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Tag: michelin

A taste of the Mediterranean

Chef George Mendes’s Aldea


A tangy and cold coconut lime ice macaron.


A single beau soleil oyster. Sadly there was too much garnish that it overpowered the oyster.


Tomato gazpacho. The strawberry added a nice sweetness and balance.


Pickled quail eggs.


Fritters with garlic aioli. Soft and delicious, not over-fried.


Sardine. This dish had a very distinct sardine taste to it, but the bread-crumb-like topping added a nice texture. A crisp white wine that tasted like the sea and had a slightly sour finish was paired with the sardine. The pairing went well but I don’t think I’d normally drink it by itself.


Cuttlefish with squid ink, cilantro, and topped with bonita flakes. I didn’t get the advertised squid ink taste because it was just sitting on the bottom underneath the foam and not mixed in. This was paired with seasonal sake.


Aged gnocchi with a lovely seafood crab sauce and foam. The gnocchi was very light and soft. It was paired with rose.


Suckling pig and pork belly. Both pieces just melted in my mouth. The thin crispy skin and crunchy string beans nicely countered the soft and juicy meat. This was paired with a Bordeaux styled Pinot Noir.


Sherpa milk cheese with figs paired with a semi-sweet sparkling red wine. The cheese by itself was quite strong but was well-balanced by sweet and jammy figs.


Watermelon ice with cantaloupe. This was a really good and refreshing palate cleanser served at exactly the right time of the meal.


Olive oil cake with strawberry sorbet and ricotta. This was paired with port wine.


Petite fours.


A Night in Gramercy

Apologies, but given how far behind I am, the next few entries will have to be brief.

I took my parents to Gramercy Tavern for dinner the week they were the NYC and here’s how it went.

Scallop over a slice of tomato amuse bouche. Watery and very light tasting with some japanese rice on top for added texture.

A great smoked trout that was tender and juicy.

The shrimp was nice with the fried okra and corn giving the dish some color. Unfortunately, we had eaten a similar shrimp dish at Jean-Georges for lunch the same day and the ones there were sweeter and bigger.

The beef fazzoletti was a bit too saucy so I felt it overpowered the pasta and dish as a whole. The pasta itself  was very tender and thin, not overcooked.

The lamb was probably my favorite dish of the night. It was cooked perfectly and everything on the dish was well balanced. Even presentation was nice as it seemed like the lamb was in a natural green forest.

Sadly, the pork loin was a bit tough and hard to cut into. But on the positive side, the pork belly was fatty and delicious (no surprise there).

The arctic char was decent, but I was really impressed with the eggplant in the dish. It was nicely charred from the grill with lots of eggplant flavor; absolutely delicious.

Lemon panna cotta dessert bite before our dessert courses.

Trio of desserts were all pretty good.

Petit fours: chocolate peanut butter squares, strawberry hazelnut macaron (delicious!), and honey chocolate.

And finally, almost as a parting gift, everyone was given (what I thought was) a brown sugar cinnamin coffee crumb cake muffin to take home. Thanks Gramercy Tavern!



Lunch with the Parents

I’ve been living in New York for four years now, and in all that time my parents have never visited me once. So when they finally decided it was time to drop by, I thought I should treat them to a nice meal (or two). On a side note though, they were actually in New York for a wedding, so I was really just free housing for the week. Oh well, you take what you can, right?

One of my all-time favorite restaurants in all of New York is Jean Georges. This is definitely a restaurant for special occasions with its high ceilings, white tablecloths, and extra large windows reaching all the way up to the ceiling surrounding a pristine main dining room. Each table is spaced well away from every other table in the room so it is never too noisy or crowded, giving diners a sense that the restaurant is serving them, and only them. Service is exceptional to the point where all dishes at the table are placed down simultaneously then explained in great detail. Water glasses are never empty and any questions or concerns are addressed immediately. Not only is the food delicious and presented beautifully, but they also offer an extremely affordable lunch for a three Michelin-stars rating.

Our amuse bouche to start was a spicy seasoned piece of watermelon,  a slice of crispy cucumber, and a shot glass of miso soup with popcorn bits. The watermelon had a good kick of spiciness and while the soup was creative in theory and texture, most people probably wouldn’t care much for it.

My first course was lightly poached Maine ruby shrimp with serrano chillies and topped with sea urchin. The presentation of this dish alone was visually stunning. Small orange and purple flowers were sprinkled over the perfectly cooked shrimp, almost like colors jumping off an artist’s canvas. The uni added a smooth, buttery richness to the dish that was balanced by a hint of  citrus from some lime.

My mother started off with a delicious peekytoe crab salad. The large chunks of crab meat were mixed with a nice amount of spice and topped with a sweet scoop of iced honeydew sorbet. The chilled sweet and spicy flavors blended nicely into a great summer time dish.

The hamachi sashimi with avocado, yuzu, and radish for my father.

My second course was a sauteed veal scallopine with flying pig ham, mushrooms, and lavender. The mostly tender veal tasted peppery and the ham had a great crisp to it. The mushrooms added some earthiness to the dish, but there was not much lavender taste to it.

To follow my mother’s crab salad, she had a nice and flaky steamed piece of cod with good flavors in a miso garnish, all atop fresh and crispy snow peas.

First dessert.

Strawberry themed dessert.

Jean Georges never ceases to impress me no matter how many times I go. Everything from the beginning of the meal to the end is on a level above everywhere else. It even earns the approval of parents it’s so good! If ever in New York, makes sure to dine at Jean Georges. You will not forgive yourself if you don’t.

Note: Not pictured were petite fours consisting of cassis macarons, house made marshmallows, and chocolates.



Verdict: Gilt-y of 2-starred Deliciousness

Walking into Gilt’s dining room, I could not help but stand back and admire the room. A relatively smaller dining room with dim lighting gives diners a feeling of intimacy. However, high ceilings and elegant decor make it seem almost extravagant. Gilt offers both an la carte menu and tastings. On this particular night, we opted for the regular five course tasting. Service was excellent throughout the meal. Our waiter was very attentive to all our needs, but still kept his distance and did not give us a feeling of being nosy or unwanted. The bread selection was nice, but our favorite was an atypical chewy pretzel bread.

To start off our meal, we had an amuse bouche of elderflower and cucumber juice. It was a bit fizzy with a dash of salt that emphasized the taste of the cucumber even more.

Our first course was a lubina fish tartare from Veta La Palma with green strawberries, miner’s lettuce, and fennel juice. The tartare was really tasty, both in texture and flavor. It added a salty taste to the dish while complementing the semi-sweet and refreshing strawberries. The fennel juice added a good earthy balance of flavor to an overall good dish to start off our meal.

The second course was Scottish langoustines with Ibèrico ham, saffron, and cauliflower crème. The langoustines were somewhat over salted and took away from the other components of the dish. Besides that, the quail egg was cooked nicely.

Next, we had wild Alaskan king salmon with cherry blossom, white asparagus, black olive, and salmon roe for our third course. The seared salmon was good, but not memorable. The white asparagus added a nice bit of texture to go with the fish while the black olive sauce was a bit overpowering.

Niman Ranch beef was our fourth course, alongside charred cucumber, heirloom carrot, and peanut. The ribeye steak was cooked a beautiful medium rare with a nice char on the outside. The picked cucumber also had a nice char on it which provided a smokey taste to the dish that went well with the sweet carrots. Unfortunately, the steamed bun on the side didn’t quite fit as it had a totally different flavor profile.

For my fifth course, I had steamed chocolate cake and black forest Bavarian. Good tart flavor from the cherries paired nicely with the creamy dark chocolate.

My friend had a delicious strawberry rhubarb with lots of flavor and different textures. It was not overly sweet and was the perfect end to our meal.

I can see why Gilt holds two Michelin stars against its name. Exception service, well thought out and delicious food, all with beautiful presentation make this a special restaurant. It’s not everyday that you get to dine at a two Michelin-starred restaurant; and even with my expectations, I was not disappointed.