Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy 27th Drew!

so we had learned about EL ideas from Beth on the night we joined Mon & Beth at A10 (prior post of June 19th) - she said we had to try it... so I reserved pretty much right after that for a night that worked for our schedule which turned out to be last night! The title of the post is a tribute to the birthday celebration at the table next to ours- where Drew was celebrating his 27th birthday (and we had a wine that was 31 years old LOL)

Since we had just been to 42 grams it was natural to "compare and contrast" - first off the layout is different than 42 grams (see prior posts of June 5th and July 3rd) they invite you into the kitchen to see the prep (whereas you can see it from the other side of the counter at 42 grams) here- they seem to mostly have individual tables rather than communal/counter.  On weeknights they do one seating of up to (by my count) 20-22 people.  The atmosphere is more funky and casual rather than the polished approach at 42 grams.  Chef Philip Foss and his crew could not be any more welcoming of his guests.  The place is located on a dead end block under the expressway south of Roosevelt Road - the kind of place you expect to find cars on blocks LOL- but it seemed pretty calm last night.

so let's dive right in- because the place is just plain fun and all are encouraged to enjoy the evening in the warehouse-like kitchen by mingling with the chef(s) and their sole "gal Friday" at the front of the house, Katelynn and with the other guests... which is how we met Drew and his girlfriend/date/dining companion/birthday celebrant...

so first- the menu!

then the space-

a pot of fruit bubbling in wine reduction- smelled wonderful!

the menu was posted on the wooden support on a clip board- which I spied early on so I took this picture to follow along with the various courses-

so the Snuggle Bunny hat is apparently a hazing for misdeeds in the kitchen (although we never learned exactly what constitutes a misdeed LOL)

more of the preparation space- watched over by a cooking angel (?) in an apron only - LOL- she looks pretty happy with their work...

some of the food in various stages of prepping-

more back of the house stuff- supplies-

things keep getting little tidbits added -

Chef Philip Foss' bacon socks - really rockin- sent a quick FB photo to Jeremy (our bacon boy LOL)

our first served dish-  the cauliflower and roe

we have paired the early courses with a 2002 white burgundy - one which has always shown well and actually was somewhat reduced when opened so it could have gone a bit longer in the bottle but the 02s in general are getting long in the tooth and some have just been downright over the hill -

the watermelon and feta with some fab little eggplant crisps adorning the dish-

halibut course- with what I would call tostones (LOL)

work work work-

the Epic Fail sunglasses also had some meta message but we weren't in on it- mostly because we had an epic fail in asking about them (just forgot- LOL)

more prep

this one is getting closer -  keep an eye out for it a bit below-

here the served Caesar- all the elements redone in a new way- but 100% Caesar salad-

we opened this early (and brought a back up in case) because you never know with wines this age- and also with this vintage - which was not known for greatness but has, in our experience, had some fabulous wines from specific producers... this was a good one...

next the french fries and ice cream course - came as a hot soup and into it was ladled the "ice cream" which was frozen so cold it crackled the soup and sent the fog up from the bowl- LOVED the texture on this one!

the pig face- with yummy flash fried mustard green (I'll have another dozen pieces of the greens please!)

could be my favorite course of the evening - the fonduta with truffle- an absolutely yummy dish! cheese! and truffles! what's not to like??? although I think the bellota was somewhat overwhelmed by some of the other flavors - or at least the amazing nuance of acorn stuffed pigs becoming a seriously tasty ham was (IMHO)

oh another fab course the duck! the consomme was the essence of duck!

my least favorite course - the venison - Phil ate my sausage after I tasted it - just too gamy for my palate

well prepared bison which was enhanced by the blue cheese- one of my favorite combos which is why my favorite burger is the blue cheese burger!

by now I had to make a pit stop and here is the WC decor- as long as the drugs are titrated appropriately apparently all goes well here in the kitchen LOL

some more prep as I headed back to the front of the house-

the foie gras course with red berry essences - a big time WINNER in my book!

the zucchini course with a spice cake flavor that really worked for me-

and a dessert made just for Phil cherry and chocolate-

and Drew gave us a taste of his fun fetti cake for his birthday celebration and everyone was happy and well sated- which has to be the perfect ending to any story - but especially to the ones involving chefs! Thanks Philip and Katelynn and the whole crew for a fun filled adventure in eating!!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

daily life

so things are finally shaping up in the yard and we now have use of our deck - we have been working on household items (which is a common activity for northerners in the summer) and catching up with friends... soon we begin summer travel so then we will have more scintillating topics for posts- LOL

I am not really amazingly tech savvy so I am always surprised when something happens "by itself" like the photos that google sent me that "they" had edited and changed- here are my photos followed by theirs -

LOL- I apparently now live in an old fashioned post card- LOL

but I actually like MY flowers better- if I had wanted pink or fuchsia flowers I would have picked that color- LOL  anyway- here are some more photos of the yard - so you will know we have made some progress-

about the time we are heading south it should look mighty fine- LOL....

the fourth party at our house was lots of fun for me because I did the cooking I had to do well ahead and just hung out with folks - everything was cleaned up (thanks to many pitching in on kitchen duty) by an hour after the last guest left... so an easy and fun day/evening for me...

the weekend weather was not so fabulous so last night we were pretty stir crazy and decided to go out to dinner... we had been meaning to get back to Magnolia Cafe for a while and had Open Table checks to use so we headed there late on Sunday... I like this place. It has good memories for us because it was at Magnolia Cafe in November of 2007 that we met our friends Laure & Arnaud (known as "Larno" for short) through Keith Ross who had arranged a dinner there for winos... No one has seen Keith in years but despite Larno moving to NYC three years ago we still keep in touch...

back to Magnolia Cafe- the food is decent, the corkage fees reasonable, service good and it is a warm friendly neighborhood place- so that's how we end up there late on a Sunday night of the holiday weekend- I had the short ribs and Phil the bouillabaisse and we drank one of Neil's 83 burgs which turned out to be excellent-

and a final thought for the day- someone posted this on FB and I couldn't agree more so I am posting here-

and this holds true for people too- before they are your friends they were someone you didn't know- sometimes you don't remember exactly where you met (like we remember Larno) but certainly in each instance there was a time before you knew them and a time when you did know them... and no matter how much you see them or don't see them- you never go back to not knowing them  (I guess unless you lose your mind of course- but luckily we're still young enough that we haven't had that issue!)

so our summer goes on and we are heading out of town for our road trip in the heart of Midwestern America...will keep you posted!