Mixology Class Radio Bar -Japanese Whiskey

IMG_4263 IMG_4264 IMG_4267 IMG_4268 IMG_4273 IMG_4278 IMG_4280 IMG_4289

Location -814 1st Street, Miami , Florida

The Gagit’s usually do not go  to a class to drink but for a Japanese Whiskey tasting we would drive to Tokyo but no need right here 5th of South is the place tonight.Even though , I usually do not drink Scotch ,a tasting at Pok Pok Brooklyn a few years ago was all I needed to make Japanese Whiskey my go to Brown Liquor.

We enter Radio Bar and it was all set up for this Mixology glass , as shown, as we are greeted by Aldo the Mixologist , also shown .  Before , the class begins , we are taken by Teddy Collins the General Manager to their new restaurant next door Red Ginger for a special treat , a taste of Sake , shown , and then back to Radio Bar for the tasting.

Tonight ,since the three whiskeys, are all from  Suntory Distiller  , their representive Victor is here to give us the  Japanese Whiskey class.The first Whiskey presented is Hakushu , 12 year old Japanese Single Malt Whiskey. Hakushu, is made in a distillery in the Japanese Southern Alps. It is a blend of Japanese water from the mountain rain forest,  Peat and Barley from   Scotland ,aged 12 years with  rich fruity aromas with a  soft smoke taste.

The second bottle for tasting tonight is Hibiki, Japanese 12 year old  Blended Whiskey.It is true Blend of Single Malt and regular whiskeys. It is bamboo charcoal filtered with plum -liquer cask maturation. Its unique 24 -facet bottle representing the Japanese lunar calender.  Japanese Whiskey lovers like the Gagit’s  enjoy its signature spicy fruity and hint of sourness at the finish.

The third and last bottle  to taste of the night is the highest brand  of the Suntory group, Yamazaki , 12 year old Single Malt Whiskey.Yamazaki is the first Japanese single malt whiskey. Its secret lies  not only from the Barley from Scotland , but matured in three different oak casks, Spanish Oak, American White Oak, and Japanese “Mizunara”giving the whiskey its complex taste and unique flavor.It is a medium bodied whiskey with  aromas of honey and dried fruit,and a lingering woody, dry finish. Yamazaki is so popular it is on the hardest to find list so even tasting is a treat.

Although, we tasted all three Japanese Whiskeys, we are not through, we now make our  own cocktail based on the Red Ginger recipe of Josh, the mixologist at Red Ginger. The drink is based on a Negroni with Scotch and called Hashtag  , and the recipe, 1 ounce Hakushi,1 ounce Cocchi Sweet Vermouth and half ounce each of Amaro Montenegro and Suze Liquor  and 2 two quick drops of Angostura Bitters, put in ice, stir and strain and my drink is shown ready to drink  with an orange peel after Josh passed it in the straw test.

Let the Truth be Told, we were looking forward to taste Japanese Whiskey but not expecting the outstanding  treat we were extended by  all at Radio Bar and Red Ginger, and we even got to take home the bar supplies used in mixing our Cocktail. On the way out , Teddy told me next months  Mixology class is Pisco, and I told him we will be there to not only to taste but to enjoy the hospitality  of the  Radio Bar staff.

 

 

Posted in South Florida | Leave a comment

Basilic Vietamese Grill

Cuisine-Authentic Vietamese

Location-200 S. Federal Highway , Boca Raton , Fl.

The Gagit’s are completing an Asian perfecta with the visit to Basilic Vienamese Grill in Boca, after reviewing , Pocha , Korean in Lauderhill and Oishi Thai in North Miami. Basilic is the creation of   not the Blues Brothers , but  the Vu  Brothers , Vince and John who left Vietnam and went to San Diego and then to Florida 5 years ago to spread the Vietamese culinary word to Florida, first in Fort Lauderdale and more recently with its success in Boca Raton.

