Posts Tagged ‘anthony bourdain’

Monday

Season Pass: House

Episode by Episode Probation:  Terra Nova

Guilty Secret: Castle

I really hope that this is the final season of House. Please let it end so that we can all be released from this endless cycle of abuse – Cuddy managed to escape why not us? The premise of Terra Nova looks interesting: dystopian future plus dinosaurs. So we’ll see how that goes. As much as I love my weekly hit of Nathan Fillion charm I don’t really want Castle clogging up my DVR so I watch it via On Demand.

Tuesday

Season Pass: NCIS

Guilty Secret: Body of Proof

NCIS is like a pair of really comfy furry Crocs that you know aren’t stylish and should throw out but you just can’t. I was going to watch Buffy in Ringer but I missed the first episode, and I think I can live without it as it sounds like a re-hash of an Agatha Christie story. Okay, Body of Proof isn’t a particularly innovative police procedural but it’s nice to see Seven of Nine boss Dana Delaney around.

Wednesday

Season Pass: Top Chef Texas

Got to wait till November for the next season of Top Chef with the shiny Tom Colicchio and glamorous Padma Lakshmi. I just hope that Anthony Bourdain will be guesting as a judge slash blogger as his acerbic wit is most needed (especially if foam rears it’s foamy head again).

Thursday

Season Pass: The Big Bang Theory & The Mentalist

Episode by Episode Probation: Person of Interest & Prime Suspect

Alex and I have fallen so far down TBBT rabbit hole that there is no return, and it’s one of the few shows worth watching live. I *loved* the season finale of The Mentalist and it will be interesting to see how they handle it. Even though I don’t think Prime Suspect needed to be re-booted I will give it a whirl since the cast is led by Maria Bello. I’m curious about Person of Interest – could be good (Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson and JJ Abrams) or could be a crap Minority Report style knock off.

Friday

Season Pass: Chuck, Fringe & Supernatural

Episode by Episode Probation: A Gifted Man & Grimm

Friday is genre programming night because only geeks and nerds (and the heavenly pregnant) don’t go out. Out of all the fall shows (new and returning) I am most exciting about picking things up in Fringe’s alternate time line. It’s the last few episodes of Chuck so that’s a must watch. Supernatural is on my personal bubble. I hated the ending of the last season, and what they’ve done to Castiel. They either need to shake things up or start winding things down. A Gifted Man sounds a little bit Joan of Ark-ish – not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Now Grimm I have a bone to pick with as I have a sneaking suspicious that this got picked up by NBC instead of Ronald D. Moore’s pilot 17th Precinct but I am curious about how they will blend the mythology of the Grimm fairy tales.

Saturday

Nothing! Netflix night.

Sunday

Season Pass: The Good Wife & Homeland

Episode by Episode Probation: Once Upon a Time

The new show I am most excited about is Homeland with the most excellent Damian Lewis. It sounds like it’s a combination of Band of Brothers and Life – w00t! The trailer makes it look really good. I’m not so sure about CBS moving The Good Wife to Sundays but hey what do I know about TV scheduling! Can’t wait to find out what happens between Alicia and Will, and Alicia and Eli. Alan Cumming is TV gold – he doesn’t need lines to steal scenes he just glares at the other actors. Once Upon a Time is another show blending fairy tale mythology and “real” life so curious as to how they approach it.

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Oh I wish that I was blogging about eating at El Bulli rather than just watching documentaries about it but since Chef Ferran has now closed its doors for good it’s all we got. For our first dose of El Bulli Alex and I watched the documentary ‘El Bulli – Cooking in Progress’ which followed Chef Ferran and his team for over a year. Including the six months of every year when the restaurant is closed so that the chefs can relocate to Barcelona to experiment and start devising the new menu. El Bulli was famous for Ferran’s innovative approach to gastronomy especially molecular gastronomy. But, what is obvious from the documentary is that it is not molecular gastronomy just for the sake of it they really want to push the boundaries and excite themselves and their customers. It is slow in parts but there are some great scenes as they take their produce (e.g. sweet potato) and compare and contrast various cooking techniques to see just how far they can transform it. Everything is painfully recorded in detail, and woe betide the chef who doesn’t back up or have a copy of Spin Rite to hand for when his hard drive fails.  There is a great bit at the market where the chefs have to buy just five grapes and three beans as that’s all they need to experiment with, and the stall holders hold them in such high esteem they let them get away with it! The documentary is definitely worth a watch if gastro-porn is your thing.

