Thanksgiving 2015

I have 6 years of Thanksgiving blogs on Unrivaledkitch, which to me, shows my commitment to being there for my family and I am truly grateful that I have been able to take on this tradition for the ones I love and to share these awesome moments with the people who mean so much to me. Thanksgiving, as I’ve said before, is one of my favorite meals to cook. This year I was pretty ahead of schedule with cooking and cleaning, so big thumbs up for me, because, of course, that can be a challenge with an overly ambitious menu. Our Thanksgiving meal has some staples that we always enjoy and then the rest is open to my interpretation, which is the fun part for me.

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Brandon joined us for Thanksgiving this year and I asked him to sit out for the cooking. He cooks all year long and sometimes someone else cooking for you is just the thing you need. I know, when I was cooking, that’s how I felt. My mom and grandma brought a bunch of snacks and sweets and we all made a beautiful meal together. I am so grateful for my family and all the sacrifices and success we have had, and to our extended family, friends and beyond, we hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving with the ones you love! And here is what we ended up with this year:

IMG_5126 IMG_5080 IMG_5103 IMG_5117 IMG_5115 IMG_5110 IMG_5123 IMG_5107

Menu
Brined Turkey with Roasted Aromatics, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Hassleback Red Rose Potatoes
Bacon, Leeks, Sausage and Roasted Wild Mushroom Cornbread Dressing
Zucchini, Celery, Scallions and Black Olive Stuffing   
Roasted Cream Corn with Turmeric and Bacon
Creamed Spinach, Broccoli and Green Beans
Roasted Yams with Brown Sugar, Marshmallows and Cinnamon
Sweet Potato Casserole with Agave, Granola, Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice Marshmallows
Pomegranate & Guava Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole
Steamed Corn
Roasted Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
Honey Baked Ham
Bachan Jello
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
Rice Krispies Treats
Spinach Dip
Pimento Cheese
Deviled Eggs
Cheers,
Unrivaledkitch

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat from Judgement

 

kimberly fujitaki yoga BBB

I’ve had a few weeks to reflect and enjoy the memories and events that took place  during our Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat from Judgement at Lido Palms in Desert Hot Springs. This week has been such a busy week of staying in the moment, being present to the flow of opportunity and really being intentional and authentic in my actions and words. I’m truly blessed to be exploring such amazing opportunities in my career and life.

 

I managed to wear my yoga pants and chef coat at the same time. This has been a dream of mine since I stepped away from the professional kitchen and onto the yoga mat full-time. My love of culinary arts will never leave me, nor does it have to. I am at home in the kitchen, just as I am on my yoga mat, which feels like a tremendous honor and privilege to be able to express my passion for union through culinary arts, asana, pranayama, meditation and mindfulness.

 

When the amazingly talented Thea Pueschel (artist of living, body positive yoga instructor and hypnotherapist) asked me to venture out into the desert to look at the venue where we would be holding the yoga retreat, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. From walking around the space and seeing the rooms, I knew that I would be able to make amazing meals there because if there is one thing you learn from working in a professional kitchen, it’s that you don’t need much to make a great meal. I’ve cooked using camp fires, tin cans, hot plates, 20-burner ranges, expensive gas ranges and electric stove tops, but the thing is, they all can be used in ways that produce amazing food.

 

So we took a gamble. After we drove a few hours away, we talked it over and agreed that we should give it a go. Thea made the big moves and put herself out there with the intention and desire to be of service and that’s just what she did. Just a few short months later and we were one room from being sold out! It was an amazing showing of how perseverance and hard work truly pay off.

BBB Yoga practice

The healing mineral water pools and warm desert climate made for the perfect October evenings. Thea offered insightful workshops and yoga sessions, including her signature detox to retox, yoga nidra and gentle practices to soothe and aid the body in compassionate, body positive and deeply connected practices. She also acquired the amazing reiki skills and compassionate body positivity of Adriana Franco, who conducted mini reiki sessions with all of the attendees and offered her graceful wisdom and heart felt conversation and connection with us all. Women from all over joined us and truly met themselves on the mat as they were, with open hearts and open minds. This was truly a retreat from judgement and a gathering of powerful intention to love ourselves deeply and practice self-care.

