it was obvious that none of them had been near a restaurant kitchen before.  It was really reassuring for me to see this in action, mainly because I feel like I must have a head start on most of these cooks.

Dinner was great considering the price!  We had a 5 course prix fixe menu.  1: Smoked Salmon with fennel puree  2: striped sea bass over artichoke hearts and buckwheat crepes  3: Lamb over mushroom ragu with garlic mashed potatoes  4: Digestive salad of iced ricotta with lemon, frisee, balsamic, and crushed pistachios  5: a trio of pot de cremes (carmel with sea salt, chocolate with candied orange peal, dark chocolate with hazelnut and coffee)  and a cheese board.  All accompanied by a bottle of French Malbec.  It was all pretty good!  The students from the upper two levels of the culinary classes prepare the food for the restaurant, and everything came out great!

After gorging ourselves, we strolled the mile walk home, and chatted about what is coming up next.  Result:  No idea.  We both are so conflicted about what to do right now.  If anyone has any ideas, we could use some input.  Anyways, that’s our culinary adventure up until this point!  Here are some pictures from the demo:

What a Blur!

Just saw Addie and Margaret off to the airport after their 10 day excursion to the city.  It is now time to do absolutely nothing and let our bodies recover from the constant go go go that was the last 10 days, I think, of our lives.  Time for some delivery… a bottle of wine… and a hot bath.  Over the last few days we have attempted to do everything!  Favorite quest of all time: Macaron Day!  We traveled all over the city in order to indulge in the most sacred of delights, according to Alexandra E. Willey, which were to be given away for free!  We walked for miles all through Manhattan in order to sample insanely good french cookies ranging in flavor from Rose Water and Saffron to Gran Marnier and Candied Orange Peel.  These legendary cookies are actually as good as you want them to be.

While not hunting for treats we were often found at Terroir, wine bar numero uno in our book, or Destination Bar and Grill.  We also enjoyed another amazing meal courtesy of the extremely knowledgeable and wonderful DeMartini family.  Pastis,a French Bistro, hosted us for a full dining experience from champagne and oysters to creme brulee and crepes!  Incredible.  Thank you guys so much!

All in all an absolutely incredible week.  It was really nice to have such a wonderful taste of home, and we already miss you guys!  Until next time!

Found My Corner!

The Infamous Macaron