Oh yes, food.when Spring releases the greenest green and the delicate edible blossoms. When I am inspired by these colors and tastes.
Had a wonderful dinner at Commonwealth in the Mission in San Francisco. The restaurant setting matched my outfit : black, grey and white: simple, austere, elegant ( the decor....). Leaving the main act to the food, which is a delicate fusion of Japanese ( aesthetics and ingredients) , French nouvelle cuisine( simplicity of perfect products barely seasoned),molecular gastronomy (foams and recreated parts), with of course, seasonal, local, organic produce.....
we started with 3 light dishes :
an asparagus with crushed avocados, nasturtsium petals,olives ( caramelized and pulverized),chicory root, almonds and meyer lemon.
second was another salad: radishes in various forms( pickled and shaved mostly) goat milk butter ( the twisted ribbon laying on the top: interesting, pretty, but tasteless), sunflower seeds.
another salad of spring peas,yuba, black trumpet crackling.silken tofu, coconut milk ( foamed),thai spices( undetectably subtle)
presentation was very pretty, and a bit fused over, making for a very nice picture but a sense of overwought thinking and plating,
then onto more assertive dishes:
a grilled squid, ham hock, bacalao croquette, swiss chard, cilantro pistou ( French for pesto, sounds a bit better, no ? now that pesto is so common)
a branzino, with wilted gem lettuces, oyster nettle puree ( another pesto renamed puree), preserved lemon, caper and balsamic.That was my dish, and I thought the fish cooked perfectly and the wilted gems, genius pairing.
desert was a peanut butter semifreddo, chocolate ganache, with "frozen pop corn" which was a salted buttery cream that evaporated on your tongue.very playful and grand with the peanut butter/chocolate combo.
The second desert was a frozen goat yogurt with a coulis of strawberries . Again, a disappearing act on the tongue, light and fresh.
The meal was very good, the portions on the small side ( perfect for me), the flavors light and delicate. I thought it was an experience, may be more visual than gustatory.
Speaking of light and fresh, I quickly made the celery sorbet that was featured in the Sunday New York Times: LOVED, loved it. The celery flavor is there, but with the sweetness, other tonalities emerges: anise, grass,clover blossoms). DId a shot with it paired with lemon zest sorbet, and as I was getting ready, I shot my little prep tray of garnishes.
Obviously there is a trend in the culinary world to turn some ingredients upside down, and use fruits with proteins, or vegetables in deserts.
Here is another example: a Pierre Herme macarron that I had in Paris this march: orange-carrot-cinammon ! it might be less shocking toAmericans with their carrot cake, but it felt like a vary daring pairing in a French patisserie.