Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Between Courses: World's Best Oven Fried Chicken - Butter Baste

Between Courses: World's Best Oven Fried Chicken - Butter Baste

World's Best Oven Fried Chicken - Butter Baste

Here is a cooking technique for the most awesome Fried Chicken without all the trouble, mess, labor intensity, and variability of quality finish that normal deep or pan frying involves. In fact, the coup de grace of the technique is a single, easy butter baste of the chicken in the last 10 minutes of the baking - it is YUM.

The preparation of the chicken is critical to world class chicken in any recipe. This oven fried chicken technique will be really great with straight out of the plastic wrap supermarket chicken pieces but not in the same class as the following Thomas Keller Ad Hoc Restaurant preparation technique. Three Days (or combine day 1 and 2 by starting early for a 2 day chicken) Elapsed for perfection. If you can't make the time go straight to the dredge and cook with skin on supermarket chicken pieces and it will still be really good.

Day 1
Step 1: Make brine and bring it to room temperature or lower:
Step 2: Buy and cut up whole chickens make Chicken stock from bones

Day 2
Step 3: Brine the chickens and reduce the chicken stock from 2 gallons to 1 cup
Step 4: Air dry the chicken pieces in the fridge overnight

Day 3
Step 5: Bring chicken to room temperature - dredge in flour mixture and buttermilk
Step 6: Bake and baste till perfect
Step 7: Serve and enjoy

Buy 2 whole, organic chickens - the smaller the better - under 4 lbs if possible. That day, wash them under the tap thoroughly and cut into 10 pieces each: 2 boneless breasts each cut in half, 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs. Take the remaining carcass, wing tips, neck bones and make a chicken stock for the gravy.

Brine the 20 pieces of chicken in the following brine for 6 to no more than 12 hours (too salty if brined longer).

Brine recipe:
1 gallon cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
8 large or 12 small bay leaves1
head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns not ground
1 small bunch of thyme
1 small bunch of parsley
3 small lemons cut in half
6 cloves of garlic cut in half

Preparation of brine: Brining
Combine 1 cup of water and all other ingredients including lemon rinds in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to combine all ingredients. Remove from heat to cool. To brining container add the birds (2 chickens cut into pieces, the 3 quarts of cold water, and the now cooled (can be fairly warm) contents of the saucepan. Make sure chicken is completely submerged. Refrigerate overnight -up to 12 hours.

Preparation for cooking: Tempering
After brining time is up drain and discard all liquid, wash off the chicken pieces under the tap, get rid of any herbs, etc sticking to bird. Use paper towels to dry and then refrigerate on a baking sheet overnight uncovered (or lightly covered with a dry kitchen towel). at least 2 and preferably 3 hours before cooking take out of fridge. You want the chicken at room temperature before it goes in the oven. It WILL NOT GO BAD - the salt and acid in the brine has totally sanitized the bird and even if unbrined it would not go bad rising to room temp over a couple of hours in any case. This is an important step to have tender moist chicken that is cooked thru properly.

Dredging and coating:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cups buttermilk
In a food processor combine the dry ingredients thoroughly. Divide the dry mix evenly between a paper or plastic bag and a bowl. shake the chicken pieces in the bag to coat well with the mixture. Shake off excess. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture bowl, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to 2 baking sheet s(rimmed to contain grease or make a rim from foil) lined with oiled (to prevent sticking) aluminum foil - skin side up. On one sheet put the breasts and wings on the other the legs and thighs.


melt 1 (or more if needed) stick of butter for basting and divide between 2 small bowls.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
When the oven is hot put the baking sheet with the thighs and legs on the rack in the top 3rd of the oven. After 15 minutes put the sheet with the breasts on the rack in the middle of the oven.
Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Open oven pull out each rack and baste the chicken pieces with half the butter. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees - close the door and cook for 10 minutes until golden brown. Test internal temperature of thighs with in instant read thermometer - should be at least 160 (to 175) degrees in thickest part when done. Depending on your oven, internal temp should be well below that so you can turn the chicken over individually and baste the other side with the other half of the butter and cook for about 10 minutes till brown. check temperature often as it nears 170. If internal temp is not high enough but skin is crisp and brown turn off oven, turn the chicken skin side up, but leave chicken in for another few minutes (up to 15 or 20) to heat through without over-browning and drying out. Let chicken rest on counter, skin side up under more foil while making gravy.

