Sunday, June 20, 2010

French Laundry Tasting Party

One day, I was feeling ambitious and without much thought, invited a few friends to showcase my newly-found skills for gourmet cooking, thanks to the French Laundry cookbook. As I was planning the canap├ęs I will be making, I felt even more ambitious and decided to go all out for a sit-down tasting dinner instead.

Seven courses, 42 platings, 2 full days of slaving in the kitchen -- all for an evening of fun with some of our closest friends. It was worth it.



Here's all the plates we used.
French Laundry Tasting Party (1)



Our friend, an avid wine collector, took care of the wine pairings.

French Laundry Tasting Party (6)



The table setting.
French Laundry Tasting Party (2)



I made personalized laundry clips and printed menu.
French Laundry Tasting Party (3)



Second Course: Cream of Walnut Soup, 3 Ways
French Laundry Tasting Party (9)



Third course: Gruyere Cheese Gougeres
French Laundry Tasting Party (10)



Forth Course: Surprise Dish
(Roasted Pork Belly in Maple-Soy Reduction)
We paired it with a bottle of 2006 LLyton Springs, savoring
each sip knowing this is on the wine list at the FL restaurant itself -- a list which btw, is 104 pages long!
French Laundry Tasting Party (11)



Course 4.2: Parmigiano-Reggiano Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse
French Laundry Tasting Party (12)



Fifth Course: Gazpacho
French Laundry Tasting Party (10.5)


Sixth Course: Wheat Penne with Sweet Potato & Sage Cream Sauce
French Laundry Tasting Party (13)


Seventh Course: Cappuccino Semifreddo with Custard Quenelle
French Laundry Tasting Party (14)



The custard quenelle is my my own take on the all-time Filipino favorite, Brazo de Mercedes.
I designed it myself, one afternoon while waiting for the hubz to pick me up at work.
French Laundry Tasting Party (15)


French Laundry Tasting Party (4)



And now for my outfits...

This is what I wore the first time we hosted.

french laundry tasting
-- F21 kimono dress -- black bead necklace, gifted -- Ann Taylor headband, gifted --



For the second time, a friend helped me with all the prep so I wasn't as tired and nervous as the first. In fact, I was feeling more confident in the kitchen and got the timing down so that guests were not waiting longer than 5 minutes between courses. Even made some simple fun games to get them more involved like naming the main ingredient, or the herbs & spices used for the dish, or guessing the number of ingredients for the Gazpacho. There's 15, btw!!



french laundry tasting1
french laundry tasting2
-- dress from Manila -- Kors by Michael Kors braided belt -- F21 necklace --

Bon Appetit!!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Review: Smarter.com

I never shop without doing a comparison shop first. I used to do it the old-fashioned way, visit each site and list the price on a spreadsheet.

I am glad to have been approached by Smarter.com because they make comparison shopping all so easy! Gone are my old ways now. From clothes, to slips, and even rompers -- name it, they can comp shop it!


Speaking of rompers, what do you think of the rouched waist romper on the 2nd page here?


...I am so liking it!


This sponsored post is brought to you by Smarter.com


My (Soon-to-Be) Dressing Room


Three months after our move and this room is still in a state of disarray.

But not for long. It will soon receive the love and attention it needs. Folks at CSNstores.com, who were so thoughtful to sponsor my 1st giveaway, recently contacted me for a product review. I picked an item which I could use to display the one thing I could never have enough of -- shoes!

I will post the review as soon it arrives, so be sure to check back here! Meanwhile, do visit CSNstores.com and check out the wide range of products they offer including barstools, cookwares and even bathroom vanity.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goodbye Restaurant CRU

One of our favorite restaurants here just recently announced its closing. The owners decided to convert the place to a more casual pub/bar. Last Friday, we went with a few friends for a one final celebration.

If you've been reading my tweets, I'm sure you've already seen my countless twitpics on the wonderful food courses we've had at this restaurant. Here's my photo tribute to honor and remember the many times my taste buds have been thoroughly pleased and teased dining at this wonderful place.

CRU will be missed.

Restaurant CRU
Restaurant CRU
CRU - goodbyeRestaurant CRU


For our final toast, the restaurant manager/sommelier opened a very special bottle of wine and toasted with us. We were told there were only 4 bottles of these in the entire country and they were all in this restaurant!