 

My menus were designed with many things in mind. Even with dietary restrictions, we all cared and nourished our bodies in abundance, which is what Unrivaledkitch is all about. We are more than the things we aren’t and that is what we have to focus on. Many of us seem to highlight the things we can’t do or things we don’t do, instead of celebrating the things we can do and will do, and for me, this goes for food as well. Whether you can or can’t eat something, I always strive to find accommodations for people to nourish their soul and I truly felt that this was accomplished. The menu was a plant-based seasonal vegetarian meal with a variety of vegan options. Here are the menus I created for this special Unrivaledkitch event for the Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat.

 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

Special Fall Menu Prepared by

Chef Kimberly Fujitaki of Unrivaledkitch

BBB Welcome Dinner

Welcome Dinner

Cheese Plate

Vegetarian Honey Goat Cheese, Red Leichester, Pere Brie and Gorgonzola

Crudite Platter of Raw Seasonal Organic Vegetables

(Vegetarian, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Fresh Organic Heirloom Tomato, Basil & Garlic Flatbread BBQ Pizza

with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese and Parmesan

(Vegetarian includes Grain and Dairy & No Cheese Option)

 

Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Skewers

with Oregano, Basil and Red Pepper Flakes

(Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Zucchini)

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Autumn Pear Salad

Organic Living Lettuce with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Shaved Pear, Walnuts, Pink Beets and Cucumbers

(Crumbled Blue Cheese on the Side Vegetarian Option)

(No Cheese Vegan, Legume-Free & Grain-Free )

 

Grilled Fall Fruits with Whipped Cream & Cinnamon

Pears, Persimmons, and Apples

(Whipped Cream on the Side Dairy-Free Option)

Welcome Dinner BBB


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Breakfast table

Breakfast

 

Homemade Breakfast Pumpkin Cookies

with Pepitas, Raisins, Cranberries and Whole oats

(Vegan Dairy-Free includes Wheat and Oats)

 

Soy Yogurt

(Vegan includes soy)

 

Greek Yogurt

 

Vanilla Granola

(Contains Wheat and Oats)

 

Dried Fruit & Nuts

 

Whole Grain Toast

with Organic Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Peach Jam

and Organic Mixed Fruit Jam

(Includes Wheat and Oats)

 

Fresh Fruit

(Bananas, Oranges, & Apples)

 

Tea/Coffee

 

Green Smoothies

(Kale, Ginger, Apples, Strawberries, Oranges, Banana & Spinach)

BBB breakfastBBB Practice


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Lunch Table

Lunch

 

Grilled Vegetable Tacos

Assorted Chopped Grilled Veggies spiced with Cumin and Coriander

Zucchini, Peppers, Squash, Broccoli & Cauliflower

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Soyrizo Potatoes

(Vegan, Contains Soy, Gluten-Free)

 

Served on Corn Tortillas

 

Taco Bar Includes

Pico de Gallo, Roasted Jalapenos, Cilantro and Onions,

Lettuce, Guacamole and Cheese

 

Cumin-Scented Mashed Organic Black Beans

(Cheese on the Side Vegan Option)

 

Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Organic Spanish Rice

with Roasted Corn and Tomatillos

(Vegan)

 

Fresh Fall Fruits

Pomegranates, Persimmons, Apples, Pears

BBB Lunch


Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Dinner table

Dinner

 

Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” & Polenta

 

Roasted Vegetable Sauce

with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Zucchini,

Carrots, Celery and Onions with Olive Oil,

Garlic, and Fresh Basil

Walnut Pesto with Parmesan Cheese

 

(Spaghetti squash, No Pesto Vegan Option

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free and Grain-Free)

(Vegetarian Option Polenta with Pesto includes Dairy)

 

Spinach Salad

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Cherry Tomatoes,

Avocado, Cucumber and Sherry Vinaigrette

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Roasted Fall Vegetables

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Seasoned Grilled Tofu

(Vegan Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

 

Green Tea & Homemade Pumpkin Bread

(Vegan)
BBB Dinner dishes


 

Beautiful Bountiful Body Retreat

BBB Brunch table

Brunch

 

Mini Vegetable Frittatas

with Mixed Vegetables and Roasted Jalapenos

(Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Autumn Vegetable Hash

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Acorn Squash,

and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs and Spices

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Vegan Sausage

(Vegan includes Grain, Gluten, Barley, Red wine)

 

Fire-Roasted Potatoes O’Brien

with Peppers, Onions and Spinach

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Legume-Free & Grain-Free)

 

Fresh Fall Fruits

 

Fresh Berries with Yogurt

 

Lemonade and Iced Tea

bbb brunch


 

I was also privileged to teach my signature Deeply Rejuvenated Restorative Yoga practice. Restorative Yoga is such an important practice for self-discovery and self-study. We learn from stillness that our body can gain a tremendous benefit from slowing down, resetting our nervous system and replenishing the oxygen supply in the blood.  Under the beautiful star-filled sky, we offered out our intentions and connected with the inner authenticity as we breathed and let go deeply. This was truly one of the highlights of my yoga teaching thus far and I was truly privileged to teach such an amazing group of empowered women, relaxing and leaving the practice deeply rejuvenated.

Restorative Yoga KFY BBB

The weekend ended with laughing, tears, joy, and for me, a sense of accomplishment, hard work paying off and extreme gratitude for this opportunity to blend my two favorite things in the whole world. I shopped, catered, packed, cooked, cleaned and repeated these steps many times throughout the weekend and I know I will do it again. I am truly humbled by this amazing experience and I hope you’ll join us on our next yoga retreat.

10547919_314752352046452_1328736761571136101_oPhoto by Adriana Franco

I want to thank all of the wonderful ladies who came to practice in the desert with us for a retreat from judgement. And of course, an extra special thank you to the amazing Thea Pueschel for bringing me along on this wonderful journey.

 

Namaste!

 

Kimberly Fujitaki

Executive Chef/ Owner

www.unrivaledkitch.com

Yoga Instructor

www.kimberlyfujitakiyoga.com

 

Black Market Liquor Bar

In keeping with the theme of modern inspired eateries, I have a small sampling of a couple of dishes brought to you by Chef Antonia Lofaso and company of Black Market Liquor Bar. Located in the posh styling of trendy small plate establishments is Black Market Liquor Bar. The décor and signage is a bit vague, but embellishes the stylish and interesting ingredient-driven menu and cocktails.  As you walk into the restaurant, there is unmistakably some of the most interesting sorts of people looking for a cocktail and maybe a couple plates of food to eat.

The beauty of Black Market Liquor Bar is its elegance and sleek nature of atmosphere. There were many people enjoying themselves without the pouring over of over-dressed servers or meager management. The seat yourself bar and cocktail tables are at first a bit intimidating in occurrence, but with the high turnover rate, even a crowded night will still offer the capacity of receiving a table eventually. Black Market Liquor Bar is brown and light-brown in color scheme with a minimalistic underground feel. The booth seating lines the perimeter with medium to tiny spaces for people to congregate in the narrow restaurant. Otherwise centrally placed, high top tables under the brick laid roof seat many, with other patrons standing, enjoying the light display over bottles of high-class liquor in the gorgeous mirrored bar area. A gleam of mild lighting, shadowing the dark columns in the center of the restaurant, provide a nice balance of light with gas-lit flames housed in mason jars on each table. A modest window into the open kitchen shows a undersized space to feed a number of hungry people.

