Confession Wednesday- (un)Solicited Advice

I feel a serious compulsion to share my finds and favorites for food. I am noticing this to be almost out-of-body experience every time the opportunity to talk about it arises. If you tell me you are going to Portland, I will tell you not to miss Le Pigeon and coffee at Stumptown in the Ace Hotel. If you tell me you are going to San Francisco, I will immediately spew out Tartine and A16 (they rhyme too!). If it’s D.C. (helloJosé Andrés paradise!), I will plead that you try Jaleo and urge you to bite the bullet (or bill) and try out MiniBar. Likely, the list will be actually longer in each place. I cannot help it.


And God forbid you are visiting Denver or not even visiting but hint at needing any sort of dining/food-related advice here. I will explain all of my likes and dislikes, share the basis of my knowledge, inquire into your preferences, lifestyle, and food quirks to recommend what I think will be a perfect dinner for you in Denver, a market you will love, a food specialty store that will change your life, a brunch or dessert that will blow your mind.


In the last two days, I shared my favorite spots in L.A. with my best friend who is currently there, my all time faves in San Francisco with my former boss, and I sent a couple from London, complete strangers, to Boulder’s Cafe Aion and Frasca after merely sharing a table over a bite to eat at the Denver Civic Center open air market. Granted, all of these were solicited, well, maybe except for the couple from London. All they did was be friendly and seemingly interested in my obsession with food.


Now, I have received my fair share of less-than-solicited advice having been through law school, a pregnancy, and having a two year old. I realize that my compulsion might be at times annoying. So, I try to tone it down and contain my excitement with your travels and potential food adventures. Sometimes, my efforts fail.


I say now it’s your turn! I am about to embark on a summer of amazing travels – starting this weekend with New York City and Brooklyn, continuing in August with Seattle and Vancouver, and ending with Chicago in September (I know, my definition of summer is loose). These are all amazing food cities. Amazing. And this is not my first visit to any of them. My only issue is too many places, too little time. I can tell you this- I am set on sampling Prune in New York, Delancey’s in Seattle, Vij’s in Vancouver, and Alinea in Chicago. Of course I have a whole list of others that I have been dying to try, that friends or favorite foodies have recommended – I go to some lengths with food research- but I want to hear from you- what is one place I should absolutely not miss … and maybe tell me why.


In my quest to prepare for some of the trips coming my way, I tried out a recipe from Lumière, a (formerly Rob Feenie, now) Daniel Boulud restaurant in Vancouver, that I have not never experienced (yet!). I’ve had this beautiful cookbook for several years and I am sad to report that this is really the first recipe coming out of it. The recipes are beautiful but intricate and more appropriate for a dinner party where you want to impress your guests than for a week (or weekend) dinner at home with Mr. Pasta-maker — not that I don’t like to impress him.


This recipe is mostly easy, particularly if you happen to have a cup of veal reduction or reduced mushroom stock. I did, and it did make a beautiful tasty difference.


Duo des Pommes de Terre [or ...Potatoes Two Ways], a Lumière-inspired recipe


Glazed New Potatoes

Ingredients: 12 oz assorted small new potatoes, skins on; 1 1/2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock; 4 tablespoons unsalted butter; 1 clove garlic; 1 sprig thyme; 12 green onions, white and light green parts only, blanched; 3/4 cup veal reduction (or reduced mushroom stock); salt to taste.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Blanch the green onions in hot water for about a minute. Drain and set aside.



Place the potatoes (skins on), stock, 2 tablespoons of butter, garlic, and thyme in a casserole. Season with salt. Cover it and place in the oven, baking it until tender- probably 30-45 minutes. Check with a fork for doneness and return to the oven if needed.


Remove the potatoes from the casserole and set aside, keeping them warm. Place the liquid into a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and reduce until syrupy. Add the potatoes to the pan and shake often until the potatoes are well coated with the glaze. Add the green onions and heat for another minute to warm and glaze.


Bring the veal reduction to a boil and reduce it by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.


Potatoes Purée

Ingredients: 1 1/4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, skins on; 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm; 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed; 3 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese; salt to taste.


Place the potatoes (skins on) in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes. Try it with a fork for tenderness.

Drain the water, allow to slightly cool (to avoid really scorching your fingers) and peel. Process it incorporating the butter and as well as the milk and cream through a ricer or food mill over a slightly heated pot- very low heat. This creates a smooth, silky, and consistent texture. Season with salt to taste.


Cover it and keep it warm without burning the bottom of the pot. Before serving, thin the mascarpone with a tablespoon (or more if needed) of milk, and fold into the mixture.


To assemble: place a spoon of the whipped potatoes on the plate and part of the glazed potatoes on the side. Drizzle some of the veal reduction around all of the potatoes. Serve by itself or as I did, with this lamb chop!


Make the potatoes …and share your favorite places, especially in New York- my trip is just around the corner.


Photography by Jennifer Olson.

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  • Bethany

    You are the best foodie advisor EVER! Thanks for all the tips. Keep 'em coming! As for NYC…I loved the Mussels and Fries Americain with green chile broth at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. Also the cupcakes at Magnolia live up to their SATC fame. Have fun!

  • Monet

    Jennifer,
    Have a wonderful time in New York…there is an amazing waffle cart that travels throughout the city. They serve authentic Belgian waffles, which are phenomenal (they've been featured on the food network). Amy's bakery is great as is Magnolia's. Of course, there is a lot of great food, food…but I love the baked goods!

  • Laura Esmond

    NYC: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/rougetomatenyc?ref=ts

    Rouge Tomate. Great food, all natural local ingredients. Scott's brother works there now.

  • Food Lover

    Great recipe, thanks so much :)

  • The Mom Chef

    I love the recipe. Unfortunately, even though I'm from Chicago, I can't do much recommending of specific restaurants so much as to say make sure to give the Chicago-style pizza a try. Lou Malnati's or Unos are the most famous for that. Since you're not there yet and probably won't be before July 5 (?), unfortunately you can't take advantage of the "Taste of Chicago" that's happening right on Lake Shore Drive now. The best restaurants in the city have booths set up and sell samples of their food. You can eat yourself silly. Mario Batali is there teaching folk how to cook. It's an amazing event.

  • Kath

    Vancouver! Lots of great restaurants, but you MUST go to Vij's. You will wait to get in (they don't take reservations), but you can enjoy a drink and complementary little bites are offered. The food is amazing!! http://vijs.ca/index_in.htm

  • islandvittles.com

    It sounds like you're going to have an amazing summer! I have a few suggestions for Vancouver: Boneta (2 blocks from Gastown, slightly rough area of town…excellent food), Bao Bei (a Chinese brasserie in Chinatown), and an old downtown classic that never disappoints: Le Crocodile. Vij's is another must do, so you're on the right track!

    All have websites with menus. Happy travels!

  • Sweetums

    What superb ways to cook potatoes! They look amazing and full of flavour. Fantastic photos and instructions. I hope you have a lovely summer and enjoy many glorious meals.

  • Jason Phelps

    Lola in Seattle. Try the spread sampler with warm bread.

    In Brooklyn, shooting only from readings that have it on my list for later this year, I would check out some of the local brew pubs. The beer scene there is blowing up.

    Jason

  • Sara

    It's dangerous to ask for restaurant suggestions in New York…all people do is eat out and they are fanatical about their favorites.

    My recent finds:

    The Meatball Shop – Lower East Side
    Grand Sichuan International – Chelsea

    I highly recommend creating a food tour for yourself. There's no better way to see NYC than by eating 5-7 snacks/small meals in between nice long walks.

    Have fun!

  • Andra

    Thanks everyone for the recommendations. If you are ever in Denver, I am always up for sharing my favorite places and trying to point you in the right direction.