This past Friday I relented to my friend Carol's significant and forceful rotation of my humerus and paid her a visit in DC. Her maniacal prodding via FaceBook centered on inviting me to attend an intimate discussion of sous vide cooking with Thomas Keller ("the Man"), Eric Ziebold (former Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry and now Executive Chef at CityZen), and moderator Michael Ruhlman (the clever and mischievous food writer of considerable note).
The event was relaxed and informative – supporting the launch of Keller's new sous vide book, "Under Pressure." It was fun to mill about with these guys and some of the other attendees, one of whom was the jovial Chef Michel Richard. As it happened, we had late dinner reservations at his 2008 James Beard Award winning Best New Restaurant: Central Michel Richard. Cut to:
We sat in the far room at Central in front of the large, open kitchen – right in the action.
^ Chef de Cuisine Cedric Maupillier sent out these devious creamy shrimp on cole slaw, with a BBQ drizzle.
^ Carol insisted on the Salad Frisee, with Lardons & Poached Egg. Amazing. As she puts it, "The ONLY way to eat frisee!" Then another surprise from the kitchen, these gorgeous mussels.
^ Entrées. The Central Cassoulet with house made sausage. And the Braised Beef Cheeks with Tagliatelle. Well, you can just imagine. This food is simply STUPID good. The entire experience has my addictive personality twitching. The energy of the room, the sights and smells – all intoxicating.
I'll be needing a fix from this place sooner than I'll be able to get one, I fear. On top of all that, as we were kind of in and out on a late dinner, it was relatively affordable – a couple of glasses of wine, we did skip dessert but had coffee…nice. Something about the relaxed atmosphere, with this level of food… the accolades are well deserved, at any rate!
Finally, our schedules got in sync and I was able to join Chef John Tesar in the kitchen and document a full evening of service. Of particular interest was the preparation of the dishes served at the Chef's Table.
I will be putting together a comprehensive feature, culling through the 500 pics and providing some enticing detail on the dishes. Here is a sneak:
Some more pics to whet your appetite while we continue to compile the full story:
And below, some out-takes: the spoils… I got to sample many of the dishes, right there in the kitchen. Foodie crack, to be sure!
On the way back from my relaxing weekend in East Texas, I could not resist the temptation to stop off at I-30 exit 70 and blog about Carl's Jr.
I just never find myself near one of the 3 local outlets (all are franchises located in Love's Travel Stops). I was full from a healthy (ahem) brunch – but had to sample some Carl's fare – for the good of the blog.
More after the jump:
You always crave what you can't have – this menu is refreshing just 'cause it's different. Above is the classic Six Dollar Burger ($4.79). I like it – nice char flavor, decent veggies, mustard, mayo & ketchup.
Next: the Guacamole Bacon Six Dollar Burger! This was REALLY good – Spicy Guac and a Sante Fe Sauce with real kick made me wish we had some of these in town. Got some Natural Cut Fries and the CrissCut variety. All in all, it's not quite as I remember the experience on the West Coast… but different from our local chains and satisfying. Of course, I couldn't eat all this – had a couple bites of eat and stuck the bag in the trunk for the rest of the trip home… the result was less than desirable! But, that was a fun diversion.