Monday, April 11, 2005

Saturday: It's a blur

a blurry end to a long week Posted by Hello

This is me standing in the back of the kitchen after service on Saturday. To the left is the amuse busche station which I was assisting on with Michael or "fez". Behind me is the pastry station which fits 3 more people. So you are looking at the work space for 5 people.

I was a bit disappointed to see that this picture had come out so distorted. But then I realized that this was exactly how I felt at that moment. My eyes and thoughts were a bit blurry after the long day in the kitchen. Not only had it been a long week full of long days and more information than I could possibly absorb, but it was my first full day working in the kitchen. At about 11 that night my brain shut off. You are looking at me at almost 1 in the morning.

The amuse busche station was where I spent most of the lunch and dinner service. The first course we send out from that station is a very nice red cabbage gazpacho poured over a rasche of grain mustard ice cream set in a nest of cucumber brunoise. The color of the gazpacho is deep purple and as striking as the flavor.

Next we send a rock oyster that has been pulled out of the shell. The shell is then filled with a horseradish cream, the oyster placed on top of that, then covered with a passion fruit gelee.

After that goes a tiny eggshell like dish that holds quail gelee. On the bottom of the gelee is a fresh green pea puree. On top of the gelee is a rasche of liver and foie gras mousse that is absolutely delicious.

The next plate is a slice of a whole sardine that has been gutted and glued back together. It is served on top of dikon radish marinated in sesame with a sesame sauce and a rasche of sardine on toast sorbet with a tuille of superthin bread and Gruyere cheese.

A ravioli that is next reminds me deeply of home, Lampreia. Radish shaved super thin is laid down in a ring, then a ball of cheese, herbs, shallot, and truffle is set in the center and covered with more radish to resemble a ravioli. (It is very remenicent of the outstanding canneloni we did by laying out the same radishes in a sheet and rolling a bright tuna tartar inside and the pineapple ravioli we do for dessert.) Along side the ravioli is the pigs head terrine which might possibly be my favorite thing I have seen so far. The simplicity of the terrine is it's real beauty. The primal nature of the cheeks and temple cooked and layered is truly beautiful.

And for the lamb course on the dinner menu this station sets up a lamb gelee. It is lamb consume set in what looks like a fish bowl tilted towards you. on top of the gelee is a tiny haystack of a salad with herbs and julliene of radish and a few other things that I can't remember.

I was also helping a little on the pastry station. And for as little as I did physically on that station I spent every spare moment trying to memorize what goes on there. They have 3, 5 and 7 course desserts. The first course is always a carrot lolli, a cube of jelly candy made with beets (which I am determined to learn how to make and take the method back with me), and a little tart shell with a round of blanc mange flavored with basil. Next is tiny ice cream cones made from something called brick paste. They are sooo very cute and filled with layers of rose granite and apple ice cream. This particular recipe of Apple ice cream is made by a woman with the last name Marshal who invented the ice cream cone in 1854 or close to it. It is the only ice cream in the restaurant that is made with cream. The others are made with milk and milk solids. The fat in the cream is said to coat your tongue and prohibit the flavors within the ice cream from reaching your tastebuds. I have yet to taste the ice creams so I'll have to get back to you on that one. I am not, however, an ice cream fan, as I don't often like the fatty tasting nature of them. I much prefer a nice sorbet.

At the end of each diners experience and along side their coffee a tiny tartelette filled with rose praline is served. Rose praline is a confection from France. A red candy shell of bumpy texture coats an almond. These candies are ground and made into a filling for a tiny tart. It's quite nice.


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