Make Chicken Gravy:
Take your cup of greatly reduced chicken stock and put in a saucepan with 1 pint of heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Heat to boil and boil down by half to about 1 and a half cups.

To Serve:
Let chicken rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes after coming out of oven.
Serve with whatever sides you have prepared and pass the gravy for a light drizzle.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seattle Chef's Dinner Series - Dream Menu

As a recap of the Seattle Chef's Dinner Series I went back thru each dinner and rated the best 2 dish's of each meal. Of the 12 total possible 1st and 2nd place menu items Cafe Juanita and Crush each had 5 with an equal number of first and 2nd places, Tilth 1, and Lark 1. However, when I took the 6 meals course by course and said who had the best 1st thru 6th course of the entire series the resulting dream menu was as follows. Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita had 5 of the 6 dream courses. I would love to have this meal at Cafe Juanita as a stand alone affair..

Hor's - they were ALL great - special recognition goes to both Cafe Juanita and Harvest Vine for the best "party" based on the cocktail hour and the seating arrangements which made for very festive evening of meeting new poeple and enjoying and awesome quantity of high quality wine and small bites.

Course 1 - Dinner 4 at Lark
CAFE JUANITA – Holly Smith
Local Porcini Roasted and Raw Carne Cruda of Wagyu with Lardo Crostini)

Course 2 Dinner 3 at Harvest Vine
CAFE JUANITA – Holly Smith
Guinea Fowl and Foie Gras Tortellini in Ginger Brodo

Course 3 Dinner 2 at Tilth
CAFE JUANITA – Holly Smith
Sea Bass with spot prawns and gold nugget mandarin reduction

Course 4 dinner 1 at Rovers
CAFE JUANITA – Holly Smith
Guinea Fowl with Oxbow Farms Brussels Sprouts colatura, pancetta and vin santo sauce

Course 5 Dinner 5 at Cafe Juanita
LARK – John Sundstrom
Grilled Painted Hills Culotte Steak chanterelles, rocket and sweet onion vinaigrette

CAFE JUANITA – Holly Smith Dinner 5 at Cafe Juanita
Lemon Cake with a Huckleberry sauce and creme fraiche Sorbet

Holly is a goddess of the Kitchen!!

Seattle Chef's Dinner Series - 2009 The Last Supper

Let There be Blood!

Last evening Cindy, Amy, Jeff and I attended the last in the 2009 series of Seattle Chefs dinners at Crush Restaurant. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be our favorite of the series due to the challenging menu (as in eating critters, and parts of critters almost raw that are a little scary to many diners).

These dinners do provide the Chef's a chance to showcase menu items that would not sell well on their regular menus (for the reason noted above). This is basically a foodie/chef groupie type of event. For this reason alone, not to mention open mindedness trying things that are a little scary to you is a good thing. However, this was a little too much of a good thing all compressed into one menu.

The format for these dinners is kind of a big dinner party with an hour of bubbly and awesome nibbles provided by the host restaurant followed by a 3 hour 6 course meal at assigned tables. the layout and inclinations of each host restaurant means that this is handled different ways at each venue. At Crush the seating was pretty much by groups of folks who knew each other in a normal restaurant table layout - including the cocktail hour. Since we knew Jason Wilson's nibbles would be great we got there for the full cocktail hour . The bubbly and the 3 little treats were plentiful and very good. Gougres, a crisp pruscutto chip sandwiched between compressed apple and blue cheese, and a baby endive leaf with creme fraiche and steelhead roe. However an hour of this was kind of long. Having folks stand and mingle by not seating till 7pm would have been more fun - as it was at the other dinners.


ROVER’S- Thierry Rautureau, The Chef In The Hat!!!

Cured Salmon, Fennel Flan, Kushi Oysters, Chanterelle Salad, White Sturgeon Caviar.

This was 3 beautifully prepared items presents on a long , rectangular plate. Very beautiful presentation and each item quite tasty. However, the Oyster was (intentionally I assume) a little above room temperature which was offputting. Two of the 3 items were raw seafood - which was fine. Except of the Oyster temperature this was a wonderful dish.

