Really Quite Paradise

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Hey! Im back! Havent been very bloggy this summer, but as wordpress reminded me a bit ago, its been almost 10 years of me writing dumb crap on the internet so I’m able to forgive myself for the odd temporary absence. Absence makes ones farts grow fonder anyway. However, I know that the internet demands sacrifices in the form of pictures of dogs and flowers in order for the Web Gods to continue smiling upon us so I will suck it up and do my part.

So here is a dog:

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Here are some flowers:

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Here is a dog with flowers:

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That would be Sweetpea, a big beautiful wild rose, an ant crawling on a peony for some unknown purpose, and finally Sweetpea again. She is posing artistically with Foxgloves and looking a bit nervous about a spider.

Im sorry if these pictures have been blogged about before, I had them uploaded in old drafts and I cant be bothered to check up and see if Ive ever actually shown them to you before.

I may as well post the rest of the pictures from the old drafts, they sum up our summer in Gabarus pretty nicely!

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This summer I finally got my motorcycle licence! This was taken on our first ride together to the beach, which has been a one of our shared life goals for ages now. Romance! I took a two day course, and flipped the bike twice, but got right back on. By the end of the two days I could barely move my legs and my knees were held together mostly with Band-Aids but I was very proud of myself. Mine is the old BMW and its so sexy and her name is Zerhilde. It means warrior goddess in German, whatever…

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I spent almost every day after work this summer swimming in the ocean. It was absolutely, balls-clenchingly cold, but it felt so fresh and nice. A couple of nights a seal swam with me, but pretty far away. It was still magical as fuck.

This summer we ate some amazing meals together. Lobster, mackerel and cod fish suppers at the churches and community galls around the area.  A sushi place opened up here and made me so happy. I crave me some fish eggs and eel on rice so bad. We also cooked a lot of nice meals for each other, lovely big leisurely breakfast, lots of curries, Chinese pork dumplings & salty cucumber, thai dishes, etc.

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Midnight ice cream snacks in bed..

Gorged on fresh strawberries and blueberries.

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I made an absolute buttload of blueberry jam and experimented with making rose sugar and angelica liqueurs.

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We took a week and drove to Newfoundland to make desserts at an amazing Food Festival there called Roots, Rants & Roars which I should probably do a post about.CB got a rep at the event for being the worlds most patient cook, spending hours standing slowly stirring scrunchions so they didnt burn and frying 700 doughnuts. We made blueberry doughnuts, screech n’ scrunchion doughnuts, and apple fritters with apples from our apple trees.

We got to see some of our old friends from Fogo which was so nice. I miss my Fogo people every day. We got to have a couple of meals with Murray & Judy, and buy a some of Paddy Barry’s photographs which are now on our wall.

We cooked beside Duff Goldman. We had breakfast with CB’s food-crush Zane Caplansky and his super cool wife Willa.

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We ate this!

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I made this cool cake! Most proud of this one.

I chopped off my hair. Buzzed one side and dyed it purple.

We went for numerous long drives and talked about life and the world and everything in it.

We went for hikes through the woods, taking pictures of mushrooms and frogs.

Hung out with Sweetpea, who is quite possibly The Best.

Oh yeah, and we started a business! More on that to come…

Anyway Im tired and this is so many pictures so, so long for now!

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Spring Sprungler

Well hello there, March!

Where’d you come from, you sneaky little devil!

Can’t say I’m going to mourn the passing of February, the seemingly longest month of the whole fucking year. Ready for some wet Marchy spring time now! There’s still snow, but there’s buds on the trees and sometimes, sunshine! I feel so greedy for it! I find patches of it beaming into the house and stand there like a lazy cat. Rubbing the sunshine onto my skin like some kind of ethereal lotion. Need those happy suntime rays on me!

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This has been a really strange, amazing month in the life of CB & Karalalala. So much good stuff, we are starting to get paranoid that some kinda Big Bad must be on it’s way. The universe likes to even us out like that. But so far it’s all sunshine and pizza parties. Crazy. Our days have been filled with family, lovely meals together, day time naps and cupcakes. So nice. This is us leaning into our Old Peopleness with a quilt-slipper-nap combo.

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This is the view from the second floor window of OUR HOUSE!

