Tuesday, April 03, 2007

La Buca (April 2, 2007)

Second time here!

Two reviewers: ts and csc; with a cameo by js

Haha, I guess csc forgot all about her GRAND PROCLAMATION that she wouldn't return to either La Buca or Parkside until a REALLY LONG TIME has passed.

(We last ate at Parkside on March 23.)

Anyway.... We decided to eat like "normal" people and ordered "normal" amounts of food. The same server was there! Teehee.

[her] "Are you the...?"
[me] "Yes."
[her] "You're the group that..."
[me] "Yes."
[her] "You ordered 4 courses?"
[me] "Yes."


Calamari ripieni alla griglia, salsa verde
Grilled stuffed squid with tomato fondata and green herb sauce

This was CSC's dish. This was the appetizer of yore, so as you already know, it's really good. CSC would like, however, to reiterate her satisfaction with the nutty, peppery flavor of arugula.

Linguini Puttanesca
Olive, caper, anchovy, red onion, garlic, chili

I had a HALF-SIZE of this. (Haha.) Don't really have that much to say. It was good.

The risotto of the day was sweet corn and pea risotto with scallops.

I was tempted! But, am not really a scallop person. It was the CORN that was the most tempting for me, but I decided to go with the special MEAT for the day.

Duck breast, duck meat cannelloni, vegetables, blood orange sauce/reduction
The cannelloni was all right. I was actually still a little full because I ate "lunch" at 430pm!

The duck itself was pretty good. The GENIUS, see, was the blood orange sauce! It saved the dish from being too "MEATY."

On that note, though, WHY IS IT THAT I STILL CAN'T EAT TOO "MEATY" THINGS?!?!!!

I mean, that veal cheek trauma was way back in January! Also, since I have low iron, wouldn't it stand to reason that my body would actually CRAVE iron-y/meaty/bloody things?! But nooooo...

Why?!?! Why?!?!

Fish of the day:
Halibut, crispy-fried artichokes, potatoes, dried tomatoes, olives and such, sauce

csc's dish. I don't really know the details re this dish. I only know the GENIUS part where Andrey Durbach MADE her like artichokes!!! HAHAHA...

Artichoke… fried with batter… don’t know what… but little pieces, like 1 inch long, and boy, were they GOOD!!!!

I mean, I liked them with the halibut, and I liked them even without the halibut. Texture wise, they gave the right amount of “chewiness/crunchiness” and then flavor wise… I liked them a lot!

I was almost not wanting to order the halibut dish coz I heard “artichokes” but then I also heard “fried” so I figured, well, maybe they will be ok… or I’ll just put them on the side…

but then had to eat them all, and was actually too enthusiastic that I miscalculated and had halibut left over, and no more artichokes… usually, I’m pretty good with eating things in proportion (ie, every single bite has every single ingredient in it until the last bite).

Sauteed strawberries, aged balsamic, pinenut sable, whipped cream

This was good. The balsamic didn't really have any vinegar-y taste at all. I forget how old the server said it was. But i guess really old! Haha... So I guess it's like a "parfait" or "trifle" in format: basically the different components were layered in a glass.

Chocolate "Salami", orange marmalade, whipped cream


When the server said "Chocolate Salami", I know right away we had to order this, hehe.

Apparently, CSC said when she heard that, she immediately dismissed it. She said she didn't HEAR the quotation marks around "salami." =)

Anyway, the genius is this: instead of just having a chocolate pate like almost everybody else, his chocolate pate was studded with ladyfingers and nuts and such! (Basically it's in a round, then sliced. It had squares/rectangles of stuff in it, like the fat squares in salami.)

I don't really get just having a plain chocolate pate -- coz that's just one taste. Sure, most of the time, restaurants pair it with raspberry sauce or some such thing, but really, it's just one-dimensional. But here, the "salami-ness" of the dessert is GENIUS!!! The ladyfingers and nuts and such are GENIUS! And CSC said that the orange marmalade also went really well with the "salami."

Oh, chocolate salami dessert

Shobe (aka "ts") was very insistent that I order this dessert… and truth be told, as soon as I heard “salami” I don’t want to order anymore and so completely ignored what the server was saying… ..hahaha…

but good thing one of us was listening… so then I got this and it was good. I normally don’t like chocolate pates (don’t really get the point), but this one… “salami-like” in style, but wonderful in taste!

When we were waiting for dessert, the table next to us had their order arrive, and I can tell you, my mouth started watering just looking as their pasta order… (this after I had appetizer and main course).

I want to PUNCH that chef and tell him STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT…

I don’t like getting too enthusiastic about food… coz you know… too much food, not good… plus it adds up (price)… so I think I am starting a “love-hate” relationship with this La Buca/Parkside chef.

