Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cape May Report

Monday was the 2nd time this month that we found superb softies at the Lobster House. Here is a 5+oz lively and tissue soft crab for 3.50! We tempura-ed these crabs and plated them with Vietnamese style pork ribs, crispy fresh home-grown Asian greens and rice. Sublime!

We did not try out the salts because they can be disappointing when the weather heats up. We did grab top necks. They were the briniest / sweetest clams ever. Even if the salts had been fine these were easily as delicious and bracingly tasty.

On my last visit to The Lobster House I ran into Mike Colameco!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

South St. Flea Market

It's excellent when the lil skippers are as entertained as their folks.

WholeFoods your community supermarket.

Friday, June 18, 2010

R2L Height over Hospitality

The Lil Lady and I both had high hopes for this spot. We hadn't read any reviews or asked around. Our expectations were based mostly on hype I guess. After dining and chatting about our experience at R2L I learned that the restaurant is not exactly held in high esteem by local critics.

Craig LaBan's 5/9/10 review mentions the nice view and here Laban straight up gushes, Oprah style, about L2R's culinary director and Aimee Olesky's ex Bryan Sikora. He opines that Bryan may be able to get things ship shape once he's in place.

Well that view IS pretty nice. The banquettes with window views are really swell, like Chicago style. But you know what? I was a manager in this building for years, and Cigna's corporate gym has a loftier view. Our executive dining room was 20 floors higher yet. L2R's view didn't put me in a spell.

If there have been improvements since Bryan joined up, things must have been dire. On our visit there were so many service flubs that a cranky patron might have walked out. Drink orders were missed. There were at least 2 different menus presented to our table. Clearing, crumbing and resetting were thoughtlessly haphazard. Timing between courses was way off. Desserts were cleared too quickly and more. As the service fiasco is proceeding, suited dining room managers and servers glided by our table again and again, blind to empty glasses, uncleared plates/silverware, unset places etc. It was infuriating.

Oh wait. Bryan is a chef. How about the grub? Well we were a 7 top and I got to see a few plates. The striped bass next to me was salty and bland at once. The scallop and belly it was plated with were nearly non-elements. It was a pathetic portrayal of a regal fish. I had filet of beef. I think it was about $40. It was on a par with the beef sold at SuperFresh, which is not bad at all. On my left there was an order for ribeye with Bearnaise sauce. But it wasn't Bearnaise sauce. The main veg being served was asparagus (no one is busy combing the farmers markets for anything lively and local) white and green with holladaise. Ok, maybe it wasn't hollandaise. If it was, it sucked. If it wasn't, it was a flaccid and wan goo. Nearly everyone had a cup of "french fries" on their plate. These were crisp and salty and not hot. Just OK.

The millionaire cocktail was tasty and there was a vanilla cake dessert that was fragrant with a luscious texture. We were served a plate of mixed ices that had vivid flavors. Calamansi was a treat! The lobster roll appetizer was flat and pricey. The truffled flat bread app was tasty but way salty. The risotto balls were crisp but not interesting. The olive tapenade was good for a street snack. The table bread looked good but it was gone in a flash and barely replenished. Coffee service for 5 was presented with about 1/2 oz of warm milk. Please someone explain!

All of which is to say that this was a regrettable dining experience. If you read the R2L restaurant critics they are all about the inventiveness and wit of his cuisine. If you read the R2L page they talk about spectacular food and dining, "a unique interpretation of Creative American Cuisine." Not so much. More like ineptitude on the floor matched by flatness in the kitchen. The cuisine was pretty much oblivious to the season and the quality of the $$ priced ingredients was only average. Many essentials of first class hospitality were absent. No amount of hype or height can cover that up.

The view really is pretty nice.

UPDATE: I believe I might owe Chef Sikora an apology. I learned recently that he was a part of R2L for a very brief time. Sorry Bryan.

Seattle Cop Vs. Slovenia Goalie

Have you seen the cowardly cop that winds up and cracks a 17 yr old girl in the face? So many things are wrong about that:
1- He's punching a lady in the face after her friend jay walked.
2- He punches like a woman himself.
3- It looks like he connects with her with all his force. He knocks her
neither down nor out.
4- If he tried that maneuver with anyone who could fight, a man for example, he'd get clocked. Then things would get even uglier.

Anyhow...I wonder if the Slovenian keeper and the cop might be related?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buffet Dismay Minado Sushi

Sushi Buffet........YIKES it sounds wrong. Geographically Minado is only a short shuffle from Blue Fin. Cuisine wise these spots are separated by several light years. This "Buffet Restaurant" in Norristown had me tricked for a few minutes. When we settled in the dining room I was relieved to see the place was thick with Asians. A few minutes later, at the buffet, many of the staff appeared to be Mexican. Back at the table it all came together. Frugal Asians eating 'sushi buffet' assembled by Mexicans. This post could simply have been : Minado Sushi Buffet NO.

Really nothing at all was especially enjoyable. I tried 20 or so different items. Each slice of fish had the same gritty, dipped/treated texture. I would defy anyone to ID their sashimi blindfolded. The rice was clammy, pasty and under-seasoned. The sauces were flat, overly diluted and, seemed to me, assembled from low quality ingredients. There was no sense of a Japanese culinary aesthetic.

Our server was attentive and friendly as were the guys at the buffet.

The price is low but the grub is woe. Don't go.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Media Farmers Market

On Thursday we visited Media's Farmers Market. This charming market had folks who were super friendly and some super tasty products. That ground beef made an outstandingly tasty burger. The crispy fresh garlic made its way into a batch of cucarachas.

Next week we'll be there with canele and coffee.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Le Vache de Chalais

Lil lady came home from Quince market with this tasty chestnut leaf wrapped creamy, creamy treat.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Divine Dacquoise

On Monday I celebrated my B'day. The lil lady ordered a special cake from Jessie Prawlucki, pastry chef at Fond. It was extremely special and the most delicious B'day cake I've ever tasted (sorry mom).

Besides the catch-your-breath beauty of the cake's decoration, the buttercream and meringues were amazingly perfect.

In the pic the chocolate glaze exterior is a bit shredded.The reason: we roll old school with no air con, so the car ride to the beach was a little too hot for the chocolate. The flavor did not suffer at all.

Jessie thank you so much for a b'day cake that excelled all others.

HeadHouse Last Weekend

Last Sunday the market was flush with great stuff.