That’s Dr. Lutz’s house across the way. He is a german doctor, who is one of the best people Ive met in life. He is so curious, and warm. And he shares my intense love of chocolate so we get along pretty well. Behind him is the ocean. It smells fantastic here all the time. Outside all you can hear is seagulls and wind chimes and I feel like I should tape it and put it on youtube for people to listen to while trying to fall asleep at night.

These are some random pics Ive taken of life stuff in the last month. Some crazy good pizza, a weird fencing painting in Corys uncles house, molasses raisin bread dough, ma po tofu and pork with preserved veg from our favourite Chinese restaurant here, and some stuff Ive been making at work. I’m finding that people here are obsessed with French macarons, and anything filled with whipped cream. Those are coconut cream eclairs and pistachio macarons, and a gigantic guitar cake I made. I always thought I hated making cakes, but I’m actually really enjoying it. My lovely Boss Lady says I get real quiet and zen when Im making tiny fondant owls & corals and what not for cakes.

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SO MUCH FUN.

I also have started working on my Get Better At Life List to great success!

  • Ive been calling my family way way more which is something I really was bad at, and thusly so nothing in this blog will be new or interesting to any of them haha
  • I have read 7 books! I have time to read! READNG IS COOL U GUYZ.
  • CB dyed my hair mermaid colours one sunday night, and it was beautiful for a week and a half. Purple magenta, royal blue and turquoise. Because why the hell not.
  • I have been eating better, and lost about 10 pounds since christmas. Just 1081292809 more to go! But I do feel a million times healthier, in my bod, and also my brains. Yay, vive le fibre!
  • Im doing very good at not working so much and its making everything in our life so much better. Also, our regular customers are little girls, grandmas, and Klutzy the Clown so thats pretty fucking great.

 

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We finally got down to the Farmers Market on Keltic Drive this saturday. It is a fantastic little market! There weren’t any veggies or anything like that yet, lots of sea-shell based crafts as to be expected, but they had something there that gave us emotions. Ethnic food. The smell, of spices, in the air! OH MY GOD! We ate samosas, and my tongue felt like it was bursting with a million spicy rainbows shooting out happiness.

We grabbed dinner from a lady selling African food! Ive never had African food before, and we are now probably her biggest fans. We got “African stew” which was tomato based, with chickpeas and spices. Meatballs. Something amazing with lots of eggplant. Couscous, some really tasty rice, chicken legs, and two bottles of home made sorrel juice. Which tasted like fruit punch. And tasted even nicer, with rum in it.

Rum = Yum. Thats just good old fashioned math.

Then we had some german baking for dessert; bienenstich which is like sweet bread filled with custard and covered in honey & almonds. Also a quark doughnut, which was dense but soft and very slightly cheesy. It is tasty in my stomach, ja?

We also picked up some local honey that tastes like roses and spruce trees, so basically heaven. Some sausages made by a German couple who were hocking sauerkraut and bratwurst on buns. Big Spruce Brewing co had giant growlers of beer which gave me troubling lust feelings. They also had a mysterious dark bottle the size of my forearm with a picture of Rasputin on it that I had to buy. Its a dark stout, tasting of vanilla and caramel, and it is also 10.5%, called Ra Ra Rasptin. The guy told me to “be careful” while drinking it, or to share it, because it says 10.5 on the bottle but its more near 12. Soooo that should be fun for CB to have to deal with me one night.

There was a wizard looking dude selling mead, and some goat soap makers, Nova Scotian wines, Caper Crepes, a cupcake stand, chocolates, coffee, naan bread, tons of baked goods and even more hippy shit, and German translations of Clive Cussler novels.. So we have lots to try next time.

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After the market we went by Uncle Blairs house, and started off a batch of home brew whiskey. This is him stirring the yeast into the big buckets of sugar water. Mmmmm, hoooooch-y. As a sugar-based professional I got him the hookup on cheap 25kg bags of the sweet stuff, so in return he’s teaching me how to make booze. Pretty good trade! Seems pretty straight forward, so in addition to cupcaker and fly tier, I might try my hand at bootlegging. Yay!

For our next trick, we are gonna get the garden started out back. Maybe start figuring out a chicken coop for next spring, cause we have left it a little late now to get chickens this year. And yeah.. damn it.. maybe even get a fucking pony. WHY NOT! Why, the hell, not.

Damn it!

 

P.S. Hi Murray! This ones for you..

Catch Ya on the Flip Flop

Hi there, hi there, honk there!

