Wednesday, September 29, 2010

great wine, great food , great people !

I must say , when it comes to food and wine Italian theme is always my first choice . It was a lot of work , but worth it every single minute of it. There is something about cooking for people who enjoys and appreciates good wine pairing and having good time. I was very happy with food coming out of Americano kitchen. Iwas way too busy take picktures usual .. but here are few of them !!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Very exiting Tuscan wine dinner at Americano

Monday, September 27 we are going to have Giancarlo Guariere of the Lanciola winery at Americano.

He is a professional chef who trained under Ferran Adria at El Bulli (one of the most famous restaurants and chefs in the world). His family owns the Lanciola Winery in Tuscany, wines which Giancarlo sells as he travels the globe. Giancarlo also operates a restaurant with a 600 bottle wine list in Florence

Wine Moturra Orvieto (Umbria) – An organic white with that is crisp, delicate and lingering, the producer is a friend of Giancarlo.

Goat cheese and tomato bruschetta

Wine Villa Calcinia “Comitale” (Tuscany) – a fuller bodied, richer white blended using Vernaccia and Grechetto grapes. Comitale means “from the Count”, a new release from Count Sebastiano Capone from Villa Calcinia, another friend of Giancarlo.

Arugula salad with market fresh fruit and spiced walnuts

WineLanciola Chianti Fiorentini 2006 (Tuscany) – A Chianti from the Fiorentini region (one of the seven districts of Chianti) with a lovely red hue, ripe red fruits and hints of chocolate, spices and minerals.

Ribiolita, tusan white bean stew with pancetta , tomatoes and leafy greens

WineLanciola Chianti Riserva “Le Massa de Greve” 2004 (Tuscany) - From the heart and original region of Chianti, a red with an intense ruby hue with spicy red fruit, medium structure and a persistent finish.

Local Butternut squash and Anson Mills Carolian Gold Rice Risotto and seared diver scallop, fresh bacon, Chianti syrup

WineLanciola “Terrice” (Tuscany) – A “Super Tuscan” blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with intense color, a full and complex bouquet of oak, vanilla and hints of cinnamon with a rich and silky texture and long finish.

Grilled Long Bone pork chop with garlic ,rosemery and sage , Anson Mills Blue corn polenta, spinach

To Finish !

Shaved Pecorino Toscano with fresh fruit !
I'm very exited , please join us to meat a master and taste pair from haven. Simple rustic italian foods , with local ingredients to ma a wines shine !!!
Love to cook !

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dream Kitchen ...Finally happy !!!

Years ago...since I came to US and back when I was dating my wife, since we lived in small apartments and rentals, from the first house....finally I'm happy ...we just moved in in our new house where I have my dream kitchen . Kitchen I was dreaming to cook in and give me future inspirations to create my new food concoctions. I don't have my Tuscan wood burning oven for pizza in a inside , but oh well , it just came in all the way from california and already resting in my back yard waiting for the first Neapolitan pizza party. Oven curing process sux , takes 5-6 days ..who can wait that long...I want my pizza right now ! well... I waited very long time for this, so I thing I can wait just couple more days longer ! don't worry , pizza and it's pictures coming up soon.....
Once again....I really hope so that my new surroundings will inspire me for new creations , the once I can explore at my restaurant and share with all of you. Please Stay monday we have verry exiting tuscan wine dinner coming up at Americano....where famous wine maker and chef from Italy will enter my kitchen ...and all of you will be able to taste 5 wines with 5 food pairings... by the way this guy worked at super famous Al bulli in Spain, on of the best...or many people would say the best restaurant in a world I'm nervous too...

Final thoughts ......set is wife, kids, dog, wood burning oven and the kitchen ! Finally Happy ! It took only 36 years ! Life is Good !
Love to cook !

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's a live .....

Everyone who knows me already know that one of my favorite things to cook is Pizza.... artisanal Pizza I mean . Several years ago I ve got some sour dough starters from internet for my pizza and breads. But if you don't use them everyday becomes a little pain, because you have to babysit them all the time. So slowly I killed them ....oh well...
At Americano we make fresh bread daily...we ferment dough overnight to develop right flafor and then we just simply bake them. Couple week ago I decided to start my own sourdough starter from pineapple juice ( I read about that in a one of my favorite bread books from Peter Reinheirt ) ...well it totally works take can of pineapple juice, mix it with good quality ( I like King Arthurs ) flour ...wait couple days....create seed culture, then slowly by feeding it with flour create sour dough starter and use that instead of commercial east. Simple as that.... but when to comes to sour dough starter simple sometimes becomes complicated ...the thing is wold east lives in a specific regions. Sometimes when you trying to create you sourdough starter it could be could be ok...or could be terrible, when it comes to a flavor...thats why so many people prefers to buy it from trusted online sources ...specifically starters the ones hundreds of years old...from specific bakeries ... I would love to have sour dough starter from, Lithuania for a rye bread ...I just love that sour complex Rye bread taste ...which I can not develop over here in US . Also, I have an idea to use Russian sour dough starter from some day to see if its any close in flavor to my liking would be, in a memories of my Lithuanian rye which I love .
Anyways... Americano sour dough starter it's a live and now we use that to make our bread has complex not too sour flavor which everyone seemed to like it..It s just very dangerous not to eat whole loaf of bread with a stick of butter at once as soon when it comes out out the oven...
Love to cook !

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

making pasta

Sometime , when I feel " empty " in a inside, and I need more influence in cooking , I like to make something simple and satisfying . Making pasta may seem like a lot of work, but its really satisfying process for people who likes simply fresh delicious food. At Americano we just made really simply delicious Ravioli to represent this time of the year. Local fresh ricotta, sweet peas pure, mint and chopped spinach. Amazing. When I make fresh pasta I like to use equal amounts whole eggs and egg yolks, touch of milk, white whine and dash of vinegar, food processor until comes together and ready to go. Here is my secret for good pasta, step which you will never find in a italian books...have room temperature eggs..for a better flour absorption very important , I just like to speed up the process by filling warm tap water and add eggs ti it until gets little warm. Or...and I use equal amounts AP and bread flour and I like King Arthurs, for all my flour needs the best . Love to make , eat and serve pasta, specially with a glass of Chianti !

Friday, May 21, 2010

cook with no cooking spirit ....

Lots of thing lately going on in my house has been sold and been upside down lately, I'm geting ready to move ....fixing city violations ....trying keep up with restaurant..private party events....very little time for a family and kids.
Sure I can put something together at a restaurant to serve...and it it will taste good and look nice...I can make something tasty at home and eat just to keep me a life....but that will not satisfy passionate cooks need exposure to a real life ... start being creative again...go see the markets...other restaurants and chefs... cook for friends and fanilly on weekends...( one of my favorite things to dooo)....not just go in a rush from one place to another every day and worried that you will forget some thing or you not going to get it done in time. I know , this is what you call life...I just can not wait until it slows down a bit ...lots of exiting thing are coming...we probably will build our dream house for our familly...including my dream kitchen....and wood burning oven for pizza ?? summer is around the corner!...moving this weekend ...have lots of work to do...know Im craving my paella with glass of rioja....I will get to that in a couple of weeks ...I hope ! I just dont wannna be one of those beat up chefs ...who eats McDonalds s or Taco Bell at midnight in a car anymore...
Love to cook !

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Villa Calcinaia Wine Event

We had very special guest at Americano last night, Sebastiano Capponi, wine maker from Tuscany, Villa Calcinaia. He offers one the best chianti wines I ever tasted. We made very nice simple food to go well with those wine, simple food , dressed really simple. I was also very impressed with my oil cured st marzano tomatoes...they were just as good as tomatoes can get in this time of the year...not to crazy about Grande mozzarella curd....I have to say Micceli's does a better job on that...or maybe that was freshness...normally with mozz...fresher...the better...
Ravioli, with rainbow swiss chard and Micellis old fashion ricotta, very good ...not to many ravioli with riccota filling just tast like ...simple sweet ...lactose...ricotta ... tomato soup made with D.O.P. st . marzano tomatoes and Prosciuto di Parma broth ..and stewed Mozz...
Daisifield farm from Sundusky stuffed pork loin with chard , fresh pork sausage...white beans , braised with house made pancetta ... and simple Tirramisu to finish the meal... I know that he makes killer Chianti ....but what I was blown away is ...dessert wine.... Vin Santo...was soooo good ! So good ! I think I just found my favorite dessert , Im not dessert person, but give me this Vin santo at he end of the any meal , and that would be the best ...perfect dessert to me on it's own. Bravo !!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Great wine dinner at Americano !

Please reserve you spot at Americano, we have wine maker from Tuscany coming with great selection of wines, specially if you Chianti lover. He has one of the best Chianti's I ever tasted ...Not to often you can meet one the great wine masters, from Tuscany !!! We will match that with great food , and its only 50 $ a person ...Hmmm !!
Can not wait for this snow to melt....its time for a new produce and some menu change !!! Ahh...and get in a spring mood !
Love to cook !!! V
Check ou the menu at Americano website !!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

last day in vegas and back home in the snow !!!

Well, feel like sharing it the last and one the best " food feast " experience in Vegas. Day Started again at Monami Gabi, French Bistro just across the street from Bellagio, quick Cappuccino and Chicken and Spinach Crepe again, it was good , but not as good as my crape the day before with ham and Gruyere cheese . Next quick walk in a mall and wait to 10 am.,just in time, when famous hot dog stand got opened.

Pinks hot dog stand have been very popular and famous in Hollywood for many many years and made it's way to Vegas. When I was a kid, I was overfed with hot dogs and Bologna...In m my 20 tees I could not touch them and smell them...and I did not touch them and had them for more then 10 or 15 years. Then later, once in a while at a picnic or while we were on a road I started slowly consumed them . Up to this day, hot dogs gives me indigestion unless is good quality dog, not supper processed with garbage....because most of the hot dogs is made with meat scraps and garbage pcs....anyways ..that was one the best hot dogs I had in long long time....very good dog and good quality american way oversized topings...did not feel any " fast food " heaviness in my stomach at all...well, it was 10$ dog with saukraut, onion dill pickle relish avocado, tomatoes , bacon and sour cream...good good dog !

For Lunch I was too tired to walk and search anything else , and since my wife have not been yet at Monami Gabi bistro, I wanted her to try one of those crepes for lunch...
Well I knew , that I was not going to get crepes again, but for lunch they had seafood crepe...and I convinced my wife to get one of those...since for dinner we were going to Joel Robuchon...and that hotdog was still sitting in me ... I went just with few appetizers.. Coquille saint Jacques ( scallops gratineed ) and Snails ala Bourginon ( escargot ) both were exelent prepered very traditional way...and my wifes seafood crepe was superb... I have seen seafood crepes on was some pasty leftover stuffing inside...this was not the case...nice morney sauce and crab inside and two jumbo seared scallops and prawns on top...delicious .
We were stuffed and happy.....quick hot stone massage at Belagio , just prepered us for our oncein a life time dinner at three michelin star french cooking legends restaurant at MGM Joel Robuchon .

