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 !

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day one !

Pizza at Wolfgang Pucks Brasserie and Jean Georges Vongerichten " Prime".. in Bellagio ! I was not planing to visit W pucks places...but since we accidently were passing his newest creations WP Bistro and Brasserie , we decided to try his famous Pizza. And I hope everyone whos knows me , know how I feel about Pizza...It was not his any famouse Spago Style Pizza out of wood burning oven...but it was very well done !!! Cracker style Pizza that everyone loves...lite...crispy ...perfect balance ...Black Truffle cream , wild mushrooms, was empty and new seemed that they had to lots of serves issues to solve napkins...slow ...etc... but worth to of red wine and pizza and we were ready to go for a next dining adventure...
One of my favorite chefs...Jean Georges Vongerichten ...I have all of his books... has restaurant in Bellagio "Prime ". It's a steak house....I have never been to a steak house....and probably will never go...but Prime was a excellent choice. looking at theur menu was little boring and disappointing, but I new that Jean Georges would not be there where he is right now...So I had a good feeling... Very Classic place, Classic decor...excellent 5 star service and suuuuuuper informing waiter ..with lots of knowledge in food ...even I got some steak aging ideas, the ones will apply some time in my carrier in a future ... Steak Tartar and capriccio to start with taragon Aioli...was good...but not great ! Then waiter was pushing me to geat fillet on a bone, prime dry aged or porterhouse....but fillet is my least favorite steak ...and porterhouse ...has fillet which usualy gets overcooked ion a one side , by the time strip steak gets cooked I went with 14 oz prime 14 days dry aged strip with 3 pepercorns and red onion compote ... and my wife had a Tasmanian lobster...but i was more interested in presentations and sides...condiments more then a steak... My steak was excellent ...I should stay the best I ever had...came with Violet Mustard which i was dying ti try for a years... Bernaise sauce, soy- rice vinegar sauce, miso- mustard, and red peppercorn ...all of them we he very good...side ...gingered sweet potato puree, broccoli, onion rings...even broccoli with fresh shaved parmesan and tempura onion rings were superb..My wife's Tasmanian lobster was very good, but we both agreed that main lobster or canadian is just as good or maybe better..I thing no human being made to eat that much food ...but we did...I did...14 oz of meat...what a experience...later I paid my price ...that hunk of meat was siting in me all night long...I was having very hard time a sleep ...tomorrow ..more food to eat ..Thomas Keller Bouchon ..BLT Burger...Olives and NOBU ...
Love not only to cook ...but to eat too !
Peace V

On a mission !

4 nights in Vegas...not my type of city...I don't gamble....I don't like too many these type of people around me ...shows..??? Hmmmmm ... Wy wife is here for work conference ...So basically she will be gone for a whole day... I joined her just get out of that miserable snow in Cleveland... Las Vegas .....has only one thing in comment which I like FOOD ! My mission is to visit as many cool and famous restaurants as I can and bring home some new menu ideas and inspiration....
One thing for sure....I/m not going to eat at buffet ...and Denny's ..Thats for sure !!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pizza one more time !!!

My pizza gets more and more attention ...good...because thats one of my favorite topicks and things to cook ! Everything matters when making pizza...quality flour..hydration %..olive oil in dough...fermentation time...ball fermentation time...ball time much toping to put ... When it comes to pizza there is no recipe ...there is formula and technique..remember less is more and quality matters... ! At Americano we make bread daily using no knead make my pizza , I use no knead takes time , but very little work. To make my bread or pizza normally it takes two days, You need that long fermentation time to develop natural sweetness and flavor, thats also why quality flour matters.. I use organic or reg King Arthurs unbleached AP flour...I heard that in a west coast ( Gusto brand is a good one )...if you can get your hands on a Caputo Blue pizzeria flour thats even better...many people uses bread or high me...that makes too bread y crust...Im looking ...crisp on a outside ....foldable...and fluffy and airy in a inside...Fresh mozz is must..use not the one is packed in brine..or get some curd and make you own...its worth it ...san marzano Dop tomatoes ...buzzed with hand stick...salt pepper and sicilian oregano or fresh oregano..and good quality imported parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly quality EVOO and fresh basil... I use minimum 1.8 depends in a summer , when is hot I would use even room right now in a winter was about 65 degrees... Makes 4 balls about 8-9 oz each !
3 cups og ubleached King Arthurs Organic or reg flour
1/2 cup fine semolina or also called durum wheat
2 cups water about 75-85 degrees ( room temp )
1 tbsp evoo
1tbsp kosher or 1/2 tbsp fine sea salt
1/8 to 1/2 tsp yeast depending on room temp
I use no knead method just combine everything by hand...cover and ferment at room temp for about 5-6 hours..then place overnight in fridge 12-24 day portion ...and make firm dough balls..8-9 oz each..pace on a cooking sheet ..rub with olive oil...plastic wrap...and ferment for another 6-12 hours or overnight in a fridge.... dough should be very sticky...and its hard, but possible with some experience handle it.... Before bake it pre heat oven to a highest setting 550 , with pizza stone, for and hour...bake for about 4 min..then finish under the broiler with a dour open for another minute or so... at home I bake my pizza on a cleaning cycle ( do that at your own risk ..please )...I pre heat oven 525 for an hour...then crack cleaning cycle..for another 20-30 minutes...that pushes my oven temp to 600-650 degrees..and bake my pizza..takes about 3 minutes... is also important...have 50/50 reg flour and corse semolina mixture...before you shape dough you dip the dough ball in a flour mixture..that helps with sliding from the pizza peel...and when it cooks develops nice outside texture. Good luck...and remember ! To make pizza is fun ! There is nothing more satisfying than properly made pizza...but there nothing worse..than bready...dough wih lots of oil in it or shortening...grease toping ...sugar in a dough and tom sauce... heartburn after .... and feeling full and discussing after you eat a slice.. My favorite pizza in town in at Crostadas pizzeria in Highland heights... I would love to try Pizzaiolo in Pitsburg , A16 in St Fransisco... and Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix ...well maybe some day...for now ...I keep making them at home !
Love to cook Pizza ! V
P.s. here is revolutionary no knead method if you not familiar with it !

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vegan Diet is finally over !

Well, my 30 day vegan diet is finally over, and I just would like to share some thoughts about it. First I don't believe in any kind of diet...its proven by many experts that eating natural whole foods...not processed or prepared in balanced is the best you can do for your self and your family. However , being on a vegan diet for 30 days was a not an easy thing to do, meals had to be well planed in advanced and balanced right, because if you go vegan does not mean that you going to eat pasta beans and rice every day...its vegetarian not "carboterian" .... one week I ting I killed 15 avokados...:)
I must say that this diet gave me more energy, and I felt very good....I did not crave any deserts or pancakes or waffles...most foods I was craving was good burger, pork belly and sushi...ah and chicken wings...I like to eat variety...thats makes me happy eater and happy person. I was reading, somewhere, that , happiness in your everyday life and living stress free is one of the most important things you should do...well....being vegan definitely would not make me happy..but im planning to go vegan every year for a month after new a cook it gave me explore my self in a totally different culinary world...expiriment with different flavors. Specially being from eastern-north europe..we use to meat every day 3 times a day...well that will change. Oh...and if you vegan saty away from those...vegan bacon....vegan cheese slices..ahh and even vegan chicken...heinens grilled vegan chicken...oh boy...all these things..if you crave them you not ment to be vegan. Stay away from them. I will talk vegan with you next year...but right now .....chicken wings are waiting...
p.s. one the hardest things was at work...since Im creating and experimenting with new dishes, flavors every week...was hard not to taste them or eating them..
Remember Balance you seafood once or twice a week...dont forget legumes...and daily vegetables..that will make you happy and healthy eater. Oh and stay away from crap...processed or prepared foods...poison like msg and transfats.. thing makes you fat like white flour , Hight fruc corn syrup and at home and restaurant you can trust...
Love to cook ! Peace !