Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The new kid on the block recommends...

As the new blogger on the JAM, I figured it was my duty to introduce myself and start off by giving readers a clue into the best meal of my life. That's me to the right. I am so freakin cool right?! So here goes...

I guess that food has always been in the background of my life and has only come to the forefront of my interests within the past 3 years. Senior year of college ushered in a desire to have some artistic outlet from my science-driven academic career and cooking somehow drew me in with its savory wiles.

Maybe it was the first cookbook I bought after asking my mom for recipes... or maybe it was the boredom. Regardless of the reason, I still remember that first overcooked, underseasoned mound of meat and spinach on a store-bought roll. That was the sandwich that spurred the incredible culinary journey I have since undertaken.

Today, after having lived in LA, I am all about incorporating the finest, freshest and most beneficial ingredients into my cooking... and about going to the most unique and ingenuitive restaurants I can find. Now in DC, I am looking to explore that some more... especially with my JAM ladies of course.

So are you bored yet? I hope not... because here is the entertainment. What is the best meal I have ever eaten? To date, I would have to give it Bouchon in Napa Valley.

This little bistro is marketed as Thomas Keller's whimsical and modern cafe which stands sadly next to its unassuming brother, French Laundry. Being a in a lower income bracket as a graduate student, I believed I was "settling" for Bouchon. I thought wrong.

Though the seating was meager and we had to make reservations at 2pm... it was worth it! My great friends Muoi and Joao indulged me by joining me for the meal; I was the one excited about the food. It was a meal none of us will ever forget. Simple bread began the sumptuous meal. Something as ordinary bread is worth mentioning? Yes, it certainly is worth mentioning. Eating this bread alone makes the trip to Bouchon worth it, but how to describe its tantalizing perfection... crispy, moist, light and utterly enticing.

Then some foie gras? Yes, yes I believe I will enjoy the artery-clogging goodness. And Tommy Keller did not disappoint. We were given a literal pot of foie; there was no hope of finishing. After eating a seeming pound of duck liver, it was time for more.

Gluttonous, yes, but so incredibly worth it. I proceeded to order a beautiful burgundy to pair with my pan seared pork belly, served on a confit of currants and local sweet corn. When our meals came, it was love at first sight. Muoi ordered the chicken and Joao ordered the trout. Mundane you may think? Nope, not at Bouchon.

Does it look amazing? Are you envious? I am and I ate it...

All the necessary elements achieved: presentation, aroma and most importantly taste. Everything on the plate added to the texture and savory flavor.

We shared, we savored, we fell in love with lunch. For what it was, the food at Bouchon failed to disappoint. The entrees were expertly executed and served on a bed of pure happiness. Clearly this was a culinary adventure gone surprisingly right. I guess going into the meal with moderate expectations allowed those low thresholds to be easily surpassed.

The food was as beautiful as it was delicious... we were all members of the clean plate club that day. Cheers to outstanding meals and voracious foodies everywhere!

Until next time hungry readers!


Johnny Storm said...

Boy, am I hungry after remembering this! This is pure cruelty, Katy!!

Travis Parker Lee said...

michael and i ate at bouchon in las vegas last year, and ate at bouchon bakery in ca in 2008. we will make it to the french laundry one day (maybe this year!), but the food at bouchon/bouchon bakery is fantastic. great recount of your experience!

Malia said...

Great post Katy! My mouth is watering after that vivid recount. Welcome to JAM...or should I say MAJK, now?


Katy said...

Thanks guys :) I loved that place... and clearly it shows! Glad to be blogging for MAJK! ;) Its so much fun!

Ariel said...

Yay I am so glad you posted! Maybe this will encourage the J and the M to post. :) Also, this post is extremely timely as I am heading up to Napa/Sonoma this weekend. I think I may have to stop at Bouchon Bakery on the way!