We followed up our viewing of the documentary with Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation episode focused on El Bulli. It was a perfect pairing (like mint choc chip ice-cream) and after the serious tone of the document No Reservation’s lightened things up though it was obvious how much Bourdain respects Chef Ferran. It was funny seeing Bourdain working the line (hands shaking with all the detail work), and the joy when he was eating his way through the tasting menu.  Made me wish we’d try to get a reservation there as it would have been worth the trip to Spain.

I’m very slowly getting back into reading over the summer. It always takes me a while to unwind post exams, and this summer I’m pretty consumed with research for the upcoming cylon invasion.

My first read was actually a re-read; something I’ve wanted to re-visit for a while – Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. An expose of sorts into the world of chefs and restaurants in New York. It’s over a decade old but still holds true, and very much worth a read. The chapters alternate between Bourdain’s journey as a chef (from summer jobs to the CIA to chefing his way through Manhattan – the good, the bad and the very ugly), and his thoughts on the restaurant industry and eating in general. Bourdain writes very well – snarky and no holds bars. It’s a fun read, and worth pairing with Medium Raw.

It’s funny but Kitchen Confidential is one of the few books I actually remember where I was when I first heard about it, and in many ways it’s Alex and I’s Eat Pray Love. It was 2000 and we were still living in London. We were having dinner with friends at Belgo (very 90s – early 00s dinner spot), and they were raving about the book. Little did we know that by the end of the year Alex would be off to work in New York, and then we’d be spending the next decade eating our way around Manhattan (including Les Halles which is a favorite steak and frites spot) and becoming obsessed with Top Chef.

Last night Alex and I braved the tourist trap that is Midtown this time of year (fraking Radio City Music Rockettes and Rockerfella Center skating rink and tree) to eat at Le Bernardin. This was meant to be our only meal out this month — something special to celebrate our birthdays and round off the year. Of course what actually happened was that we got a table at Momofoko Ko two weeks ago, and then because I had family coming into town for Christmas we booked a table at Barbuto (as I didn’t feel up to cooking for six) for the 27th. Then my aunt’s flight get canceled to we end up having Christmas dinner at a French bistro with my snow orphaned cousin.  We’ve eaten out way more in the last two weeks then we normally do; so much so that our dining out budget has been blown for the next few months, and the thought of eating at Le Bernardin was feeling less special by the minute. Especially since I still have the divine taste of gnocchi with walnut pesto and a shaved brussel sprout salad (that should not have been as awesome as it was) haunting my dreams in a good way.

Anyway, that was how I was feeling until we started to get ready. Since it is French fine dining then it was a suit for Alex and a dress for me. Getting dressed up can’t but help make you feel excited about the night ahead – even if you are feeling a little gastro-fatigued, having to hunt through your closet for a warm frock because it is chilly outside, and the thought of having to navigate snowbanks in something other than wellie boots makes you sad. I should probably explain why we picked Le Bernardin as we don’t normally go in for French fine dining. We had heard lots of good things about it (it’s an outstanding fish restaurant with awards up the wazzoo), there is a whole chapter devoted to it in Anthony Bourdain’s latest book, and Eric Ripert, chef, is a frequent judge on Top Chef (and we are so obsessed with Top Chef it’s scary).

So we gastro ninjas headed out in a best clothes to dine on the best fish in Manhattan, and oh-my-word we were not disappointed. Fine dining can be a little overwhelming. There are just so many staff buzzing around, and funny little touches that throw you off. For instance, there was a tiny leather stool in between our chairs for me to rest my handbag on! The staff at Le Bernardin were wonderful, and make even the most fishiest fish-out-of-water feel at home. The dining room is gorgeous and feels like it is channeling Frank Lloyd Wright in all his art deco loveliness.  I think Alex was a little disappointed that I wasn’t in the mood for the tasting menu but the dinner menu was four courses, and gave us a good variety of dishes. I started with the tuna tartar, then a grilled salted cod, for mains a poached halibut with daikon, baby radishes and turnips, and for pud a pistachio mousse with caramelized white chocolate, lemon and bing cherries. I wish I could have taken photos of every course because the plates were like works of art but it didn’t quite feel like an Instagram environment so the only photo I took was in the bathroom.

It was an amazing experience, and the tuna tartar knocked my socks off. It also, didn’t hurt that we spied Eric Ripert, the silver fox himself, making a couple of tours of the dinning room. It was a good way to round-off what has been the most challenging of years.