Monday, July 31, 2006

back... sorta

It turns out I've been MIA much longer than I had anticipated. Our DSL is up; it just doesn't work in our house. It's pretty annoying, but hopefully it'll be fixed later in the week. I've been very busy lately with visitors, job interviews, and getting settled into our new place. Right now, our friends from Kentucky and Mr. Cupcake are watching Battlestar Galactica. I can't seem to get into it, and our temporary Internet appears to be working, so Blogger it is!

A few weeks ago, Mr. Cupcake and I decided to go to dinner. Our kitchen was packed up, so we couldn't really eat at home. It was the perfect excuse to go to Saizo in Sunnyvale. Saizo has been on my radar for some time. It's one of those izakayas that serves Japanese tapas and sake. I'm not a drinker at all (it does not agree with me), so it was all tapas for me.

Saizo is located in a strip mall next to Albertson's. It's a little tricky to find off of El Camino. We did not pay attention to the "East" in the address and found ourselves at a car dealership. We finally found it and the restaurant was packed at 7:30 on a Thursday evening. Granted, it's not a very large place at all. There's only a handful of tables and a bar. We could have waited for a table, but opted to sit at the bar. I'm actually glad we did because it was interesting to watch the cooks prepare everything.

We started out with the spicy garlic edamame. At first we weren't sure how to eat it. I mean, normally we shell the beans before we eat them, but the spicy sauce threw us off. Fortunately, it was a popular dish (the cook made three batches at once) and we watched someone from a nearby table eat one. He put it in his mouth and then slid the beans out with his teeth. Brilliant. Why didn't we think to do that? Once we figured out the technique, we were very pleased. The beans were spicy and addictive. A great way to start off the meal.

Next up was the gyoza. They're just Japanese potstickers, but Mr. Cupcake is fond of them. The outside was thin and crispy and the inside was filled with pork and a lot of ginger. It was pretty standard stuff.

Saizo offers a lot of skewered grilled and deep fried meats. I always go for deep fried even though my body pleads against it. What can I say? I'm weak. In an attempt to go light on the fried foods, we only ordered 2 skewers. This one was the Kushikatsu which was described as a "pork cutlet and onion". We couldn't tell what it was when we first bit into it. This was due to there being a big pieces of soft onion. I liked this skewer because the pork was very tender and I also like onions. Fried food is good.

The other skewer we ordered was probably my least favorite dish of the night. It was the shiso chicken. It was chicken wrapped in shiso basil. It tasted odd. I'm not really sure how to describe it. The chicken was very tender and soft, but the basil was interesting. Mr. Cupcake did not like it at all. I ended up squeezing some lemon the skewer and the flavor improved. It still wasn't the best thing ever.

Mr. Cupcake wanted to get some soup, so we ordered some udon noodles. Specifically the Nabeyaki Udon which was described as "tempura, vegetable, chicken, and more in a clay pot". The more turned out to be an egg. Our server asked us how we wanted our egg prepared because it's usually served raw. She suggested having it cooked, so we agreed. This dish was my favorite of the night. The texture of the udon noodles was perfect. They were soft, but still had a bite to them. The broth was lovely. The only thing I didn't like was the tempura shrimp because it wilted away in the broth. I would go back just for the soup.

Our final dish was the Yaki-Onigiri described as "grilled rice balls with green onion, miso, and ginger". They started cooking our rice balls the moment we ordered them and it was the last dish to arrive. The outside was crispy but chewy and had a sort of sweet char flavor to it. I was expecting more green onions (perhaps inside the rice?), but there were only a few flakes here and there on the outside. Overall it was pretty good, but I didn't love it. There were also some kind of green pickled vegetable. They looked scarier than they tasted. I couldn't identify them though.

Our bill before tip was just over $33 including Mr. Cupcake's beer. I loved Saizo. It's one of the more memorable meals I've had in awhile. I have been itching to go back, but sadly have not had time. I want to go again soon, but will have to do the group dinner thing so I can sample a bigger variety of items. Though, if you decide to go with more than two people, it's a good idea to make a reservation. Also, they only take credit cards if the bill is above $20.

