Thursday, October 18, 2007

We Now Take a Break From Your Regularly Scheduled Program
To bring you this breaking news update:

As a 'thank you' for helping them move form CA to MN, Joleen and Sunny planned and cooked a 7-course meal for my parents. Ok, so it was mostly Sunny, but Joleen did do a lot of dishes. Aside from planning and buying ingredients, it was a 3-days in the making meal. Sunny didn't want my parents to know what they were going to be served until it was served to them, so they had to sneak around the house and not look in the kitchen for much of the time.

My job was to design the menu and restaurant logo. I also take credit for coming up with the restaurant name (in case you are really dense, it's a take-off of The French Laundry). I'm fairly proud of the logo I came up with...especially since I'm not that skilled in the craft of photo-editing. So, I will first present to you the menu for the night (the menu and the accompanying folder it was in):


As you can see, it included some pretty fancy-schmancy things. The Cornet of Salmon Tartare is the signature item for The French Laundry. He made a few extra of these, so Joleen and I also got to eat one.

I didn't get to try the Salad of Red Baby Beets. But I did eat a few of the beets later that night as well as a few of the oranges. Apparently, this dish was inspired from a dish from Tetsuya's (where Sunny will be working in Australia).

It was really fun watching Sunny prepare the Potato and Mascarpone Agnolotti...he made the dough and rolled it out, etc. We didn't get to try any the night of the dinner, but he made some of the extra for lunch the next day, sans truffles. :( Funny story regarding the truffles: Ok, so truffles are really friggin' expensive. Sunny had gotten some black and white truffles for free from The French Laundry. He had them in their freezer at home in Yountville. It was about $250 worth of truffles (white truffles are uber pricey). Well, prior to moving Joleen went through their freezer to throw out all the stuff they weren't saving. She mistakenly threw away the truffles thinking they were...well, something not worth saving. They didn't realize it until the day we were packing up the U-Haul (when Sunny was packing a cooler of food items to save, including some foie). Yeah, that was interesting. Sunny then had to make a quick trip to The French Laundry to buy a few ounces of truffles (since he was planning on using them for my parents' dinner). He only got some black ones, though since white ones are way too expensive and out of season, or something. Anyway, I just think it's funny that Joleen threw away $250 worth of truffles.

Next on the menu was the Foie Gras of Muscovy Duck (the foie gras of which he got from The French Laundry). I didn't get to eat the whole ensemble, but I did get a few bites of some extra foie gras he'd made. I have to say, Sunny's foie gras was much better than the foie gras we had when we ate at The French Laundy (granted, I felt like puking at the time, but hey). It was very good, even if I feel really bad for eating it (moral reasons). This was a big hit with the 'rents.

Next up was the Thyme Roasted Lamb. I got to eat this dish after we served my parents (although we had a crappier cut of lamb than what my parents had). It was very good. The bordelaise sauce in this dish took 3 days to make. He cut up a bunch of veggies (carrots, leeks, onions, tomatoes) and put it in a big pot with some meat and bones and some sort of wine and water, or something. He simmered it for a day or so, then strained the broth out from all the veggies and stuff. The broth went back on the stove to simmer for another...long time. After which it was strained again and probably cooked again. Anyway, it went from a huge pot of stuff to a small saucepan of usable sauce. Which was very good. But geez, it seemed wasteful and time-consuming (which is pretty much the epitome of French cuisine, apparently).

Joleen loved the name of this next dish: Panko-Crusted Bleu Balls. Which were fancy deep-fried balls of bleu cheese with balsamic glaze (which also seemed time-consuming and wasteful--practically a whole bottle of balsamic vinegar simmered down to a tiny container of glaze. Sunny would kill me for saying 'simmered' since it's not simmered, but I can't think of the right phrase. It was funny because the night before we were talking about the menu and Joleen mentioned the bleu balls. I said (in reference to the food item), "What are they, anyway?" Joleen responds, "You don't know what they are?" Me: "No." Joleen then goes on to describe what ('anatomically' speaking) blue balls are. Haha! I let her go on for a bit before interrupting with, "Thanks for that, but I meant the food. I do know what blue balls are, just not bleu balls." I got to eat a few of these. They were yummy.

The dessert for the night was Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Souffle. Sunny made an extra one for Joleen and I. Yummers.


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