This is soooooooooooooooooo funny. . .the part with the punching and the STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT. . .LOL

To summarize, my duck dish was "all right" for me... Again, crazy "meatiness" aversion at work.


Parkside (March 23, 2007)


Two reviewers: ts and js; no reviews by csc and the 3 g-ongs

I don't think I remember too much about this meal, so I guess this will be short... or shorter than usual.

(I guess everybody sighs a collective sigh of relief?)

[js] Short and sweet I can do as well. LOL

Spring garlic and spinach soup, basil cream

Salad of roasted beets and their greens, clementines, herb goat cheese, pecans, hazelnut vinaigrette

Salade paysanne: sautéed chicken livers with duck prosciutto, frisée, poached egg, red wine dressing

Crisp brandade cake with shellfish bisque sauce, melted leeks, wild prawn, micro celery leaf

Very subtle the garlic. It was mainly soupy (didn't really get to taste the spinach at all) with the underlying sweetness and pungency of garlic.

(As per usual, there was the usual haggling prior to the ordering. My choices were the brandade or the salade paysanne, but those were already spoken for, so I have to make do.)

A note about the brandade cake: that was csc's choice and she REALLY liked it!

I had the beet salad. Beets are "OK" for me, in general. I don't find them offensive nor do I find them to be especially good. So, the beets were OK.

Speaking in csc terms, the "combo" that I chanced upon in this dish was the clementine-goat cheese combo -- that was good!

Braised veal cheek agnolotti, sage butter, shaved parmesan

Cavatelli with basil pesto, potato, and prosciutto

The cavatelli was the surprise of the whole evening. Based on the description, I really didn't think I would like it, given that it has prosciutto (I'm all prosciutto-ed out) and basil pesto (I'm all pesto-ed out).

But lo and behold, the magic of Andrey Durbach, and this was a dish that sings.

Cavatelli was fresh hand-made pasta and really I'm a sucker for fresh pasta. Once you've had fresh pasta, there's no going back. LOL The basil pesto, prosciutto, and potato are wonderful together, with the potato perhaps soaking up the stronger flavours of the prosciutto and the basil.

I was angling for the spaghetti Sicilian-style, but truth be told, this was the better dish.

Tasted this (Jojo's dish). I thought I would be nauseous from the pesto (coz, i smell it everyday!), but this was actually pretty good. Hand-shaped pasta! So good!

Spaghetti with Sicilian style calamari sauce

[ts] No complaints. =)

First of the season halibut, crisp bacon, braised chicken wings, pea purée, jus rôti (+3)

Poached and roasted truffled breast of organic chicken, gnocchi & spring vegetables, sauce Colbert

Formula milk fed veal sirloin, wild mushrooms, pommes dauphinoise, red wine jus

Grilled medallions of venison, Lyonnaise potato, braised endive, crushed pepper and cranberry sauce

Wanted the halibut but two people were already getting the halibut so have to switch gears.

Second choice was the chicken but csc took the chicken as well.

It was between the Berkshire pork and the veal, and given that I had Berkshire pork at Rare, I thought I'd try the veal instead.

Veal is veal, as in I don't really find it too flavourful and would probably have been happier with the pork. The mushrooms are nice, but I wasn't WOWed by this dish so much. It was a fairly standard dish, I feel, and didn't have anything to put it over the top.

I had the halibut.

Again, the thing that sort of "ruined" it for me was the "meaty" braised flavor of the chicken wings! That thick, brown taste! I don't know why I can't seem to stomach that now. Insanity!

Anyway, the halibut was good. I like halibut and its firm texture. Bacon is always good. I've completely forgotten what the other components on the plate were.

Oh! I know! The potato fondant!

Grace was singing the virtues of the potato on our dish all throughout the meal! (She also had the halibut.) We were trying to figure out why this block of potato was so good. It really was just a block of potato! Turned out it was potato fondant, potato poached in butter. No wonder! Haha. It was "flavorful", very fragrant, with the outside having a little bit of crust.

The pea puree would've been fine with me, but it was a minted pea puree. I like or dislike mint on a case-by-case basis. In this case, I didn't like it! (Although, mint and peas are a classic combination.)

Parkside banoffi pie

Surprisingly good, given it's custard-like/flan-like texture. I thought it would be a more cake-y pie, but I liked this very much.

Banana and toffee -- wow. Never thought it'd be that good.

Molten chocolate beignets, Williams pear purée, white chocolate ice cream

Pineapple tarte fine with brown sugar ice cream

I had the pineapple tarte fine. So very good! The pineapples were caramelized, crisp pastry... It was the best dessert of the bunch, I feel. =D


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