Behold The Perfect Bite Of Food.
I will explain what this is in a moment, but first, let’s take a moment to see another “perfect” taste:
We’ve all had that “perfect” meal, when you are overwhelmed with amazing flavors and creativity…and I wanted to share five of my favorites from around the world!
Yes, that is potato soup. The manner in which it is presented to you is an amazing culinary achievement in itself…
From Napa valley to Provence, Barcelona, Paris and Chicago, there are Chefs who continue to deliver cutting edge food, as well as traditional tastes that are straightforward, traditional and delicious.
Twenty Years of “The French Laundry” Magic!
We begin our tasting menu at The French Laundry in Yountville – located in the famous Napa Valley – always listed as one of the world’s finest restaurants, thanks to Chef Thomas Keller…
We were lucky enough to attend his 20th anniversary dinner, where some of the restaurant’s most iconic dishes were served…like the restaurant’s “signature” amuse bouche: Chef Thomas Keller’s individually wrapped cone of salmon and creme fraiche, almost like two arms welcoming you to the meal!
As I am focusing on the five greatest bites of food, I have to single out what I consider Chef Keller’s signature achievement:
“Oysters And Pearls”
This incredibly rich and flavorful dish is a Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar…the oysters are the size of dimes and poached, with a briny smoothness that matches perfectly with the caviar…
The flavors are intense, a “spoonful of the sea” – kudos to Chef Keller, who was nice enough to pose with us in the French Laundry kitchen!
You can see our entire 20th anniversary meal by clicking on my story here:
Now, onto Paris, where there is a restaurant that serves the world’s best – and probably most expensive – CHICKEN!
Welcome To Chez L’Ami Louis!
Here we are: the legendary Chez L’Ami Louis. This restaurant has been called “the world’s most famous bistro” – tucked away in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris – it has only twelve tables and serves meals in a traditional French setting.
First, let’s look at the menu – I didn’t get ALL of it, but most, and as you can see, the menu isn’t that large, but I think everyone is there for one thing anyway – the legendary “Poulet Roti” for two:
Bring On The $125 Chicken!
You read that right: Chez L’Ami Louis is famous for their Poulet Roti for 2 – a gorgeously roasted chicken that costs $125!
First, the chicken is brought to your table for inspection after the roasting is complete:
The chicken sells for 85 euros for two – based on exchange rates, that was $125 for us – but before you question that cost, take a look at the dish as they deliver it to your table:
First thing they deliver is the breast, still attached to the bone, along with herbs and the most delicious roasting juices you can imagine:
Wait! What Is THAT??????
Yes, in the picture above you can see the chicken on the table to the right – but what is that to the left?
The Chez L’Ami Louis Potato Cake!
Yes, the chicken comes with a side dish: a beautifully roasted potato cake, topped with freshly chopped garlic and herbs – and you are in charge of mixing it all together!
There must be something in those L’Ami ovens, as the roasted flavor of these potatoes was simply amazing – and when you mix in the fresh garlic and herbs, the dish takes on a whole new flavor that is beyond description.
More Chicken! Yes, MORE CHICKEN!
After you are served the breast, they take the chicken away…but there is more: after you finish your first plate of poulet, they bring out the rest of the bird:
What is truly amazing is that this chicken STILL glistens with juice – and the flavor of the roasted skin has seemed to get more intense by resting it…
So, there’s one of the world’s greatest bites of food – a perfectly roasted Parisian chicken…now, it’s time to head to another part of Europe for food that is far cheaper than $125, but just as delicious!
Welcome To Barcelona’s “Cal Pep!”
Cal Pep is one of the most famous tapas restaurants in Spain, renowned for their fresh daily tapas that change depending on the market products of the day – meaning, you can order off a menu, but it’s more fun to let them bring whatever is the freshest bite that day!
And that included what is one of my favorite bites of food of all time!
Cal Pep’s Baby Squid And Chickpeas!
It’s a plate of baby squid and chickpeas – absolutely delicious…the soft bite of the squid with the slight crunch of the chickpea…in a sauce that is smooth and rich…an incredible taste sensation….
Barcelona was an incredible food adventure for us….a great foodie city full of terrific food everywhere you turned!
France is also a great food country of course, and we had the chance to cook in Provence with one of our favorite Cookbook Authors and Food Writers, Patricia Wells!
Patricia and her husband Walter own a home in Provence, which they open up several weeks a year for a cooking class – one that Alex and I were able to attend in 2009.
Every day you plan, prepare, cook and consume a terrific series of dishes, made as a team, under Patricia’s expert direction…
Here we are with Patricia, posing in front of the Julia Child’s stove – a gift to Patricia from Julia – this is the provencal stove that Julia cooked on for years! When you spend a week cooking with Patricia Wells, you are not only surrounded by culinary history, but you get to shop for the best products from the local markets with her as well….
ALEX’S EGGPLANT DISH!
My wife Alex had the chance to cook with Patricia and create one of my favorite bites of food ever – because the eggplant in the dish was harvested outside in Patricia’s garden!
Look at how beautiful this dish is, made with eggplants you harvest from Patricia’s garden, along with fresh tomatoes, provencal olives, and the creamiest of brie cheeses!
If you ever have the chance, take on of Patricia’s cooking classes, it’s the adventure of a lifetime!
And speaking of food adventures, how about a restaurant that serves up bacon like this?
Yes, a strip of bacon served on a wire! It’s just one of the amazing culinary creation from Chef Grant Achitz!
Welcome To Chicago’s 3-Michelin Star Molecular Marvel Alinea!
Yes, I believe that Alinea is the most inventive meal I have ever eaten – everything from hanging bacon to “dessert balloons” made of green apple – and filled with helium!
Alinea is home to my favorite potato soup of all time as well – topped with a slice of truffle, you slide everything on the pin down into the soup and take it all in one delicious gulp!
I could eat that forever, but as amazing as the flavor to act soup was, what followed was a culinary masterpiece of creativity!
It begins as a simple “fire” set at your table…
Here’s how it works: a plate is set down on the table with two pieces of sashimi on it…and then they set the plate on fire!
This Place Is On Fire – Literally!
You can see there are two twigs on the plate, and you are instructed to pierce the sashimi cook it a bit over the fire if you don’t like your fish raw!
While we love raw sashimi, we also loved the idea of giving our fish a quick sear…
So far so simple…we quickly moved on to our next dish…while the fire continued to burn gently on the table…
Leading to one of my favorite “surprise bites” of food ever!
“Jump Into The Fire!”
There’s an incredibly inventive reason the fiery plate is left on your table – it is cooking your next course!
While you were distracted by other bites, there was an incredible bite of food continuing to secretly cook – a roasted parsnip and chunk of pork belly is in the smoldering embers…oh, except those aren’t embers!
That’s right, instead of embers, that’s a roasted parsnip, with the char scraped away….
Next, they dig around in the embers and a banana leaf is pulled out of the fire, and inside is a delicate chunk of pork belly!
The imagination that went into the creation of this multiple fiery course is so impressive, and delicious! A smokey bite of pork belly cooked on the table…if you want to see more of this amazing meal, you can click on the rest of my story here:
Bravo to these Culinary Masters for giving me five incredible bites of food – leave a comment and let me know the best thing you’ve bitten down on!
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