Sunday, November 7, 2010

More Cheese Straws and CityZen Love

So I ate most of the cheese straws I made last time (curses!).  They were so deliciously cheesy, salty and spicy!  So I decided to make another batch for my family and experimented with different shapes.  I decided to try making the straws long and round like the kind you sometimes get at restaurants.  And I also did a few twists again to see if they would come out better.  I also did the dough differently where I really sliced the butter pats thin so it was easier to mix in and this time I think it really did look like what I imagine corn meal to look like (sorry I forgot to take a picture at that point).  And the dough was much easier to handle this time, less sticky.  And look at the results!
The twists really held their shape this time!  Wooohoo!  But I'm loving the long thin simple ones too.  And they're easy to bite into. 
I don't know why the twists came out so much better this time.
Yum!  Next time I want to try it with a different cheese.  A lot of reviewers said this recipe is great with gruyere or asiago.  And some said that adding some dry mustard is really good too.  So many possibilities!

So my sister and I decided to go to CityZen in DC for the chef's tasting menu as a birthday treat for each other (mine is in November and hers is in December).  We have decided that from now on all of our gifts to each other will be in the form of treating ourselves to delicious food.  I tried to eat as little as possible during the day because my sister and I agreed that we would eat everything put in front of us.  EVERYTHING.  Food was eh.........MAZING.  WOW.  INCREDIBLE.  Also, the service was the absolute best.  Below is an outline of the meal for you to all drool over:

Wine - my sister had a glass of a great, very dry, rose and I had a glass of their gruner veltliner.  If I could do it again I would have chosen the rose.  A good rose is hard to find.
Amuse bouche - a trio that consisted of an olive ball, ham ball, ham slab on top of different sauces.
First Appetizer - a mushroom salad that was very good, but definitely not my favorite.
Second Appetizer - an onion risotto had three little mounts on top of shaved chestnuts, sturgeon roe and some sort of cooked green.  Looked beautiful and the roe added the perfect burst of saltiness in each bite.  
First Meat Dish - duck with seared foie gras.  My FAVORITE.  The duck was cooked to perfection and was perfectly complemented by the seared foie gras and some sort of foie gras sauce underneath it.  One of the best things I've ever eaten.
Second Meat Dish - butter poached lobster.  I'm not a huge lobster fan but this was amazing.  Perfectly cooked, good amount of meat and covered, absolutely soaked, in a creamy butter sauce.  Butter makes everything better.
Parker House rolls - the best little piece of bread I've ever had.  The rolls are tiny but my sister was good and ate only two of these.  I polished off the rest.  The top of the rolls were brushed with butter and coarse grain salt.  Mmmm.
Main Entree -  venison with delicious Japanese turnips and little loaf of some sort of yummy bread.  I had never had venison before and was pleasantly surprised. The venison was delicious but I think I'm more of a fattier meat kind of person.  Venison is a very very lean piece of meat.  But, if I'd had a fattier kind of meat, I wouldn't have had room for my next favorite course...
Artisanal cheeses - goat, sheep cheese, cow cheese, stinky Camembert and a blue cheese.  We didn't even eat the bread that came with it because it detracted from the taste of the cheese.  This was an extra cost but we ordered just one for the two of us to share.  I don't see how you could fit in one each anyways, it's a lot of cheese!  They wheel out about 20-25 different cheeses on this tray and you get to pick out 5 of them.  We started off our cheese selection for asking for the stinkiest cheese (Camembert) and then progressed from there.  No safe plain cheeses for us!  We ate them all.  Delicious.
A little extra mini dessert - oatmeal cookie sorbet, with a little crisp on top, and sparkling wine.  We were given this because our waiter had overheard that it was our birthday celebration.  I didn't catch the name of the sparkling wine but it was delicious.
Dessert - flourless chocolate cake with coffee ice cream and hazelnut jelly.  I didn't like the jelly but the coffee ice cream came with some coffee grinds on the side and it was incredible.  And the chocolate cake was perfectly cooked and was one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever had.
Another something extra! - a trio of a little pear jelly, fig macaron and chocolate hemisphere, with orange and cinammon inside.  Yum.  By this point we were stuffed.
And yet another something extra! - and then to top it off he came by with this beautifully decorated plate and mini birthday cupcake.  Picture below.  

Truly amazing service and delicious food.  One of my top 5 eating experiences ever.  

The yummy cheeses!  From left to right: blue cheese; camembert; sheep cheese (it had a wonderful little spicy kick that you taste near the end - very surprising); cow cheese; goat cheese.

At first my sister and I both liked the sheep cheese one the best because it was so surprising but as we continued to plow through the cheeses our preferences changed.  We both agreed in the end that the camembert was our favorite.  So stinky, so delicious.  Next was the goat cheese.  I must confess that I'm extremely partial to goat cheese but this one had the most incredible texture.  After that we varied a bit.  I ended up liking the cow cheese because even though the flavor wasn't that strong it was wonderfully smooth and creamy.  The blue cheese was amazing for blue cheese but I always feel like there's nothing that special or unusual about blue cheese.  

Dessert - YUM!  If they had served me the chocolate cake in the size of a large magazine I think I would have eaten it all.  And do you see the delicious trail of coffee grinds at the top that flow into the coffee ice cream?  Not impressed though with that little jelly on the bottom right.
Happy birthday surprise cupcake!  Doesn't that look so beautiful?  And that mini cupcake was delicious of course.  That frosting was made with LOTS of butter.
Jumping to another topic - my lil pug insists on laying on the most comfiest spot in any room.  I was doing my makeup one morning and turned around to find my lil pug had found a little comfy spot on top of my discarded clothes that didn't quite make my laundry bin.
And if I'm in the bathroom, she must follow me and lay on my bath mat.  She has a fear of the bath but can't resist laying on the plush mat even if it is right next to the bath.  Do you see a bit of my wonderful Anthropologie shower curtain?  I was watching it forever and then it went on sale and I snatched up one before it went out of stock in literally one or two days.
How can anyone resist that face?

1 comment:

  1. Try using frozen Dufour puff pastry for cheese straws. They're amazingly good and super easy. I tell you this because I am lazy.