Im back home in CB with CB! Its been about 3 days and Im just now starting to get over my jet lag. It wasn’t that far to fly I am just a weiner at airplanes. I puff up like a blowfish and then have to sleep for 2 straight days when I get home. For someone who loves travelling, I am really poor at it. Blegh.

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It was worth all the puffy ankles, and turbulence though. I have rarely been so lucky in my life to have both money and time line up properly so I can visit my family during the holidays. Making my profession as a baker, holidays are kind of like maybe sorta literally my bread and butter. HAW! Not only that, but my siblings time lined up too and all of us were at home up north, slacking, snackin, maximum relaxin’, eating my parents out of house and home. It was a really, really great visit. We even kidnapped my gram on the way up– well, she decided to come visit at the last minute pretty much while we were driving by her house on the way home from the airport. So it was a travelling Lackie family van fun time jamboree!

We played every game. Every single game. A million games. Mostly games involving farms, settlers, zombies, murders, haunted houses…

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This is us playing a zombie centric game, Last Night on Earth, with pop and snacks. My mom and I were the zombie team and we SLAUGHTERED those hapless humans wahaha! I also slaughtered, those there gummy bears. Ruthless.

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This picture will be meaningless to you, but just trust me when I say.. this is a work of mastery. I am the MASTER of land and beast! SUCK IT, MOM!

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This is a picture I took while making gluten free tiramisu for dessert one night. One hand on a whirring blender and one hand on my cell phone. It is an ill advised photographic technique. Look at those cutie poot lady fingers though!

Not to got too braggy, but we probably had all of my favourite dinners while I was home and you should be very jealous. My most favourite is my mom’s amazing chicken fricasse with rice & capers. We also had roast pork loin with apple sauce, buttery green beans and garlic mashed potatoes, pad thai another night, then rainbow trout with mashed turnip and carrots, PIZZA, and my dad made this huge steak dinner with baked potatoes and corn and caesar salad. Daaa-yum. Some good ol classic family eats. UGhmmm

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This is back at CB’s nans house in Gabarus. Now that Im home we have been sleeping in late, and spending all morning making and eating breakfast. Making breakfast with CB is one of my favourite things in life, and Im savouring this time like it’s the last french fry in the box.

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Sunshine streaming down over the stairs.

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This is our little room upstairs. Theres books and socks everywhere right now, bit its very cozy. We set up the tv and playstation and we can lay in bed watching Netflix at night. I can lay in bed reading and looking up every so often to see what CB is up to on Fall Out. Right now Im typing this while CB is watching Ash vs Evil Dead. Which is perfect and hilarious.

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This is Joan’s house behind us. She doesnt live there right now. It has no heat or running water, but she is there most of the year. So cool. One day when shes around Im going to bring her some cookies so she will show me around inside.

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This is some lunch I made, radicchio salad and baked haddock and beer *fancy feast*

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Today we went into Louisbourg to hang out with CB’s cousin Breton. She was an amazing trooper to show us around the town, seein’ the sites, all the while being possibly the most hungover person Ive ever met. We paused only briefly by the ocean so she could hop out and have a wee puke out by the rocks, but then she was good to go. Then we had poutine and cheeseburgers. What a warrior woman!!

We met her husbands super nice family who run the general store in Louisbourgh, Bob and Linda. And they own that chip wagon up there! I can’t wait until summer and this place gets rocking. Louisbourg is a really interesting place, and one day CB will go and spend the day doing touristy stuff there– going to the Fortress, having a lobster dinner, going on the go carts– and take some pictures so you can have a look. Breton told us about this hotel that does a “Beggars Banquet” where you dress up in old timey clothes and eat lobster and theres music and.. a lady dressed as a whore who sits on your lap…? I was in an out of this story because I was just thinking about what I could wear to that. It sounds FUN! CB is not as interested…

Alright Im tired now, promise to blog more. Its my bday in a couple days and we are going to do FUN STUFF so ill put up some pictures of that. Goodnight!

 

 

Wham Cran Thankya Man

Trying to think of a cranberry pun proved more difficult than anticipated.

The other day CB and I were out for a jaunt and I ended up coming back with half a grocery bag full of wild cranberries. There was a nice patch of the juicy wee buggers along the path right on the ocean.

