Tuesday, October 13, 2009

San Francisco - Coi, Part 2

Here's a quick run down on what they could remember from the meal but, as in most food blogs or restaurants' reviews, words never do justice to your experience whether they were good or bad.

Summer, Frozen in Time - Plum, Frozen Meringue, Yogurt
The most memorable dish of the whole meal and perhaps the best dish during this trip. It was a literal explosion of flavors. Every spoonful of the icy pink-orange appetizer got a different part of your taste buds to work overtime. The frozen meringue kept the aroma of rose petals from coming out until it was melted in your mouth. The next dip into the appetizer you get the flavor of plum. It was best described by the now overused cliche, like a box of chocolate; you never know what you are gonna get. Only that, it was far better than any box of chocolate.

Melon and Cucumber - Aroma of Mint
After the spectacular first course, this continued to clean your palate while introducing you to a different set of flavors with green being the theme color.

Inverted Cherry Tomato Tart - Black Olive, Basil
Mum is not a fan of olives and she asked for the olives to be taken out. She didn't know what she was missing. The black olives were turned into a crispy top and added texture to the whole dish.

Chilled Piquillo Pepper Soup - Fresh Pole and Shelling Beans, Zatar, Nepitella
A gazpacho style soup which condensed all the natural flavors into another challenge to the taste buds. A quote came to mind:

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote in the Physiology of Taste, appearing in 1825, that Bertrand, the steward of the Prince of Soubise, used fifty hams for one supper, but only one ham appeared on the table, the rest being essential for his sauce espagnole, white sauces, and so forth.

A great dish should be something more than meets the eye. You just can't tell how many different ingredients that have gone into that simple bowl of soup. Mixing a lot of ingredients is the easy part, but creating the right mix takes years of experience and flair.

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter - Young Carrots, Burnt Rice, Cocoa Nib, Cilantro
Not their favorite. While there wasn't anything wrong with the dish, like most executions where the chefs tried to introduce the 4 (5 in the case of Cyrus's canapes, the fifth being Umami) basic tastes, they always tasted funny and never quite bring out the best of the food. Perhaps it's the natural human desire to enjoy the right mix.

Monterey Bay Abalone Grilled on the Plancha - Nettle Salsa Verde, Spicy Breadcrumbs, Lemon Zest
Pan-Grilled Matsutake - Potato-Pineneedle Puree
Both dishes were fine displays of bringing the natural flavors of the main ingredients. While the Chinese way of cooking abalone, fresh or dry, emphasizes on the sauces, grilling was a simple delivery. You can adjust the taste depending on how much puree or salsa verde you add.

Slow Roasted Lamb - Chard Leaves and Stems, Garum, Rosemary
Mum is not a lamb fan. She got a piece of beef instead. The lamb was perfectly cooked and very tender. But the most flavorful part was also the most unhealthy part, the lamb fat, probably shouldn't go into too much detail.

Cavatina - Sweet and Spicy Greens
PB&J - Niabel Grape, Pistachio Butter, Apple, Sorrel
Caramelized White Chocolate Parfait, Semi Frozen - Huckleberries, Anise
The cheese was tasty but nothing to write home about. Mum and dad liked both desserts. The Niabel grape tasted a bit like the Japanese Kyoho grapes.

Echoing the very first course, "Frozen in Time", it was well past midnight when they had their fresh chamomile tea to finish the night. The unhurried delivery of the dishes, sometimes by the chef, Daniel Patterson himself and the fading light through Japanese paper left you plenty of time to enjoy and decipher each dish. Time was frozen after all!!

Only when they left the restaurant and walked back to the hotel were they reminded the seedy surrounding area. Some zaftig blondes in super short skirt waiting outside the disco nearby waiting to be ushered in.

PS -

, the last item in the ingredient list, literally means picked from the forest. They were told, the small white alyssum flowers on top of the first course were hand picked by the chef from the forest.

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