Palmettos on the Bayou, Slidell Louisiana

August 2019

Really enjoyed staying in Slidell Louisiana last year while working at nearby Stennis Space Center across the state line in Mississippi.

Very nice town. Lots of history here and lots of really good local restaurants with great southern cuisine.

One place we went to while there was Palmettos on the Bayou.

Continue reading Palmettos on the Bayou, Slidell Louisiana

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Tim’s Paella Party

Had a very fun filled afternoon and evening over the weekend at a friend’s beautiful enchanted hilltop estate in Placerville California celebrating our friend Tim’s birthday at his annual Paella Party.

Tim and his wife Joanne made a delicious paella that was fascinating to watch being put together and cooked over a few hours. They’re pretty good at it as this is now their 5th year hosting this Paella Party and there’s always a good turnout.

Everyone in attendance brought something to add to drink and eat at the feast and it was all great!

Needless to say, there was plenty of good food, good wine, good friends and good times were had by all.

A Culinary Dream Come True

To start off with, I’m a foodie. I admit it.

I’m a food geek who not only really enjoys cooking all kinds of cuisines at home, I’m also an obsessed eater who goes out of my way to search out great food and drinks every where I go. Since I travel for my job, that has presented a lot of opportunities to dine at many different restaurants all over the United States, Asia, London and Amsterdam (so far).

In addition to food, my other obsession is photography and so I tend to take a lot of food related photos and videos. For this culinary adventure I made a short 4 minute film with a montage of photos summarizing the foods and wine we dined upon. Keep reading below for the details behind all the photos and be sure to check out the truffle shaving presentation included in this video as well.

Read on…

Last night we dined at a great place in my own state that is world famous and located a mere two hour drive from my house in our country’s famously great wine region, Napa Valley.

I’ve been reading all about this restaurant for years, watching food and travel shows about it, hearing stories about it from friends who have gone. Every time this restaurant was brought up, my anticipation grew exponentially year after year – for nearly fifteen years.

Even my foodie heroes Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert and Michael Ruhlman did a really cool show about their experience dining at this restaurant.  (Click this LINK to watch the 20 minute episode about their visit)

I’ll be honest, dining here has always been at the very top of my bucket list. I was really happy about finally getting to go here, I am still excited about it days later.

My good friend John who wrote a book about wine and runs the wine review website www.y9review.com had the idea for getting together and going to this restaurant a couple months ago to celebrate his birthday. Since I had just turned the big five oh a few weeks prior, I figured we’d make a huge celebration out of it… and we did.

He called and made the reservations and we were set.

We all waited with immensely great anticipation for those two months until the day finally arrived. January 16th, 2016.

The French Laundry is a 3 star Michelin rated, James Beard award winning restaurant located at 6640 Washington Street in Yountville California and is owned by Thomas Keller.

This restaurant is consistently in Restaurant Magazine’s Top 50 Best Restaurants List and  has won Best Restaurant in the World several times. Anthony Bourdain, who’s been filmed dining around the entire globe on his shows No Reservations and Parts Unknown said The French Laundry “is the best restaurant in the world, period.”

That works for me, and after last night I can say I wholeheartedly agree.

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We had reservations for a 5:30pm seating for our group of six consisting of myself and my wife Ronda, John and his wife Shawn and Michael and his wife Tiffany.

We arrived a few minutes early and checked out the restaurant gardens across the street and then went inside to get started.

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Once we were seated we ordered an exclusive bottle of bubbly that is only sold at The French Laundry,  Modicum, “Schramsberg Vineyards,” Extra Brut, Blanc de Blancs, North Coast 2011. We then placed our orders for the Chef’s Tasting Menu with a few of us ordering a couple of the optional upgrade supplements.

My fellow diners John and Michael (who are wine experts) talked to the sommelier and had her do a custom wine pairing leaving the selections in her very capable hands. All she did was ask for a price range and region selection. She did not disappoint us. We enjoyed some very fine local Napa wines along with wines from Burgundy France.

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The service at The French Laundry is simply outstanding, and very friendly.

For each plating, new and unique dishware and silverware were brought out and napkins were replaced frequently as well. It was interesting watching the staff of four change out our tableware so often and it was interesting seeing and dining on the different types of plates. The wine glasses too were all different and very fine for every different wine we had, which made each sip taste all that much better.

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To start we were brought out their famous traditional canapes.
The first starter was Gougéres which were savory cheese puffs. The second starter was their famous Salmon Tartar Cornet with sweet red onion créme fraîche.

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For the first course we had the upgraded supplement option which was Royal Ossetra Caviar with Maine Lobster “en Gelée”, Horseradish ‘Bavarois”, Fine Herbes and Oyster Crackers. This was paired with Weinbach, Pinot Gris, “Cuvee Laurence,” Alsace 2007.

It was delicious! Such interesting textures and outstanding deep flavors.

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The second course was Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm with Spice Poached D’Anjou Pears, Sicilian Pistachios and Garden Chicories. This was paired with Arietta, Sauvignon Blanc, “On The White Keys – Artists Reserve,” California 2011.

I actually liked this better then I was expecting, it was very tasty and textural.

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The third course was Slow Cooked Fillet of Wild Scottish Sea Trout with Ruby Grapefruit Confit, Caramelized Garden Beets, Wild Sorrel and “Beurre Maltaise”. This was paired with Jean-Philippe Fichet, Mersault, Burgundy 2013.

The trout was cooked perfect and tasted great.

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The fourth course was absolutely delicious, Sunflower Seed Crusted Stoning Maine Sea Scallop with Charred Eggplant “Panisse,” Compressed Persian Cucumbers, Globe Artichokes and Brokaw Avocado Yogurt. Paired with Giorgio Rivetti-La Spinetta, Barbaresco, “Starderi,” Piedmont 1998

The crust on the scallop was amazing, really good interesting flavors and the crunch of the crust made a perfect marriage of textures with the soft scallop. We were all amazed with the great tasting eggplant panisse.

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In between courses we were given their homemade butters, cheeses and breads to enjoy. The bread were baked up the street at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery.

Everything tasted absolutely delicious. We all loved the tasty cheeses.
Perfection.

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We enjoyed many different types of wines, they were all excellent and paired extremely well with each course that we were served.

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The fifth course was one of my favorites and was another optional upgrade supplement.

I planned on getting this dish for weeks. This was my first time trying real authentic truffles. Needless to say I was very excited to be watching the truffle presentation taking place before me at The French Laundry.

This dish was Carnaroli Risotto Biologico with “Parmigiano Reggiano” and Shaved Black Winter Truffles from Provence. This was paired with Giorgio Rivetti-La Spinetta, Barbaresco, “Starderi,” Piedmont 1998

The rissotto and truffles tasted really great, very delicate savory flavors.

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The sixth course was amazing and another first for me. I got to finally try Japanese Wagyu Beef. This course was another upgrade supplement that I had wanted to try for a long time.

The dish was Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu with Gold Potato and Gruyère “Rösti” with Garden Broccoli “Panade,” Sweet Carrot “Buttons” and Wild Mustard Blossoms. Paired with La Sirena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2006.

This was by far the best beef I’ve ever tasted.

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For dessert we had a variety of dishes starting with Andante Dairy “Mélange” with Golden Raisin “Pâte de Fruit,” Marcona Almond Shortbread and Cauliflower Cream. Paired with Philippe Foreau, Vouvray, “Domaine du Clos Naudin,” Demi-Sec, Loire Valley 2003.

I love desserts, I was in heaven.

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With desert we also drank a Cossart Gordon, Bual, 10 Year, Madeira MV and I had to try a good glass of port so I ordered a Cockburn 1983 Port. We finished things off with a couple glasses of 1953 Hill Vintage Cognac.

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Just when we thought the night was over, we all got invited to tour the kitchen and meet the Chef de Cuisine, David Breeden.

This was an amazing way to cap a night of the best fine dining we’ve ever had the opportunity to enjoy. Seeing the kitchen and crew where the “magic” happens was very cool to get to see.

We are truly fortunate people. This was the dining experience of a lifetime.

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Cheers!

Ristorante Savini, Amsterdam NL

While working in Amsterdam I dined out nightly at the local restaurants.  There were many great ones to choose from, all featuring authentic dishes to their ethnicity – it was foodie nirvana!

This night I dined outside at an Italian restaurant called Ristorante Savini, Cucina Italiana.

Located at Spuistraat 1D, 1012 SP Amsterdam, their website can be viewed at http://www.savini.nl/eng/index.php

Dining around 9pm is uncanny in Amsterdam as it does not get dark until 10:30-11pm. The late afternoons seem to never end, which is a good thing.

Tonight I had the beef carpaccio and house penne pasta with Italian sausage.

Beers and Pubs in Amsterdam

I recently traveled to Amsterdam for work during June and again in July and found the food and dining there to be absolutely outstanding!  So many choices of great food and beverages were to be found everywhere all within walking distance while staying at the city center in Amsterdam.

This is the beginning of a series of articles and photography of restaurants and pubs I visited during my travels to London and Amsterdam in June and July of 2013.

This first in a series of foodie related photos I’ll be posting. This first set are photos of various brew pubs and beers that I visited and tried while in Amsterdam.

Worthy Brewing in Bend, Oregon

In case you were not aware, there are a lot of breweries in Bend, Oregon.

You’ve probably heard of Deschutes Brewery and maybe 10 Barrel, Good Life, Cascade Lakes Brewing, Boneyard, Solstice, Silver Moon or one of the other of the many breweries in Bend. There are a lot.  Personally, I’ve been to nearly all of them over the past year while traveling for work in the area, it’s been fun exploring the culinary scene there.

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Well, I have to tell you that now, there’s a brand new brewery that just opened in Bend – called Worthy Brewing Company and I have to note that it is now #1 in my book for best  Brew Pub in Bend Oregon.

Worthy is located at 495 NE Bellevue Drive, Bend, Oregon http://www.worthybrewing.com/

This brewery and restaurant are a sight to see, it’s a large industrial modern building with an outdoor raised bed hop garden, hop green house, a full scale brewery and a very nice restaurant section.  The wood rafters and the bar top in the restaurant are all made from recovered wood from an old insane asylum in Oregon where the movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” was filmed.  So right from the start, this place already has built-in history, that’s pretty cool.  Needless to say the ambiance is outstanding.

Worthy Brewing Company

Hop Garden

They have a very good seasonal chalk board beer menu at Worthy. They not only serve their own beers, which are all very good, they also have guest taps with other beers and ciders from all over the west.

Beer List

The food is what really pushes this place to #1 from day 1. It is outstanding! They have a really nicely tiled wood fired pizza oven that they use to make great tasting pizza’s and entree’s.  I’ve been there 4x’s so far and every thing I’ve eaten has been excellent.  Some of their pizza’s have a wow factor with their creativity using a melding of delicious ingredients with a great tasting wood fired pizza crust.

Irish Pizza

To round it all out, service was impeccable.  I could not have asked for anything better.  My beer glass never ever sits empty, and my food is always served promptly.

Two big thumbs up for Worthy Brewing Company!

Beertopia

The Kitchen Restaurant, Sacramento Ca

What’s to say that hasn’t already been posted a thousand times already about The Kitchen Restaurant? Simply put, this place is the best. Everything is top notch. It’s spendy but well worth it.

Dinning at The Kitchen is equally all about great fresh ingredients, expert preparation, and outstanding entertaining service.

The Kitchen Restaurant
2225 Hurley Way, Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 568-7171

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The following photos are of executive chef Noah in action.

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Filleting Salmon

While at Costco yesterday we were looking to buy some salmon.  They have farm fillets, wild fillets and to our surprise they had whole salmon for $4.99 a pound.  We decided to get the whole salmon and I would fillet it myself.

This is about the biggest fish I’ve purchased and I figured I would fillet it and smoke half and save the other half for grilling etc.

This was my first time filleting a salmon and I think I did ok.  Made two very nice fillets and managed to get all the ribs and pin bones out a-ok.  Even manged to scrape the bones and get a cup of meat for the cats to enjoy, they went nuts over the fresh salmon bits.

The whole salmon at Costco


Ready to begin filleting


The carnage aftermath


Two nice fillets