I have a lot more things to write about. I hope to get it out there soon, but life has been busy. I can't believe that in less than an hour we'll be heading into August. Hopefully our DSL will be working inside in the very near future. I should also have more time on my hands later this week and I have two goals for the rest of my free time: blog a lot and find a job. I am looking forward to one, the other not so much.

Friday, July 21, 2006

tidbits

Mr. Cupcake and I moved into our new residence over the weekend. It's a little more suburban than I was expecting, but whatever. There are so many kids in this neighborhood; it sort of freaks me out. Mr. Cupcake will have to make an effort not to hit all the little kids that play in the street when he drives home.

Other than that, the move was generally okay. It wasn't great because moving sucks. Plus our Internet connection is a bit wobbly. The real stuff doesn't get turned on until next Tuesday. Sadness. I'll just have to suck it up until then.

How's the new place you ask? Our kitchen has a lot of room but it's lacking counter space. And, our oven is smaller than the standard size. I hope our sheet pans fit. My new red skillet better fit in there too or else I'm going to have to move again. Okay, not really, but I'll still be upset. Hopefully, in the next few weeks I'll be able to make something divine. I haven't really cooked in awhile, but I'd like to start baking again before all the ripe fruit goes away.

Back to food reviewing. Last night, Mr. Cupcake and I had dinner at Hanamaru in Sunnyvale with some of his coworkers. I did a review on this place before, and last time was pretty good. The fish was fresh and it was pretty cheap for sushi. Well, last night it was pretty awful. The fish had a fishy taste to it and I went home with an upset stomach. I really hate going to restaurants that have varying levels of quality especially when it comes to fish. I felt bad taking Mr. Cupcake's coworkers there since I could tell they didn't enjoy it either. I have a feeling I won't be back.

Mr. Cupcake and I went to Saizo last week, and had really good Japanese food, which made going to Hanamaru all the more disappointing. I'll blog about Saizo next week. Hopefully I'll have time to blog about some other stuff too. I told Mr. Cupcake's sister that I'd blog about Greek yogurt once I tried it - which I did finally do, so that's also on my list. We have more friends coming into town next week, but I'll try to squeeze in a little blog love before then.

Anyway, Internet on Tuesday. Blogger on Tuesday. Tivo on Tuesday. Blessed Tivo! How I've missed you so! No more of that Comcast piece of junk DVR. Project Runway season 3 will be mine again! Rejoice!

Friday, July 14, 2006

five, food snob?

I lied. I said I wasn't going to post again until after the move. I really shouldn't post. I should be packing. We're suppose to move on Sunday and there's a whole lot of stuff that still needs to go into boxes. I can't help myself though. It's just that last night, it came to our attention that our fat cat Five is indeed a food snob. It's so bad he's willing to starve himself.

Here's the story. I use to feed Five Iams. That was all well and good until I started reading about how Iam's uses a lot of fillers and there were better products out there. Well, then I decided to feed him Nutro Natural Choice.

I didn't want him to get sick, so I mixed the Natural Choice in with his Iams to wean him off his old food. It turned out that wasn't really necessary. He loved the Nutro so much that he started eating around the Iams and that's all that was left in his bowl. Fair enough. We were done with Iams.

Fast forward to December of last year when we first moved to California. I had to buy him more cat food. I accidently bought him Nutro Max Cat which is the lower tier in the Nutro line. I fed it to him and he seemed to eat it. Though not as much. I was feeding him 1/2 a cup a day and the vet thought that was weird. In 4 months my 20 lb. cat went to a 17 lb. cat. Five seemed fine, so she let it go.

One day, I got a coupon in the mail for a free 4 lb. bag of Nutro Natural Choice. I redeemed the coupon and fed Five some of this food. He scarfed it down and demanded to be fed more often. Interesting. Well, the 4 lb. bag didn't last very long and we went back to the Max Cat. That's when Five started to starve himself. The cat would not eat the food. It'd been 3 days and he'd maybe eaten half a cup of the Max Cat. I of course flipped out and didn't want him to starve himself to death. He is afterall my companion during the day. Mr. Cupcake and I bought 10 lb. bag of Natural Choice last night. I gave him a half a cup of food last night and this morning it was gone. He of course wanted more when I woke up.

I guess he takes after his owners. Mr. Cupcake says this is my fault. I justify it by reminding him how much shinier and fluffier Five's fur is, and how happy Five is now! I don't think he buys it though.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

yum yum for dim sum

The last time R came into to town, we went to Koi Palace in Daly City and had amazing dim sum. Granted, my dim sum experience is somewhat limited being that I grew up in the Midwest. Chinese food in the Midwest is very much Americanized for the corn fed palate. Now, don't get me wrong, I love things like crab rangoon and the overly sweet dishes like General Tso's Chicken. However, in the six months I've been living in the Bay area, I have to say I love the diverse range of Asian food. The variety is amazing.

Anyway, R and I decided we absolutely had to go to Koi Palace again. I've read a lot of grumblings on the Internet about how there can be as much as a two hour wait on the weekends to get a table. Both visits I've made have been during the weekday right when the restaurant opened, and while we didn't have to wait for a table, the parking lot was full.

We had some newbies to Koi Palace and also to the world of dim sum, so R and I did most of the ordering. We didn't order off the carts and instead ordered off the menu. I'm not a big fan of ordering off the carts because there's no way of telling how long the food has been sitting there. R also tells me that it's cheaper to order off the menu versus taking food off the carts. I had no idea.


The pan fried pork dumplings were my favorite just like they were last time. The bottom was light brown from being pan fried which gave it a nice crispy texture. The rest of the bun was fluffy and soft. I love the fluffy buns. We tried to get the steamed BBQ pork bun, but we couldn't find them on the menu. However, they definitely have them since our server was carrying some when she dropped these off. It's okay. As you'll soon see, we had too much food anyway.


This was one of the cherng fun dishes. I know we ordered at least three of them including beef, shrimp, and vegetable. We might have ordered another one, but I can't remember. I didn't eat any this time just because we ordered too much.

Here we have a green onion pancake. It was definitely different than any other green onion pancake I've tried. The outside was crispy, but a little too hard for my taste.

I think this was a spinach and shrimp dumpling. I can't remember if I ate one of these.


Another shrimp dumpling. I don't think I ate one of these either. I do like shrimp, so I'm not sure why I passed on these two. I'll chalk it up to too much food.

We ordered some egg rolls just because they're a familiar item for those who hadn't been for dim sum before. The egg rolls were about what you'd expect, so nothing to really write home about.


R tells me this dumpling is called chew zhou fun gaow. It has ground pork, veggies, cilantro, and peanuts. I just remember that they fell apart and were messy.



Here we have the steamed rice wrapped in lotus leaf. I probably should have unwrapped it for you, but I didn't. I love this type of steamed rice. It has chicken, chinese sausage and mushrooms. The rice is sticky and and sweet.


The Shanghai dumplings were just about everyone's favorite. The skin is a bit thicker than say those at HC Dumpling House, but they stay together. It's also not quite as juicy, but it's also not pure fat. The dumplings come with a dipping sauce that is very good as well. An order comes with 10 dumplings. We were actually considering getting 2 order of the Shanghai dumplings and 2 orders of the pan fried dumplings which would have meant 40 dumplings. It's good that we didn't, but it's so hard because my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

My last picture is of the custard buns. This is the first time I've had custard buns here. I loved it though. The custard wasn't too sweet and the bun was nice and fluffy. I will definitely be getting these in the future.

We ordered more food including drunken chicken, sesame balls, black seasame balls, more dumplings, and some other stuff I'm probably forgetting. The food kept coming and I wasn't able to keep up.

Our total cost came to $100 before tip. I know it seems like a lot for dim sum, but there were 6 of us and we ordered more food than what was necessary. I highly recommend Koi Palace. However, be prepared to wait if you don't come when they open. Also, they use MSG, so if you're afraid, then you might want to pass.

It's going to be a bit before I post again. We're moving this weekend to a new place. No worries, it's just down the street. Unfortunately, moving is still a pain. We're not really packed and I hear we don't have a truck. Should prove to be interesting.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

a live fish no more

I really shouldn't be blogging. I should be doing productive things like laundry or preparing for my upcoming phone interview. However, I haven't been giving my blog the love and affection that it deserves in recent weeks. I have had friends in town for the past two weeks experiencing all kinds of wonderful culinary delights and yet my poor little blog has heard very little about these adventures. Well, blog, today is your day. Today, I tell you about the wonders of buying a live Tilapia fish at Ranch 99 and the Mango Cake from the bakery next door.

I'd never been to Ranch 99 until last Saturday. I'd heard many curious things about Ranch 99 like when one of the writers on the KQED food blog cooked up the 10 scariest things she could find at Ranch 99. I've also heard it's full of wonderful Asian delicacies. In any event, I was excited to finally visit this ginormous Asian market.

R, W, and I had decided we were going to cook a big Asian dinner that night and then go see The Devil Wears Prada. We walked in and R and W had already decided what they were going to make. I was still unsure about my contribution, so I perused hoping to find some inspiration. I walked over to the meat case and saw this package:

My mind was not able to immediately register what I was seeing. I then realized it was chicken feet. Hmmm. R loves chicken feet at dim sum and Mr. Cupcake has tried it in the past, but I just wasn't feeling it.

We continued to walk. R needed hoisin sauce and very dark soy sauce so we made our way to the sauce aisle.

That's a whole lotta sauce. R found his ingredients and then they decided I should make a steamed fish. I was a little scared and replied, "But I don't know how to make steamed fish."

W nonchalantly responded and said, "It's easy, just use some soy sauce, ginger, and green onions and it'll be fine."

"Okay, if you help me." I conceded and she agreed.

Our next task was to find a fish. Do we buy a prepacked fish? I'm a bit sketched out by prepackaged fish because it's not always fresh. Then W decided to call her mom and ask her about buying a live fish at Ranch 99. While W was on the phone, R and I took a look at the other seafood offerings.


Some kind of squid


More squid


R especially enjoyed playing with the live blue crabs.

W got off the phone with her mom and she informed us that they'd kill, clean, and scale the fish for us. The decision was made, and a Tilapia fish would soon meet its tragic demise so it could be apart of our Asian themed dinner.

The fish monger picking our fish from the tank.

He happily posed with the flopping fish while R rapidly took shots with my camera. At this point I quit watching because I knew what was coming next. I heard a loud thud which was apparently the big mallet coming into contact with the fish. You can see it under the net on the counter.

He then moved it to another counter where he pulled all the guts out and scaled the fish.

Finally, he wrapped it up and handed it over to W in a bag. The fish was dead. Or so we thought. We continued to walk with fish in the cart and suddenly the fish started flopping around in its bag. We shriek and someone said, "I thought it was dead!"

"It has to be, they pulled out its guts!"

"But it moved!"

"I don't know!"

The bag continued to wiggle in our cart and we paid, and left. We were a bit freaked out, but there wasn't much we could do at this point except hope that it'd stop. And eventually it did. It wasn't moving by the time it made it onto the serving platter.


Here's the full spread of our dinner that night including the steamed fish, Chinese sausage with green onions and a rice noodle stir fry with beef:

And the Mango Mousse cake we bought from the Sheng Kee Bakery next to Ranch 99.

The cake was good. Not too sweet and the cake itself was very light. The mango mousse was fluffly. I like Chinese bakeries mostly because the sweets themselves aren't overly sweet.

All in all, I'd deem the dinner to be a success. I'm not sure if I'll ever buy another live fish again. The experience was a little too weird for me.

Oh and the Devil Wears Prada was cute. Definitely a chick flick, but cute nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

sandwiches, gelato, and gelato again

I have had this burning desire to go to American Italian Delicatessen in Los Altos for some time now. Awhile back, I read that they offered Tango Gelato in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately, there's not very much on the Internet about them, and I had a hard time figuring out their hours. Speaking of hours, I hate when I go to a website and the vendor does not offer up their hours of operation. It really annoys me because here I am, a consumer trying to buy their product and they don't tell me something so simple as their hours. This deli is exempt from this rant because they don't have a website.

Anywho, moving along. SH and TH, my good friends who came from the heartland to visit Mr. Cupcake and me. On their last day, we had a sleepy day after having a very busy week. I decided it was the perfect time to go to American Italian Delicatessen for lunch.

It's not a very big place. When you walk in, the gelato counter is on the left and the sandwiches are on the right. They also offer various pasta salads towards the back of the building. We wanted lunch, so sandwiches it was.

I was feeling bloated from all the food I'd been eating earlier in the week, so I decided it was time to go light. I opted for the turkey sandwich with everything (lettuce, tomato, onions, banana pepper (I think), and mustard) except mayo on a sourdough roll. The roll was a little tough, but I was quite impressed by the quality of the sandwich. It reminded me of the hoagies I'd had on the East Coast back in college. It's something I really missed when I lived in Kentucky. Next time I'm going for the artery clogging Italian hoagie. Oh yeah!

TH ordered the sweet sausage sandwich. They warned him that it'd take up to 10 minutes to get the sandwich. By the time it arrived, he was glad he waited. He said the sandwich was fantastic. His bun was softer than the sour dough I had, but he said it complimented the sandwich.

SH ordered the avocado veggie sandwich. I didn't take a picture, but she said it was also tasty.

Our total cost for the sandwiches was about $22 including a bag of chips, and two drinks. All in all, we were very happy with the sandwiches. We sat there for awhile and chatted until we were ready for dessert. Ah dessert. The moment I had been waiting for; Tango Gelato was to be mine once again!

We went in and looked over the selection. I already knew what I wanted to order. Hazelnut. The best gelato flavor ever. Sadly, my dreams of hazelnut were crushed and I was denied. They didn't have any. In fact, they were having problems with their freezers and we couldn't order cones because the gelato was too soft. Forgivable. We still ordered.

SH and TH shared a small and the small was huge. The guy at the counter was extremely generous with scoops. They ordered the caramel swirl and another flavor that I can't remember. I tasted the caramel swirl with a big chunk of swirl and it was tasty. The only problem was that the texture was off because the gelato was too soft.

I ordered a junior size chocolate chip and was also given a very generous serving. The chocolate chip was just okay. Because of the soft texture, it didn't really bear resemblance to what I had had at the main shop in San Francisco. I'm going to give them a bye since this was just my first trip and perhaps they were having an off day.

A small and a junior gelato was roughly $6. American Italian Delicatessen is well worth the trip because the sandwiches are fabulous and there's Tango gelato. I asked the guy behind the counter what their hours were since it wasn't apparent on the storefront. During the week and on Saturday they close at 5, but he said, "Don't come at 5." Er, okay. That's 4:30 for all you out there in cyberspace who care! I think he said they closed at 3 on Sundays, so if you want to eat be there by 2:30. One last tip: it's cash only.

R. was also in town working that week, and so later that night we cooked a ginormous dinner. Afterwards, he wanted to go to Tango Gelato... in the city. I said, "sure why not?" since he was willing to drive his company rental car. R, Mr. Cupcake, and I piled into his car and went on our way.

Mr. Cupcake had a trifecta of gelato goodness including chocolate and peanut butter. He had a third flavor but I can't remember what it was. He said while it didn't rival the best gelato in Italy, it was definitely the best gelato he's had stateside.

I ordered the tiramisu and the dulce de leche. Tiramisu was too strong, but the dulce de leche was pretty good. I was again denied the hazelnut because they were out. I guess there was a hazelnut shortage in the Bay area that day. Next time.... believe me, there will be a next time!

$10 for 3 cups of gelato is well worth it if you're near the Pacific Heights area in the city or have a crazy friend who wants to drive 45 minutes each way for gelato. Crazy friends are always a good thing.

oh beautiful 11.75 inch red skillet!

I know I promised more updates. My Mac is holding all of my pictures hostage right now, so until I get a new power adapter, all of my delicious outings will have to be put on hold. However, it's still your lucky day because I do have a new update even without my old pictures.

Mr. Cupcake and I celebrated our one year anniversary back in May. A surprise came in the mail and we had found that Mr. Cupcake's aunt and uncle had sent us a very lovely card and a belated wedding gift. He tried to find the perfect gift, but has now left us with the task of doing so - preferably something romantic. Romantic? Perhaps crystal? Flowers delivered monthly? A Le Creuset pan? Ding ding ding!! What's romantic about a pan you ask? Everything! It's the even heat distribution (essential when stuck with crappy electric burners). It's the pretty primary colors. And besides, it's French and aren't the French famous for love? Or is that Italy? Whatever. It's not what comes in the pan, it's what comes out of it. Just think of the possibilities! Perfectly seared steaks (says R), frittatas; it's endless!

Anyway, my good friend R was in town for nearly two weeks so we along with W, headed to Gilroy, garlic capital of the world, to do some outlet shopping. My mission was to visit the Le Creuset Outlet. However, I became sidetracked by the offerings at Banana and JCew. We eventually made our way there, and to my delight, they were offering 20% off. It was destiny.

So there you have it. My pretty red 11.75 inch skillet ready for its first use. I'm not sure what we'll make. It'll have to be something delectable. Le sigh.

We still have leftover from Auntie and Uncle Cupcake's gift. I'm trying to sway Mr. Cupcake into buying the matching red Le Creuset Dutch oven (tee hee) er.. French oven. He's not convinced we'll use it and wants to see if we even like this pan (of course we do!). Maybe I will have to pull out my secret weapon and tell him I can make rice pudding with it...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

manresa

A little over a week ago, Mr. Cupcake, a bunch of friends, and I had dinner at Manresa in Los Gatos. I first learned about this restaurant when I started perusing A Taste of the Suburbs blog. There was a entry about how this restaurant was named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world in 2005 according to Restaurant Magazine. Because the restaurant is in Los Gatos which isn't much of a trek for me, I decided I had to go. My good friends were coming in town and we made reservations for 7.

There are three options when ordering at Manresa. The first is a three course meal, the second is four courses, and the final is the chef's tasting menu. If one opts for the tasting menu then everyone in the party will need to do the same. We all had the intention of ordering the tasting menu so this wasn't a problem.

As each course was presented, a server would then give us a description. I'm going to do my best to describe each course from memory, but don't hate me if it's a little vague.

The first amuse was a walnut cookie and a red pepper jelly. The walnut cookie was good and the jelly was a little surprising. I definitely wasn't expecting red pepper, but it was actually very nice. Some of the people in our group weren't fans though and preferred the walnut cookie.

The next amuse bouche was radishes, sea salt, and a creamy side with stuff in it. Mr. Cupcake says it was creme fraiche, but it kind of reminded me of ranch dressing. I can tell you it wasn't ranch dressing though. Anyway, the salt was very complimenting when dipping the radish in the salt before the cream. I was sharing a plate with Mr. Cupcake and CI. They weren't big fans so I ate most of it.

I honestly don't remember what was in this amuse. I know it was two types of citrus and a milky foam. I do remember liking this course a lot, but preferred one citrus over the other. Yes, vague, but at least I can say it was very good!

Here we have the pea croquette. The outside was nice and crispy and the inside was a liquid pea filling. Our server told us to eat it in one bite. I was a little concerned that it would be too hot, but that wasn't the case at all. The temperature was just right and the liquid pea oozed when I popped it into my mouth. It was fantastic.

The final amuse was the soft boiled egg with maple syrup and creme fraiche. From what I've read on various blogs, this is a signature dish. I can see why because it was lovely. The server advised that we scoop all the way to the bottom before eating. The flavor layering was very nice. I could taste the maple syrup which was very complimenting and not overwhelming. It was different and I enjoyed it very much.

This was the first of seven savory main courses. The main ingredient was foie gras and it was very interesting. The foie gras literally melted in my mouth. Normally, the texture of foie gras reminds me of butter, but this was different. It was light and airy but the soup that went along with it made it very rich. Some people thought it was too rich though.

Strawberry gazpacho with cucumbers and an almond (I think) was up next. It came with grilled strawberries pictured below:

The strawberries also had finely minced cucumbers. I preferred the gazpacho over the grilled strawberries. I found the grilled strawberries to be a little too tart for my taste.

This may have been my favorite course. It was cod with a potato. Everyone thought the potato was a scallop. I guess most of us didn't listen to the server when he described it. I was expecting a scallop when I bit into it and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a potato. The outside had a thin, crispy layer and the inside was soft. The cod was flaky, soft, and buttery. I don't think I've ever had fish cooked this perfectly before.

Here we have blackened sea bass with fresh spring veggies from their garden. There was some disagreement from the group over whether or not this fish was blackened. I think I remember the server say it was blackened so I'm sticking to it. Just like the last course, this fish was very well prepared, but I still liked the cod better. One of the nice things about this fish was the outside was crispy and complimented the fish nicely. It didn't have the rich buttery flavor that the last one had. I guess after watching so much Barefoot Contessa and Paula Deen they've made me into a butter freak.


Up next was veal sweatbreads and an escargot ravioli. Some of the people in our group weren't familiar with sweetbreads, so we didn't tell them what they were until they tried it first. I'm not really a big fan of veal or sweetbreads, but I figured I'd give it a whirl because it's always good to give things a chance. The sweetbreads were incredibly light and extremely tender. Again, a very different experience from previous versions of sweetbreads I've tried. The ravioli was only so-so. The texture of the snails were slightly rubbery which is consistent with other variations I've tried. Can't say I'm a big fan.

Here we have a goat curry with peas and a polenta ring. I have mixed feelings about goat. When I was very young, my family use to have a handful of goats. They were really mean, but I couldn't imagine eating them. Though come to think of it, we did drink goat's milk. Then one of my Indian friends fed me goat curry that his mom made and it was great. However, I couldn't help but think about Gail the goat from my childhood. Anyway, this goat curry was fantastic. It was extremely tender and the sauce was slightly sweet. I loved it and R couldn't get enough so he ate part of SH's. I think I'm going to have to get over Gail the goat and eat more goat in the future.

The last savory dish was the squab. This is the only dish that really did not work for me and the only dish I didn't finish. The squab was undercooked which I think was intentional as everyone else's was served the same way. The texture slightly rubbery and it just didn't do it for me. I guess I'd describe it like eating undercooked chicken. The wing was cooked a little longer and the texture was better, but I was still a little put off.

For the first dessert we were served sorbet cones. The flavors included peach, strawberry, and raspberry. I had a strawberry cone and the sorbet had an intense strawberry flavor. The highlight for me was the cone. It was a very light and sweet wafer. I wish all cones tasted like this.

Up next was sour cherries with a rice pudding ice cream. I was surprised they made rice pudding into an ice cream but it was quite good. Mr. Cupcake being the rice pudding fiend that he is wished that there was more ice cream. I thought the ice cream went so well with the sour cherries. While the cherries were sour, they were also sweet. It was a very nice combination.

Next we had a chocolate souffle with a caramel (I think) ice cream. The black sheet that looks like nori was a piece of dark chocolate. I wanted to like this a whole lot more than I did. The souffle was very light and airy. The chocolate flavor wasn't quite as intense as I normally like it to be. And, the chocolate piece was a little too bitter for me. It wasn't bad by any means, but the cherry dessert was definitely my favorite of the dessert courses.

We ended the meal with what looked like the same thing we started with. However, instead of a red pepper gummy, it was strawberry. I liked the strawberry better than the red pepper. It was a good way to end the meal because I don't think I could have eaten anymore.

So four hours later, we were all stuffed. Then came the bill. How much does something like this cost for 7 people you ask? Well, let me show you the tab:

It looks scarier than it actually was. Each person spent about $155 for the dinner including gratuity, a bottle of water, and a bottle of wine. It was definitely worth the experience and I'm looking forward to going back. However, I will skip the tasting menu and go with a three or four course meal instead. The portions are bigger, and my stomach was in some serious pain afterwards because I was so full. Part of that was my fault because they also served bread. If you go, go easy on the bread. Unfortunately for me, I did not heed our server's warning and ate too much bread anyway. No worries though; it was worth the pain.