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They have been sitting on the ground for a few weeks of frost and maybe even some snow, so the sugars content was super high. They were still firm and crunchy, full of juice, and tasted like a bit spicy like nutmeg. Gorgeous.

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I had them in the fridge for a couple of days before I could get to them, but you wouldn’t know it. Cranberries last forever. I laid some out single file on a sheet tray in the freezer to freeze for later, but ended up just making more cranberry sauce with them anyway.

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Very easy to clean, the berries float and the grassy bits mostly fall to the bottom. I let the water run and just lifted small handfuls of berries out, through the running water to wash away the schmutz, and then into the pot.

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Making cranberry sauce is super easy. If you want a clear jelly, like the can, just boil the berries until they burst. Then strain off the juice by pressing through a mesh strainer or through a ricer/foodmill. Then add 1/2 as much sugar as you have berries and boil for 10-15 minutes until thick. Nothing fancy. This is the recipe for the whole berry cranberry sauce I just made because ya know, the skins are full of fibre, and everyone loves to poop!

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups whole cranberries

optional: orange zest, thyme, black pepper, garlic, etc..

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In a medium sized saucepan, combine sugar, salt and water. Bring to a boil, and let simmer 5 minutes.

Add in cranberries, and continue to simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cranberries will burst, and sauce will thicken.

**Pour into sterilized jars and boil for 5 minutes to preserve.

Tada! You don’t have to boil the jars to preserve it if you are eating it within the next couple of weeks. Just keep it in the fridge. If you want to keep the jars through the winter, its a good idea to can them properly.

There ya go. If you’ve never made cranberry sauce before I hope you try it for christmas. Lalala!

Noodle Food

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Day offfff! Its been a torrential bloody downpour for 2 whole days and that is super boring. Ive been craving to get outside and explore now that all the snows melted. There’s GREEN things happening out there!

Instead of adventuring and going for motorcycle rides we moved the bed into the living room so we could laze around and watch every Fast & Furious movie ever made and stay in our pajamas all damn day. It was nice. But then real life kicked in and I cleaned the house.

As my reward, CB made me a super special dinner. Aside from craving nature I have also been craving fettuccine alfredo like a mofo. Our new Healthy Eating rule type thing is that if we are properly craving something unhealthy, we have to make it from scratch. So CB made pasta dough, rolled it out, cut it into noodles, boiled it and made a beautiful creamy alfredo sauce all from scratch. Usually we would spend $2 and 6 minutes boiling up a bag of Lipton Noodles & Sauce– instead this took 2 or 3 hours. But it was relaxing, and we learned a new thing. It was a great way to spend a day off, cooking together, while the storm raged on around us.

ALSO.. Remarkably Delicious. Oh.. my.. word. Fuck you, noodles and sauce!!

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Beautiful golden yellow dough ball, made of flour, egg yolks and a little olive oil. Nice, CB. Nice.

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I was the prep cook today, in charge of mis. We got some beautiful snappy asparagus, perfect in a creamy sauce! I also love peppers in alfredo, it makes it so tasty! And lots of garlic, sweated onions and even a few scallions for good measure.

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The dough has rested, time to roll it out!

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Fold it up.

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Foldy foldy foldy.

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Cut slices in the thickness of noodles you like.

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This looks pretty good!

IMG_0542_2Unravel– tadaaa! Noodles!

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Do that a bunch more times for a bunch more noodles.

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Dust it lightly to keep it from sticking in a messy pile.

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REAL LIFE PASTA!
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You can see our noodles getting thinner as we go

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CBs beautiful, thick, creamy, garlicy alfredo sauce getting an extremely liberal dusting of some very serious romano cheese.

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Noodles take about 2 1/2 minutes to boil when fresh.

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Add them straight into the sauce.

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DINNER! We sat down with a beer and ate it in about 5 silent minutes. I’m going to have to clean more often..

Epic NYC Face Stuff! Tasting God: The Great Truffle Perversion 2014


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Well hello there my little peepers and poopers! To borrow a phrase from my 14 year old self, this week has been “totally sweet ass”.

I am very much grateful to both the universe and my awesome bosses sending 4 of us chef-folks on food centric trip of a lifetime to NYC to eat at some of the finest restaurants in the world. 5 days, 4 nights, 11 Michelin stars.. GELLIS? MWUHAHAHA. It was mind blowing and I hope I never forget a single moment, or bite.

