Saturday, January 31, 2015

Celebrating Khoi's Old Age

Khoi turned 25 this past week! I asked him if he preferred that I take him out or make dinner, and he chose the latter so...I figured I'd be a bit creative.

Antipasto. Prosciutto, smoked gouda, fig compote, herbed balsamic and olive oil, toasted rosemary bread.

After nomming on our first course, he helped me prep the second course -- diver scallops. We followed this recipe, using tarragon and skipping the lemon. Separately, I prepped grits following package directions (+ arbitrary amounts of butter, heavy cream, grated parm, and extra water for creaminess) and stir fried some spinach, mushrooms, shallots, and bacon in advance.

Main course. Browned-butter seared scallops with parmesan grits, bacon, wilted spinach, mushrooms, shallots, and tarragon.

For dessert, I prepped cornflake, chocolate chip, and marshmallow cookies a day in advance following a Momofuku recipe. I'm too lazy to make the cornflake crunch listed in the recipe, so I just went for a shortcut by using plain cornflakes and it turned out okay.

Dessert course. Ice cream two ways.

Birthday boy, about to fill his second stomach with dessert ^^

Aaand I also made an ice cream cake for both Khoi and John, since they had a joint bday party the next day. I'm the designated cake person for most parties.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Columbus Restaurant Week 2015: The Refectory (Again)

"A refectory (also frater, frater house, fratery) is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools, and academic institutions." After decades of being a student, I've become so accustomed to dining halls that one of my favorite restaurants is a dining hall, albeit a fancy one. I've lived in Cbus for over a year now, and The Refectory is still one of my favorite restaurants in the city and where we chose to eat for Restaurant Week again this season.

Salmon, crayfish, and mushroom coulibiac with leek fondue and tomato shrimp velvet sauce. This is my favorite dish of the night, although I didn't quite know what a coulibiac was until I went home to google the thing.

Quail terrine with boudin noir, boudin blanc, pistachio, cranberry, black olive, and smoked carrot vinaigrette. I like their terrines (the one we tried last time was alpaca :O). The cranberries were soaked in wine and complemented the dish spectacularly.

Pan seared elk flank steak with chestnut confit and truffle bordelaise. I had to order this dish because I can never turn down something exotic when presented with the opportunity, since I've never tried elk before. It tastes like beef but a tad gamier.

Slow braised beef short ribs, bourguignon style with portabella ravioli. This was really good, especially the texture of the short ribs. I wish there was more ravioli...

Classic tiramisu and caramel and raspberry sauce. This was just spectacular but I'm a tiramisu fiend.

Chocolate bombe with almond tuile and creme anglaise. This was also quite good although a tad too rich for me since the bombe was essentially all ganache. I could only try a couple of bites.

Same place after dinner, one year later ^^

And on a different note, they have some hella creepy art in the foyer. Noticed this on the way out...

1092 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, OH 43220
(614) 451-9774

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Red Pearl Restaurant

In my mind, the concepts of Birmingham, Alabama and authentic Chinese food just don't go together. Yet, the city has one of my favorite Chinese restaurants -- Red Pearl. The restaurant used to be tucked away in a supermarket and occupied merely a hallway of space, and was frankly pretty ghetto, but they've expanded tremendously over the past year. My family ate here for lunch the day before I flew back to school and saw the beautiful new renovations (the restaurant is now almost the same size as the supermarket itself). 

The legit that it's no longer legit. Only a handful of Asians used to eat here, but the crowd has diversified significantly since the renovations.

Vege keke

Mmm cold spicy beef tendons ^^

House fried rice sticks. I actually didn't expect this, since I thought the rice sticks were chow fun since I freakin' love chow fun, so this was disappointing. But it tasted good.

House style tofu, my fave (but I'm a tofu fiend, weird ya). 

Sauteed snails. I know it sounds weird but these are great, and very few restaurants serve this even in bigger cities. This a gem of a dish.

Aaand they have good fortunes ever, instead of those open-to-interpretation BS fortunes that I've gotten recently from other places.

#Vulcaning at Vulcan Park on my last day of break. I look happy but I'm crying on the inside at the prospect of going back to school :(

243 W Valley Ave
Homewood, AL 35209
(205) 945-9558