Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Fondue

We (Mrs & I) have become inordinately fond of Chocolate Fondue.

We set the chocolate pastilles in the pot and the tea-light 45 minutes ahead of time

(say when we sit down to dinner).

It’s amazing how well it works.

We don’t pre-heat with a microwave or anything.

Is it called a tea-light cuz you could make tea this way too?

The hardest part is having the fruit on hand.

The second hardest part is avoiding 3rd degree burns on my finger from scraping the bowl when the fruit runs out . . . 8^) . . .

But I will never learn . . . .


Sunday, December 19, 2010

SaSaZu - Prague

heard about this restaurant since we got here, just never went over there . . . read somewhere it wasjust a rip-off of the Tao in Las Vegas ... not exactly true . . . very similar, but ambience lacks a little somewhat in the barn-like atmosphere... still, if the restaurant was full, it would be ok . . . all the decorations are Thai . . .
Mrs saw going in their Michelin Bib award and got excited, but I said, 2nd tier, dear, 2nd tier . . .

we almost didn't find it hidden in behind the flea market at Vltavska, but it's easy to get too, the second time...I was so frozen I ordered Horky Saki right off the bat -- well, yeh, I woulda done that anyway, but I pressed upon the waiter the urgency!

the waitress did her duty and talked us into one serving at least from each category . . . too much food, but we ate it anyway. . .
first we had Empire Saigon Roll and Hong Kong Roll . . . the waitress was kind enough to structure our orders lightest to heaviest. . . we were instantly transported . . .the saigon roll was good enough as it was, but the dilly white sauce for it was picquant as all get out, when we finished the staff whisked it away before we could lick the platter. the Hong Roll was more -- ordinary in a very good way, an excellent execution of the expected, rather than unexpected is what I mean . . . as if Vince Lombardi were a sushi chef. All the flavours, burns, picques we have come to love in asian cuisine were in both of these dishes.

the Hanoi Shrimps were just to die for, the sweet prawn flesh contrasting with the spicy coating; the soft (not rubbery) contrasting with the crusty spicy coating. came close to blows over the odd shrimp.
my least favorite dish this day -- which is to say, I only noshed it with ecstasy . . . maybe too much meat with the losos AND tunak, but the black sesame sauce had Mrs scratching her head and me rubbing my tummy. Exquisite.
I never seen pad thai like this, wrapped in a crepe for serving . . . not sure about it . . . I like the presentation without the crepe, but whatever, dude. Was very, very good once I broke the skin and stirred it around a little bit, looked normal again....
as you might imagine we were totally stuffed by now . . .we weren't sure how to plate our servings but I just heaped the glass noodles onto the lettuce leaf then drowned it in curry and ate it with my fingers and let the juice fall where it may. messy. but of the picquancy that one cannot stop devouring . . . like at the Tandoori Times in Scottsdale, where I start shoveling lamb vindaloo with mint and chilli chutney in my mouth washed down with hot chai, delirious with exquisite agony until every last ort is et. This was like that too. Washed down with our 3rd round. Hadda be done. 

something so sensual, no, sensuous -- is THAT right? -- about Thai Chilis.

apparently they have a cooking school too. what an interesting idea. Tao doesn't have a cooking school. They do have a disco, and I like to buy the house music CDs when they have a new one, but SaSaZu doesnt. so see, it's totally different.

They're seriously in danger of getting that Michelin Star, too, I think.
Next Visit:
Cha-zu-Rha. . . one of those roll-your-own dishes . . . put the chicken & banana roll into the lettuce leaf garnished with the fried onions, noodles, and basil, and dip in the sauce. This is one of those savoury delights only possible in oriental cuisine.

Steam dumpling with ginger sauce. Never gets old.

Chicken Sate.
Spicy Crispy calamari. After we finish fighting over the last ort, we look at each other and wonder "where did all that food go? That pig must have hogged it all".

Stone Oven Duck with Mandarin Pancake. A small letdown . . . but maybe the previous dish(es) had blunted our appetite.

Still had room for Coconut Tiramisu. A very pleasant and refreshing change from the standard.

We just love this place. Horribly expensive, but worth it, sometimes, when the cabin fever reaches a , er, uh, fever-pitch . . .if you see how I mean . .. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Spago's Leipzig

making a wish on Faust's Foot...
I'll have to do this entry in 2 tries . . . We haven't downloaded Mrs' photos yet.
We went to Dresden & Leipzig for the Xmas Markts. I'm not saying it was worth it, but it was fun and we did have some fine meals.
But I really wanted to go to Auerbacks Keller in Leipzig. Not only is it Michelin Rated, but very old and historical. Goethe was inspired there for a scene in Dr Faustus. Whatever pre-conceptions I had about the celler were blown away: nothing dank or mysterious about it, it's under a very modern upscale mall now. So the steps down look very inviting, very wide and marble. At the top of the stairs are two statues, one of Dr Faustus, where you can rub his foot for luck, and then some action scene from the Play. But the bummer was that both restaurants were booked for private parties. Could not get in.
So we hoofed it over to the Westin, where the Falco is also Michelin Rated, but it was fully booked too. We had gotten spoiled just walking into the Caroussel in Dresden I guess. We did not book.
So, as a last desperate chance, we groped our way in the cold dark streets over to the Radisson, to Spagos. It was almost deserted, but we ate there anyway . . . not tooooo bad. . . 8^D . . .
There must be a fancy name for Goat Fat, but Goat Fat is what the waitress called it ... as an Amuse Bouchee' we found it lacking ... but we keep finding the outer limits of our palate, as with stinky French Cheese of some sort we never did identify ... this one was easy to disdain after a nibble, in the name of dietary prudence.
dam' this blog-software!
not enough Moet-Chandon in the world to wash down goat fat, we didn't try... notice the tiny fountain of bubbles only in the centre of the flute... nice!

Mrs had Pumpkin Soup with Pumpkin Seed Oil.
But I had Foie Gras with Lukewarm Stewed Apple . . . you can look it up in the menu . . . Lukewarm, hmpfh.
Mrs had a Caesar Salad with Chicken for her main . . . is Spago so uncertain of their Caesar that they have to load it up with a whole chicken, or is this Saxony Gluttony in action? Too much. . . made in the kitchen, too, not at the table.

I had Bison in Porto Glace with mushrooms. Again, too much. But I ate it all. Absolutely deliscious in a irresponsibly gluttonous fashion...8^D ... Tender and Lean.
Went for the Penfolds Kalimna Shiraz . .  . can't go wrong with Penfolds ... reminds us of our happy days in the OZ ...
No dessert ... it was all we could do to waddle back to the hotel in the freezing temperature.
The Cob and the Pen

Waiting For Santa

so, yeah, the first one is just funny - there was another with this same mannequin, in the same staging, in the same block of stores -- at least I think it was the same mannequin . . . I don't want to offend any mannequins or mannequin-ites, but I think it was the same model . . . unwrapping a cylindrical package, oh, say 10 inches long and 2 inches wide . . . I didn't get that picture cuz it didn't register on us till later . . . if you know how I mean . . .
but I just like the wrap-around skirt. Very Chic.

Foetal Position Angst

there was this, which gives me the opportunity to re-post something that was in PRG, in front of the National Theatre @ staromestska . . .I couldn't even tell what the illuminated sculpture was till my daughter pointed it out . . . then it was obvious . . . but, compare and contrast ... discuss among yourselves till I get back . . .

Martin Luther Leipzig

humpf. so Martin Luther posted his 96 Theses on the Church in Wittenburg, not Leipzig, but it IS still Saxony . . . so .... there ya go.

Walk In A Snowy Woods - Prague 2010 Winter

I hear of France being polarized, er, paralyzed, by the Great Storm of 2010, so that people were unable to get to work the last week of November.
And in Germany, of trains, turning around, and returning to Prague because the track was under snow.
So I guess it is not so bad here . . . we can still get around, but mass transit was very unreliable all last week. Even this weekend there are still large sections of the sidewalks and streets in PRague 1 & 2 that are un-cleared, which makes trudging over the cobblestones very precarious and miserable.

Stasi Museum - Leipzig

The building in Dittrichring, which is popularly called the "Round Corner", used to house the Leipzig STASI (secret police) headquarters until 1989. It was one of the focal points during the Monday Demonstrations which lead the way to the peaceful revolution German reunification.

Today it is the home of the Museum in the "Round Corner" documenting the "power and banality" of the GDR secret police.

Free, unlike the Museum of COmmunism in Prague. More straightforward and dignified, less informative, and less entertaining . . . no English, only Deustche. The Banality is all of the sample documents they show of spying, professional, confessional, and amateur, on their own people. Instructive, I believe for all Nationalities, but now, especially to Americans. I am of two minds, that 1) we are already there, but 2) we are not quite there yet, to the same degree ... if you see what I mean . . . but these would be clews:
  • if your bedroom looks like this . . . you may be living in a Fascist State
  • if your bedroom door looks like this . . . you may be living in a Fascist State
  • if your day is full of difficult converstations under duress . . . you may be living in a Fascist State

Rooftop Cafe -- Key West

An Awesome Cocktail. Frozen Key Lime Mango Mojito. Make sure you say Frozen!

Mrs had this crabcake. It was awesome, too. Crispy, sweet, fishy, saucy, picquant.

Gnocchi with Crab Chunks. I might have suggested they were Pirogis, instead, but that was NO imitation crab meat!
Some kinda fish . . . this pic is no good, but the food was, probably... Mrs says she just kept looking at somebody elses steak & lobster, enviously.

I am such a sucker. In key west, I order lamb chops. They were great, but it was a case of my internal inertia over-riding the optimal choice which would have been seafood, I think. I knew it, but I couldn't help it, and I don't regret it. . . course those Mojitos have a way of ameliorating your regrets, too...

I don't know whose prawns these were . . . and I suspect someone else took this professional quality photo. I feel a Homer moment stealing open me . . . pra-a-a-a-a-a-a-wns . . . .. doh!