Vietamese food of course touches on  the unique Asian flavors of Vietnam but also some of the French influence in Vietamese , :ie  Basilic. We pull up to the restaurant shown above and are greeted outside by John Vu welcoming us into his restaurant. As is the Gagit tradition, local beer  and in this case Hue Beer  ,and served with Prawn Crackers with the appropriate spice sauces. We are now in the Vietamese frame of  mind and we let John order for us from his most popular dishes .Our first course Tom VA Muc Rang Muoi, Crispy calamari and shrimp ,tossed with green onion and chili in a salt and pepper seasoning.Wow. The next appetizer completely different  flavor ,Banh Xeo, Vietamese Crepe , filled with bean sprout, pork and shrimp served with lettuce and Vietamese sauce. This is now my favorite but with much more to come.

I have never visited a Vietamese Restaurant without trying the Pho, and no exception here, in our case Pho Ga, Sliced Chicken with the rice noodles I cannot get enough  of, along with fresh green onions ,cilantro,basil,lime and bean sprouts ,and of course some Sriracha and Hoisen on the side.We thought we were finished  but John had the servers bring out Do Bien Xao Cay , spicy stir fried  seafood with tomatoes, bean sprout and onion served with white rice , different flavors but great taste.

Are we done yet, no , we are now served Chien Vet Ot, lemongrass duck, duck marinated with lemongrass and chiles,served with slaw and steamed rice. No room for dessert after that feast but would like to try the Won Ton Mango Ice Cream next time,and  after eating more than we should , I confirm that the Bangh Xeo was still my favorite dish.

Let the Truth be Told, there was no winner amongst the three, Korean, Thai and Vietamese except for the Gagit’s , who enjoyed every dish in this Asian  food Trifecta. The only  regret is that both Pocha and Basilic Vietamese Grill require a road trip,maybe someday , hopefully soon, they will be in the Miami area so we can visit more easily.

Posted in South Florida | Leave a comment

Gagit’s eat their way through Israel

Location -Various Israel locations.

The Gagit’s finally make it to the land of Milk and Honey to not only visit the meaningful sights of the land but to enjoy the fruits and food of the country. After taking the Restaurant list from @Chef_Bee, and getting recommendations of many we hope to enjoy the best Israel has to offer.We arrive in Tel Aviv and it is Sunday night and do not want to leave the hotel area, so we ask Ariel, the Concierge who arranged all our reservations.Without hesitation, he sends us to Shila’s a few blocks away ,we sit down at the crowded bar,join others in shots of Arak, and after looking at the menu I thought I was in back in America, Shrimp, Calamari,Octopus and of course a variety of vegetables that would be hard to find on a typical menu here.We are tired so only order a few dishes, Fish Carpaccio with Avacado and grilled Calamari on a bed of Pasta and Broccoli.Wow, this dish shown is just a sample of the delicousness in front of us this trip.

In Israel. the Breakfast Buffet at the hotels are a fixture and of the three hotels we stayed at, the Mamilla in Jerusalem was a standout , we were too busy eating to take pictures but it was a fruit , vegetable, cheese, etc. extravaganza . The first day was an eating delight, lunch at a Druze restaurant and dinner at the Montefiore Hotel,a highlight meal.Again, the Gagit’s snag a space at the Bar order drinks while starting a conversation with all around about the eating scene in Israel and ordering the dish one of our new foodie friends was devouring. It was a shock to us when he told us about the dish, Pork Chop wrapped in Bacon , stuffed with Machego Cheese, Asian Pears , and red wine reduction ,where we really in Israel !!!
On the advise of @Chef_Bee,, we have dinner the next night at the Meat bar, our choice of meat the Lamb Chops , no highlight but the egg salad with schmalz(chicken fat),and onions certainly was not to be missed.The next day,lunch at a typical local restaurant as we visit a Kibbutz,Lamb Shwarma the speciality .Dinner that night Mul Yam , seafood restaurant, the best of Tel Aviv according to Ariel and he was so right.I start off with Seafood Soup,chock full with seafood and that wonderful saffron flavor as Foodie had a Shrimp Bisque that was perfection.We both had starters for mains,Foodie a Scallop shaped as ravioli stuffed with Shrimp and I a Lobster Benedict that looked like a cover shot in Bon Appetit and tasting even better.

The next day we head to Akko, to visit not only the second oldest city in the world but to eat at the Uri Buri Restaurant,a Foodie must stop.We are at Uri Buri that night, he has left but we enjoy his creations. We order the all you can eat, from the menu shared by the three of us since , our friend and guide Hadar , joins us for dinner in Akko. 14 Seafood Courses later , I was the last man standing through all the courses.Our favorites ,Salmon in Soy with Wasabi Sorbet,please Miami Chefs try this,@Chef_Bee, Carmelized St Pierre Fish with Beet Root, and Salmon Panko with Fennel.I will post all the courses on my facebook page as evidence of this Adam Richman like challenge:)We wake up in the morning after this one restaurant Bang Bang , and are treated to a formal Breakfast Buffet that would be served to Royalty at the Royal Table.

We travel to Jerusalem that day, it is Sunday so of course we have Chinese food that night, unfortunately Kosher, so no Spare Ribs but at least Won Ton Soup.The next day after visiting The Wall and The Holocaust museum , Hadar takes us to the Machenyuda market and the food treasures of spices, baked goods, smoked fish , and the Kingdom of Halvah.I have read that the only place to go to fully experience dinner in Jerusalem, is Machenyuda and sit at the bar with the Chef’s Table menu , Ariel made this happen .The seven course tasting menu featured a few of the Chefs signature dishes, Polenta with Parmesan ,Asparagus ,Mushroom Truffle Oil, and Tuna Tartare with yellow gazpacho and green onion and Tuna Carpaccio with mixed nuts and chili peppers.The full menu is shown on my facebook page along with a video of the real action in the restaurant.The only thing missing is a taste of the Arak that was flowing all night from the chefs, waiters , and customers,alike.This restaurant more than any other in Israel represented the food ,culture ,and spirit of the country.The next day we visit the Dead Sea and driving to the top over a mountain overlooking the Sea , our friend Hadar, made us the best Shashuka in Israel.The final day we visit a Bedoiun Tent and enjoy both the food and learn the customs from Ziad, Hadar’s friend.

The last 2 nights in Tel Aviv and we are getting full,tonight we even settle for Pizza , Calamari of course ,at Toto’s and a final night at Herbert Samuel.The last thing I had to have before we leave was the Chocolate Rugalach at Dallal Bakery and with it in hand we fly home, but with the thought of coming back and soon. !!!Let the Truth be Told !!!

Posted in Europe | Leave a comment

Pocha

 

Location-4933 N. University Drive, Lauderhill,Florida
Cuisine-Korean Pub
The Gagit’s Travel to Lauderhill to visit the Kim’s new Korean Pub Pocha.
What a great foodie experience meeting Susan Kim of Pocha to discuss the opening of her and her husband Fred’s new venture into Korean Pub Food and share the experience with their loyal and devoted customers.After 14 years of enjoying the growing success of Gabose, traditional Korean, the Kim’s decided to share the real people Korean experience with their customers. Pocha , as a matter of fact ,by loose definition is a wrapped tent where the local’s in a section of their Korean town , go to enjoy a casual night out. In fact , Susan stated it is close to a Food Truck but without the wheels. In this content, on one of the walls, there is a mural sent here from her daughter in Korea that depicts what one would see outside the tent. The picture shown is as realistic as it gets to show real life in the Korean neighborhood.:)

We are seated at the communal table as Susan and her manager Daniel bring out a typical menu that one would drink and eat inside the Pocha.We start with an Apple infused Korean Vodka ,called Soju , this a drinking pub so who are we to not join. As a Korean Amuse , all customers are served a Korean Pancake Omelette with vegetables. Our first course ,Singapore Chicken Shake, shake the bag and mix up herbs and spices and then open and serve. We follow this with Chicken Gizzards , Korean style, crisp and tasty with lemon to sprinkle on top. Now one of my favorites, Tofu Shitake, mushrooms and tofu served in their juices.Since , this a pub we need to refuel for our main courses,@foodiechic has a house specialty a strawberry shrub of homemade liquors as I go real man and have a bottle of Soju, Gan Bae , cheers in Korean .Most dishes have add-ons and the next dish is a Cabonara style dish, creamed Tuboki , with Ramen Noodles , Cheese and my favorite add on Spam.Pocha offers Spam in many dishes and as I am a member of the Spam Club , I am ready to try all the dishes that you can add Spam too, even ordered double Spam in the dish shown.

