Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vegas Baby 2015: L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon

The View From Our Seats
This trip we finally managed to make reservations at L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon in MGM Grand. Because this was our first night in town, we ate early, 5:30, and at least in the beginning had the place almost to ourselves. We decided to make our choices from the the Prix Fixe Menu B. The wine list, not surprisingly, is extensive and expensive. Even so there are plenty of bottles well under $100. We chose an Alsatian Pinot Gris at $60 that worked well with nearly all of the courses.

Shortly after being seated the cute bread basket arrived. The mini-baguettes were perfect tiny versions of their full size parent. The little boules are labelled as sour dough but were extremely mild.


One of Robuchon's signature recipes and apparently the standard amuse in all his restaurants. Foie Gras parfait, port wine reduction and Parmesan foam.  Creamy/salty/sweet and the Pinot Gris suited it wonderfully.

Cold Entrees

La Dorade Royale
The menu translates this as "King Snapper" but here in the USA it's "gilt head bream". A "ceviche" presentation on a little puddle of cilantro cream. Excellent and rather surprisingly tasty with the Pinot Gris.

La Tomate
Beth had the tomato dish - a *very* spicy gazpacho with a blob of buratta in the middle. This was the only dish that didn't pair well with the wine we chose.

Warm Entrees
L’oeuf de Poule
My choice - a poached egg, smoked salmon, frisee salad and crispy kataifi on top. This will show up as a first course at our house for sure.

Beth's choice - creamy sweet onion soup. This was so thick and sweet it almost tasted like caramelized squash soup. I have no idea what the crispy thingy on top was.

We both chose the same plats. This is the Salmon - a pair of very gently grilled salmon batons with an artichoke salad. Artichokes are a good reason to have a Pinot Gris.

And the quail stuffed with foie gras and the the famous pommes puree. There's a little herb salad there too. That was a pretty good size quail. The breast portion wraps the little nugget of foie gras. Beth was getting pretty full at this point - I snagged her quail leg and thigh.

Beth's dessert (yeah, we split 'em). From left to right, Cinnamon, Lemon, Strawberry, another citrus, and Chocolate. At this point these were actually too much for one person.

Ice Cream
And my dessert - berries, raspberry sorbet, and ginger ice cream.

Yikes! That was pretty expensive. It was actually about 40% of what we spent in Las Vegas (not counting gambling of course) but we're pretty cheap. The MGM Grand room was "free" via MyVegas as were several buffets where we loaded up at late breakfasts so we only needed a very light meal in the evening.

If you have any interest at all in what Robuchon is about this is the way to do it.

Up Next - Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender 18: Music, Cars, Burlesque!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Terrine de Foie Gras

Expensive? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Hard to make? Nope. Terrine de Foie Gras is just about the easiest of the old time “haut cuisine” dishes to make. Just duck liver (the foie gras) a little sweet wine, salt and pepper. Here’s how it works:

The Liver

This is by far the hardest part: cutting out the various veins and nerves. And it’s not really hard, just messy and time consuming. Neatness doesn’t really count since we’re going to jam everything into the terrine anyway.

You end up with a pile of liver and a pile of veins and nerves

The liver goes into a bowl with a little salt and some sweet wine. I used the traditional Sauternes, but Bocuse and others call for Port. I suspect that any sweet, deeply flavorful wine will work just as well. Once well mixed the liver goes into the refrigerator for a couple hours.

Then you just jam everything into a small (that’s a 3 cup) terrine lined with plastic wrap.

And into a bain-marie in a 200° F oven until the internal temperature reaches 115° F.

Pour off the tasty duck fat and save it for fried potatoes. Press the contents of the terrine for a couple hours, then back into the ‘fridge for a couple days.

While the terrine is settling in, make the Sauternes Jelly. If, like me, you bought half a bottle of Sauternes you’ll have almost exactly the right amount left over to make Sauternes Jelly.

Two days resting in the 'fridge and there you have it!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chili Chocolate Bars

This is an incredibly delicious (and easy) recipe for miniature chocolate bars inspired by the ones from elBulli 2005-2011.  It has just 4 ingredients and takes maybe half an hour to make.

Chili Chocolate Bars
Recipe by William Colsher

  • 125 grams Sugar
  • 2 Tbs Water
  • 1-2 grams Aleppo Pepper Flakes
  • 225 grams 74% Chocolate

  • Cooking Directions

    1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.

    2. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil.

    3. Continuing boiling until a golden caramel forms.
    4. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly.

    5. Carefully stir in the Aleppo Pepper flakes and pour the caramel onto a silpat. One gram of Aleppo Pepper flakes will give the chocolates a pretty subtle heat so adjust the amount of pepper to your tastes.
    6. When it has hardened break it into large pieces and store them in an airtight container.

    7. Temper the chocolate using the water bath method.

    8. While the chocolate is tempering mill the caramel to a coarse powder and return it to the container.
    9. When the chocolate is tempered, open the bag and pour it into the caramel container.
    10. Fold the two together. Be sure to scrape up the caramel powder lurking in the corners of the container.

    11. Pour a blob of the chocolate onto a mini-bar mold and smooth it into the forms with an offset spatula.
    12. Set the filled mold in a cool dry place to set.

    13. Release the bars from the mold, trim, and serve.

One gram of Aleppo Pepper flakes will give the chocolates a pretty subtle heat so adjust the amount of pepper to your tastes.

This recipe makes enough chocolate to fill three of the little mold that I used. If, like me, you only have one mold you can just float the container back in the water bath while each batch sets up. Be sure to dry it carefully before you open it for the next batch.


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