There are only 26 three michelin star restaurants in a whole world. And I believe only 3- or 4 in U.S. In a beginning when we just walk in, I felt a little uncomfortable, we felt that we dont belong here..very friendly over the top french service..every wait staff member was french. Old fashion French decor...over the top...but it took us just couple of minutes until my wife said , that she really likes it here. Menu, we had only couple of option to choose from, 3 corse tasting , 5 corse, 7 corse or ......16 , yhes 16 ! since sixteen was out of our price rande and just sounded like too much food after eating all day and everuday... we went with 5 corse ...witch with all the extras turned out 8th.
First, it impossible to describe even if I say exelent and superb taste and experience of all these dishes...because even bread and butter at Joel Robushon is not anything what you can i just describe very briefly what we had ..
Custom made caviar tin with Joel Robuchon name on top ...osetra caviar on top , and very sweet fresh crab meat bind with natural seafood jello in the inside..
My wife had king crab and avocado with curry vinaigrette and I went with clams and buckweet tuile...superb...
Then, we both had chestnut puree soup, with smoked Lardo foam and lots of fois gras chunks ..over the top...Main wife- sweet spiny lobster ...and I had veal cheeks , braised with thai spices and in hell he does it ??? tender melt in your mouth ..sweet...I asked if that was cooked sous vide...he said no...old fashion way braised for 24 hours...which I don't believe...I bet that was cooked in a CVAP vapor oven for 24 hours...not in a french pot !!!
And what was outstanding...that they did lots of table side constantly rolling the bread card and deicripe over the top minutere bread, the once belong in a museum...and keep shaving counels of the big butter block from Normandy ( that were one the best butters coming from )...
Dessert... Im not a dessert person...but it still was very well wife had some passion fruit jello concoction with frozen ice ( probably with nitrogen )....and I went with warm chocolate cake and coffee ice cream and little choc cup on top filled with some white chocolate liqueur ...
then we thought that we are done...but no wait...another card is rolling by the table....table side soft serve ice cream preparation with sugar tuile ..vanilla , caramel and raspberry sorbet,that is not it comes another card and ....theese 35-45 different chocolate candies ...or French BON BONS...are arriving ... we just could not decide we just asked our waiter to pick some for the most memorable was white chocolate limoncello truffles..and..befor we get a check ...tats not it...Little Joel Robuchon Bag with a book....and citrus Marshmallows in box to take home...everything was over to top even when you get that sweet dont feel any bad feelings ...just satisfaction ...and "it was worth it " ... actually ..I would rather have dinner like this 3 times a year...versus going every time to just ok or bad restaurants and spending money... My wife told me that maybe Im good chef ...but I will never be Joel Robuchon...well ...Agreed ..Joel Robuchon is a french cooking god and legent and hes only one in the world has the most out of all other chefs michelin star restaurants... Now I know...that some time in near future I would love to try to go time to Thomas Kellers French Laundry ...another countries best there michelin star restaurant in Nappa Valley .
Time to go back in the kitchen and cook ....Peace !

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day Three

I was on my way to Mandalay Bay...and accidentally founf this classic french Bistro called Monami Gabi, serving classic french food, so I decided to get a bite to eat for breafest there. Inside very classic french decor and atmosphere , i ordered crepe with Gruere cheese and ham and brioche toast with butter and jam. Perfect. Buckwheat crepe was one of the best I ever had...and I had and made many crepes in my life...

Next Im on my way to Hubart Kellers Burger Bar to Mandalay Bay. Decor and atmosphere inside little too fast foodish and it was something missing ...and he sells surf and turf burger and his famous 60$ burger with froigois and truffles... French butter was still sitting in went leaner which is no good when it comes ti burger , but it was good choice ...Buffalo burger was very very good... little messy presentation for Hubart Keller I must say !
I past Aureole, too bad they were not serving Lunch....I would love to have a something there...sinse I have history with Aureole in a past in New York city..where I did my cullinary intership...
While shopping in Caesars palace we spotted spago, my wife was hungry so we dicided to tru Spagos famous Pizza...It was well done , but nothing special...CPKA has exactly the same ...

Palazzo row where Mario Battalis and Joe Bastianich place was ...normally we dont eat at italian restaurants too offen...but if if you want italian ..this is the place to eat...Very nice decor and atmosphere has all his famous stuff from Babboo cook book...lamb brain ravioli, tripe alla parmiagiana etc.. sinse my wife was with me and she siad that she was not in a mood for tripe or lambs brains ...we decided to split pasta with rock shrimp and fried cuttlefish and calamari...pasta was good as it can get ...calamari little too salty....great wine selection ... the best part was theur brad stick the ones they welcomes you by the table ...

Next I could not resst on the way back ti the hotel stop again at Thomas Keller Bouchon...and yeas we did...Glass of wine...pate de Champaign...french onion soup, Brandade ( satl cod and potato ) fritters...was the perfect way to finish all days feast... I cant even tell you how much I like Bouchon..and French food made the right way... it was very hard though not to get his pom frittes again...but it was just no room in our stomach..tired ..its a bed time...tomorrow we have reservation at french Legends Resturant Joel Robuchon...we were lucky to get reservation will be interesting !
Peace !Love to cook and eat

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day two

Day two began with very long and really cold walk from Bellagio to Palazzo , Venetian Tower were legendary Thomas Kellers Bouchon Bakery and Bistro is located. Quick Cappuccino and choc croissant and P&B Brioche to from the Bouchon Bakery and sure then I was on my way to Bouchon Bistro , on a 10th floor. I have all of Thomas Kellers cookbooks and tried many his recipes , but I had no idea , that that man simple food can transfer to such a extraordinary level as such..simple Quiche was custardy , creamy delich served with fresh green salad with fresh tarragon, and I new I had to try his Pom frittes.....ladies and gentlemen...his Pom Frittes was something..How does he do it ?? What was so special about his fries....You gve got to try it to understand !
On my way back I checked Bobby Flays , Mesa Grill...but back in a days I did not good experience at his new york restaurant was good....but nothing special..many looked little too boring for me..and they didn't have on the menu his famous garlic Tamale , which I was looking to try ....

BLT Burger ( Bistro Laurent Tourondel ) was my next stop...I'm sucker when it comes to a goof burger...Burger is same thing like pizza could be sooooo goood or so bad ...many factors gets involved to build a better buiirger. And sure this country has to offer more bad ones and properly made ones. A beer and a Kobe burger trio was my choice, since they serving Black Angus CAB burgers ( same the ones I replaced with Pat La frieda at Americano) ....They were ok with blue cheese ...2nd with smoked bacon...3rdwith caramelized onions.. Disappointment was that I order them medium and they came well done.. Don't worry Cleveland , Michael Symons B spot is way better... My Americano burger is way better ...Next day I will going to Hubart Kellers Burger Bar , so Im looking very forward to that...

Todd Englich Olives is here at Bellagio, and I really wanted to try his Signature flat bread with figs prosciuto and blue cheese. what disappointment that dish was...salty overpower blue cheese even more salty prosciuto with super sweet figs...way too many of them out the balance..and one burned corner...overworked tough dough.... was waste of 17 $ and space in my stomach...

Dinner one of the best sushi joints in whole world ..NOBU . Chef Nobu Matsuhitsa. In a past couple of years maybe my palet got changed or maybe all sushi joines in Cleveland went decent place left is Pacific east in Coventry..( chef use to work at Nobu ) when I want sushi I use Nobu books technique and recepies for my sushi rice and try yo hunt the best fish for sushi to make it at home. Dinner at Nobu.. will leave memories in me till the rest of my life. we choise to do tasting and had I dont even remember 7-9 corses ...and we let them pick what to bring us .. ...every single bite was excellent and better then the other one.. if you have not had a sushi at Nobu probably dont know how sushi and sashimi should taste. That all I can say...everyting was melting in a mouth..with simple dressed flavors ..Yellow tale sahimi, Tasmanian Trout, scallops and black cod lettuce wraps, lobster tacos, scallops tirradito, fillet of beef with uni butter and cabernet soy demi, and nigiri sushi with albacore tuna, bluefin tuna and snapper... and bottle of dry sake to wash it down..Absolutely out this world of my maybe so far the best dining experience i ever had... Thank you Nobu is a reason why you are one the best in a word and I know why, Robert de Niro invested money in your restaurants...
Can not wait to eat more..
Love to eat and cook ! Peace !