Tag Archives: caramel

Fran’s Chocolate

7 Jun

Before my doctor-ordered “Survivor” starvation diet, I tried to investigate what caused my allergies through a trial and error process. At one point, I seriously thought it was gluten, the new food enemy. Before gluten, the food enemy included trans fats and complex carbohydrates, but now everyone collectively hates gluten. Recently, Bubby and I had a very profound conversation about the serious effects of gluten.

Me: I think I’m allergic to gluten.
Bubby: What?
Me: I think I’m allergic to gluten.
Bubby: Really?
Me: Yeah, really.
Bubby: No, really as in you’re really telling me this as you stuff cake in your mouth?

And just like that I was all for gluten again. The next food I eliminated was chocolate. Chocolate was not as difficult as gluten to forego since I am not a chocolate fanatic. I do love chocolate cake (the flour kind), but not chocolate chocolate.  People seem to lose their shit when I admit this, I hear responses like “What do you do when you’re on your period? Don’t you crave it? How can you hate chocolate? What’s wrong with you? I’m such a chocoholic! Dark chocolate is the best! The darker, the better! Once you go black …”

I’ve heard it all. Despite everyone’s judgmental and unsolicited opinions, I don’t really like chocolate.  So imagine my surprise when I devoured these bad babies called Fran’s Chocolates (a Seattle staple) given to me as a thank you gift from Mimi.

At first, I was hesitant to try one.  But I have an extremely salty palette, and I love all things salty.  I was strictly ordered by Mimi to place the chocolate square upside down, salt side down flat on the tongue, wait 5 seconds, and then chew.  After hearing the detailed instructions, I immediately thought what a little high-maintenance bitch of a chocolate.  I hate when food comes with instructions, it’s just so bossy.  But fortunately for me, I followed the lengthy instructions and was so glad I did.  The salt lingers on your tongue while you chew into the rich caramel center.  This isn’t your ordinary caramel either.  It’s not the super sticky kind that pulls all 18 fillings out of your teeth. It’s the deeper, richer good shit.  The chocolate is not your typical chocolate either.  It’s darker than milk, lighter than dark but perfectly accentuates the flavors from the salt and caramel.

Fran’s Chocolates kicks every boxed chocolate’s ass like Godiva’s, Russell Stover’s, See’s, Whitman’s.  The real question would be whether it would kick La Maison du Chocolat’s ass.  Because LMDC chocolate is like crack.  Just dirty crack that makes you lose your job, your savings, and relationships.  I definitely will need to conduct a side-by-side tasting between the two.  *Adding to bucket list.

Thank you, Mimi.  You really do give the best gifts.  I ate every square and only shared a few with Blister and Bubby.  In fact, Bubby was looking forward to them as an after-dinner treat but I told him I was on my period and craaaaved chocolate.

Fran’s Chocolates
https://www.franschocolates.com/store/home.php

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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