We found ourselves seated at the bar, which at many establishments is normally insufficient in service, but here, the service was amazing; just like eating at a table of 15 people, but with quiet conversation with the person next to you. Our bartender was quite nice and made simple small talk while taking care of our needs. We started with two cocktails. I ordered the Vodka Buck, which is vodka, house-made ginger syrup, lime and angostura bitters. The combination was well calculated; the flavor was perfectly balanced with spicy fresh ginger and tartness from lime and bitters. Stephanie had the Fields of Gold, which was bourbon, lemon, oj, orgeat and cinnamon. Orgeat is almond flavored sweet syrup that sometimes has rosewater or orange flower water added to it. It adds a different dimension to the cocktails: strong forward bourbon and citrus with an almost holiday appeal of creamy almond cinnamon.
I ordered two dishes after purusing the very seasonally Italian influenced dishes, which I felt quiet at home with. I loved the playful, different, interesting pairing of ingredients, which is something I tend to look for in any well thought out menu. With a menu I can look for inspiration from, I decided to order mussels with fennel, chili and garlic baguette as well as the burrata bruschetta, roasted red pepper, onion, artichoke, and mint pistou.  This is a style of food that hold a special place in my heart; it’s rustic and intentional with pallet pleasing variation. I love mussels. I’ve had a thousand bowls of them in my life, and these were particularly notable: subtly enlightening cooked perfectly .I found myself sopping up every last bit of sweet buttery sauce with a slight hint of red pepper flakes and strings of finely shaved fennel with the wonderfully crunchy and perfectly toasted spears of baguette.  The burrata brushchetta was a combination of flavors that simply put, was meant to be together. The freshness of the cheese just melting into a soft texture (that of whipped cream melting in your mouth) with the intense crunch of baguette, made withstand the moisture of such indulgent exceptional cheese. The well-cleaned and cleverly placed small baby artichokes were tender and gave a different dimension of texture with tang from zesty bell peppers and clean, refreshing mint pallet cleanser.  I am enthused to find this level of commitment in a bar-type atmosphere with really detail-oriented food. I look forward to seeking out other  inspirational seasonal ideas at Black Market Liquor Bar as the ambiance excites and entices the pallet. Well done.

 

Chicago: Girl and The Goat

GIRL AND THE GOAT

Stephanie Izard has been on my list of brilliant female chefs for a long time now. I love her demeanor, her presence, her comedy, the whole shebang. She’s got it and now I just love her even more. As female chefs times are a little hard but it’s always nice to see people doing what they love, making their way in a battle field of male donated industry. This girl is kicking some serious chef butt, guy or girl for that matter. I really love the style of Girl and The Goat and I’m so thrilled that I spent almost the latter or 4 1/2 hours there. 2 1/2 was waiting for a table because I couldn’t make reservations in time for my trip.

Stepping into Girl and the Goat is like a little piece of contemporary art museum and local eatery in one. The decor is dark and mystic and the food is wild and imaginative. But most of all, the kitchen is an amazing sight to see. Lining the whole back wall of the restaurant is a giant open kitchen fenced in by a towering Lattice of shelving containing plates and utensils to the ceiling. The orange glow of a wood burning oven, and the slight mist of smokey hot food wafting through the dining room, the dance of 15 chefs on one hot line is a magical place for any foodie or chef to see. Dancing in harmony these are people not to be reckoned with, they produce some of the towns best, most flavorful, interesting ideas I’ve been witness to.

Steps from the outskirt of Chicago’s West Loop lies Girl and the Goat 809 W Randolph St, Chicago IL, 60607, the streets surrounding are lined with some of Chicago’s best eateries a competitive battle ground for any chef. There in the mists of Blackbird, The Publican, Avec (all places I plan on eating at sometime) Girl and the Goat still makes its presence known.

As I said this place is booked up about a month out and by the time I was able to make reservations there was still no space for me. So I braved it without one and I’m very glad I did. Though waiting took about 2 1/2 hours to even sit at the bar, which was partially my fault because I wasn’t acting like a hawk like some of the people at the bar where I had drinks and was dizzy looking at all the amazing things coming out of the kitchen. Stephanie was at the restaurant that night so it was a very nice touch to see her diligently at work. I started of course with Cocktails I ordered the best of three. The best of three is a mixture of gray goose vodka, pimms liquor, a bit of bitters, mint and cucumber all mixed together with lots of ice for a very fresh tasting not too sweet style beverage. The bartenders were “get to the point” girls which I liked but which is also why I wanted to wait for a table. I know if I was bartending I would want people do be eating drinking as much as possible. During my little adventure I was able to score a free drink from a couple I let have two seats that were next to each other I felt bad that I was going to take one and someone else would probably take the other so I let them sit down. Good manners are rewarded folks. Then I got to chatting with a couple of cool ladies one from the area and the other from new port beach for that matter which is in CA. Do I have California written all over me? Must be anyway they were sweet ladies gave me some good tips for eating and actually took my space at the bar cause they couldn’t hear themselves in the dining room. The atmosphere there is very lively, extremely loud people all eating and having a great time with no pretentious fancy feel to it the communal tables and lounge style seating at the front of the bar kind of set the tone.

