Friday, June 6, 2008

Magazine Article Photo Shoot

So, I get this call...

...from a young editor of a relatively new Cleveland journal called Cleveland Business Connect. She's writing an article on molecular gastronomy. Oh, Cleveland? The community here is pretty small, so I referred her to the few chef's I know who play with this stuff. I do not...not much anyway; however, I am very interested in borrowing a few techniques toward my own ends. Of course, I can't pass up an opportunity to be interviewed and I've no shortage of opinion. It will be interesting to see what she makes of my comments. Of couse, I'll report here with a transcript or a link. More interestingly, the magazine photographer followed up the next day, asking to do a photo shoot. So early this morning, I met the guy at my friends restaurant (Doug Katz is a gracious man) and I plated a couple things. What follows are the pictures I took with my point and shoot. Fortunately, I should have some of the pro shots to post in the near future. Enjoy these for now.

Carrot Cube and Sous Vide Beet Ravioli (Goat Cheese) with Carrot Power and Beet Foam


Pictured below is a Terrine of Sous Vide White Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms with Mushroom "Crumbs"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Prague, non food pictures

...the non-food picture post...

Many times I've been asked to model for GQ, Vogue, etc. I told my agent to stop taking their calls. But here I am anyway (posing for some silly web log) outside Hotel Anna, which I highly recommend (the hotel, I mean).


Some pretty person looking forward to a meal at U Zavoje.

Below is a shot looking across the Old Town Square toward the Tyn Church.


This is a view of the Little Quarter taken from the grounds of the Strahov Monastery.


Looking across theVltava towards Prague Castle from The Old Town.

Prague Food


We had mixed food experiences in all parts visited on this trip and Prague was no exception. What remains true is that most guide books fail to direct readers to those really good restaurants we foodies crave: the authentic, lovingly prepared eats of side street and small town venues or even some of the places that aspire to a Michelin rating. One of the best places to turn for information is eGullet on the web. I can recommend a few of the places we tried. Before I do that, however, let me offer up a toast with the king of beers, Budweiser. No, not that whimpy rice beer thousands swill in the States. I'm talking about the real deal, the pride of the Czech Republic: Here's to you!

(One of our first evenings...exhausted, but enjoying the good brew in our hotel room. Sorry for the informal evening wear)

Now for the restaurants: First up is U Zavoje (they don't have the english version of the webpage ready yet). We ate in this venue twice enjoying a live jazz trio in the Vinny Bar (the Wine Bar) area. It's not uncommon for restaurants to have more than one seating area with various levels of formality, menus adjusted to meet those levels in terms of complexity and price structure, but have the food coming out of the same kitchen. The food was decent. Below are two examples: duck confit and vegetarian lasagna. On the first night I ate braised rabbit, which was superb. However, the best dicovery of this dining experience was the wine, the Moravian reds. I particularly enjoyed Vinarstvi Cebau, Tvdonice, Modry portugal (the grape variety) pozchi sber 2006 (sorry I can't do all those funky Czech accent marks). Dianna mostly stuck to the whites, particularly liking a fruity French sauvignon blanc, Domaine Peiriere 2006.

Next up is a great French place in the Little Quarter (across the river from The Old Town). I recommend it as a lunch diversion, Cafe Savoy. I could not fine a website for the restaurant, but it is reviewed in multiple places on the web. We relied on quiche and salad to fortify our bodies and spirits against the miles of walking Prague's old roads and side walks. Here's a shot of the interior.

Finally, we splurged a little at an Italian joint with pretentions to greatness, Aromi: Enoteca con cucina. We had a rookie server who made some mistakes. Also, we weren't the jet-set crew buying expensive champagne and wine and the timing of the kitchen reflected a reduced priority to our table. However, we weren't in a hurry and had a very good meal. Highlights included the amuse bouche ravioli (mortadella) in butter with fresh sage, the white asparagus soup with squid, and the palate cleanser of prosecco and lemon sorbet. The entrees were pretty good too, but it was getting too dark for outdoor photography. This was out last meal in Prague and an excellent foreshadowing of our travel to Italy. Thanks for reading. The report from Tuscany will follow later in the week. Cheers!