Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Warm beet salad

Another salad, with a hat tip to Audrey for introducing the delicious combo of beets and rosemary to me. Sauteed beets in olive oil, rosemary and salt, add spinach to pan and wilt. Top with a good chevre (Bucheron here).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer salad

Unbelievable even to myself, I made a salad today. This one is a typical French thing and old-hat to millions of people, and something I've not eaten often enough. On a base of spinach and pink lady apples, I put a spring salad mix, walnuts, bucheron, and mustard vinaigrette.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Once upon a time, I spent a few very cold January weeks in Central Europe, and I'm sure part of the reason for my survival (and overall great time) was the goulash. It came in many variations, all pretty good. My time in Budapest only reinforced my love for stewed meats Hungarian-style. Yesterday I make a pörkölt, which is Hungarian for roast, and is a cousin to goulash (gulyás). Stew beef, paprika (hot and sweet), a bunch of onion, and caraway seeds. Stewed for a real long time. Rich, deep flavor, great with a side of potatoes or dumplings.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bistro Les Gras, Northampton (MA)

First thoughts:

For starters we had the chevre salad and the pissaladiere, for mains we had the cheeseburger, and for dessert we had pot de creme, and cookies. The salad was unremarkable, not in a bad way, just in that it's pretty standard fare. The pissaladiere (a south coast pizza featuring onion, anchovy and olive) is a tart at Les Gras, and was delicious. You must, of course, enjoy anchovy to find this dish palatable. The cheeseburger was fantastic, easily the best in Northampton. The meat was delicate, soft, very nice texture. The toppings were well appointed, although I'd prefer if the aioli and gruyere were not on top of one another so as to taste each distinctly.

The bad: the desserts were terrible. They had run out of the ganache tort, so we tried the other two. The pot de creme tasted like yogurt and was runny. The cookies tasted like they were out of a tin - why bother?

In addition, and this is a complaint particular to the restaurant week deal, they were not doing their full menu. Instead they were offering the three course fixed price menu for the restaurant week. Of their three "principle plates" they offered lentils with vegetables (for whatever reason they are omitting the pork belly which appears on the website and their regular menu, which was rather disappointing), salad nicoise (which is on their appetizer menu typically and to me is not a main, also disappointing) and the hamburger. To my mind they went the cheap way out, which is understandable since they just opened, but for the same reason a bad idea since they just opened. They are generating first impressions.

We'll return at some point, but the missing pork belly and ganache dampened the enjoyment of the dinner. This wouldn't have been a big deal ordinarily, but the alternative options were limited by special menu.