At the Bar I had two dishes while I waited for my seat at the kitchen counter.

I ordered the very popular roasted Cauliflower which was chard brown from just the right amount of roasting, and topped with picked pepper, pine nuts, mint, and parmesan cheese and I’ll tell you that it couldn’t have been easier but it was tasty! The combination of sweet from roasting the cauliflower, salt from the cheese and pine nuts, vinegar from peppers and the freshness of mint is a culinary jack pot Easy make it at home I promise you’ll love it.

I also had more oysters, my culinary love affair. These were shibumi oysters with radish mignonette. I loved how tiny the radish brunoise was it was flavored with sherry and tarragon. The oysters were subtle refreshing and a little smoky.

After the oysters I was informed that the kitchen counter was open for seating so I took my place to watch a bit of magic happen.

As I situated myself, the chef has sent over a beautiful hiramasa Curdo with crispy pork belly and aji chili. Along with that there was this lovely tart caper aioli micro greens and these wonderful crispy over the top. Texturally this is really wonderfully conceived for the pallet. The lay of crispy salted pork belly with its fatty crunch and the lean clean brilliance of hiramasa is just the surface layer of flavors in this dish. The combination of aioli and use of pepper elevates something simple to a divine experience. If you want to learn about Hiramasa a sustainable yellowtail amberjack

Next my very favorite dish of the night. Girl and the goat is known for its use of goat meat in the restaurant that is locally and sustainably raised from farmers that work in close ties with the restaurant. Goat is brought to Girl and to Goat by Kilgus Farm, Love it… I ordered the Confit Goat Belly with shaved fennel, and lobster and crab butter. Rich luxury on a plate. The subtle gaminess of the goat with its very crunchy and contrasting melt in your mouth textures was amazing. The combination of fresh fennel lightly dressed and the lobster pieces of crab pieces sopping in more melted fat is ingenious.

I finally finished with a couple of samples from the amazing people behind the counter on Garde Manger( I hope I got the names right!I’m terrible with names I’m sorry!) Rachel, Gabe, and Dustin rocked the whole night and shared their war stories and happiness with me as I chatted and took in the deliciousness of this food. A tight group of chefs these line cooks make 300 covers look like a walk in the park. On busy week days they’ll hit 400 covered busy weekends over 600 that’s a lot of food. By heart and soul and a pretty awesome chef these guys win each day. Stephanie came by and had a little chat with me which was awesome, she’s friendly, funny, and down to earth.

I also sampled a really beautiful Salmon Tatar atop homemade wheat thins with saved zucchini, summer truffle and truffle oil and aside it was a beautiful lightly battered tempura zucchini blossom. I sampled also a small bowl of the kohlrabi salad. Kohlrabi is to me very close in flavor and texture to broccoli stems its said to be between cabbage and turnips as well. This kohlrabi was shaved very thin and in a salad of mixed greens blueberries, fennel. Evalon which is goat’s milk cheese that is very mild and unique flavor there was also hints of ginger dressing and crunch from toasted almonds. And lastly I had a roasted beet salad with wonderfully sliced on the bias gorgeous green beans with roasted beets, white anchovies which I love and an avocado crème fraiche the whole salad was just gorgeous and of course the best way to eat it is to mix the whole thing together, just a really wonderful fresh group of flavors and textures.

Bu the time I finished my night food coma was the least of my worries and getting back to Lincoln Park was on the priority list but I have to say this meal will live on in my memory forever. A beautiful atmosphere incorporating life, food, art, music, community and flavor.

I’m full just thinking about it all, but something really important happened for me sitting at an open kitchen talking with chefs like I used to do but opposite in my old restaurant made me more restaurant sick than I’ve been in a very long time, there’s something about that magic and I know one day, I’ll be back with elegant vengeance on my side.

I took home more than a full stomach that night.

Thank you everyone at Girl and The Goat, you  made Chicago just that much better.

Unrivaledkitch

The Paris Hotel and CARNEVINO Las Vegas, NV

After I finished putting the last punctuation on my last blog I took off to a dear friend of mines house as we prepared to go to Las Vegas. Our trip was filled with lavish drinks, dancing for hours, roaming the neon lights by the falling and rising sun. I even took a little gamble myself. I’d say I probably broke even on the food I chose but lost a couple of dollars along the way. Here’s my little get away, the food and the fun.

We left the valley at about 1230 to get on the road my friend Katie has a beautiful 18 month old son who was staying with his grandmother for the weekend while we had a little adult time. I believe fullheartedly every mother needs a good second hand every once in a while so they are able to have time to themselves, though I’m sure she was thinking about him the entire time. That’s what a good mom does. We drove up about 5 ½ hours and we were arrived at about 6 pm. I drove into the city to our hotel resort which was the Paris Hotel centered in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip. We checked in and were on our way up to our room on the 7th floor. We had two queen sized beds and a beautiful view of the pool and Eiffel Tower they contrasted to build this French dream.

The ladies were off to take a trip to visit their uncle so I had a couple of hours to eat dinner. I dine solo on occasions, it gives me the time to think about what I’m eating but solo dinning isn’t for just anyone. There are pros and cons to anything, as is such for eating alone. I love sharing the food experience which is why I blog but eating with others is also an experience you can truly see what candid expressions and thoughts are of the other people you are eating with. But I decided that this trip to Vegas might be my chance to reacquaint myself with some Italian food. If you know my past experience as Executive Chef you know I worked for a Northern Italian Cuisine for over 3 1/2 years and so I have a very high expectation of Italian food and for the most part I cook it on my own. I still can’t bare to buy a plate of pasta, I don’t think I’ll be able to really anywhere but there are some things I just desire which are mostly Italian cured meats, thin style Italian pizzas, calzones, aged balsamic and Sicilian Extra virgin olive oil. If I had a pizza oven at home and a fridge in my garage believe you me I’d never have to go anywhere for Italian food except if your Italian grandma was making me something to eat or a couple of other people I know. But I decided to give Vegas a chance to change my mind and to tell you the truth it didn’t!

After the girls headed to visit with relatives I lounged in the hotel room stretching my legs from the lengthy car ride took a hot bath and got ready. I walked from Paris where we stayed to the Palazzo where I decided to have dinner. There are always so many places to go in Vegas, I get overwhelmed but I have passed by CARNEVINO many times and thought it might be a good choice. This is Mario Batali’s Steak House in Vegas. I love the concept of and Italian steak house it is one of my ideas for future restaurants.   While I wasn’t in the mood for a 51 dollar Bone in New York Strip Steak I wasn’t expecting service from any old restaurant either and unfortunately the latter is what I got.

I walked in to CARNEVINO a lavish and brilliantly built gorgeous restaurant. Low lighting and tond of people were keeping me from seeing the intricate details of the lay out of the restaurant.  There were people waiting outside and the bar and restaurant were very full I kindly asked the hostess for seating for one she brushed me off and said its first come first serve in the bar. Okay sure no problem its Saturday Night no reservations I was expecting about that. I rushed over to a seat thinking on my way out I’d be able to look around the dining room. Good hostesses are hard to come by I guess even in Las Vegas. So I sat myself in the bar at a small table people watching and looking over at all the noisy slots of the casino, I finally felt like I was in Vegas. My waiter approached me after about 15 minutes but still I wasn’t upset I was having a good time looking at the restaurant. I was asked if I’d like a drink I promptly asked for menus and a minute to decide. Looking over the menu of this restaurant is mind blowing. The amount of effort that goes in the type of wine list this place has compiled is brilliant. Those details are the things I wish to remember. The food menu was simple creating classic dishes from around Italy and also providing a large selection of high grade meats and other menu additions. I was also given a bar menu which had a good selection of the items on menu as small plates. I like to try different things so if I get one plate at a restaurant of this caliber it’s extremely rare. I also knew that later on I would be going out dancing and a giant steak and something really heavy was going to be a horrible idea.

So I looked over the menu for a while and finally was greeted by my server again and asked what the farmer’s market cocktail was for the evening. After stumbling over his words about 4 times he finally had to go ask what the cocktail was. I was so displeased with this stammering, this should not of happened somewhere like this. I know people have bad days and things aren’t always amazing but if you can’t tell me the evening cocktail that’s not looking very good for you. But finally when he did get it out the drink was a lovely mixture of cucumber, heirloom sage, ginger bitters and gin. It was refreshing and perfect. I really enjoyed everything about the cocktail even if it took 20 more minutes to get.

After I got my drink I ordered but first had a simple question which was what meats where on the Affettati Misti, is a plate of mixed Italian Charcuterie. I love charcuterie so much, I worked in a deli for longer than I ever wanted to but it was amazing how much I learned about meat and cheese. The waiter really had no idea what was on the plate at all. He stumbled over his words some more and I figured I would order it anyway because I’ve wanted bresaola and coppa for a while now. Also on this platter were Salami , Prossuito, and Mortadella. I also ordered a side of asparagus with garlic, thyme and guanciale. Guanciale is pig cheek that is unsmoked and cured. After I ordered I was sipping my cocktail and look around about 10 minutes later my waiter came back to the table and asked me to repeat my order to him. At that point I was trying to dismiss it but it was pretty much just the fact that this guy could care less about me as a customer. With all my questions I would expect him to be a little more attentive but apparently not.

My Affettati Misti and Asparagus finally came to the table

I could eat a giant mortadella and coppa sandwich for the rest of my life, the meats were sliced very thin just as they should be the mortadella was pressed very well and not waxy which was really wonderful. Bresaola was beefy and slightly sweet. Coppa was fatty and salty and the Salami was softer and different then I’d ever had. The plate was well rounded with a sweet peperonata, a couple of Shishito Peppers that were roasted and salted, and a larger pickled yellow pepper stuffed with cured ham and goat cheese. When you get a board of meat its common knowledge that you describe what the person is eating. Not for this waiter. By this time I was texting one of my best chef friends Brandon telling him that I can’t believe I decided to have Italian food for once and this is the kind of service I’m getting. It really did blow my mind. I looked over at my asparagus which was 12 dollars mind you for asparagus but I figured I really wanted Guanciale I haven’t had it in a long time and when I look at the asparagus there is really nothing to it there was maybe a small slice of garlic, barely any time, and a speck of Guanciale. I take a bite and the asparagus is over cooked and flavorless, like boiled salted nothing. How disappointing. My waiter came back and I informed him he didn’t ask to make it over or if I wanted anything else he just committed to taking it off the bill which was fine.

I finished my meat platter and was asked if I’d like anything else I kindly informed him no thank you. He brought my check which he then over charged me for my meat platter and when I told him about it he said he had served me the entrée sized portion though I pointed to the affettati on the bar menu. He didn’t say he would fix it or anything. I paid and left him 2 dollars for some of the worst service I’ve gotten in a very long time. I could have wanted to see a manger but honestly it didn’t seem worth it to me. I think Brandon said it best…. “Mass production! Generic! Orange shoes says it all” So much more passion and heart should go into something so beautiful as Italian food with the amazing ingredients and potential this place could have, the simple things that don’t need much. The experience overall was just dull and flat, not like the beautiful luster of ltaly I’m so used to. I hope I just had a bad night there but this experience had too many things wrong with it that made me not even care to see what the rest of the place looked like or take more pictures.

I say Learn something from everything,  I’m glad I had my Affettati and my cocktail but I think next time I’ll just go to the deli make a selection of meats and sit outside with my own Gin Cocktail and enjoy.

I have a couple more restaurants to talk about, dancing, and drinking…

So to be continued…

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch

Twitter and Foodbuzz

Set Two My Eyes Italian

Deconstructe

Deconstructed Beef wellington layered with puff pastry covered in mushroom duxelle with red rose potato mash, thyme and parsley grilled button mushrooms and  chanterelle mushroom au jus

Organic Oxnard grown strawberry salad with fresh ricotta cheese, celery roots chips and honey aged balsamic vinaigrette

Cayenne and black pepper spiced monkfish fillets pan seared and served over red cabbage and pancetta creamy risotto and topped with a roasted apple sage sauce

4 Spice encrusted seared jumbo scallops served with Char-grilled marinated Radicchio, purple and pink potato mash with chives, and tri citrus grapefruit butter