Restaurant CRU

And here's what I wore.
I debuted the Zara dress I got from London and the Stuart Weitzman python wedges that cost me an arm and a leg. :P

Zara Halter Dress 1
-- Zara halter dress -- black Gap cardi -- black belt from Manila --
-- Target earrings -- Stuart Weitzman python wedges --


Zara Halter Dress 3
Zara Halter Dress 4


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review: Restaurant Alma

As I mentioned in my previous post here, the hubz and I went to Restaurant Alma to celebrate some important milestones. To keep our dining experience interesting, we decided to pick different items from each course and decided who's pick is the winning pick in terms of taste and fusion of flavors.


Starters
Restaurant Alma (1st course): Arugula & Smoked Chicken Salad, Glazed Black Cod
Hubz: Glazed Black Cod
Me: Arugula & Smoked Chicken Salad

WINNER: While my salad was very tasty and refreshing (who knew beets, arugula, almond and horseradish tasted good together?), the hubz' glazed black cod was hands down the winner.
The fish was perfectly seasoned and cooked in that melt-in-your-mouth sort of perfection.

Middle Course
Restaurant Alma (middle course): Ricotta & Rabbit Agnolotti, Saffron Spaghettini
Hubz: Saffron Spaghettini
Me: Ricotta & Rabbit Agnolotti

WINNER: The hubz' fried artichokes and goat cheese over pasta gets some cookie point for being an "interesting" mix but my rabbit agnolotti wins this round... at least in terms of flavor.
Presentation-wise though, I think my sauce failed to remain emulsified.
The beurre monte sorta broke as evidenced by the butterfat separating from the rest of the elements in the sauce.
And how in the world would I know this??
That's what you get making The French Laundry cookbook as your bedtime reading, you become a food snob!

Entree
Restaurant Alma (3rd course): Duck Breast & Confit,  Sauteed Halibut
Hubz
: Duck Breast and Confit

Me: Sauteed Halibut

WINNER: The hubz' duck confit was the clear winner in this round, so much so that I was digging in his plate more than I was in mine. Don't get me wrong though, the sauteed halibut I had was good too but not the kind that leaves a lasting memory to my taste buds.
The duck however, was just simply special! In fact, I'll go far as to say it was the BEST course of the night!
The skin was dry and crispy while the meat was so tender and juicy.
A few swirls of the spiced yogurt and it was just perfection in every mouthful: crispy, tender, spicy and sweet all the same time.
It was an explosion of flavors and texture!



RESULT: The hubz wins 2-1 with his food picks! But as per Section 10.08.02 of the Marriage Manual, wifey is awarded an automatic 10 points in each and every hubby-wifey contest there is and ever will be. So there, the winner is me! :D

On a serious note, the community is the real winner here with the restaurant's sustainable practices. We can't be any more proud of this local restaurant serving locally-sourced ingredients and recognized nationally for it. The James Beard award is truly deserving!

Restaurant Alma:  Rhubarb Shortcake
Rhubarb Shortcake
rasberry, rosewater, malted vanilla ice cream


The gastronomic adventure continues...


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One Lanvin LBD, Many Ways

I finally got to wear my new Lanvin LBD that has been sitting in my closet for more than two months now. Tonight was the perfect occasion to wear it. We went out for a lovely dinner to officially celebrate our new place and the sale of our old one.

I couldn't decide how to wear it so I took pictures of all 4 ways.

Lanvin LBD (2)
-- Lanvin dress -- Banana Republic necklace -- gold braided belt from Manila --
-- Stuart Weitzman wedges --



Lanvin LBD (3)
-- Lanvin dress -- Banana Republic necklace as belt -- Express brooch as pendant --
-- Manolo Blahnik peep toes --



Lanvin LBD

--
Lanvin dress -- Mimi di N lion belt -- Emma Carroll earrings won from NiniStyle.net --
-- Alaia slingbacks --


Lanvin LBD (1)
-- Lanvin dress -- zipper necklace DIY here -- belt from Manila --
-- Alaia snakeskin peep toes --


In the end, I chose the last look.
Here's a few more pix together with the hubz.

Lanvin LBD (4)

Lanvin LBD (5)


Here's a tighter shot to show a close-up of my DIY zipper necklace.
I looped it around my dress' strap to create an interesting neckline.
Lanvin LBD (6)

Up next: my review of Restaurant Alma where the chef/owner, Alex Roberts was recently awarded the James Beard Best Chef in the Midwest for 2010!


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