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This was basically The Gastro-Olympics. As one of our sous chefs put it “This was a culinary juggernaut.” It gently, and with great finesse, handed our collective asses to us on a silver platter. We spent a lot of time looking at each other and yelling “whaaaaaaaat????”

I was drunk most of the time on some of the most rare and expensive wines ever produced. Everything was either stuffed with, or covered in, shaved truffles. I ate oysters at least once a day. I nearly barfed at Per Se. By the end of the trip I had cankles. Seriously. My body was so unhappy and swollen I gave myself cankles. It was so awesome.

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Free kale salad everywhere! This was the most green I saw in NY.

After 17 hours of traveling by boat, plane and car, we arrived in NYC on Thursday night around 9pm. We checked into the apartment we rented out for the week in lower Manhattan, right across from Les Halles. Which was on fire at one point while we were there.. crazy. They were back up and running for dinner service!

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Had a quick shower and went out for SUSHIIIII! Being on a small island in the North Atlantic, we get a lot of fish.. but no sushi. It’s probably the food I crave most here, and can’t really make myself without great time and expense.. cod sushi just doesn’t seem right. Newfie cod & balogne sushi??? *mental note*

Nobu was the perfect place for our first night. It is rated with a michelin star, has been around for a long time, pretty casual and makes some killer Japanese food. Also, super close! Which is good, cause I was so tired from the trip already and barely tottled my way there in my heels without falling down a sewer grate and having to become a chubby blonde ninja turtle.

We chose to have the Omakase menu, chef’s choice tasting menu. The food was beautiful, creative and oh so fresh. My favourite dish of the night was slurping down super soft and sexy Kumamoto Oysters– they made my eyes go Manga-big with happiness. I never understood why oysters were considered and aphrodisiac until then, because DAMN SON. Sexy. My second favourite were these skewers of warm crispy black rice soaked in ponzu that you dipped in seaweed salt and cover in snow crab salad. Warm, cold, salty, sweet, soft, crispy, umami, yuzu up the wazoo. YUM.

 

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The next morning we woke up and immediately went on the hunt for espresso based coffees. Oh soy lattes, how I have yearned for you..

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We headed out to meet up with one of Tims chef friends and share some brunch at Momofuku’s Saam Bar. While we waited I jumped into Milk Bar and literally bought one of everything. The girl at the counter looked at me square in the face and said “I love you”. I replied that I in fact, loved her too, and ran out with a bag of cookies, crack pie, and bagel bombs. To be honest, they were pretty meh. It made me a bit sad.. oh well! The food was mediocre but I still love that place because its fun.

ONWARDS! TO BRUNCH!

Firstly, I ordered a Sangria and then followed that with EVERYTHING ON THE FUCKING MENU.

I may have overdid it. This was what I ordered:

– honeycrisp apple kimchi  with maple labne, jowl bacon, sesame

– country hams with red eye gravy

– kimichi pickles

– fried duck & waffles with maple, quince, mascarpone

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The best thing was that everyone ordered something different from the menu and we just kind of laid it out in front of us like a beautiful buffet and then the chopsticks started flying. I’m now kicking myself for not getting a picture of the table full of food, because it was a really gorgeous sight. This is the last bit of my fried duck & waffles. Crispy little morsels of moist duck meat on sticky sweet waffles. Sososososososo amazing, I will dream about it forever. I ordered all three desserts.. which wee also a bit meh, but had really interesting flavour combinations.

Dessert was a bit of a let down, so Tim’s friend Vera took us to her favourite Gelato shop il laboratorio del gelatoShe recommended the mascarpone and I coupled with with Strawberry. AMAZING. I was so full though I couldn’t finish mine. You know I’m proper full when I throw away ice cream. My heart aches for it still..

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The gelato place was right next door to Katz’s. The guys were jonesing for some pastrami, having not made nearly as much of a pig of themselves as me. But they were so packed you couldnt get into the door. Next time, Katz’s.. Next time you will be mine..

 

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Another one of Tim’s chumpals popped up at the gelato shop and took us a few blocks over to this bar called Freemans. Located at the end of a sketchy alley in the Bowery and decorated like a hipsters wet dream. It’s like stepping into a Wes Anderson movie, only with more taxidermy. Self described as a “rugged clandestine colonial tavern.” It was unbearably crowded with beautiful people eating beautiful brunch and sipping beautiful bourbon based cocktails and to be honest I kinda bugged out. It 100% was a place I didnt want to be and triggered my flight or fright. Totally ran away like a baby. Not my cup of tea. While the guys squeezed into a corner to spend $25 on a boiler maker, I went for a walk around Manhattan by myself. The city is different than I remember it. Cleaner, and maybe even.. friendlier.. It felt good, and had a nice time!

 

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Love this totally graffito-bombed old building.

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Didnt get to visit Staten Island, but did find some Wu Tang!

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Interesting juxtaposition of cemetery at St. Patricks and new WTC building, hrm.


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HOODOOS! Too stuffed for street meat, so sad!

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Meanwhile, back at the pad, this was happening…

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That night we went for drinks at The Nomad on 28th and Broadway. The bar was packed, and you could SMELL the money. The drinks had perfectly square ice cubes and I had the best Manhattan of my life there. If you are ever in New York definitely go for drinks or you will REGRET IT.

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Amazing.

Then it was a short cab ride to Midtown to have dinner at Daniel Buloud’s restaurant, aptly named Daniel. Very french, very old school, Daniel Buloud has earned himself 2 Michelin stars (was 3, and after eating there it should be 3) and the Bucose D’or so he knows his shit. It was amazing to walk into his restaurant and find him waiting to meet us. He shook our hands and took us for a tour of the kitchen. He took us up a narrow flight upstairs to “The Box.” A small glass room overlooking the kitchen pass, so he can keep his eye on things. It was decorated with pictures of him shaking hands with everyone from Obama to Andy Warhol. I patted his golden Bocuse D’or on the head and when down for dinner.

There was a moment at each of the places where we had dinner, that I felt just like I was in the beginning sequence of American Psycho, where the waiters are rhyming off this list of ingredients in a hushed, monotone voice and it made me so so happy hahaha

Even though it had a surreal, almost goofy quality to it, this was probably one of the best nights of my life so far. It makes it a bit hard to put into words. It was suprising, flawless, delicious, perfect in excuction, with a great amount of sophistication. On the way into the dining room we passed by this little silver urn with a crank on top. I didnt even notice it but our Chef did, and he touched it lightly and went “oooh a Duck Press, I havent ever seen one of these, that would be amazing.” Daniel Buloud just says in a very french way, “Maybe we have a duck.”

daniel

 

Dudes. 18 courses. WITH WINE PAIRINGS.My mind was so blown. The food.. is indescribable for my puny mortal brain. I remember sitting in the dining room quietly bouncing and clapping and whispering “I am having so much fun.” The waiters looked like they were having a good time serving people who were having SUCH a good time.

And then 6 waiters rolled out 2 little carts, one with a burner and one with the beautiful silver duck press. It looked like something out of Countess Bathory’s collection. It turns out, they had a duck!

 

duckpress

Pressed duck  (Canard à la presse) is a traditional French dish. The complex dish was developed in the 19th Century in Paris and consists of various parts of a duck served in a sauce of its blood and bone marrow, which is extracted by way of a press

First, a duck (preferably young and plump) is asphixiated to retain the blood. The duck is then partially roasted. Its liver s ground and seasoned, then the legs and breast are removed.

The remaining carcass (including other meat, bones, and skin) is then put in a specially-designed press, similar to a wine press. Great pressure is then applied to extract duck blood and other juices from the carcass. The extract is thickened and flavoured with the duck’s liver, butter, and cognac, and then combined with the breast to finish cooking.”

All of this was done by waiters, beside your table. The event took about 20 minutes, and it was like watching a Japanese Tea Ceremony. The entire dining room fell silent and watched the perfectly deft movements of these waiters, and they performed their task. It was like watching a little slice of food history come alive. We were transfixed.

One waiter expertly butched the whole roast duck with a very sharp knife and a fork, as if it were made of butter. He lay the legs and breast in a copper pan over a low flame to keep it warm. Then he placed the remaining duck into the silver press, and begin to crank. Dark, red, beautiful “sauce” flowed from the spout into a silver goblet.

That was then handed to a second waiter, who added it to another copper saucepan, and very slowly stirred it with a whisk until the blood and marrow naturally thickened the sauce. Blood thickened sauces need a fair amount of expertise, and this was very impressive.

It was also, incomparably delicious. The meat was soft and unctuous, covered in this amazing dark duck jus.. it was… a transcendental experience. I transcended my dentals. I watched myself eat, from 8 feet away in the air, on a cloud of stinky french cheese fumes. Pretty cool.

 

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My favourite dish of the night though, had to be this. A thin slice of toasted baguette studded with hazelnuts covered in thick runny blobs of extremely aged Harbison cheese. A waiter then came by with a white truffle the size of a baseball and shaved thick slices on top. I may have made some noises, but he smiled so it was okay. The effect was crunchy and nutty with sweet, herby melty cheese and woodsy white truffles.. they came together to make an altogether new taste. It was so special.

We left the restaurant feeling like well fed rock stars. There is this kind of quiet comfort that comes into my stomach when I am watching someone perform tasks they have done so many times that they are just moving like breathing. Automatically performing something very difficult. Like watching ballet. It was very zen.

AND THEN in the morning THERE WAS PASTRIES!

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In the morning I woke up very early, groggy and still a bit drunk from the night before. My burps smelled like truffles. I snuck out of the house while the boys slept and walked up to the two placed I was most wanting to visit. Laduree, and Franois Payard’s new york bakeries. I was not disappointed by either of them. They were both wonderful. I could not find a single fault with anything I brought back.

From Laduree:

– hazelnut praline napolean

– pistachio religeiuse

– chocolate Gateaux St. Honore

– beautiful canelles

From Francois Payard:

– Orange blossom & almond Brioche

– Gateaux Basque

– Plain, chocolate, almond and ham & cheese croissants

– vanilla eclair

– Papa Payard apple cake

– The world’s most perfect Apple tart Tatin

 

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Payards location is not as stunning as the window at Laduree which is done up with velvet curtains and towers of brightly colours macarons, but just as nice.

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Lalalalaaa

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Between the two locations sat Dominique Ansell’s bakery.. but this was the line up around the block for fucking cronuts and it was not even 8am yet. I skipped it.

I brought back giant lattes and a pile of baked goods and they were very happy boys. We cut everything into quarters and shared a bit of each. It was a nice breakfast. It just got us ready for lunch!

And it was back to The Nomad hotel for brunch!

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This was just about the most perfect spot to eat if you have a hangover, ever. Subdued, natural light, quiet, comfortable chairs, lovely food. I had a house made gingerale with a shot of rum and because I hadn’t yet gotten tired of the novelty of beautiful fresh truffles I opted for the tagliatelle with cream sauce and a “ridiculous amount of black truffles.” Chef got steak and eggs with a cast iron pot of crispy thin fries for us to share. The boys had pork belly and brussel sprouts with lentil salad, and smoked salmon with toast and pickled veggies. And about 2L of beer!

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Ummngghhhhhhhgghhh

Afterwards we definitely needed to walk, so we took a meander down to the habour. We saw the statue of liberty, but then we started to get thirsty. So we walked up The Dead Rabbit.

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This bar has been called the best in the city right now. It was great inside, if not a little TOO “Gangs of New York.” But the drinks were very special. To make our caesar, he squeezes the pulp out of fresh tomatoes. I had the Irish coffee, which was coffee and irish whiskey covered in whipped cream, with a little nutmeg. It was perfect.

 

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And then it was on to Per Se… ohhhhhh maaaannnn..

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On the way up. Ironically this is what I would look like when I came back down.

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Per Se.. what to say about Per Se. The dining room was dark, comfortable, with a nice roaring fire and a view out to Central Park. The table was a big big and we had a hard time talking to each other without shouting. It also made it hard for us to share our dishes on the DL, ha. It started with Thomas Kellers famous salmon cornetto, and I could see on the guys faces they were having a hard time comprehending that they were actually eating at Per Se. It was so cute. They looked scared, hahaha

There were many.. many courses. Possibly too many. All of them very rich. Here are a few of the highlights for me:

Chestnut “Potage”. The guys didnt like this, they thought it was way too heavy, especially to start a meal. I loved it though, I could have just sat there and eaten that all night and been happy. Thick chestnut puree, very rich, very tasty, with sunchokes, cranberry marmalade and bursts of fresh green watercress.

Oysters and Pearls. A Thomas Keller standard. This is a “sabayon” of pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters, and Sterling White Surgeon Caviar. It was so.. sex. It was sex.

Hen Egg Custard. Another standard– it seems I preferred the old stand bys. I guess when you make something 300 times a day for 15 years it becomes Pretty Good. This was a ragout of black winter truffles served in a hollowed egg shell. Creamy.

Picatta battered jade tiger abalone.  Salsifis roti au beurre, melted savoy cabbage, pearl onions and juniper berry reisling emulsion– Do not ask me what any of this is, but it was fucking killer.

Four Story Hill Farms Poussin – this was a whole chicken presented to us with skin stuffed with butter and truffles and it’s ass stuffed with sprigs of thyme, and then taken back to the kitchen and roasted. It was served in a perfect little square with tiny perfect buttery hakurai turnips, french leeks, apples and dijonnaise.

It made me Dijonnaise in my pants.

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Little treats!

Coffee and Doughnuts! FAMOUS. Perfect. Delicious, soft cinnamon doughnut with a cup of espresso custard. Piles of cookies, and sweets, a little silver tired container of caramels, nougats, and macaron. The best cup of earl grey tea I have ever had.

Like at Daniel, we were the last diners left in the restaurant, and they took us back to see the kitchen.  It was spotless, like a showroom.  We met Chef Eli Kaimeh, who seemed tired and shy. They had a big tv screen on the wall that was a life feed to The French Laundry, so that they are always connected during service. I think thats so nice.

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So shinyyyy

 

 

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We got gift bags!

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With CHOCOLATES! And a copy of our special menu, and TK’s magazine Finesse, and a few other things.

Man I am getting tired just remembering all this stuff.. what did we do next.. I remember going to FAO Schwartz, and buying CB a cool medical model of a human skull. I also got us 2 nerf guns and a million nerf bullets which we have been attacking eachother with since I got home. Oh yeah, Aquavit!

Lunch at Aquavit.

2 Stars. Nordic inspired cuisine with a lady chef from Sweden taking the helm. The only female chef to ever attain 2 stars!

They have a $42 prix fixe lunch menu, which is amazing. I had the homemade gravlax, followed by the Swedish meatballs which were so gooood. For dessert the offering was banana mousse which I didnt find particularly nordic so I opted for the sorbets and ice creams. Seabuckthorn, Blueberry and Espresso. They were nice.

So far aside from Per Se I havent been blown away by desserts..

After lunch we explored the city, had some drinks, of course. And then came the Finale. The grand daddy of our dining extravaganza. Eleven. Madison. Park. 

*puts on sunglasses*

YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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We were a little excited. Contrary to their nature, they aren’t even drunk in this picture!

 

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Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

So this meal like.. kicked the ass of all other meals before or after it forever. It was intense. And wonderful. We were very very much wined-out so we opted for a beer pairing. We had our own private beer sommelier. I think he enjoyed punching us in the face with beers all night. Incredible beers. Did you know you can buy a bottle of beer for $1400 if you want? HAHA! Its very special.

One of the courses.. this chef brings out a pan of liquid and floating in it is a giant, greenish balloon floating on top. It is a pigs bladder and inside they were cooking croquettes.. it was the weirdest, and tastiest, thing ever.

I didnt take any pictures, but I couldnt resist on this course. They took us into the kitchen, where there was a tall table set up for service.

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We ate a dish of Lion’s Mane mushrooms served 3 ways, while talking with the Chef. Took some pictures. Watched the highly trained ARMY of cooks working away quickly in silent unison. Intense.

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Those are the lions mane mushrooms set in front of us. Those yellow tribble looking things. Tasty!

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There’s always room for cheese. Goat, Sheep and Cow all represent! There was a particularly stinky one that smelled like God’s butthole and I wish I remembered the name because damn son.

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The bathroom was lovely. Someone handed me a towel. What.

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Im so tired now hahaha. That was a lot of typing and name dropping. Phoo. I’m still sweating out truffles so I better go lay down.

Thanks, New York. Next time I’ll be back with CB for Shake Shack cheesy fries and greasy $1.00 pizza!

*Drops Mic, Walks Away*

Uber Kraut

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Every time I look at this picture, I hear angels singing. Something I miss from home is my mom and dad’s amazing sauerkraut dinners with like 8 different kinds of sausages, and pork shops, and bacon all thrown in. I have made it a half dozen times in the last couple of months but this was my first time making the kraut from scratch. And this was CB’s first time cooking my special family dinner. I think he probably kicked it’s ass. SO GOOOOOD!

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