My fantasy meal from 2007

December 28, 2007

The food blog which has inspired me the most is chuckeats.com. Its pursuit of the finest cuisine, its knowledgeable descriptions and its superb photography are delicious. At CountryEpicure we tend to be less exacting, more wide-ranging and more personal. Chuck has finished up this year on his blog with his Perfect Meal for 2007, fantasizing a sublime menu composed of dishes he ate in 2007. He is encouraging other bloggers to do the same and send them on to him. So here is mine:  

(The restaurant names are linked to the original reviews of the meals. They are in blue so you can just click on them and the post will come up in a new window. I have reworked the descriptions for this meal. The portions of many of the dishes would have to be reduced from what you see in the photos. I assume that we are starting with good white wine and then moving to a good red wine, but I’m not choosing the best wines of the year.)

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The tempura of zucchini flowers at Jean-François Issautier in St. Martin du Var. They were lightly battered and served very hot with a fresh pesto. A lovely little bit of almost nothing to start the meal.

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The Oursins de Méditerranée, sauce pimentée, espuma d’amandes at Keisuke Matsushima in Nice.  I love the flavor of fresh sea urchin, which I usually only get in New York sushi bars. These had been put back in their shells with a peppery almond foam and were delicious.

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The special toro sushi at Rosanjin in New York is the best we have ever tasted. (You may wonder about the dot of wasabe on top in the photo; it is made in the house, is very mild and goes perfectly.) 

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The cappucino of five heirloom tomatoes at L’Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel in Arles. This was extraordinary because it used a simple device to force us to appreciate a simple, classic combination more than we ever have before. We drank the  juice of tomatoes just picked in the garden through a straw; this forced us to put our noses in the leaves of the basil stem which protruded from the carafe and so we enjoyed the basil aroma with the excellent fresh tomato flavor of the foamed juice. It was served with a small soft tomato-parmesan breadstick.

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The cream of cèpes with a scoop of foie gras ice cream on top at Mirazur in Menton. The exquisite richness of this dish would be a great followup to the austerity of the tomato/basil.

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The sea urchin pannacotta, chilled ocean consommé and caviar at Picholine in New York. This sensational dish brings out the briny flavor of the sea urchins and then makes it more elegant with the custard and seafood jellied consommé. The caviar adds another fishy dimension. Superb.

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Comme une Papillote en Surprise at Aphrodite in Nice. Two fresh scallops had been quickly seared on a very hot iron. They were put on top of a bed of julienned and braised fennel in a bag of special heat-resistant clear cellophane. The staff explained that the bag was then filled by a little device like a vacuum cleaner with smoke from a little fire of thyme. The bag was tied up, reheated in the oven and served on a plain plate. We were instructed to put our heads down to the bag and inhale as we released the ribbon holding in the thyme smoke. This coated our mouths with the flavor, which had also impregnated the scallops and fennel. We thought that this dish was an excellent combination of interesting flavors and that the gimmick was not so complex that it detracted from the cuisine.ap8.jpgap9.jpg

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The frittura di moeche or little Adriatic soft shell crabs deep-fried quickly in a light batter at Fiaschetteria Toscana in Venice. The flavor is similar to, but more refined than, a northeast American soft-shell crab.

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The cappuccino of frogs legs with sweet garlic prepared three ways at La Villa des Lys in Cannes.  There were a mousse of garlic, pieces of frogs’ legs, morels and a deep fried frog’s leg in a terrific combination.

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Now we switch to the courses to go with the red wine.  

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The Raviolini di fonduta con tartufo bianco at Ristorante Belvedere in La Morra. The small raviolis, made with an egg pasta dough, are filled with fonduta, the combination of Fontina cheese, eggs and butter, which is considered to be a perfect match with white truffles. The maître d’hôtel himself brought over his plate of big tartufi and shaved very generous portions.

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The seared foie gras with soup dumpling and jicama at Annisa in New York. The soup is made with tea-smoked foie gras and is delicious. 

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The veal tongue salad at Restoran in Saint Petersburg. The flavors were unusual and well balanced. This makes a light introduction to the other meat courses which are quite rich.

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The Terrina di Coda di Bue con Marmellata di Cipolle at La Coccinella in Serravalle Langhe. This was a slice of a terrine of finely chopped oxtail in its own gelatine with an onion marmalade that cut the richness.mf.jpg  

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The Suprême de Volaille et sa purée de topinambour at Le Diamant Noir in Nice. The highlight here is the exquisite purée of Jerusalem artichokes with truffles. The chicken breast was stuffed with chopped truffles and served on a rich brown sauce. jh.jpg  

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The Calisson de pied, langues et ris d´agneau en croûte d´herbes; aligot à ma manière et côtes de blette étuvées ; jus aux éclats de truffes at Alexandre in Nîmes. Lamb tongue and sweetbreads had been cooked in a natural casing topped with chopped herbs and served on a truffled reduction sauce. Two stuffed lamb’s feet and a package of braised chard ribs were served alongside, as was a little dish of puréed potatoes and cheese. I know this kind of cuisine is not for everyone, but I love it.   

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The formaggi Valligiani at Flipot in Torre Pellice. A tray of cheeses from the nearby Italian alps in perfect condition was served with a block of local honey (in the upper right.)

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After all this I think we will skip dessert.  We did have many good desserts during the year, but none that seemed really memorable.

One Response to “My fantasy meal from 2007”

  1. alex Says:

    I’m in awe. What a noble quest, my God!


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