The last main dish we ordered was a bowl of Odeng Bokkeum ,Fishcake, Chicken, and vegetables, fishcake is a real pub food staple and this dish really made it the star.As we sat at the communal table we met another diner who was alone,and as we shared our dishes with her and she shared hers, rice balls, mussels and even fresh Abalone,flown in from Korea and one of the live dishes served at Pocha,live Octopus coming soon crawling on your table.The communal table really adds to the Korean Pub experience .

We have no room for dessert but I have to end the night with Kimchee , a real palate cleanser :)In ending the night and saying goodbye to Susan and our new friend, I was advised that next time to plan for a long night at this pub and it is best to order Red Cap or Uber and Gan Bae all night

Posted in South Florida | Leave a comment

Noma-Number 1 Again


Location-Standgrade 93 Dk-1401 Copenhagen
Cuisine -Nordic

The Gagit’s and friends have been to Noma before but we believed its Number 2 rating in 2012 would become number 1 again for 2013,and it did.Noma is not only the number 1 restaurant in the world it is also the toughest reservation in the world. However, thanks to our connection on Twitter , Gagit just asked @ReneRedzepiNoma and the requested reservation was secured:) We secured a reservation to dinner this trip and as we walked in we were warmly greeted by Rene,as shown, and welcomed back to his “home”for a five hour experience of food and drink, service, and friendliness. This is what Noma is all about

We are seated by the hostess and introduced to our lead server of the night Cat,shown,although by the end the night we might have met the whole staff of 50.We order our first bottle of wine and a member of the staff both chefs and servers begin the nights experience.We start the night with a broth of Red Currant and Lavender followed by a spectacular that only the Noma staff could create a Nordic Coconut, shown a beet with the broth inside and of course to drink through a straw.The next two courses were ones we all remembered from our last trip,Moss and Cep and Cabbage and Samphire , not particulary my favorites the first time.We were then served one of my favorites, a Mahogany clam and grains , see not only photo but video on this special 100 year clam, what a great bite, and followed by smoked quail eggs in hay not Sheep
Shit as at Faviken.

The next course was a true Danish treat ,Ebleskiver , lovage , and parsley , really Danish Pancake Balls and very good.I was not really looking forward to the next dish Sea Urchin toast since I am not a big Sea Urchin fan but this was a great taste to me. We were then served a juicy Pike Head , in which one of our party scoffed up all the eyes, which the rest of us really did not want anyway. The next course was a favorite Burnt Leek, roasted on the outside BBQ , then the leek was carved out and restuffed with the leek and cod roe.The next course I considered a Palate cleanser of Apple and Kelp.

After the Apple Palate cleanser for the first 10 courses, we are ready for the mains:).The first course in this round was a Shrimp ravioli and ramson ,radish and yeast really could not taste the Shrimp, followed by Milk curd and blueberries , Lemon thyme and pine,could really taste the blueberries.One of the mains now arrives, Beef tartar and ants , the best taste of the night so far ,the Beef awesome with the favor of lemongrass from the special Red Ants, worth the trip for this dish alone.

After we recovered from the last dish we had sloe berries and herbs and then Eggs and Greens as we discussed our ant experience .The last main is now served , and it was truly worth the wait,Turbot and nasrturtium cream and wood sorrel , the taste of the fish so fresh without foam, without multiple ingredients to mask the flavors and make the dish look pretty. This is Rene and Noma, creativeness, freshness, and ingredients that represent the best in the area.

Dessert is now served in two stages,first in the main dinnig room where we are served Ansonia berries and Sol, what a great flavor after the last 10 courses. We are now taken on a tour of the various kitchens by sous chef James, maybe John ,maybe Peter? ,from New Jersey, who explained, answered ,our questions on the process in not only preparing the menu but deciding on it , this experience again is what Noma is all about.We are then taken to the casual coffee and drink area where Cat took over again to complete the night’s experience.

We are offered coffee and if we choose an after dinner drink, in our case we experienced a Danish Aged Scotch , that really had a flavor of Denmark.With the drinks, we were served 4 different typical Noma treats, the last one being the star, Chicharones coated in chocolate and berries,shown above, a taste of Denmark and in our case also Miami.

Let the Truth be Told, Read above and there is no doubt Noma is the #1 in the world.I only hope that all readers can get the reservation as easy as I did :)and get to experience Noma.

Posted in Europe | Leave a comment

Faviken Magasinet- Let the Truth be Told

 

Location-Jarpen, Sweden

Cuisine-Nordic

There is no doubt that Faviken is on any foodies bucket list today , and the Gagit’s and friends finally made it , was it worth it at the 19th  best rated restaurant in the world   by Pelligrino ,the Truth will be Told  after our last tastings. The Gagit’s arrive at Jarpen after  flying from Stockholm to Ostersund, driving from Ostersund to Are and finally  driving  from our Hotel in Are to Faviken in Jarpen ,whew , made it,as shown above.

We are greeted by Karin who was the perfect hostess for this night but no  Magnus Nillson tonight ,as we are taken to the casual downstairs room for drinks and bites. We start the night with a highlight drink, their own Barreled  Aged Gin served with an iceball and of course Foraged  Juniper Berries, shown,what could be more Faviken? With the drink , we are served Flaxseed and vinegar crisps, with a mussel dip, followed by Jamatlandian broth, neither of these exciting enough to really want more. The next course was out of Bizarre Foods, Wild trout’s  roe served in a crust of dried pig’s blood,only Andrew Z. who gets paid to rave about a dish would consider this a treat. The next dish ,slices of cured sausage ,not worth flying to Faviken nor the pickled fruit. The last dish before the dinner , was a very well presented Salted herring aged for three years, sour cream and rusks,we just wondered if  three years made it special:)

We are now taken upstairs with the other lucky 10  people that night for our main meal.The highlight of the night is served  first Scallop from Norway, cooked over burning juniper branches.This is  of course excellent, but no different than almost any other restaurant in the  Nordic countries serve,and some with more inventive flavors such as Black Truffle at Franzen  in Stockholm. With this dish , we were served the Faviken Light Mead,a perfect match for the Scallop as well the the King crab and burnt cream,zzzzz. The next dish was  certainly 0ne to satisfy ,Cod brushed with Honey , sunflower  ,finally , a dish to taste the natural flavors of Sweden.That said, we are now introduced to our main course of the night , Goat Kid,by Olaf,see video, below and now I  have something to look forward to especially after the Brussel Sprouts and lupin and a  slightly more appetizing Barley pancake filled with with sour onions.

The next dish ,  again right out of Bizarre Foods,small eggs coated in Sheep Shit Ash,, sauce made from dried trout and pickled , tasted no different than any quail egg I have ever had,  they did not have to waste the Sheep Shit. I guess the next dish was to cleanse  our palates,Porridge local grains lump of salty butter fermented carrots and meat broth filtered through moss , not Kate and not a palate cleanser since it was followed by Blood Bread , moose broth, backfat, and onions that really tasted like onions.  Now here  it is  ,the Goat Kid, served with bird cherries that completely overwhelmed the Kid, and I need to ask where is the rest of the Kid.I was  hoping at least to bring a sandwich back to the hotel.

After , the taste of Kid , I really needed to eat something I would taste and enjoy  and here is where Magnus outdid him self ,I only wish he was here, so I could tell him myself,  Cottage Cheese and chopped carrots and turnips , there is no words to describe this  except quoting @BowtieBarrister , BRUTAL . I now know why Magnus did not show up tonight he could not face the customers after serving this.After this we were served  three  more creative  desserts all with  no meaning or flavors except  for my taste. We were then brought downstairs for the finale , coffee and drinks.

The main finale as shown is a wooden box, with meat pies,rasberry ice, tar, yes tar pastilles, meadoweed candy, we  all  liked, then dried cherries, sunflower seed nougat, anise seeds coated in honey and beeswax, smoked toffee,  and yes ,pine resin of course, and thankfully cake. Just as I was   very excited to start the night with the barrel aged Gin , I was just as excited to end it with the home made Duck Egg Liquor , shown,another real taste of Faviken,unfortunely in between  these drinks  we were not satisfied and in a few dishes dissapointed.

Let the Truth be Told,we were all very impressed with the atmosphere , the foraging,and natural flavors but the fact that Magnus was not there to really explain his dishes,it is not the same  , his concept and his dreams  was truly missing tonight.In all the blogs I have read  on the restaurant it  is Magnus and without him  there, it was a  below average experience. I only think how Massimo Bottura ,made  the night at Osteria, and Ferran at El Bulli,and of course Rene, at Noma and the best part of the night besides the drinks is the thought we are eating at Noma tommorow night and get to see Rene again.I can only suggest if one is planning to come to Faviken ,find out if Magnus is there before you make the trip.

Please also view the videos above to get a better feel of the experience at Faviken.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Europe | Leave a comment

Ocean to Ocean Gin Crawl

Locations- The Star at Night,22,Great Chapel St.,Soho W1 , London , Uk and Traymore Hotel , 2455 Collins Avenue , Miami Beach, Florida, USA.

 

The Gagit’s  on a recent visit to London visited and joined the London Gin club, the preeminent Gin Club  in London  and on our return to Miami  we visit The Traymore Hotel, the preeminent new Gin Bar  in Miami.  We start   with  the Starry Night  Bar  in London and pick up our membership card ,as shown , as we walk by the bar with over 130 Gins at the bar ,shown above,as we are seated at the fully booked club.

Our server Emily, so knowledgeable and the right colored hair to match our drinks goes over the menu with us .Foodiechic  orders a Treasure Negroni, Treasure Rum Barrel Aged Gin, Campari, Vermouth , and Orange Peel, not with the Orange Peel burnt to get the Oils  as at the Nomad in New York but good anyway, again see above and I a Gimlet with Plymouth from  the 60′s so good , wish I had a Cuban Pre Castro Davidoff Dom Perignon to smoke with this winning drink.They also had a selection of Gins from the 50′s and 70′s to taste in a variety of vintage cocktails,what a rare treat.

We are going going to dinner after leaving here so Foodie passes on another drink but I try a special Gin and Tonic,with Plymouth’s Navy Strength Gin , 57%  with Fentimans Tonic in a Copa glass which enhances the botanicals and cracked ice to minimize dilution, wow perfection in G & T.

Since, we had to leave after these drinks for a dinner engagement, we missed out in some of the unique menu Gin items that many in in the bar were  enjoying; tasting menus of 4 Gins, both strict tasting and blind tasting.A 8 Gin tasting , a Sloe Gin tasting, and a Blend your Own Gin with 8 Botanical Distallates.And finally, fruit Gins , like Blackwood Fig flavored Gin, as well as Spring cocktails such as Sloe Gin Fizz and Gin- Fusions such as Chilli, Basil ,and Cucumber.We had to leave and thank Emily with the Purple hair , of course shown above but hopefully will back to sample  more of the Gin

We are now back in Miami to continue our Ocean to Ocean Gin crawl and visit the new Traymore Hotel and its concentration on Gin. We are joined by @Miabites1 and her husband Mr. Bites.We are taken to the bar by our host Elliot . We are introduced to the Gin Expert, Stefano Ciribe , this man lives, breathes, and thinks Gin and  shares this expertise with us as he does with all his customers. The bar is stocked with about 40 Gins selected by Stefano for their different and interesting flavors, created by the adding of Botanicals of  mixed varieties.

We start by tasting three different Gins in shot glasses to begin to learn the  range of flavors that can be tasted: Hendricks, g’Vine , and St. George,poured by Stefano,shown above.The tastes all distinctive, Hendricks , Rose Petal and Cucumber essence in it along with typical juniper/evergreen tastes,combined with citrus and even a mint undertone , not  the Bombay or Tangueray flavors we all know.G’Vine with an infusion of green grape flavors from the Ugni Blanc Grape along with traditional Botanicals including of course juniper.St. George, Botanivore Gin,with 19 Botanicals that bloom into a herbaceous field of citrus and flora.

We now get to taste some of Stefano’s original  House creations , we start with the 1939 , with the help of the talented barman Luuys ,also shown.The 1939 is Noilet’s Gin, Absinthe , Grapefruit , Honey,Mint, Club Soda ,as shown , and just  enough of the  Absinthe to keep the drink from being to sweet.  The drink is served with  the oversize iceball to not let melting ice cubes effect the taste. We now taste The Collins Park , Death’s Door Gin,St . Germain, Watermelon,Vanilla Syrup  and garnished with Tarragon.I am not a fan of tall drinks but few in the group did enjoy it.

Let the Truth Be told  , the Traymore is on the right road to leading the way in the Miami Gin wars. The most telling  point to me to make this statement,is the Traditional Gin And Tonic ,shown ,Hendricks Gin, Fever Tree Tonic, in a Copa glass, oversize iceball, and of course cucumber garnish , no matter what side  of the ocean you are on , this is the perfect G&T.

 

Posted in Europe, South Florida | Leave a comment

Austin Trifecta – Barley Swine

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

The first meal we have  in  the Austin Trifecta,@foodcave, Lady Laura and her brother Texas Dennis and of course Foodiechic and myself is at Barley Swine.Barley Swine is part of the Bourdain trail on No Reservations and is the creation of Chef Bryce Gilmore and is a pre-fixed menu of local products and modern and classic recipes with Wine and Beer pairings and  yes a reservation is being held for the Gagit Party.We enter this small cozy restaurant see entrance  shown above and we feel we are in Texas.

We are seated at one of the hard to get tables and our server  tells us relax order some wine or beer and she will take care of rest, even a special no garlic menu for Foodie.I see a French Malbec  on  the menu by Paul Mas and order  a  glass as shown but disappointing as was too dry ,missing the fruit that the Argentinian Malbec exhibits.However, also I spot a Turley Zinfadel at a more than reasonable price  and the bottle is on the table for all to enjoy, also shown.

The food parade now starts and  are all shown above, the first, Chicken Fried Croquette with Cavier, perfect bite , yes.,followed by Cobia crudo with Apple and kifer carbonated mousse ,real Texas flavors:). Another glass of wine and we are served a  Shitake dumpling with trout roe and soft scrambled eggs, loving it need more dumplings followed by Roasted beets with carmelized egg yolks, seaweed , and sunchoke chips , I even liked it.Here comes, Beer battered sweet potato, chevre goat cheese, tomatillo  and persimmon  sauce , flavors on flavors, followed by Mesquite pancake,bacon, squash, apple and toasted  hazelnut , all Texas.

We are out of wine and try the beer selection,a 512 Pecan Ale let us down but  the next 2 courses  did not ,Smoked Lamb Loin, pinto beans, and turnip and Fried shrimp heads with seafood fregola, pickled corn relish and grilled Okra , we could have have eaten a half dozen shrimp heads alone!!! . I  now order a bottle of Rochefort Trappists Strong Ale, I know perfect with the rest of the courses, Waygu brisket in mole glaze, sweet corn mousse with cocoa nibs and chimichurri sauce, still not a mole fan , and my favorite Stuffed quail , cornbread stuffing,blue cheese and khorabi puree,pecan corn bread crumble , wowwwwwww.

We are stuffed but dessert is coming with French Press coffee served by our lovely server  and a few glasses of Port,Peanut butter mousse, apple sorbet, brioche , powdered caramel and pumpkin custard , aerated milk chocolate,mint gel. One more taste ,Roobis Red tea in liquid form  to clean our palates,the meal is now over!!!

Let the Truth be Told,I have been to Oxheart and Underbelly in Houston but Barley Swine in Austin is the clear winner , not only in originality, service, great recipes , perfect atmosphere and at $60 per person  for the   tasting menu ,a gift from the food Gods. Hurry, it might not last forever!!!

Posted in West Coast | Leave a comment

Austin Trifecta- Uchi

The last meal in the Trifecta was Uchi, after our meat overload at Franklins ,Sushi was perfect to complete our turf and surf day :) We enter Uchi with the sign out front so we know we are in right restaurant :)As we enter the restaurant , we feel we could be in any major city in United States with an upscale sophisticated atmosphere unlike the pure Texas of Franklins. Foodcave reminded me this is one of the top 10 or better Sushi restaurants in US.Chef Tyson Cole was best Chef in 2011, who combines local ingredients with seafood flown in from Tsukii market in Tokyo daily.
Uchi , like most restaurants in Austin, offer only Beer and Wine, and in Uchi of course Sake that we start the night off as shown as well as all courses we enjoyed this night.As our first bite a real standard Shishito Age, no hot ones in this bunch but lots of flavor.We follow the peppers with a Sea Bass crudo, and I enjoy some Miso Soup on this cold night. At this point, Foodcave and I are served a favorite Kushi Oysters ,a squeeze of graprfruit and Cilantro.We down these in a flash and Foodcave doubledowns.
It is time for the girls and Dennis to join,Foodie orders a scallop sushi with foie , of course and a spicy tuna roll. I had to try a couple of bites of Sushi flown in from Tokyo and see Kissyface and Yellowtail from the Japanese market. The pace now picks up,crunchy grilled cauliflower, Yokai Berry with Atlantic Salmon,a Zero Zen Roll, with Foodcaves chopsticks as a photobomb. The finale baby grilled Octopus skewers , too chewy for me and then a Spider Roll with flavors that were sensational.
Dessert time , this is Texas Dennis’s favorite time so we give in and help him finish the desserts,jizake creme caramel , brown butter sorbet and ginger and peanut butter semifredo ,apple-miso sorbet , and we finished them both:)
Let the Truth be Told, Uchi lived up to my expectations but not the driving force to come to Austin for, this honor so far can only go to Franklins BBQ!!!

Posted in West Coast | Leave a comment

Franklin BBQ

DSC00447 DSC00450unnamed

The Gagit’s had planned a trip to Austin for a Foodie trip a few times on the way to Houston but have always cancelled, not this time. We are joined by our special Foodie friends, @foodcave,Harold , Lady Laura and her brother Texas Dennis.The trip although includes other restaurants the main event is the Temple of BBQ ,Franklins.We have reservations at  the other restaurants but Franklins is Black Friday every day get in line early or sold out. Harold and I  are up early on this cold rainy Saturday morning and are 22nd in line at 9:00am at the shrine , see sign above.The group next to us are nice enough to have an extra chair for me and a hat that I forgot to bring, ready now for the 2 hour wait.
Harold, at this time, goes down the street gets coffee and a Bacon and Egg Taco for us as we wait,thank you Harold , the rains came just as he returns but we under the patio so keeping dry. 11:00am , and we are joined by Foodiechic Laura , and Dennis just as the door opens and join us for the inside line to order,and see the video below to relieve our experience. We are now in front of the master meat cutter Fiori shown here holding up the Brisket that separates Franklin from all other BBQ and a video below of him cutting the sausage, worth watching.
Foodie and I order the mixed plate,brisket, ribs, extra sausage,pinto beans , potato salad ,shown above ,and all this for $16.00.We also get an order of Bourbon Banana Pie and Pecan Pie , in case we are still hungry :)
We sit down and start eating ,the Brisket so tender juicy that I ate with my hands, the flavors that were worth waiting for, the Ribs a little to smokey for me , but the rest of the group called delicious,the sausage , a real treat as were the spicy Pinto Beans ,no room for the Potato salad , all washed down with local Beer on draft.We finish with the Banana Bourbon Pie and we have joined Nobu and all the foodies who have waited and have eaten at the BBQ shrine.
Let the Truth Be Told, was it worth it , yes, was the Brisket one of the all time Foodie Bucket List musts, yes , was it worth doing again ? try it and you decide.

Posted in West Coast | Leave a comment