Unrivaled Kitchen Classic Italian and some not so classic

I want to thank everyone who takes part in my ideas, my art, my soul really.  My cooking Here are some old dishes These are either dishes I taught, I made, I created, I platted and were all photographed by me Classic Italian and some not so classic Parma Prosciutto e Melone Wild arugula, Parmigiano reggiano and  cold pressed  Sicilian extra virgin olive oil Insalata caprese – mozzarella di buffala(buffalo milk mozzarella with Tomatoes and Basil) aged balsamic glaze Roasted King Salmon over Pesto Farro with spring vegetables and roasted shrimp in a lemon Cherry Tomato sauce affettati misti peperonata(marinated bell peppers) mozzarella Gorgonzola, parma prosciutto, salame toscano, and mortadella Jumbo lump pan seared crab cakes with sriracha slaw carpaccio di manzo raw beef fillet thinnly sliced with Wild arugula, Parmigiano reggiano, and pine nuts Spicy rocket salad with marinated red onions ricotta salata and naval orange sections with orange champagne vinaigrette I have more I’ll do another installment later this edition is circa  early 2008 to be continued

Pad Thai and Brother in Laws Birthday


Pad Thai I made from scratch

pad thai
3large meal size/5 small sides Servings
________________________________________

1/2 lime
1 egg
4 teaspoons fish sauce (if you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of fish sauce you can use soy sauce it will taste different but it will still be good)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red dried chili flakes i added more i like mine spicy
to taste ground pepper
1 shallot, minced I used white onion cause its what i had
2 tablespoon sugar i think this was upped to about 3 1/2 to 4 table spoons
2 tablespoon tamarind same with this i used the whole pods which was the equivalent of about 4 and a 1/2 pods scrapped from the seed and mashed
1/2 package Thai rice noodles
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2-1/4 lb shrimp
i chicken breast
Optional
1/2 package of tofu – extra firm Optional
2 sprigs of green onion white and green used
2 tablespoons peanuts Optional
1-1/2 cup bean sprouts

Okay heat your walk with vegetable oil add peanuts to oil and roast till brown making sure to take them out when they are still golden as to avoid burning
Add to your remaining oil add your white onion, garlic, green onions and stir till translucent
To this then add your chili flakes, sugar, tamarind paste stir till heated
Then add peanuts, ½ lime squeeze, and fish sauce stir till incorporated and the tamarind is dissolved
Sauce can now be set aside in bowl
Now for the noodles if you’re going to be eating your pad thai right away loosen your noodles now in enough warm/hot water to cover them in a separate bowl. This process takes about 5-7 minutes the noodles should still be a little hard so they can finish cooking with the sauce. This will make the ingredients adhere to the noodles much better and make for a wonderful noodle dish instead of a sticky mess. If you put them in the sauce and realize they aren’t soft enough add a little water to your pad thai and cover and cook a couple of minutes and that should do. If you aren’t eating this right away, I’d suggest making the sauce for the dish and holding off on the noodles till right before.
Anyway
You don’t have to wash out the wok just continue to use the same one with a bit of the sauce in the bottom it will help to cook everything if you find your vegetables are not moving well add a little more sauce or water to the pan
Now add your chicken which has been sliced thin cook about ½ way then 4 minutes add tofu and bean sprouts and cook about 5 minutes finally toss in shrimps and cook another 4-6 minutes till shrimps pink through out
Finally add sauce to meat mixture
Heat and still gently till incorporated
Now if you want to go for a hike or get a shower you can just leave the sauce aside and make the noodles later if not put the noodles with the meat and heat for about 3-5 minutes and there you go
You are now the master of your own pad thai!

If you like adding other veggies do so I love extra cabbage and sprouts and cilantro on top and extra roasted peanuts

 

 


I made all this food for my brother in laws birthday party
list follows
Korean flank steak, Albondigas style meatballs, with roasted onions, Spanish rice, and cilantro,crushed red chili and balsamic tri tip, Goma soy chicken drums,scallion celery and black olive Potato salad,layered bean dip, tomatillo salsa verde, pico de gallo…roasted cauliflower, orange yams, maple bacon Brussels sprouts, roasted white zucchini, Balsamic cotija cheese pasta salad with heirloom tomatoes, red onions, parsley and extra virgin olive oil, not pictured pineapple orange cake


the simple things in life avocado BLT on Texas toast and a caramel apple

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch