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Le Bernardin

3 Jun

It’s been months since I last posted, but I did not have much to live for let alone write for.  Recently, Blister, the doctor, recommended that I eliminate all seafood, dairy, gluten, fruit, and nuts from my diet due to my severe allergies.  For weeks, I suffered.  After a recent visit to my allergist, she finally set me free and advised that elimination diets create super allergies.  Yes, Avengers allergies.  Blister the saboteur.  When I informed her of my allergist’s medical opinion, she just laughed and said, “I helped you lose five pounds, didn’t I?”  Blister, the cause of my demise and BDD.

Due to my unreasonable diet, the thought of writing about food killed me.  Now that I can eat again, let’s discuss New York.  Years ago during my freshman year in college, I went to New York to visit some friends.  It was my first trip to New York as an adult, and I was excited.  A bag, a bus ticket, a few girlfriends, and a lot of spontaneity led us to a weekend in New York.  As soon as we arrived, we realized spontaneity was slightly overrated.  There were three 18 year old girls without accommodations in a big, scary city.  In our minds, the nights would be full of so much partying that making reservations of any kind seemed futile.  But once the parties , after parties, and after after parties were over, we were homeless with no where to go.  Luckily, a friend who resided in the NYU dorms, snuck us in to the study rooms where we slept like squatters.  We slept under the desks and used the chairs as camouflage. We lacked blankets, showers, and pajamas, and used our one bag filled with hoochie mama disposable tops as a make-shift pillow.

Fast-forward 13 years.  Still filled with the same excitement and girlfriends in tote, we were on our way to New York City again.  This time, we had hotel reservations at … the Waldorf Astoria.  As we walked to our room, I noticed this.

Ooooooh sheeit.

The foyer.

The living room.

The view from the living room.

The formal dining room.

The kitchen.

The master bedroom.

The second bedroom.

The third bedroom.

As I walked around this palace fit for a Zamunda King, I imagined how many homeless 18 year old girls could sleep in this place.   Like Papi Chula said, “Sisters are doin’ it for themselves.”  And we were.  Not only did we have showers, but we had an unlimited supply of Ferragamo shampoo, conditioner, and soap.  As hard as it was to leave this mansion, we had to go to Le Bernardin for Blister’s birthday dinner especially since a significant deposit was required just to secure the reservation.

Amuse bouche

I’m not usually a fan of sea urchin, but as of late I have grown fond of it. I’m especially fond of it when it’s topped with salty caviar, a wonderful way to wake the taste buds.

Caviar-Wagyu

For my “Almost Raw” starter, the blend of Nebraska wagyu beef and langoustine topped with a generous layer of caviar was worth the $45 supplemental charge.  The pepper Vodka crème fraîche fills in the chewy bites of tartare for a creamy well-rounded bite.  Instead of layering the tartare on the provided “Ruffles” potato chips, I preferred smothering the delicious blend on the warm bread that regularly circulated throughout the night.

Because Blister and I are geniuses, we ordered different dishes and shared them to try more of the items offered by the silver fox Eric Ripert. She ordered the tuna– layers of thinly pounded yellowfin tuna, foie gras, toasted baguette, chives, and olive oil.

The tuna was a vibrant orange and beautiful to look at, but it was mediocre in taste.  It tasted like tuna and the foie gras had a pasty consistency that did not seduce me like foie gras usually does.  The wagyu kicked the tuna’s ass.

I ordered the langoustine for the “Barely Touched” second course.

The langoustine was perfectly seared and succulent.  I always face a dilemma when it comes to fleshy shellfish.  On one hand, I want to pop the entire morsel of succulent meat into my mouth.  On the other hand, it’s so delicious that it should be slowly savored.  Lucky for me, Mr. Ripert gave me two.  One to slowly savor with small bites and the other to completely devour with my eyes closed.

I also enjoyed Miggy’s Sea Medley.

A beautiful display of the ocean’s gifts in one small little package, but the best part of this national treasure is the smoked bonito broth.  It is the perfect warm temperature touched with a hint of uni and caviar.  When I die, I imagine God welcoming me into the gates of heaven with a cup of this smoked bonito broth.

For my third “Lightly Cooked” dish, I asked the waiter for the fish that the contestants on Top Chef had to replicate seasons ago.  The waiter had no idea what episode I was talking about and brought other waiters for further investigation.  They caucused and agreed it was Mr. Ripert’s striped bass.

The top layer of skin was not crispy enough.  After watching that Top Chef episode, I was expecting a  super crispy and flaky top layer.  The fish itself was perfectly cooked, but I did not like the black-garlic Persian lemon sauce.  It had a sharp bitter flavor that I could not identify but it tasted like star-anise’s cousin.  I would have enjoyed this dish more if the black-garlic sauce was substituted with the smoked bonito broth.  In fact, just pour that broth over everything.

For dessert, I ordered the apple-cinnamon which consisted of cinnamon caramel cream, green apple foam, candied walnut, and red wine caramel.

I took off its hat and found this:

It tasted like a modern apple pie.  The “hat” was crunchy and light, and the sauces swirled to make the most perfect bite of apple pie.  Even though I hate foam, it really worked in this sweet treat.  Ending this three-hour meal with apple pie and a hot cappuccino was the cherry on top.  Of course, I had to instruct the waiter to add the splenda before the cappuccino foam … a first for the barista according to the waiter.  I hate when the splenda gets caught in the foam and not in the cappuccino.

I was so full that I could not even touch the after dinner freebies.

I understand why Le Bernardin is ranked 19th best restaurant in the world.  It is definitely two whole Michelin stars greater and better than Providence and Melisse.  Although I no longer will rank restaurants on vacation due to my tendency to love everything because I’m on vacation, anyone who enjoys seafood should pay the proper deposit, make a reservation, and enjoy.

Blister loved her birthday dinner, company, and conversations of placenta, daddy dicks, and your usual girl talk.

Le Bernardin
The Equitable Building
155 W 51st St
New York, NY

 

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Meet

4 Mar

Blister made me drive from OC to LA to look at bridesmaids’ dresses.  Her demand was based on her time spent on putting a face full of makeup on a Saturday, the day she does not wear makeup.  “I am not going to waste this makeup, come to LA. I even have primer on.”  I told Bubby I had to go to LA because Blister already put on makeup and his response was, “What’s up with you sisters always needing to go out if you have makeup on?”  Well, it takes time and effort to put on a face of makeup.  It’s a waste to just stay home if makeup is already on.  Might as well make the most of it.

I picked Blister up and said, “Let’s go look at dresses, heifa.”  We found a beautiful dress, but it seems that we are the only 2 people who think it’s beautiful.  Interesting.  Do we have above average taste or are we blind?  We couldn’t make a decision that day, but we have to make one soon.  After trying on dresses, Blister and I decided to go to Meet French Bistro in Culver City.  Meet used to be Bistro De L’hermitage before it closed.  It wasn’t very good so I understand why it closed.

We arrived and were seated immediately by a waiter who looked like a French Clark Kent with better vision.  We ordered the escargots, French onion soup, mussels, and french fries.

The escargots a l’ail was served on  a puff pastry with garlic and parsley butter.

The escargots were soft and tender and drowning in rich butter.  Blister said the puff pastry tasted like a Ritz cracker.  Overall, scrumptious.

My French onion soup arrived.

The wine reduction in the soup was way too strong.  It tasted more like wine than soup.  Not good.  But the string of cheese is always a plus.

Next, our mussels and fries arrived.  We ordered two kinds of mussels: the Meet mussels and the Provençal mussels.

The Meet Mussels (top picture): Crab, shallot, saffron, tomato confit, celeri, bacon, basil, chablis
The Provençal Mussels (bottom picture): Steamed in white wine with shallots, garlic, tomato, thyme, fennel & fresh tarragon

The Meet mussels are so good.  Huge pieces of crab and bacon in the crevices of the mussels.  I could drink the broth especially since it tasted better than the French onion soup.  The Provençal mussels actually tasted like pizza.  It was really bizarre.  Pizza.  If you go to Meet on Wednesdays, you can have ALL YOU CAN EAT MUSSELS.  That’s a really great deal for you mussel lovers.

The fries.

They were hard and bleh.  I like me some good ole fat steak fries.  These were the opposite of what I enjoy.

Meet was 3 claps decent.  The escargots were tasty, the onion soup was not.

I showed this picture to my mom.

Me: Mom, what does this look like to you?
*She squints her eyes … looks closer … and then widens them as much as she can.
Mom: Dear Heavens, it looks like a pussy.

Yes, she said pussy instead of vagina.  She’s hilarious.

Mélisse

15 Feb

I hate Valentine’s day.  I love the day, but I hate dining out on the day.  Several years ago on a Valentine’s day, Bubby took me to Michael Mina in San Francisco.  I love Michael Mina.  The food was incredible at the Michael Mina in Las Vegas, so I was extremely excited to try the Michael Mina in San Francisco for Valentine’s day.  When we got to the restaurant, the tables were so closely placed, that the couple next to us was basically sitting on our laps.  I understand restaurants are trying to seat as many tables for their overly priced prix fixe menu but this was absurd.  But for some delicious food, I don’t even mind having another couple sit on our laps.  The main reason I hate dining out on Valentine’s day is because I cannot stand the lovey dovey couples making out at dinner.  It’s inappropriate and makes me lose my appetite.  I understand it’s the day of love and a little bit of hand holding and public displays of affection are the norm.  But if you are sitting side by side with your legs weaved together and making out, I hate you.  (Side Note: I love asking couples how they sit at a table in a restaurant.  If couples sit side by side, the man is into the woman’s body.  If couples sit across from each other, he’s into her mind.  If she sits on his lap, they’re just horny.)

So for Valentine’s day, I love going out on February 13, National Mistress Day.  February 13 is National Mistress Day because everyone has to celebrate Valentine’s day with their husbands and wives.  Since the actual day is reserved for legitimate partners, February 13 is the next best thing for adulterers.  I love going out on this day because I love to judge all the adulterers.  It’s like being in a live version of a telenovela.  I’m also praying that one day, an angry wife will storm into the restaurant and catch her adulterous husband feeding black truffles and caviar to his mistress.  Hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

For our mistress meal, Bubby took me to Mélisse –one of the two restaurants in LA with 2 Michelin stars.  The other being Providence.  The Michelin ranking system is that one star indicates a “very good cuisine in its category”, a two-star ranking represents “excellent cuisine, worth a detour,” and three stars are awarded to restaurants offering “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”.  I don’t give Michelin stars much thought because they are not alway accurate.

Our meal took two hours.  The service was slow and the wait time between courses took a long time.  I think the restaurant wanted us to enjoy the moment but I just got really sleepy.  The bread man finally arrived and provided an array of breads including olive, sourdough, dinner roll, brioche, among others.  Bubby loved the brioche.  He ate like 5 of them.  I asked for some brioche and gave it to Bubby.  He said, “And that’s why I’m marrying you.”

The amuse bouche: Red grapes covered in goat cheese and pistachios

These pictures are really dark because they sat us where there was no lighting.   I love grapes and cheese so this was a nice refreshing starter.  Bubby hates goat cheese, so I ate two.  More for me, I win.

The second amuse bouche: Orange slice with olives and some kind of orange and pistachio gelée

This was served warm.  I did not care for it.  I do not like the gelatinous texture.  The flavor was okay.

While waiting for our first course to be served, the couple sitting next to us was definitely having an affair.  Bubby leaned in closer to their table and reported, “… they’re talking about adultery… something about a marriage’s vitriol … yeah … definitely … other woman.”  Homeboy was leaning so close to their table that he almost fell over.  And I said, “And that’s why I’m marrying you.”

First Course: Bubby ordered the “Hot and Cold Foie Gras” Artichoke, Mandarin and Lavender

The foie gras on the left is the cold version and the foie gras on the right was the hot version.  This dish was blessed by little baby Jesus.  He walked from heaven on his baby legs and blessed this dish.  The cold foie gras was creamy and the hot foie gras was succulent and warm like a hug from the inside.  I cried a little.

For my First Course I ordered the Blue Fin Tuna Abalone Gelee, Shiitake Mushrooms, Fennel and Fingerlime

This dish was super gelatinous and oceany.  I do not like the smell or taste of the ocean in seafood.  If I did, I’d be a lesbian.  This dish was not for me.  I had one bite and gave the rest to Bubby.

Second Course: We both ordered the Maine Lobster Bolognese Fresh Capellini, Truffle Froth

Why must they ruin a good thing with froth? Every time Marcelle from Top Chef adds froth, it looks like cat spit and makes me want to flip the table like a New Jersey housewife.  I don’t care if it’s truffle froth or liquid gold froth, it looks like Miso’s vomit when he throws up on an empty stomach –just pure bile.  Besides the froth, the pasta texture was soft and really good and the lobster should have been cut in bigger pieces. But overall, this dish was so salty.  Super salt lick salty.  I had to down 2 glasses of water after I ate it.

Third Course: We both ordered the Filet of Beef and Braised Cheek Crushed Potatoes, Morel Mushrooms, Béarnaise, Natural jus

The upper left corner: crushed potatoes
The upper right corner: braised cheek
The lower right corner: filet of beef on a bed of morel mushrooms in natural jus
The lower left corner: fried Béarnaise

The braised cheek and filet of beef were so salty.  And in the corner of the plate? More salt.

You know when food is so salty it cuts up the sides of your tongue?  I felt that.  It was like a salt bomb exploded in my mouth.  And by this time in the meal, I had already drank like 6 glasses of water.  The crushed potatoes were bland and Bubby said, “It’s like the potato salad you get at Ralph’s.”  Ouch.  The braised cheek was tender and flaked off with a fork and the filet was perfectly medium-well just like I requested.  I enjoyed the texture of the mushrooms, too.  But the best in show was the super fried Béarnaise.  Once you cracked it open, the sauce oozed out.  So creamy and dreamy.

Love.

Dessert: Assorted Mélisse Dessert

The dessert theme was chocolate and strawberries.  How fitting.  In the foreground, was a pastry of gelatinous strawberry and chocolate layers.  Back left is more strawberries in chocolate with chocolate ice cream next to it with liquid nitrogen blasted strawberries.  The strawberries were good, the chocolate? I’m not sure.  I don’t like chocolate.  Bubby ate the chocolate so ask him how the chocolate was.

On the other side of our table, was douchebag‘s sister.

Why are all these Asians bringing their big ass cameras into restaurants?  When did this become okay?  Her pictures are probably better than mine so maybe the joke’s on me.

Would I give Mélisse 2 Michelin stars? Absolutely not.  I would barely give Mélisse one fat Asian Michelin baby.

Yes, that’s me in all of my roll glory.

I give Mélisse 3 slow claps + One fat Asian Michelin baby because of the foie gras.

Mélisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA