Archive for March, 2010

More on Ferran Adrià and the El Bulli Saga – Spain

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Ferran Adria, working at El Bulli, 1983Ferran Adrià working at El Bulli in 1983 (image credit: El Bulli)

Jose Andrés and Ferran Adrià will teach a 13 week intro to “culinary physics” at Harvard, culminating in a working demonstration of how to make foams and emulsions, the backbone of molecular gastronomy.
El Bulli will definitely close, as it had always been dependent on speaking engagements and publications for profitability, rather than income derived from the dining room. It will reopen in two years as a research center for 25 chefs and will still serve 60 meals a year in the restructured space with the dining room & kitchen still intact—it will just be a more difficult reservation than in the past—if that is possible!

Links to previous posts at Restaurant Dining Critiques about El Bulli:

El Bulli Restaurant, Roses, Spain to Close for Two Years

El Bulli Intends to Close Permanently

Jeremiah Tower’s Tumultuous Times in San Francisco

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Stars Restaurant, San Francisco

Jeremiah Tower was indeed a colorful character in his heyday in San Francisco, he was an infamous tippler who favored prodigious quantities of Champagne; he usually wore red socks, never mind if they clashed with the rest of his outfit; by his many public admissions, including a few catty remarks he made about two-timing Alice Water with her own boyfriend (apparently he would go in any direction when it came to his sexual preferences); during the stormy business relationship between he and his partner Doyle Moon, Tower commented, that Moon was . . . “a fierce Apache in mirrored sunglasses”.

If you were not living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80s and early 90s you might not be aware that Jeremiah Tower was the head chef at Chez Panisse and together with Alice Waters were instrumental in spearheading what was to be called “California Cuisine”. He did a stint as chef at Balboa Cafe, he was also the chef and co-owner of Santa Fe Bar and Grill, a 50% partner, the chef, and center of attention at the “super restaurant” Stars.

Below is a link to William Grimes, the New York Times Critic’s brilliant piece written after the release of Tower’s controversial book, “California Dish: What I saw (and cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution” (2003).

Critic’s Notebook; Raising a Glass to Himself; Jeremiah Tower Grills His Peers

Another link to an interesting article, written around the same time period, by Kim Severson, SF Chronicle Staff Writer, follows:

Jeremiah Tower’s memoir of a turning point in American cuisine is hot and salty, sweet and sour

Recently J.T. has been reported living between Italy and Mexico, scuba diving and resurrecting old colonial houses.

Jeremiah Tower, Robert Lawrence Balzer (image credit: Alan Berliner for SF Chronicle)Jeremiah Tower with wine author, Robert Lawrence Balzer (image credit: Alan Berliner for SF Chronicle)

Parden, Cafe & Zakka – Bangkok

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

By Emi Kagawa

entrance Parden, Bangkok(Emi Kagawa’s images © 2010

Parden, at The Manor
2F,32/1 Sukhumvit Soi 39,
Klonton-Nua, Wattana,
Bangkok 10100
Tel. 02-204-2205
Closed: Tuesday
Credit Cards: Cash Only
Prices: Inexpensive

Parden Cafe & Shop, Bangkok(Emi Kagawa’s images © 2010

Parden is a very clean and airy, Japanese run, cafe and shop. It features zakka, a design and fashion fad originating in Japan that has swept across Asia, and succinctly put; may refer to anything that embellishes a home, and at the same time improves life or frame of mind. It is located on Sukhumvit soi 39 and serves fruit juices and a Napanese vegetarian curry.

Nepalese curry at PardenNapalese vegetable curry and pictured behind, fresh organic watermelon juice (Emi Kagawa’s images © 2010

Fruit parfait, freshly squeezed fruit juice, fruit cake, fruit jelly, cheese cake, organic vegetable juice, organic tea & Coffee, Nepalese curry.

Menu at Parden(Emi Kagawa’s images © 2010

IWS Presents: A Wine Tasting at Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel – Bangkok

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

IWS wine Tasting at Hyatt Erawan Hotel (image credit:

IWS Independent Wine & Spirit (Thailand) Ltd., held a Wine Tasting on Tuesday March 23rd, 2010 at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand. Following are some of the interesting wines featured at this tasting:

Moma (image credit: Moma – Umberto Cesari, Momo Rosso (80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot)

AmaroneAbove: Villa Girardi – Amarone

Sentinelle (image credit: Fattoria Mantellassi – Le Sentinelle, Morrellino di Scansano, Riserva (85% Sangiovese, 15% Alicante)

Gavi (image credit: Rovereto – Gavi, Michele Chiarlo

Barbera d'Alba (image credit: Cipressi Della Court –  Barbera d’Asti, Michele Chiarlo

Farnio (image credit: Garofoli – Farnio – Rosso, Piceno Doc

The other wines (not pictured) were:

Carpineto – Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 

Umberto Cesari – Laurento, Sanviovese di Romagna (90% Sangiovese di Romagna, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon)

Garfoli – Podium, Bianco, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Doc Classico Superiore

Listed last, but certainly not least, a few of the brilliantly blended Champagnes from:

Champagne Billecart-Salmon –
– Brut Réserve
– Brut Rosé
– Brut Cuvee 2004


Culinary Tidbits . . . Heston Blumenthal Served Ambergris on Special Menu; Restaurant Charlie Closes at the Palazzo, Las Vegas

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

small logo RDCCulinary Tidbits . . . Heston Blumenthal, of The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire, England who grew tired of traditional holiday menus has recently tried some culinary experimentation, using ambergris (whale vomit), he also included a dish using the small rodent dormouse (although separately) on that same Special Menu, which has not been seen since the reign of Charles II.

More recently, (yesterday) . . . the enormous space Charlie Trotter’s, Restaurant Charlie, at the Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas closed its doors, due to the economic slowdown, which not only affected the entire city of Las Vegas, but particularly the middle/upscale clientele that “Restaurant Charlie” catered to.

Harold’s Diner, Hilton Head, South Carolina – USA

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

By Sandy Driscoll

Harold's Diner, Hilton Head, South Carolina, (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Harold’s Diner, Hilton Head, South Carolina

641 William Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Isle, SC  29928-3551
Open Monday – Saturday
Hours: Breakfast 7-11; Lunch: 11-3
Cash Only

Hilton Head Isle, SC, is a city which exists primarily for golfers, tennis players, sunworshippers and vacationers who are looking for a relaxing getaway. It is 42 square miles in area, has more than 20 individual PGA sanctioned golf courses, hundreds of tennis courts, and more than 250 restaurants. Most of the restaurants are overpriced variations on a theme of over-sauced steaks, fish and pasta, many of which are set against a background of lovely water views and moss-laden trees.

Harold's Diner, Hilton Head, S. Carolina (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Harold’s Diner is an exception to all of this.   Harold’s does not have a website.  They do not advertise.  They seat only 21 people . . . 13 counter stools, and four small window tables for two.  The only Internet notes you will find about them (other than rave reviews by regular diners) is a small notation that they have the “Best burger on the island”.   Their motto is “Eat here or we both starve”.   It is a true diner in the best tradition of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (of FoodTV Network fame). Most people find out about Harold’s by word of mouth, or seeing it as they cruise down the highway, and thinking “That would be a cool place to eat”!  That’s how I discovered it. The food is good, the ambiance friendly and fun, and the prices (cash only) are very reasonable. Incidentally, despite a recent TripAdvisor review stating that the reviewer was served by Harold himself, the fact is, that Harold died many years ago!
Harold's, Hilton Head, S. Carolina (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Harold’s at breakfast . . . the hats (hanging) are $15 as are the t-shirts, when they are in stock.

Harold's Diner, Hilton Head, S. Carolina (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Want a free t-shirt?  Just finish two Big “H” Burgers (one pound each) and two orders of fries!

Harold's Diner, Hilton Head, S. Carolina (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Tickets waiting for the grill cook

Harold's Diner, Hilton Head, S. Carolina (image Credit: Sandy Driscoll)Big “H” Breakfast . . . two eggs over easy with bacon, sausage, home fries and hot cakes

Harold's Diner, Hilton Head, S. Carolina (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Three egg omelette with swiss and cheddar cheese, ham, bacon, jalapenos and home fries with rye toast

Harold's Diner, Hilton head, S. Carolina (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Notice the “Sorry, We’re Open” sign!

Harold's Diner, Hilton Head, S. Carolina (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)

Wine Connection, New K-Village Branch, Sukhumvit Soi 26, Wine Shop & Bistro – Bangkok

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010


Wine Connection, Exterior (image credit:

Wine Connection Wine Shop & Bistro, K-Village Branch

93,95, K-Village Room A116-118,
Soi Aree (Sukhumvit26), Sukhumvit Road,
Klongton, KlongtoeyBangkok10110
Tel. 02 234 0388
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Moderate

Wine Connection is Now Open in their new Wine Shop & Bistro in K-Village. They import cheese and various charcuterie from Europe as well as the many wines both Old and New World that they are known for, and offer diners a daily bistro menu, which may be consumed on the premises or to take-away. The space is light and airy and is a very congenial spot to spend some time sipping a wine-by-the-glass along with a selection of cheese and ham or prosciutto.

Wine Connection, Interior Above: deli cases with the kitchen just behind

Dining Room One of the busy dining rooms

Dining RoomDining room in the rear of the building

Charcuterie platterCharcuterie platter, you can make your own or choose the standard platter.

Pizza NicoiseThis pizza was labeled Neapolitan although it tasted more similar to a Niçoise version

Josh Ozersky: Article for Time, A Wakeup Call for “Old Guard” Restaurant Critics – USA

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Josh Ozersky, (image credit: Culintro, A.K.A. Culinary Trade Organization)Josh Ozersky is at fighting weight and prepared to continue to elevate his uric acid level as a gladiator in defense of hamburgers and certain other comfort foods. He is at the other end of the food spectrum from Raymond Sokolov, the recently dismissed WSJ restaurant critic, and this, I suppose is a compelling enough reason for Time Magazine to let him explain to mainstream diners, the demise of the “old guard” restaurant critics, or maybe he was added for counter-balance; in either case, it does seem to be a curious choice. If you have not read it, the link follows:  In Praise of the Endangered Restaurant Critic

Mr. Ozersky was the editor of Citysearch‘s  late blog, The Feedbag, and formerly an editor of Grub Street for New York Magazine. Author of The Hamburger: A History (2008) and Meet Me In Manhattan: A Carnivore’s Guide to New York City (2003). A winner of the James Beard Award for food writing, as well as currently writing for Rachael Ray. He is certainly a gifted writer, and I have followed and enjoyed his rants as much as anyone else.

Amaro Bar at Osteria Mozza Three Course Menu $35 Incl./ Glass of Wine – Los Angeles

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

By Sandy Driscoll

Osteria Mozza (image credit: Osteria Mozza)

Amaro Bar at Osteria Mozza
6602 Melrose Avenue
 Los Angeles, CA 90038
Tel. 323-297-0100
Website Amaro Menu:
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday: 5:30pm – 11pm
; Saturday: 5:00pm – 11pm
; Sunday: 5:00pm – 10pm
Dress Code: Dressy
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Osteria Mozza: Expensive (Amaro Bar Special Menu: Inexpensive)

Pizzaria Mozza & Osteria Mozza are owned by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batalli and Joseph Bastianich & every Sunday through Thursday Osteria Mozza offers a special three-course menu and a glass of either Bastianich Friulano or La Mozza Morellino di Scansano, exclusively at the “Amaro Bar.”

I had dinner with a friend on Monday evening.   I think there is not a better food deal in all of LA than this . . .
On Sun-Thurs, Osteria Mozza offers a 3 course meal (choose one appetizer from their Mozzarella Bar, one Pasta and one dessert) plus a glass of  very nice Italian (red or white) wine for only $35!!   You have to sit at their Amaro Bar, which is first come, first served.
We had no problem being seated at 6:30, and shared everything.   By 7, it was pretty full.

The food was superb . . . Pasta portions were relatively small, but believe me, we had plenty to eat, and were full when we left.   It’s a super deal . . .

Follow the link above to look at the Amaro Bar Menu and click on ‘menu’ to see Nancy’s Mozzarella Bar & pasta selections.   The desserts we had are not on
the online menu (I think they change them often) but were absolutely deliciously decadent and fabulous!
Complimentary Amuse Bouche: Crostini, Burrata, Basil & Currants (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Complimentary Amuse . . . Crostini, Burrata, Basil & Currants

Burricotta (photo credit: Sandy Driscoll)Burricotta w/Braised Artichokes, Pine Nuts, Currants & Mint Pesto

Burrata w/Bacon, Marinated Escarole & Caramelized Shallots (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Burrata w/Bacon, Marinated Escarole & Caramelized Shallots

Gnocchi (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Gnocchi w/Chanterelles, Shallots & Greens  (The Gnocchi were only slightly smaller than golf ball size)
Maltagliali (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)Maltagliali w/ Wild Boar Ragu

Warm Chocolate Cake (image credit: Sanady Driscoll)This was like a Molten Chocolate Cake with homemade honey ice cream, sauce and candied almonds

Cornet (image credit: Sandy Driscoll)They called this a “Cornet” with a delicious creamy filling, ice cream, nuts and star shaped candied fruits

Oriental Spa – Summer Discounts for Thai Residents – Bangkok

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Oriental Spa (image credit: Oriental Spa)Available to Thai Residents only from 15 May until 31 May 2010, between 10 am to 3 pm – For reservations & information please contact +66 (2) 659 9000 ext. 7440 or email: