Monday, March 25, 2013

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Sometimes its harder to keep it simple and show restraint. This simple garlic and oil sauce will have you eating it straight out of the pan.    

1 1/2 cup - Pasta Water
1 lb - Spaghetti
1/3 cup - Olive oil
8 - Garlic cloves (sliced thin)
1/2 tsp - Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup - Parsley (minced)
1 cup - Parmigiano Reggiano (grated, plus extra for serving)
Kosher salt

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.
2) Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan - add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
3) Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. 
4) Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
5) Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the parsley and Parmigiano and toss well.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Degustation 7 Course Tasting Menu

I am a man of little faith.  I have no faith in religion, humanity, or trusting the choices in a tasting menu.  I threw caution to the wind and allowed my meal to be dictated by the chef's 7 course tasting menu:
Amuse Bouche (Croquetas): in typical fashion, I put the entire bite sized piece in my mouth only to realize that the inside was hot lava. I vented my mouth, let the steam out, and went through with my commitment to eat it in one bite (my options were to spit it out and look ridiculous, douse it with a mouthful of water and lose the flavor, or to commit and risk a burned mouth).  Luckily, I got through unscathed and the croqueta had a nice crunchy outside and savory creamy inside.  
1st Course (Pimento Soup): I was a little disappointed by the simplicity of the soup: pureed pimento peppers and garnishes cut too big.  My nervousness set in.  
2nd Course (Charred Vegetable Salad): We received a beautifully plated dish, but it was just quickly charred carrots, micro-sliced apple/radish, and cauliflower.  My panic was in full effect ("what have I done!?").
3rd Course (Soft Scrambled Eggs with Potato Foam): The only reason I was upset with this dish is that I didn't have more.  You could really taste the "essence" of both the egg and potatoes....that's right, I said essence. I put less and less of it on the spoon because I didn't want it to end.  My faith was starting to get restored.
4th Course (Sea Bass): Which sadist invented the tasting menu?  The sea bass was perfectly cooked and I wanted more than my Oliver Twist serving....I'm starting to sing "Food, Glorious Food" to myself.   
 5th Course (Cavatelli Pasta with a Littleneck Claim): The cavatelli was cooked al dente and I couldn't get enough of the chorizo, butter, clam juice/pasta water sauce.  I looked at the server with puppy dog eyes hoping for another serving.  Damn you tasting menu!    
6th Course (Short Rib on Flatbread): I normally love short rib, but I wasn't in love on this course. The sauce was overpowering and I don't know why the flatbread was included.
Palette Cleanser (Pop Rocks and Pineapple): Pop rocks = sensory overload.  The palette cleanser was effective.
7th Course (Caramelized Torija): We watched the chef torch our dessert and we began dancing in our seats.  It was the perfect ending to the meal - the torija was a brioche with a pudding like inside (like french toast).  The caramelized crust completed the dish and me.

The restaurant is small, all seats face the open kitchen (so its like dinner and a show), and I'll faithfully return.