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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Almonds, Cranberries, and a Tangy Buttermilk Dressing

For fourth of July, BigManLovesFoodSr wanted to relieve me of the majority of the cooking duties and make some ribs and barbecued chicken with my brother's help. I did not complain because his ribs are delicious, but I still wanted to make a couple sides and a dessert.

For the main vegetable side, I put together a crunchy vegetable slaw. It was mostly based on this Broccoli Slaw Recipe from Smitten Kitchen. However, my mom had already bought a few other vegetables in addition to broccoli, so I threw it all together into this slaw. It was kind of the perfect foil to the fatty ribs, sticky barbecued chicken, and buttery potatoes we had.

The salad itself added a much needed crunch to the plate since all the vegetables were still raw. The buttermilk dressing had some red onions quick pickled in sherry vinegar, so it was sharp and very tangy. It cut through all the fattiness on the plate and refreshed the palate between bites. Plus, the cranberries were a nice sweet pop here and there.

Slaw Ingredients

  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 6 medium carrots
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Buttermilk Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 red onion
  • salt and pepper

1. Start off my finely chopping your onion, then mixing it with the vinegar and sugar plus a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. I was going to be traveling with this salad, so I did it in a mason jar. Smitten Kitchen added raw red onion directly to the salad, but my family is not a huge fan. Instead, I wanted to mellow out the onion by letting it quick pickle in the vinegar. I'd leave it in at least an hour before mixing with the rest of the dressing.

2. In a separate mason jar I mixed the buttermilk and the mayo, with another pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. This was mostly because I was traveling--if you're just making it at home, you can just let the pickled onions sit and eventually mix in the buttermilk and mayo directly. When ready, mix the pickled onions with the broccoli. Taste and season if needed.

3. Then you want to prep your vegetables. Thinly slice the broccoli and cauliflower florets. I peeled the broccoli stems, and then thinly sliced them on a mandolin (you can do it with a knife). I passed the carrots through the matchstick setting of my mandolin, but you can also thinly slice them.

4. Next, lightly toast your almonds in a dry pan. Keep and eye on them and mix them constantly because they will burn on you very quickly. Add the toasted almonds and the cranberries to your vegetables.

5. Finally, dress the salad. You might not need all the dressing, but everything should be nicely coated. Let it sit for at least an hour so all the flavors meld together, stirring every 15 minutes.

6. Plate your salad and enjoy!


Who can look at that and honestly say they don't like brussels? For a vegetarian version, omit bacon.
Growing up, brussels sprouts were one of my most hated vegetables. They were mushy and always seemed to smell really funky; you just couldn't pay me to eat them. However, in the past few years, I've fallen in love with well prepared brussels. At home, I'd always done it in a super hot oven and then added some sort of vinegary-sticky dressing. The super hot oven is key because you want a deep caramelization on the brussels.

This recipe is exactly that, but better. I almost didn't want to post this because it is just so easy--deep fry everything and add the dressing. But, I decided I had to because something magical happens to these brussels when they are deep fried. This is almost exactly the Deep Fried Brussels Recipe from Serious Eats, just with some bacon added because bacon makes everything better. You could easily make this vegetarian by just omitting the bacon . . . but who would ever do that?


  • About 3 pounds of brussels sprouts
  • 3 shallots
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup parsley (not pictured)
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying

1. Start off  by cutting the stems off the brussels, peeling off the tougher outer leaves, and then cutting them in half. Peel and thinly slice your shallots. Slice your bacon into small strips (good kitchen scissors are great for this). 

2. Heat your oil to 400 degrees. Unless you have a gigantic pot and an unlimited supply of oil, you will need to do this in batches. I used a pan with about 2 inches of oil in it, and did it in 3 batches. Add the brussels, bacon, and shallots to your oil and fry until crisp and crunchy, about 4 minutes per batch. Stir occasionally and monitor the heat so they don't over brown.

3. Meanwhile, mix your balsamic with your honey and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to use a mason jar for this (pictures missing). Let this sit while the brussels finish browning. Once the brussels are nicely browned, drain them well.

4. Dress your brussels and serve them alongside your favorite protein. Or, just make an extra large batch and make this your complete dinner. Come to think of it, they might be really good with a poached egg on top.


Friday, July 8, 2016

That is some deliciousness.Slightly runny eggs, sausage, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and jamon serrano. All wrapped up in a flaky pastry.
So the past few days have been incredibly difficult because of the crazy shit that is happening in our world. Earlier, I just felt too much hurt after all the senseless violence and decided I wanted to step away. Instead, I decided re-live the great memorial day weekend I had with some friends and make this blog post. About a dozen of us spent the weekend at a huge house in Palm Springs, and I went in with a plan.

We had decided to do a big brunch on Sunday morning, and I wanted to re-create this impressive wellington I had seen on the Great British Bake Off. Cathryn filled hers with a full english breakfast with quail eggs. I kept the sausage, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and prosciutto, but I omitted the blood sausage and used chicken eggs. Because some folks were vegetarians, I made an extra batch of pastry and made little savory veggie pasties.

The pasties were good, but the Breakfast Wellington was one of the most impressive thing I've ever made (with help from friends, of course). It was savory and meaty with the sausage and mushrooms, with a bright kick from the tomatoes and a perfect saltiness from the jamon serrano (which I just learned is a type of prosciutto actually). My mouth is watering just remembering it.

This also gave me a chance to try making a Flaky Pastry. In terms of difficulty, this was somewhere  between the rough puff I made a few posts back and the fully laminated puff pastry I am too intimidated to try. It involves an obscene amount of butter being dotted and rolled into dough multiple times--it was decadent and delicious. Overall, this recipe took a bit of work, but it was a great dish to make while friends are hanging out so that you can cajole them into helping (they are also great at getting awesome action shots of the cooking process). It helps if you get the pastry done the day before your brunch so that you are less rushed. 

***I also hope you enjoy the new blog design. I'd love to know what you think and whether you have any suggestions or encounter any problems***

Pastry Ingredients
  • 700 g all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 450 g unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 2 eggs, for egg  wash

1) Start by preparing your butter:
Make sure it is completely cold. Cut it into small cubes. Keep one fourth out for the next step, and put the rest back in the fridge.

2) Rub the  remaining butter into the flour and salt with your fingertips until the  butter is the size of small peas:

3) Add the water to the dough and mix until it just starts coming together. Do not overwork it. It is going to seem incredibly dry and crumbly, but just press it together and wrap it tightly in some plastic wrap.  Chill in the fridge for about 20 min:

4) Once chilled, take the dough out. It should be holding together nicely now. Roll it out into a long thin rectangle, about 1/4  inch thick. Take one third of the remaining butter and dot it over two third of your rectangle. You are then going to fold the third without butter over the middle third, then over the bottom third. Roll this out a little more until the butter has thinned out. Then wrap it in plastic again and return it to the fridge for 20 minutes.

This is easier easier than it sounds--just follow along the border of this picture:

5) You are then going to basically repeat step four twice more, chilling in between each time. Each of these steps is called a "turn." During this process you are creating thin, uneven strips of butter sandwiched between thin layers of dough. By the last turn, you should actually be able to see these strips of butter at different depths in the dough. Finally, place in the fridge overnight (or for at least an hour) and get your filling started.

Filling ingredients
  • 10 eggs
  • 10 oz brown mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 7 oz sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 lb sausage (mix of breakfast and italian)
  • 1 lb jamon serrano
  • Oil
1)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2) Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place the eggs in the pot in a single layer and leave them in for 6 or 7 minutes (no more, no less). Take them out and immediately place them in ice water. They should  be perfectly soft boiled now. Once cold, very carefully peel them.

3) Next, you want to prepare your mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. I hate the texture of mushrooms, so I made them into a paste with the tomatoes. You could also leave them chunkier according to your preference.
First roughly chop  your mushrooms and get them very brown in the butter. Don't overcrowd  the pan so you make sure they get a nice color on them. Then, in a food processor, blend them together with the sundries tomatoes until it resembles a paste.

4) Prepare your sausage. Remove any casings, and mix your different types of sausage together:

5)  Now for the fun  part: building your filling:
Cover  your  counter with an excessive amount of plastic wrap. You'll thank me later.

Take your jamon serrano and lay it into a square on the plastic wrap so that it overlaps slightly and there are no holes. My square was  about 18 inches across.

Carefully spread the mushroom/tomato paste over the jamon, leaving a one inch border.  Then, spread the sausage over 2/3 of the square, leaving the one inch border. Finally, lay the soft boiled eggs across the very center of the sausage, leaving a border at either end.

6) Use the plastic wrap to roll the whole thing into a very tight log. Using the plastic, roll the ends to make the log even tighter (imagine a giant candy wrapper with the ends wrapped). Just move slowly and deliberately and it should come out perfect. Chill the log for about 20 minutes in the plastic wrap.

7) Once chilled, remove the plastic wrap and lightly oil your log. Place it on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes. It should feel firm to the touch, slightly crispy, and some oil should be seeping out.

8) Chill your filling completely, for at least 30 minutes. Then, roll our your dough into a huge rectangle (about 25in x 15in). The pastry should be fairly thin. Trim a square off each corner so that when you roll it there is less dough at the ends. Fold the remaining flaps over the meat lengthwise, and then roll the filling in the pastry completely. Use water to seal all the edges as you go Decorate it with all your scraps of dough. I went with x-strips. Brush using one egg beaten with water.

Again, easier than it sounds:

9) Bake for about an hour, until puffy and brown. Cover with foil if it begins to overbrown:

10) Allow it to rest as long as you can stand it, which won't be more than a few minutes. Then cut into it and enjoy.

Even when the world is sad and difficult, friends, food, and family make things feel a little better. Enjoy each other, cherish each other, and love each other. That's really all any of us can do.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

BigManLovesFoodSr and his Father's Day Dessert
Father's day was a few days ago and I wanted to put up a short post acknowledging the man who is most responsible for me being who I am today--let's call him BigManLovesFoodSr.

We all see dozens of posts on social media around this time of people saying the exact same things about their fathers (or the person who played that role in their life)--they're all wonderful, amazing people apparently. For a cynic, this homogeneity is nothing more than proof of people disconnecting from life and using platitudes to seek fake validation on social media. However, I choose to believe that all these people are completely genuine and the homogeneity is actually a little comforting--it indicates some universality in the relationship between a child and a their "dad."

With all that said, BigManLovesFoodSr is a wonderful, amazing person. He came to this country with very little education, not knowing the language, and had to work harder than I can even imagine to make it. His only goal in life was to make life slightly better for his children and I think he and my mom were completely successful--I'm writing this immensely popular food blog* (and doing some lawyering on the side I guess), my two bros are working, and my baby sister just finished her first year of undergrad.

For whatever issues and clashes I had with BigManLovesFoodSr when I was younger, I know that I would not be as successful as I am without him. And although he is not perfect, every day I see more and more of him in myself, and I am pretty content with that.

Here is a video of the croquembouche I put together for BigManLovesFoodSr. I am kind of in shock that I made it.

Plus some pictures of the family:

*and by immensely popular I mean double digit readership. oh yeah.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

So sometimes I have short conversations with myself. Yesterday I was looking through my photos and I though to myself: "Wow, I have a lot of pictures of donuts."

My next thought was: "Yeah, no shit, you love donuts."

And let me tell you, I really do. I am 1000% on team yeast doughnut--cake donuts are ok, but they just do not compare to a perfectly risen, light and airy doughnut covered in a crackly glaze. Although I have not done a ton of work with yeast--and am a little scared by it--donuts are now on my list of desserts I need to make. So, sometime in the future, be on the lookout for that post. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the pictures of delicious donuts I have eaten in the past few years.

Donut Man

The Donut Man is located in Glendora, CA--about 45 minutes from my house in Glendale. A couple weeks ago on national doughnut day I made the mistake of trying to go there to get donuts. Donut Man is kind of an institution, and I definitely was not the only one with that bright idea.

There must have been 200 people in line when I got there. By the time I got my donuts, that number had grown to about 250. In addition to my 45 minute drive, I waited almost an hour to get my donuts.

Plus, it turns out that they had lost power the night before and hadn't been able to make as many donuts as they needed to for national doughnut day. That means I have to give some props to this guy (and the other four or five guys not pictured)

These guys were just throwing down, making donuts as fast as they could. We basically had made to order donuts--as soon as a batch came out, it would sell out. The down side of this was that they did not have their full complement of donuts. In fact, when I was about halfway through the line, they made the sad announcement that they had run out of their signature doughnut--the fresh strawberry doughnut. If you are ever within 100 miles of this place and it is strawberry season, you MUST make the trip there for it.

Instead, I had to settle for some of their other doughnuts:

And by settle I mean immensely enjoy donuts straight from the fryer. Pictured above are two of their cream cheese donuts--one with raspberry and one with blueberries. The other one is their giant tiger tail--yeasted regular and chocolate dough intertwined before being fried and glazed. Even though I didn't get the donuts I wanted, these donuts were amazing.