TILTH – Maria Hines

Sylver Fishing Co. Spot Prawn Bisque with corn flan, scallion, prawn salpicon

This was by far the best savory dish of the evening. a wonderful fish and vegetable bisque. Really good.

HARVEST VINE – Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez

Tuna Belly in Vanilla clod of rice and jamon serrano popcorn

Three of the 4 diners at out table could not get down this dish. It was a very scary visual, aroma, texture. temperature, and taste. One taste each and Jeff then ate everyone else's so - like I said - it was challenging but to the right diner very good. It seemed raw but honestly I could not tell and chef' described a lot of cooking technique involved.

LARK – John Sundstrom

Squab Breast, sunchoke puree, sherry vinegar and truffled sunchoke chips.

This was a wonderfully prepared and melt in the mouth dish. Unfortunately, to all four of us it was essentially raw pigeon breast - fat on. It was just a very adventurous dish for our tastes. combined with the raw/oddly cooked seafood in 2 of the 3 preceding dish's we were getting a little queasy.

CAFE JUANITA – Holly Smith

Saddle of Oregon Lamb with Gnocchi di Semolina, toasted rosemary and taggia olives

This is the only dish I have ever been served (I I have been served quite a few) by Holly Smith that I didn't love. I am pretty sure there was a chiffinade of anchovy skin in this dish that was visually distracting and assertive tasting. The lamb was beautiful, very rare, but extremely "lamby" tasting which is not to any of our preferences. We all love lamb but prefer the butchering technique that leaves any silverskin and fat on the cutting board to avoid that strong taste associated with it. The toasted rosemary was also a problem as it was a little like eating splinters. (Sorry Holly - I idolize you - this just wasn't my dish).

CRUSH – Jason Wilson
Lemon Olive Oil Cake, Manni Per Mio Figlio, Cranberries & Creme Fraiche Sorbet.

Awesome! the cake was beautiful and delicious. the Sorbet waa a little too frozen so kind of jumped around the plate when you tried to cut into it with your spoon - but it was very good once you captured it.

I hope I don't sound too critical of this dinner. I am sure to many gourmets taste this was a perfect meal. Just the combination of the preparations in the courses compounded to be a little overly challenging to our group on this outing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Urban Eats Promotion - Brasa Restaurant Seattle

It has been quite a while since we visted Brasa. James Beard Semi-Finalist for NATIONAL (one of 10) Best Chef of 2009, former Iron chef contestant, inventor of the quirky and wonderful "Burning Beast" event, and all around great person Tamara Murphy has not lost her touch at the restaurant. Brasa is one of over 35 restaurants participating in the October Urban Eats Promotion - 3 courses for $30 so we decided to make a visit. Cindy and I arrived early to take advantage of the great happy hour (we enjoyed nice, large pour wines for $4 and a nice little app for another $4 - what a deal. Jeff and Amy arrived and we adjourned to the restaurant for a very nice meal. The 3 wine pairing was only $15 and quite nice. We started with apps which included a great celeriac and apple soup, a beautiful beet salad, and crostini with Iberico ham. All enjoyed by everyone at the table. The mains included a blue cheese steak frites, a pumpkin and tagliatelle pasta, and the restaurants signature dish pork with clams and great spicy sauce. for desserts there was a pumpkin panna cotta, I enjoyed a nice cheese plate, and Jeff had the Spanish doughnuts with a great warm chocolate dipping sauce.

We recommend this restaurant and don't forget to arrive before 7 for the extensive and super priced happy hour in the bar. In fact if you want to eat early it is the best deal in town with some pretty substantial items available.

Brasa on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Trip to New York - Eleven Madison Park

Miranda has done an excellent job of the details of the menu. Cindy felt is was BETTER than Tomas Keller's Per Se but I can't go that far - it was wonderful and showed great talent but TK is still the top of the game to me.
I will share here some of the comments from the NY Times Food Critic who gave Eleven Madison Park a very rare 4 start rating in the times Last month.
THE FOLLOWING IS QUOTED FROM Frank Bruni's Article "A Daring Rise to the Top" published in the New York Times, August 12, 2009
"Eleven Madison Park, which opened in 1998, now ranks among the most alluring and impressive restaurants in New York. It has reached this pinnacle because its principal owner, the indefatigable Danny Meyer, made a key move in 2006, bringing aboard the chef Daniel Humm, and because together they decided — out of pride, it seems to me, more than any commercial calculation — that this restaurant could and should shine as brightly as any other.

It already had the setting: that theatrically tall, marble and nickel-walled hall in the old Metropolitan Life Building, with grand windows onto the verdure of Madison Square Park. It already had a deep, broad wine list. It just needed a bit more polish in its service and a lot more sparkle in its food. Over the last three and a half years, it has received precisely that, in measures that increased steadily since the arrival of Mr. Humm (and, soon after him, a new general manager, Will Guidara, and a new wine director, John Ragan, who has wisely supplemented familiar treasures from France with less familiar ones from other countries).

Mr. Humm’s French-grounded cooking, which bridges the classically saucy decadence of the past and the progressive derring-do of a new generation, drew notice from the get-go. He hadn’t been in place long before the city’s gluttons were atwitter (in the old-fashioned sense) about his way with suckling pig. He served it as a dense, tender brick of confit below the most crisply fatty sheet of crackling imaginable. But instead of resting on his suckling laurels, he took this wrinkle of his reputation and ran with it, developing a tasting menu with five consecutive courses of suckling pig, including belly cooked sous vide and a roasted rack of tiny, exquisite chops. I sampled this last month, and it was superb.

The menu allows you to chart paths of varying lengths, from three standard courses, each of which you choose, to a “gourmand” experience of 11 unspecified courses that Mr. Humm selects for you. But even the briefest route includes numerous detours, because he has a particular enthusiasm for succinct, intense add-ons to be experienced before or between the principal dishes.

For example, every dinner begins with a five-piece row of single-bite amuse bouches, one with foie gras, another with salmon and another with sweetbreads nestled in a crunchy cornet.
Some of his best work comes in small packages, like a cup of “sea urchin cappuccino” that was presented as a little surprise during a meal whose climax would be a flawlessly cooked blue foot chicken for two with a brioche, foie gras and truffle butter stuffing under the glistening skin.
The cappuccino’s inclusion of cauliflower mousse below a peekytoe crab salad, sea urchin roe and a sea urchin foam made with cream and Cognac seemed to allude to (and perhaps borrowed from) a famous Joël Robuchon dish of cauliflower cream, lobster and sea urchin.
But Mr. Humm’s version was an altogether frothier and more indulgent affair, and whenever it threatened to become too much, a tart, astringent note flickered, reining everything in. The difference between good and great cooking of this kind is often knowing where the creamy, buttery, unctuous tipping point is — and stopping just shy of it. Mr. Humm does that expertly.
Mr. Humm’s judicious flirtations with molecular gastronomy have intensified over the years, to exciting effect. One tomato salad comprised liquid spheres — those quivering, explosive orbs made famous by the Spanish wizard Ferran Adrià — of white buffalo mozzarella and red tomato. Another floated a fleecy tomato “cloud” (tomato water whipped with gelatin) over a patchwork of red and yellow cherry tomatoes.
Mr. Humm supervises the sweets in addition to what precedes them, and with most he finds the right middle ground between hyper-imaginative artistry and molten chocolate pandering. Accessorizing the gooey chocolate centerpiece of one dessert with both caramel popcorn and a popcorn-flavored ice cream did that trick nicely."

Our Trip to New York - The Spotted Pig

April Bloomfields Spotted Pig is a wonderful Gastropub in Manhattan. We all enjoyed a great lunch. Cindy (and Miranda) had an ultra RARE artisan Blue Cheese Burger that actually topped the Seattle Spring Hill experience I was raving about last year. For those who don't know Cindy is deathly averse to rare burgers and she gobbled it down. I had the most fatty, crispy, meaty pork belly dish - i relished every bite. Sid had the Cuban Sandwich which was a porky treat on a beautiful bread.

Don't miss this place!

Our Trip to New York - Casa Mono

Generally I have not been a huge fan of Tapas - Until I visited Casa Mono in Manhatten with Sid, Cindy, and Miranda. I have attached the resume of the Chef, Andy Nusser, and the current menu so you can get an idea of the quality of the place. It was really awesome. We shared 10 small plates ranging from Calamare Fritos, Sweetbreads, Bone Marrow, goat confit and a host of others. Try this place when in NY. We went a lunch and it was not overly crowded.

Andy grew up in Spain. He graduated the CIA in 1995 at the top of his class. He cooked with
Mario Batali in the tiny kitchen of Po for two years before opening Babbo. The 3 star restaurant received Best New Restaurant from James Beard in 1998. As the silent backbone of Babbo, Andy Nusser served as executive chef for five years. With his heart in Spain and his strong passion for cooking Nusser got his way to combine the two by opening Casa Mono and Bar Jamon in December of 2003 with partners Batali, Bastianich and Nancy Selzer. Casa Mono received 2 stars in 2004.

Pan con Tomate 5
Jamón Iberico 25
Charcuterie de la Casa with Black Truffles 18
Cana de Cabra with Figs 14
Ensalada Mono with Manchego 10
Bacalao Croquetas with Orange Alioli 9
Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Croquetas 9
Hudson Valley Pork Croquetas with Green Tomatoes 15
Chopitos with White Beans and Salsa de Tinta 15
Sardinas Fritas 15
Calamares Fritos 15
Fried Oysters with Avruga Caviar 13
Razor Clams a la Plancha 15
Mussels with Cava and Chorizo 15
Sepia a la Plancha with Salsa Verde 15
Pulpo with Fennel and Grapefruit 13
Fideos with Chorizo and Clams 18
Duck Egg with Mojama 16
Sweetbreads with Fennel al Mono 19
Foie Gras with Cinco Cebollas 19
Dorada with Saffron Cauliflower Puree 16
House-Made Chorizo with Manchego Crujiente 15
Duck Breast with Plums 19
Bone Marrow with Radishes 15
Tripe with Chickpeas 13
Cock's Combs with Cepes 13
Piquillo Peppers with Oxtails 13
Skirt Steak with Onion Mermelada 16
Lamb Ribs with Eggplant and Harissa 16
Pork Belly with Spicy Sandia 19
Confit Goat with Rainbow Chard 19
Pork Chop with Spaghetti Squash and Quince 18
Mixed Beets with Salted Granola 15
Spanish Mackerel with Maitake Mushrooms 14
Scallops with Blood Oranges and Rainbow Carrots 15
Patatas Bravas 9
Setas with Garlic 9
Scallions with Romesco 9
Pimientos de Padron 9
Artichokes with Mint 9
Brussels Sprouts a la Plancha 9
Torta y Helado de Chocolate 9Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Crema Catalana con Buñuelos 9Burnt Vanilla Custard
Pudín de Naranja 9Bread Pudding with Caramel Ice Cream
Seasonal Sorbetto y Moscatel 9Sorbet and Sweet Wine
Mono Sundae 9Plum Brandy Ice Cream with Arrope and AlmondsTopped with Emilio Hidalgo PX $3 additional
Manchego con Membrillo 9Sheep's Milk Cheese and Quince Jelly
Café con Leche 4
Café Cortado 4
Tea 4
Café Solo 3
Surtido de Quesos 9Spanish Cheese Plate with Autumn Fruit
Cappuccino 4

Our trip to New York - Dim Sum Go-Go

We all greatly enjoyed a Sunday Lunch at Dim Sum Go-Go in the heart of NYC Chinatown. This is a nontraditional Dim sum place in that you order everything off the menu - no carts - but you do get the Dim Sum sheet to check off what you want and how many of each. I liked the format a lot as you are able to peruse the menu and order a nice sampling of thing you are really interested in rather than just pointing at item on a cart. Also, the food was blazing hot and fresh. This place is a real find (Miranda and Sid have been there several times). On your next New York trip definitely go to Chinatown and this is a great choice for food. No web site/ no reservations/ really clean/really cheap
Address: 5 E BroadwayNew York, NY

Eleven Madison Park

Restaurant Name: Eleven Madison Park
Location: 11 Madison Avenue, NYC

With my foodie parents (Between Courses bloggers Steve & Cindy) in town for a visit, we were lucky enough to recently try Daniel Humm's excellent cuisine at Eleven Madison Park.

My gut response (after about a million courses and a *bunch* of wine) was: outstanding. And I still stand by that several days (and a little detox) later. The food here *is* outstanding, both in terms of flavor and in terms of preparation and presentation. The closest restaurants (that I've visited) which I might compare it to would be Thomas Keller's Per Se (which I felt achieved something closer to perfection) and Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin (which was quite comparable, though working in very different proteins). The comparison here would be based on the shared practice of serving a well-executed tasting menu of very elevated presentations and high quality ingredients.

One thing that set Eleven Madison Park apart from both of these places, though, was its emphasis on more cutting edge techniques and presentations -- particularly its focus on incorporating some of the tricks of molecular gastronomy. Indeed, some of my favorite courses here had been given some sort of unusual treatment (such as a "caprese salad" that consisted of two perfect spheres, one of tomato water and one of pureed buffalo mozzarella, that had been created by suspending those ingredients in water with sodium alginate. When you ate them, they burst in your mouth, releasing a flood of goodness.)

The other thing that set Eleven Madison Park apart from other high-end tasting menu-focused places was the sheer number of "additional" courses (e.g. tastes you get between the courses listed on the menu). I'm pretty sure we'd eaten about four courses before we even got to the first course.

So, on to the food. We opted for the Early Autumn Tasting Menu, a 5 course sampling of the season's best.

The meal began with an amuse bouche -- a tiny coronet of veal sweetbreads wrapped and deep-fried. One perfect bite of salty, creamy goodness.

Then we were served a plate of "Hors d'Oeuvres" (the first listed course), which consisted of several single bite nibbles, including: a "beet marshmallow" (too sweet), a clam tart (good, but did not taste of clams in way, shape, or form), a tuna tartare (my favorite - one great bite of the sea), and a square of foie gras with jellied cranberry on top (a *great* combination). This was an interesting start to the meal, but not all of the bites were as well-executed and arresting as they might have been.

Next came another amuse bouche (that's what they called it, but in my opinion it was too big to qualify): a sea urchin foam with crab. Very tangy and not too overwhelmingly sea-urchin-y.

Then came my personal favorite, the caprese salad (described above), followed by the next listed course, the Greenmarket Heirloom Tomatoes Composition with Terre Bormane Olive Oil and Fino Verde Basil. This was, in my view, the least successful of all the courses. It consisted of three preparations, a savory tomato sorbet (the best of the three), a slice of tomato sauced with an olive and roasted tomato spread (not attractive nor tasty), and a "tomato cloud" (tomato foam) on top of several small balls of tomatoes. Meh.

This was followed by the Organic Rabbit Rillettes with Concord Grapes, Pickled Onions and Grilled Pistachio Bread. The rillettes were rich and delicious and paired very well with the jellied grape and pistachio sauce. My only issue with this course was its size -- *too much*!

Next came the Nova Scotia Lobster Poached with Lemon Verbena and Flavors of Ratatouille. This was delicious -- the sauce was both slightly sweet and slightly tangy and was a beautiful, rich, almost pink color. The quenelles of ratatouille veggies were a great pairing for the rich lobster.

The main course was probably the most sumptuous: a Dry Aged Black Angus Beef crusted with Bone Marrow and served with Saffron Onions and Braised Shallots. Crusting the beef fillet with bone marrow was genius (a creamy, crunchy layer of heaven on top of the sous vide beef). This was served with an overly-rich side (potato foam on top of oxtail ragu, on top of foie gras) -- no one could finish it.

At this point in the meal, I was beginning to feel a little bit *too* full. I see this as one small failing of the menu. The courses could each have been smaller so that the diners could head into dessert with anticipation rather than anticipation/dread.

Before the listed menu dessert arrived, we were treated to a really amazing palate cleanser. A champange foam was somehow perfectly molded in a sphere around a strawberry sorbet. I think I would have been almost happy to end on this sweet, boozy note.

Dessert proper was a Chocolate Peanut Butter Palette with Caramel Popcorn and Popcorn Ice Cream. This sounded weird, to be sure, but it tasted great. In fact, the popcorn ice cream was probably my favorite bit of the whole dessert - salty, sweet, and almost savory...all at the same time. Yum!

Dessert was followed by the usual parade of Mignardises, including a host of different macaroons and gift of gelees to take home.

We waddled out into the night, vowing a week of salads and exercise.

Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon