The chocolate, it speaks:
‘”Alice knows chocolate. It speaks to her. We’re lucky to have her as a translator,” Lydon wrote to me. “Alice’s cocoa brownies changed my life.”‘
With grateful thanks to Sue Quinn. All submissions more than welcome.
From the New York Times. Again:
It is a sinister dish, this ziggurat of bread, steak and foie gras, cloaked in black like a treacherous peak on the road to Mordor. At the base is a hulking crouton, topped by filet mignon, both slaked in butter; then comes foie gras; and finally all is drenched by a slow-moving sauce of bordelaise, truffles, veal stock and Madeira, which lends a sweetness and tang akin to balsamic vinegar. It is heavy, hobbling, a prelude to gout, an anachronism and a thrill.
The restaurant is called Le Philosophe:
Afterward, there will be enormous profiteroles, shrouded in chocolate sauce, with a rubble of half-burned hazelnuts. … Better is the apple tarte Tatin, made with a wink at Jacques Derrida, with a round of pâte brise (which my table took for a shortbread cookie) in lieu of a proper crust, and caramelized apples and apple butter sloping down the plate, as if poised for a getaway.
One wall is covered with black-and-white photographs of French philosophers: Montaigne in his ruff, Simone de Beauvoir in her chignon. Name them all and Le Philosophe’s owners, Amadeus Broger and Jack Wu, will comp your meal.
Thus far no one, not even a visiting French philosopher, has succeeded.
This comes courtesy of Signe Rousseau. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi and although I’m a huge fan of both him and his restaurants, this is really ridiculous:
This is by a man with a ‘spinning axis of eros’ who lived, for a while, ‘a feckless carnival’:
Soothed by its musky light, I’d discover a vividly perfumed circus that needled me with pleasure while letting me be invisible. If I loved the olive stalls, the chickpeas and fava beans, and the charcutier’s stand with its carnivore’s curtain of dangling brick red chorizos and its satanically handsome butcher, it was the fishmongers of this port city at the door between the cold Atlantic Ocean and the warm Mediterranean Sea that truly fascinated me. I could study their lavish and mysterious offerings for hours, and every day I’d come across a kind of fish I’d never seen before—science-fiction-strange goose barnacles, or scarlet scorpion fish. Though I didn’t know it at the time, slowly but surely, the market was healing me, a just-turned-30 writer living in Paris in the 1980s.
This is from a New York Times review of Ganso, a new Japanese restaurant in Brooklyn:
Some ramen broths detonate at first spoonful, then fizzle out halfway through; others start off meek and turn carnal. Ganso aspires to the latter. After my initial disappointment, I kept eating, idly, expecting nothing, and as I dragged up broth from the bottom of the bowl, the flavours began to deepen and assert themselves. What I had thought nebulous took on a distinct point of view. But some of my dining companions never got that far, abandoning hope a few spoonfuls in.
No MSG is used, no artificial flavor boosters. And no condiments are on the table. (A house-made chile sauce is available on request.) There is an austerity to the proceedings, a sense that something is being asked of us, the diners, as well. Patience, perhaps.
This is from a hive-inducing article on the ‘new gastronauts’ in London from the Telegraph:
He looks at the menu. ‘It really irritates me when people don’t spend time looking at the menu. In France no one speaks until they have studied the menu. I can’t bear it when people talk before ordering.’ I ask him what he is looking for in a menu. ‘A balance of flavours. I want to be experimental but I also want to match the food up so that we have a full culinary experience.’ I tell him I am happy for him to order for me. He chooses the cuttlefish risotto, rabbit salad, mozzarella plate and a courgette salad and then photographs it on his mobile when it arrives. ‘I photograph everything I eat,’ he says.
Gilt Taste’s series, ‘The Art of Plating’, is a foodie pseud’s joy. This is from an article on Wylie Dufresne’s rib comet:
For the placement, we call that a schmear—taking a quenelle, something very symmetrical, and grabbing the corner and destroying it. We’ve messed around a lot with putting something on a plate, and then moving or changing it, and we like it when it can give the dish a sense of motion.
This – on a new generation of chefs in the US – is possibly the most pretentious article I’ve ever read:
In this new theater of fine dining, once reserved exclusively for chefs who diligently studied a script written for heavily bankrolled restaurants where starched white linen and maître d’s in tuxedos were the currency, a growing cadre of young chefs are finding their own paradigms for shifting gastronomic boundaries, design motifs, service modalities, and the twin emotions that guide diners through the door—desire and expectation—as they abandon the comforts of farm-to-table cooking for more elevated forms of expression.
This glorious bit of foodie pseudery is on the website for a new-ish restaurant, Switch, in Dubai. The designer writes:
I wanted Switch to be a strong, symmetrical soft organic womb-like space composed of a continuous, undulating wall that wraps around the entire restaurant.
The food sounds equally bizarre:
To titillate distinguished taste buds, a curved Mediterranean Fusion menu was created with a touch of Asian feel.
What the hell is a ‘curved Mediterranean Fusion menu’?
I am immensely grateful to Sally Prosser, who lives and writes from Dubai, for this link. All submissions welcome!