Donut Friend

The awesome and awful thing about Donut Friend is that it is about 10 minutes from my house. I am glad I have at least a tiny bit of willpower--otherwise, I would be here everyday.

Donut Friend is sort of a hipster-y take on the doughnut. Their big draw is their make your own donut--you can choose between cake, yeast, or a fritter. Then you have dozens of choices of fillings, glazes, and toppings.

Even though it is fun to make your own doughnut, I've learned to just stick to the pre-made combinations they have. They ALL work perfectly.

This first picture was from one of the first times I went to Donut Friend. I can't remember exactly what we got, but I believe it was a blueberry lemon and a strawberry basil. Judging by the picture, I believe the lemon blueberry also had some mint in it. The fresh herbs really add a lot.

This most recent time I went with my friend Hemly and we just went kind of crazy. I believe we got a blueberry cake (best cake doughnut I've ever had), a peanut butter and jelly, a strawberry, a S'Morressey (must have for any Chicano who loves the Smiths), a boston creme, and a coconut creme (amazing toasted coconut flavor).

It is a real toss up for me as to whether Donut Man or Donut Friend is better. At the end of the day, I think they are just slightly different but equally good. Donut Man is more traditional but perfected, while Donut Friend is out of left-field but incredibly well done.

Doughnut Dolly

Last year a few of my co-workers all went up to San Francisco for a Giants game. As I drove up on my own, I had a couple days to just hang out in San Francisco by myself. Therefore, I had to go out and find a good doughnut. I ended up landing on Doughnut Dolly in a tiny alley in Oakland.

Doughnut Dolly is sort of artisanal. They basically only do filled donuts and have a really small menu (four filling when I went). Each doughnut is hand-filled to order using these incredibly cool old-school machines. You can also choose a glaze/frosting on top of your filled doughnut.

I had one of each of their flavors when I went. They were all good, but the berry jam with lemon frosting really stood out as my favorite. Maybe that's just because I love jam. The great thing about these donuts was how absolutely light they were--almost as light as a krispy kreme straight out of the machine (but oh so much better tasting than krispy kreme).

Donuts in Chicago

On my Chicago trip last month (when I went to Roister), I got a chance to check out Stan's Doughnuts. Really solid donuts, but unfortunately not quite as good as my LA favorites.

My picture taking skills were really lacking, but that cinnamon sugar doughnut was incredible. We also got a regular glaze and a chocolate glaze, some kind of peanut butter doughnut, and I think a jelly filled doughnut.

Just to highlight how bad my picture taking was on that trip, I actually visited another doughnut place while in Chicago--Doughnut Vault. I'm really disappointed I did not get pictures because those donuts were incredible (blew Stan's donuts out of the water). In fact, I think they rivaled my favorite LA donuts. But in the blogging world, if there are no pictures, it didn't happen. 

Dizzy's Donuts

After I finished law school, I took one final road trip from Illinois to California. On the way, I stopped for a night in Boulder to revisit the town I had lived in for a month as an organizer. On my way out of town, I stopped at Dizzy's Donuts.

They had an incredible selection of donuts. My favorites were their maple bacon, the salted caramel, and the lemon meringue. Unfortunately, I just found out that they actually closed their doors last year. I'm glad I got to try them while they were still open.

Home Made Cronuts

Even though I have never tried my hand at real donuts, I actually made a facsimile of a cronut a few years ago. A friend and I used store bought puff pastry and store bought crescent dough, deep fried it, and, if I remember correctly, made a simple orange glaze for it (powdered sugar, milk orange zest, orange juice).

They were delicious and a great, quick dessert. However, you could tell that it was store bought dough. As I'm posting this I'm actually having visions of my homemade rough puff deep fried and glazed. Yeah, that's also going to happen soon.


So this only barely qualifies as a doughnut, but for my brother's birthday earlier in the year we ended up going to this place called Afters in Long Beach. Their specialty is called a Milky Bun, which is essentially a doughnut stuffed with ice cream. I went with the salted caramel ice cream in just a plain doughnut, and it was glorious. The doughnut was still warm, the ice cream was soft and creamy. It really worked.

Churro Burough

So this is definitely not a doughnut, unless you count the fact that it is made from dough that is deep fried. But asI put Afters in here, I figured I'd throw in a little shout out to Churro Burough. They are this new-ish shop in LA specializing in churro ice cream sandwiches. They were absolute geniuses to come up with this idea and, if you're ever even close to their shop, I'd recommend you make the trek over.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Friends, Open Kitchen, and the Best Damn Fried Chicken Ever
A few weeks ago when I visited some friends in Chicago I had one of the greatest meals of my life at Roister--the new restaurant from the Alinea group. I've been drooling over their other restaurants (Next and Alinea) for a while now, and it seemed like fate when I found out that Roister was opening a few weeks before my Chicago visit. My friend and I immediately booked their Chef's tasting table. 

So, here is the first of what will likely be many restaurant reviews on the blog. Through these reviews I hope to share pictures of the food, plus both a descriptive and also quantitative analysis of the restaurant as a whole (food, ambiance, etc).

Plus, when possible, you will get a special guest poster--this time you get to hear from one of my best friends now living in Chicago. Let's call her SheWhoEats

Roister is the slightly more casual/home-style restaurant in the family, headed up by Andrew Brochu. Even though this place was not cheap (out the door cost including a couple drinks each and service charges was about 150 per person for the tasting menu), it is amazing for that special few-times-a-year meal. In fact, next time I want to go with three other people and just order some of their large format dishes which we got previews of during the tasting menu. Especially the chicken. You don't even know how good that chicken was.

The restaurant is built around the idea of celebration and the experience centers on a big open kitchen that is integrated into the dining room. From most of the tables, you have a partial view of the kitchen and get some feel for the kitchen. However, SheWhoEats and I went one step further--we got the tasting menu which sits us at the counter directly facing the kitchen itself.

the focal point of the kitchen is a huge wood burning oven
There are about 5-8 chefs working in there at any one point, and the focal point of the kitchen is a huge wood burning oven. Don't quote me on this, but I believe almost every dish we ate (except dessert) had at least one component from the wood burning oven. One cool thing is that they have these whole pineapples just hanging form a string inside the wood burning oven.

Those pineapples were first used for a house shot that was given to us as soon as we sat down. It was delicious and set a really nice tone for the rest of the meal. Overall, the service was fantastic. We were seated as soon as we walked in (it wasn't packed), and they were fairly attentive to us.

Our only real interaction with the host/server was being seated and our drink orders. Because we were doing the chef's tasting menu, our food was just handed to us by the chefs doing the cooking with no need to order. If I had a single complaint, it was that I would have liked a little more from the chefs who handed us our food. They were nice enough, and told us what they were giving us each time. But, it felt a tiny bit like a chore for them and sometimes it was hard to hear what they said. I can't fault them too much though, as they also have to be cooking and the music is a little loud.

BigMan: In terms of ambiance/dining experience/service, this was the most fun I've had in a restaurant, earning it a solid A in that category (After the jump below, I will also be grading all the courses individually and then giving an overall grade).

SheWhoEats: Our service was fantastic. This was the single best dining experience of my life so far. It's overwhelming to be able to experience someone else's creativity so intimately. It's uncomfortable and wonderful at the same time--it's like having a taste orgasm in a room full of strangers. A+ for ambiance/dining experience/service.

"First" Course - The Starters

The "first course" at Roister was actually three separate dishes. There wasn't a ton of cohesion across the three dishes, but some of it was absolutely delicious.
Roister's "fries" . . .blistery and crunchy, and . . . topped with an umami bomb--soy and bonito flakes
BigMan: A+

I thought the standout from the starters was Roister's "fries." They were like the most perfect fried potato wedges you've ever had. The skin was blistery and crunchy, and it was topped with an umami bomb--soy and bonito flakes. The saltiness and umaminess of the topping paired really well with the fatty outside and fluffy interior of the potatoes, and there was some kind of acid plus the chives on top providing a nice brightness. The tofu mayo wasn't super flavorful, but it provided an incredibly silky creaminess to the dish. Overall, I wouldn't change anything.

SheWhoEats: A

These were truly delicious. Although, they did lack a certain wholesomeness--the taste of the potato (seriously, the utopia of fried potato) was completely overwhelmed by all the other flavor.

In all fairness, I've never met anything covered in bonito flakes that I didn't adore. Without the bonito, these would probably get a B+ from me.

"Kimchi" and Roasted Pineapple

BigMan: B+

I'll be honest, I don't remember too many specifics about this dish except that it was good. It was almost like a chili marinated cabbage/lettuce with some acidity in the marinade. I love spiciness, and this was a really great little dish to pique my interest and get my taste buds salivating. However, I am scoring it a little bit lower just because it was a little simple and not super memorable in the context of everything else.

SheWhoEats: A-

This dish made up for what the fries lacked in balance. There were grilled pineapple slices underneath the kimchi, and the combination was delicious.

[the pineapple was from the wood burning oven]

crudo . . . too many raspberries . . . could've used a pinch of salt

BigMan: C+

One of the only misses of the night for me was the crudo dish. You can't quite see it in my picture, but the fish itself was really nice--some kind of firmer white fish, great texture and flavor on its own. And, on the positive side, when you got a bite of everything on the plate in the right proportion, it worked. However, there were way too many raspberries on the plate and their tartness overwhelmed anything else. The abundance of raspberries also made the plate taste like it was missing salt and something bright to bring it all together.

SheWhoEats: B-

This could've used a pinch of salt, maybe?

Second Course - Veggies

sourdough pancake . . . muscles . . . mutant peas

BigMan: A

The second course was  a sourdough pancake topped with peas, muscles (I think), and some sort of creme fraiche. Normally I do not really like peas, but these were incredibly--giant, fresh, and really sweet. I also think they included some of the pea shoots with the peas which added a slightly different layer of flavor. Overall, the dish worked really well--the sourdough had a nice tanginess that was balanced by the creme and complimented the fresh peas. My one criticism is that the texture of the pancake was a little soft--I would have liked some crunchy edges or a crunchy bottom.

SheWhoEats: A-

I agree with BigMan on all counts. Those mutant peas were delicious.

Third Course - Salads

The third course was once again  multiple dishes--this time a duo of salads.

Asparagus salad . . . tasted like a sloppy joe
BigMan: A

There was something about this asparagus salad that completely mesmerized me. A lot of times I find asparagus kind of bitter and unexciting. However, the asparagus in this was amazing. I don't know if it was the way the asparagus was roasted in the wood burning oven or if it was the fennel, but there was such a wonderful meaty and smoky flavor to this salad. There was also some really nice crunch to the salad from the macadamia nuts. Hands down, a great salad.

SheWhoEats: B

BigMan, the reason you liked this asparagus is because it didn't taste like asparagus, it tasted like a sloppy joe.

Romaine Salad, Korean Spice, Ham

BigMan: B-

This dish was very nearly there, it was just a little out of balance. On the bottom was a good puree/dressing, reminded me of a brighter green goddess dressing. Then some spicy marinated romaine hearts. Sort of like kimchi, but a little earthier and much less pickled/fermented than even fresh kimchi. This was topped with some paper thin slices of the ham. I think if there had been twice as much ham on the plate, it would have been amazing. The saltiness of the cured ham balanced really well with the earthy spiciness of the romaine when you constructed the perfect bite. However, after about three of these perfect bites, you were left with a ton of romaine hearts and no ham . . . souring the experience.

SheWhoEats: B-

This was good, but uninspired. The only reason I'm not giving it a C is because that green sauce was BOMB.

Fourth Course - Meat

BigMan: A-

So let's get this out of the way--you can't go wrong giving me some beautiful dry aged beef, especially when you top it with a perfect uni butter. But, I don't know why, this was just ok. The piece was tiny, which is always a disappointment, but more than that it just didn't feel exciting. Maybe a tiny bit less of the uni butter would have let the steak shine. Or maybe the steak just needed more of a char. Whatever it was, there was just a tiny something missing.

SheWhoEats: B

The steak was overdone. This was delicious, but a slight metallicy-bitterness would've rounded out the flavor and made this incredible.

Fifth Course - Chicken

This is why you go to Roister. Even if you do nothing else but walk in, order the chicken, eat it, and leave, you should go to Roister to try this dish.

On the large format menu, this is actually full chicken in one dish. On the tasting menu, we got half a chicken. Basically, they take all parts of the chicken and do three different things with them. First, all the odds and end are used to make a chicken salad with a creamy dressing and a bunch of seeds added for texture. The breast is then lightly poached and finished off in the wood burning oven for a perfect roast. Finally, the thighs are boned and deep fried. All of this is served with a sun choke hot sauce, and what I would call a gravy.

Chicken and Chamomile

BigMan: B+ for the chicken salad, A for the roasted chicken

The chicken salad was good, but I've also made chicken salad myself that was almost as good. Maybe it's just my bias, but chicken salad seems a little boring. With that said, this was incredibly well done--perfectly tender chicken, great crunch from nuts/seeds, and a creamy dressing that wasn't super heavy.

The roasted chicken on the other hand was great. Perfectly tender and juicy, not a hint of dryness, a little smokiness from the roast. Dipped in either the gravy or the hot sauce, it is near the top of my list of roasted chicken.

SheWhoEats: C for the chicken salad, A for the roasted chicken

It was just really good chicken salad. The roasted chicken was tender and perfect and delicious.

The best damn fried chicken you'll ever eat
BigMan: A+

I don't even know where to start. Either magic does exist or they just put crack in the breading, but this was the most absolutely perfect fried chicken you can imagine. In fact, it was better than I ever imagined fried chicken could be. Impossibly crunchy but still thin breading. Meat so juicy it almost squirted out when you bit into it. PERFECTLY rendered fat inside the thigh. There wasn't a single bite that felt gristly or chewy from unrendered fat. When it was dipped in the sunchoke hot sauce, it really was perfection.

SheWhoEats: A+++

OMFG. This was the best fried chicken I've ever had in my life. I'm afraid it has ruined fried chicken for me forever. And those sauces. Mmmmm.

Sixth Course - Dessert

Strawberries and Cream . . . there was just something magical going on in that plate

BigMan: A+

This is the dish that reminded me I was at an Alinea group restaurant. A simple Strawberries and Cream according to the description but, again, there was just something magical going on in that plate. The complexity and thought that went into this really blows me away. So many textures and flavors and even temperatures, my mind did not even know what was going on. It just knew that it was unbelievably satisfied.

I can't even remember everything in there, but there was a beautiful strawberry jam, some strawberry ice balls, some milk ice cram, some dehydrated cake, a shortbread crumb, and probably other stuff I can't even remember. Dishes like this remind me that food really is art.

SheWhoEats: A+++++

I took my first bite of this dessert, and immediately, I felt the muscles in my face relax in a wave of pleasure as I tasted this most pure and perfect strawberry shortcake. This flavor was totally familiar, but better. It's the way all strawberry shortcake is supposed to taste. Just totally immaculate. But as I was experiencing this insane sense of flavor-awe, I suddenly realized that I was also confused--it completely snuck up on me--this felt nothing like strawberry shortcake in my mouth. The textures and temperatures and sensations were SO interesting. There was soft creaminess and fluffy crunchiness and icy tartness and chewy toffeeness and ohmygod. I don't even know the words to describe how interesting this dessert felt in my mouth. And my mouth is watering so much that I can't even think straight.

Seriously, this is the strawberry shortcake of the gods. The single most perfect and interesting dessert I've ever had in my entire life.

Foie Gras "Snicker" Bar

BigMan: A+

I thought nothing could compare to the strawberry dessert, but these little mini "snicker" bars came damn close. I'd never contemplated having foie gras in a dessert (in fact, I'm not sure I'd ever eaten foie gras before at all), but it absolutely worked in this. The chocolate shell was nice and thin, perfectly tempered. The foie was fluffy and creamy inside, there was a beautiful caramel, some crunchy pretzel-y pieces, and some salt to finish it off. A great two-bite dessert.

HomeSkillet: N/A*

*does not eat foie gras

BigMan: A+

We each had two cocktails and overall, they were delicious. We had their old fashioned made with apple brandy (not traditional, but really good), an amaretto sour made with black truffle, a sour made with roasted banana, and the resurrected panda. I don't know too much cocktail lingo, but they all tasted amazing and I was intrigued by their combinations of flavors.

SheWhoEats: A+

Delicious. Creative. Not too sweet.

In Closing

As you can tell from the description above, we both thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Roister. We were especially picky about the food because it is such a high end place that perfection is really expected, but even with a few misses the meal was stunning. 

Overall, BigMan gives it an A and SheWhoEats gives it an A-.

BigMan SheWhoEats
Ambiance/Service A A+
"Fries" A+ A
"Kimchi" and Pineapple B+ A-
Crudo C+ B-
Peas A A-
Asparagus Salad A B
Romaine Salad B- B-
Meat A- B
Chicken Salad B+ C
Roasted Chicken A A
Fried Chicken A+ A+++
Strawberries A+ A+++++
"Snickers" A+
Cocktails A+ A+



Message from bigman

Welcome to my blog, where you can join me as I revel in my love of food. Eating it, cooking it, baking it, watching it on TV and even learning about it. If it has to do with food, I am probably interested.

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