15 Jan2008

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A surprise winter trip to New York City for the Christmas holidays was a fabulous treat by itself for Marketman & Family. But on arrival in New York, we were stunned when informed that Sister had somehow managed to miraculously finagle/secure a reservation at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant at the Time Warner Center for the 27th of December, just a few days later. It was a gift for our 15th Wedding Anniversary, an incredibly generous treat that brought waves of anticipation and higher than high expectations… It was also a joint dinner to celebrate the holidays for the family, congratulate a nephew who announced a wonderful promotion at work, toast a brilliant job offer (once he graduates from Business School in June) for another younger member of the dinner party as well as celebrate the 90th birthday of a neighbor. If you have been reading this blog carefully for some time, you would have figured out that Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se is Marketman’s cooking idol. He is often mentioned as perhaps the best chef in the United States. And an opportunity to have dinner at Per Se, is probably a once-in-a-lifetime event. And this wasn’t just any dinner…

per1

A highly starred restaurant in a new high-rise building in mid-town Manhattan would seem at odds with itself… but soaring real estate prices and a shortage of prime locations for all that desire them reduces the realistic options. When you get over the fact that you have to get to the restaurant through the lobby of a mall and a bank of sterile elevators, you can rest assured that you are in for an incredible 3-4 hours of excellent food. The restaurant itself has a very spacious entry area, with extensive seating areas, and a view into one of their on-site cellars as well as a view out to Central Park. You may wait comfortably here for the rest of your dinner party here and have a drink or two if you desire…

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Once our party of 10 was complete, we were graciously led to a private dining room that was richly paneled in dark wood. The room had a wall of floor to ceiling glass windows looking directly out onto Columbus Circle and Central Park beyond, and a glass wall looking into the main dining room of the restaurant. A huge orange moon was rising and it was a beautiful site over the silhouette of tall buildings on the Upper East Side of the city. The table was set very sparsely with white linen, a few candles, and Chef Keller’s own design of white china and a simple pattern of silverware. After a champagne toast, the evening’s “tasting menu” was about to begin in earnest. What was heralded as a “nine-course” tasting menu actually turned into 14 or 15 “courses” or tastes of one culinary delight after another. I apologize for the horrific photos, but the lighting was very dim and I was embarrassed to intrude on such a meal by constantly taking snapshots…

With our champagne we enjoyed perfectly executed gougieres (1), stuffed with cheese. Light, crisp, soft and savory, these were a classic starter, yet given a twist both in their smaller size and surprise stuffing. Shortly after that, beautiful crisp cones with black sesame seeds and filled with smoked or cured salmon (2) with crème fraiche were served as a second palate teaser… Opulent finger food. Next a selection of breads all baked in-house was presented. If I recall correctly, on offer were a crusty individual sized baguette, rye rolls, ciabatta, a nice pain au lait (similar to a brioche) and a stunningly good pear and cider bread. I LOVED the pear and cider roll and had a second one when the tray came around again. Two types of butter were served with some fanfare along with the gorgeous bread, an artisanal Vermont butter and a fantastic butter from Northern California. The butters were fantastic. But fantastic.

I should mention at this point that the service at Per Se was amongst the best I have EVER experienced in a restaurant anywhere in the world. Assigned to our private dining room was a captain and 4-5 waitstaff. And we were only 10 diners. As unobtrusively as possible, the staff were constantly clearing, serving, filling, etc. and it was just a wonder to experience this. Our silverware alone must have been changed 10 times that evening, and I pitied the dishwashers… I wouldn’t be surprised if 1/4th of the cost of every meal is staff related, and it showed in a very positive manner. American waitstaff can be a bit too “familiar” when compared with their European brethren, and our captain was perhaps on the edge of what would be considered acceptable, but the quality of service was superb nonetheless. Efficient and highly orchestrated to ensure maximum impact each time another course was served…

se6

The first item on the official tasting menu was called “Oysters and Pearls” and described as a “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar (3). This was superb. A thick warm sabayon enveloping several oysters and topped with a generous tablespoon or so of caviar. The textures, richness and brinyness worked really well together. I can understand why this is considered one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and is often written about. White wine was flowing and I was still eyeing the butter on the table…

The next course was a beautifully arranged and presented Salad of Roasted Heirloom Beets (4) served with young leeks, garden mache (lamb’s lettuce) and Black Winter Truffle “Aigre-Doux.” The latter a fancy way to say a balance of sweet and sour flavors. This was a wonderful dish of winter ingredients (except the mache?, greenhouse perhaps?) served with a bracing yet balanced vinaigrette with a hint of sweetness. Bits of truffle were extravagant, but “bits” is a good description. Stunning looking dish, I should add.

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Not on the menu, but presented that evening was a delicate custard served inside a hollowed out eggshell (5). It was a bit reminiscent of a japanese custard and it was good, but the awe here was in the way the eggshell was prepared. One of the guests that evening was a sous-chef, and he described in excruciating detail how each eggshell would have to have been carefully emptied of its contents before it was cut and then FILED individually to achieve a smooth edge. I was so intrigued by the labor intensive task that I promised myself I would attempt this back at home, but eggs in Manila have such fragile shells… at any rate, this was a marvel in presentation, if you ask me!

One of the stars for me that evening was a Hot-Smoked Columbia River Sturgeon (6) served with English Cucumber, Confit of Heirloom Potatoes, Pickled Red Pearl Onions and Garden Dill with Crème Fraiche. What was so incredible about this dish is that it had the aroma and texture of smoked fish, yet the center was just cooked, soft and succulent, almost “rare”. It was brilliantly executed, in my opinion. I am not sure if the fish had been poached or cooked at a very low temperature and quickly smoked to achieve the surface characteristics of smoking, but it had none of the dryness and overpowering flavor of most examples of smoked fish. This was a highpoint, definitely.

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Next up was a tongue-in-cheek named “Macaroni and Cheese” (7) which was a Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster Tail served over a Creamy Lobster Broth and Mascarpone Enriched Orzo and topped with a Parmesan Crisp. The Lobster was tender and rich, the orzo and mascarpone mimicking, albeit in a much lighter vein, a more classic risotto. After this course was cleared, red wine was poured, indicating a shift to the meat courses…

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Another highpoint of the dinner was an “Aiguillette” of Liberty Farms Pekin Duck Breast (8) served with Braised Belgian Endive, Red Endive Spears, Preserved Meyer Lemon and “Langues de Canard” with Duck Jus. An “aiguillette” typically refers to a braided ornament on a military jacket, so I am not sure why it is in the name of this dish, perhaps the plating was meant to be reminiscent of the braid?! but the duck breast was the most tender duck breast I have ever eaten in my entire life. It was SUPERB. The duck tongues and duck jus were just “golpe de gulat”, but I couldn’t really see the point for the duck tongues…perhaps unusual texture?

The next dish was Elysian Fields Farm’s “Carre d’Agneau Roti Entier” or Lamb (9) served with Yellow Corn Polenta, Wilted Arrowleaf Spinach, Trumpet Royal Mushrooms and Lamb Jus. You will notice that the names of the purveyors of produce and other ingredients are prominently featured… it is to let you know that the ingredients are sourced from the finest possible provedores… but it makes for incredibly lengthy course descriptions… The lamb was good, tender and mildly flavored. But the duck was a lot better, in my opinion.

We were quite literally beginning to “pop at the seams”, so we were surprised by an additional cheese course (10) that arrived and which was not on the menu. Along with a sheep’s milk cheese (sorry, I didn’t catch the name) and possibly one other cheese, we were also served two more brilliant breads baked in-house. The first bread to pair with the cheese was a fig and nut bread that was excellent as well as an herb bread which I just didn’t have the space to try… Mrs. MM was not impressed by the cheese, and felt it was a little off… and that’s coming from someone who has eaten some really “rotten” smelling cheese…

The first dessert and 11th course was “Langres,” White Wine Poached Winesap Apples, Celery Branch, Toasted English Walnut Butter and Cystallized Apple Chip with Black Winter Truffle Honey. This was a nice first dessert after the cheese course. A Passion Fruit Sorbet (12) followed and this was served with a Macadamia Nut “Nougatine,” Coconut Cream, Guava Jam (just a smidgen!) and some Compressed Pineapple. The Passion fruit sorbet was good… but I think we were quite full at this point.

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So we were shocked with more surprises including a miniature crème brulee (13) which was presented in very shallow dishes so the ratio of caramelized topping to custard was wonderfully high, as well as a Vanilla Pot de Crème with Cranberry compote (14). Finally, a stunning looking plate entitled “Boheme au Chocolat,” (15) containing a Chocolate Meringue Mousse, Caramel “Cremeux,” Chocolate Gelee, Tainori Ganache and Almond Jaconde with Coffee Ice Cream emerged. This should have been the ultimate dessert, but satiation and the brilliance of earlier dishes overshadowed the chocolate offerings…

But if you didn’t get your fill with that last course, a silver tray with a selection of six hand-made chocolates was presented just before coffee and tea. Apple, honey, coconut, mocha and yoghurt flavored chocolates were over the top, but irresistible. I loved the apple flavored chocolate, but that was all I could manage without physically exploding. And as if they knew you didn’t want the meal to end, they presented each guest with a small bag of macaroons, in pistachio, mocha and chocolate flavors… the perfect midnight snack before succumbing to the perfect bangugot (to die, rather violently I am told, to my surprise, due to massive pancreatic failure, most often after an outrageously excessive meal, it is a recognized Filipino phenomenon)…

And as the meal drew to a close, the final surprise and perfect ending to a perfect dinner? Sister had arranged for a private tour of the kitchens of Per Se and we were taken into the utterly pristine and stunning inner workings of the restaurant. And in the kitchen was a television screen directly linked to the kitchens of The French Laundry in California, where Thomas Keller was at that evening. The purpose of the live video is so that Keller can keep a watchful eye on both kitchens despite their being coasts apart! We also got a tour of the wine cellar that evening and I was in shock just staring at one wall of the cellar and recognizing some of the finest bottles and half-bottles of wine on the planet. Amazing. Simply amazing. A wonderful treat on an unplanned holiday trip… A huge thank you to Sister and family for this wonderful and memorable dinner!!!

Per Se
4th Floor, Time Warner Center
Columbus Circle, New York
212-823-9335
www.perseny.com

 

COMMENTS:

  1. ange says:

    Ahhh… Mr. Marketman! You are so lucky! Have his books The French Laundry & Bouchon–he is great.

    Jan 15, 2008 | 8:19 pm

     
  2. pilar says:

    Lucky you MM! I too, am one of the countless fans of Thomas Keller…the live video looks and sounds way cool!

    Jan 15, 2008 | 8:47 pm

     
  3. Teresa says:

    Love love love Thomas Keller….how did your sister manage the reservation?? Please share the secret trick

    Jan 15, 2008 | 8:49 pm

     
  4. Butz says:

    Mr. MM,

    A well deserved treat to the three Michelin-starred restaurant Per Se. Sir Thomas Keller arguably the best chef in America, known for his distinct and clever dishes, is a model for any upcoming chef. I currently reside in the city as well. I have been longing to indulge in his refine cooking. I do hope that I may able to do so. I thank you for sharing the remarkable dinner with us!

    Happy 15th Wedding Anniversary!

    All the best,

    Butz

    Jan 15, 2008 | 9:56 pm

     
  5. mikel says:

    am reliving my per se experience through this blog. had the fab 5-course degustation menu spring 2007 which turned out to be about 9 with the amuse-bouche, sorbet, pre-dessert dessert plus the take home coffee cake for breakfast the next day! for simpler dining, i’ve returned to per se neighbor landmarc for salad nicoise and super veal chops. good value too for nyc. it’s worth a stop if you still have time MM.

    Jan 15, 2008 | 10:02 pm

     
  6. Mila says:

    A lovely anniversary gift to you both.

    On the same day you were at per se, I took refuge at Bouchon for breakfast. Chocolate, pastries, eggs, and champagne.

    Jan 15, 2008 | 10:07 pm

     
  7. Katrina says:

    WOW. What an incredible experience, truly once-in-a-lifetime! I think this was Santa’s reward for all the good deeds you’ve done this year, MM. :-)

    Jan 15, 2008 | 10:07 pm

     
  8. ccb says:

    Looks like you had a blast MM! It’s nice to know you enjoyed the whole experience and appreciated even the smallest of details. Chefs like Thomas Keller must see the world (or at least the dining experience they offer) through a pointillist’s eye- the details, the smallest ones seemingly insignificant on their own, definitely make the picture.

    I know of some people who were disappointed in their per se experience for various reasons. Perhaps all the hype on the restaurant and on Thomas Keller himself lifted their expectation to stratospheric levels and nothing but THE “perfect meal” could satisfy it.

    I hate to say it but it really does take a certain type of person (or a certain level of sophistication) to appreciate such things.

    Jan 15, 2008 | 10:12 pm

     
  9. chunky says:

    burp! excuse me.

    Jan 15, 2008 | 10:19 pm

     
  10. fried-neurons says:

    Wow! What a wonderful surprise from Sister! I’ve always wanted to eat at one of the Thomas Keller 3-star restaurants. The obvious choice for me would be the French Laundry, of course, since I live in the Bay Area. Anyway, glad to know that Per Se lived up to your expectations.

    BTW, the first time I ever went to the Time Warner building (when it was still called the AOL-Time Warner building), there was a kitchen fire at Per Se. :)

    Jan 15, 2008 | 10:56 pm

     
  11. Trish says:

    You are one lucky, foodie, Mr. MM. And very blessed should I add for having a sister who was able to get a table.
    Color me green with envy!!! LOL!!!

    Jan 15, 2008 | 11:21 pm

     
  12. mikel says:

    PS to reserve, just call per se. of course, holidays and valentines, etc. would be busy but usually 2wks to a months notice is advised. for a tour of the kitchen & wine cellar, just ask! they’re really friendly about that…

    Jan 15, 2008 | 11:51 pm

     
  13. Shannon says:

    Hi Mikel,

    My name is Shannon and I’m the editorial assistant at Foodbuzz.com. I am very impressed with the quality of your posts and to that end, I’d like to invite you to be a part of our newly launched Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at Shannon@foodbuzz.com.

    Thank you for writing such a thorough review, and congratulations on your anniversary and all the other wonderful things happening in your life! When intertwined with such significant events with friends and family, these special dinners take on extra meaning, even if they were fabulous to start with anyway.

    Cheers!

    Shannon Eliot
    Editorial Assistant, Foodbuzz.com
    shannon@foodbuzz.com

    Jan 16, 2008 | 2:17 am

     
  14. Maria Clara says:

    Very well and executed choreographed dinner – food served one after the other complimenting each other that is marked in the palate! The man is a corporation now and French Laundry and his name are patented to him! He really keeps a watchful eye on what’s going on in his kitchen through close circuit television monitors to ensure everything is delivered beyond the guests’ expectations – talking about customer satisfaction! The French Laundry in Napa Valley takes four months reservation now and can go down further more months depending how the stock market is.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 3:29 am

     
  15. fried-neurons says:

    Little secret about snagging a spot at the French Laundry and/or Per Se: call your AmEx Concierge and have them get you a table, which they can often do even if the restaurant is fully booked.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 4:39 am

     
  16. 4btiddy says:

    Wow, I am swooning just reading about your Per Se experience! I hope I will have the same opportunity some day.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 4:56 am

     
  17. gemma says:

    as an agnostic turned believer, i have two gods: keller and ducasse.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 5:19 am

     
  18. Cherry says:

    Dear Mr. MM and Mrs. MM,

    Happy 15th Wedding Anniversary!

    Best Wishes,
    Cherry :)

    Jan 16, 2008 | 7:45 am

     
  19. Ronee says:

    That was marvelous Marketman! Great way to celebrate your anniversary. Can you give us an idea of the cost of the meal?

    Jan 16, 2008 | 8:32 am

     
  20. Alicia says:

    I love it! What a fantastic post. Thomas Keller is truly brilliant. I wish I had been able to tour the kitchen. That tv link up is quite interesting. Hrard Gordon Ramsay has that too.
    My husband and I took my mom there for her birthday two years ago (when they reopened after their fire!) and it truly was a memorable meal. I agree with you about the service , impeccable and everything wonderfully orchestrated. I thought the space was gorgeous and I loved the fact that they kept it to few tables (relatively speaking) for such a large space. What a wonderful way to spend the holidays with your family and toast the year’s (past and future) accomplishments!

    Mrs MM, if you haven’t already ( but you probably have) dine at Picholine. Their cheese is consistently wonderful in my opinion. It was Terrance Brennan restaurant before Artisinal and was largely responsible for bringing the “cheese course” back to American dining.

    Also, I wanted to mention, that Bread Talk in rockwell sells a wonderful pre-sliced mini loaf of bread made with plenty of dried fruit and nuts that pairs really well with most cheese. Its 102 pesos per pack, very dense, and is made without butter. You may want to try it.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 8:36 am

     
  21. marilou says:

    How do you remember all that food! Were you taking notes as you ate? After I have dined at a coveted restaurant, like Per Se, I am sometimes asked what I ate and invariably I cannot remember half of what I have eaten. I am left with answering…ummm,some kind of duck something… But..Yum!French Laundry and Per Se are some of my favorite restaurants. And yes, you are right about assessment on American wait staff. I agree, they can be annoyingly over familiar.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 8:39 am

     
  22. CecileJ says:

    “the perfect midnight snack before succumbing to the perfect bangungot…”

    Haha! that line stopped my drooling and got me laughing! Hope you and the other 9 lucky diners walked around before sleeping!

    Sister must’ve spent a fortune for such a brilliant (but parang masyadong madaming courses na hindi ma-fully appreciate each incredible dish) meal! Wish I had a sister like her!

    Jan 16, 2008 | 8:45 am

     
  23. dee bee says:

    happy anniversary!

    that meal is simply stunning… the Oysters and Pearls dish sounds sublime.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 9:34 am

     
  24. lee says:

    “The perfect midnight snack before succumbing to the perfect bangungot.”

    Perfect.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 10:32 am

     
  25. Andrea R. says:

    Hello Marketman! Reading your post convinced me all the more that a meal at per se is a must when my family goes to New York this April.

    I read on per se’s website that the $275 per head already includes service charge in lieu of gratuity. Does this mean that we’re not obliged to tip anymore? Because an extra 10% to 15% of a $550 meal is substantial for us Pinoys, even with the relatively strong peso. But I don’t want to risk the help staff running after us and asking what the reason is why we did not tip sufficiently, he he.

    Thanks very much. More power!

    Jan 16, 2008 | 10:52 am

     
  26. Pecorino says:

    Hi MM, aiguillette in poultry refers to the thin tender filet of flesh found on either side of the breast bone. It’s not exactly part of the breast meat as these filets are normally trimmed off by the fabricator for a cleaner slab of breast meat. In chicken, you may know these as tenderloins or chicken tenders, and may have had these as fried chicken fingers. Literally, aiguillette means little needles in French. I’ve seen chicken tenders/filets being sold in Manila supermarkets. I know that duck aiguillettes are sold in France.

    Thanks for your post! Those serving portions are HUGE! No wonder you were all bursting at the seams and could not finish all the courses. I’ve been to a few degustations (Manila, Bangkok, Singapore, Paris, NY) where portion sizes were much smaller. I don’t recall having difficulty polishing off each plate and enjoying every last bit of the carefully-prepared morsels.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 10:58 am

     
  27. linda says:

    What a wonderful dining experience you’ve had with your loved ones! I can only dream of dining there one day,but for the meantime,I have Thomas Keller cookbooks to read and oneday I’ll try to create some of his easier to prepare dishes.

    I wish you had the pics of the Roasted Heirloom Beets.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 11:27 am

     
  28. Dina says:

    Ditto, Cecille…I couldn’t help but smile in amusement at the same comment “succumbing to the perfect bangungot”! That is just too funny! Perfect description for the perfect evening!

    Jan 16, 2008 | 11:37 am

     
  29. bealtea says:

    ooh, another reason to visit nyc, if only one can get a reservation!

    what a trip that would be, dinner at a thomas keller restaurant, and running around cental park the next day!

    Jan 16, 2008 | 11:58 am

     
  30. Marketman says:

    linda, a lot of keller’s recipes in his cookbooks are doable, I have tried several of them with good results… Pecorino, thanks for that comment, I have learned something again today… And yes, these portions were generous… Andrea R, I didn’t pay the bill on this dinner, we were guests… but in general, one must plan on the price of the set menu if you are having that, say the $275 you mention with automatic gratuity. You also have to add in any drinks or wine that you are likely to have, and with a meal like this one, a minimum of three drinks or types of champaggne and or wine is not unusual. That adds to the tab as well. As for the final tip, I find that in really good restaurants you should be tipping at least 20-25% of the final bill, if excellent service was provided… but that is totally up to you. As you can imagine, the tab starts building up… and thus the meal/experience must be really worth it… lee, did you know they had an episode of ER or some other medical prime time show in the U.S. which featured a patient with apparent “BANG-GU-GOT?” I burst out laughing while watching that episode and immediately thought of a family acquaintance that apparently had a coronary at night after consuming most of a mini lechon de leche after getting a hole in one on the golf course… pancreatic failure indeed. Marilou, the secret is to ASK for a copy of the menu… but since that only described 9 courses, I had to recall the other 5 or 6 dishes presented, as well! Alicia, I have had that dense bread from bread talk several times, almost did a post on it, and yes it is delicious with cheese! Ronee it would be rude to speculate as we were guests, but other commenters are saying $275++ per person for a tasting menu in the main dining area… The dinner was wonderful…

    Jan 16, 2008 | 1:34 pm

     
  31. sometime_lurker says:

    Adopt me, sister!

    I don’t know if you would fancy an aspiring artist, with a day job in IT, but I sure am falling for you :P

    Jan 16, 2008 | 1:35 pm

     
  32. elaine says:

    You’ve one generous sister! She’s got taste and claasss! Or could it be you’re a favorite brother???? About Keller’s cookbooks, they’re not so intimidating, looks doable, most recipes. I wonder how the Kid liked her dinner…

    Jan 16, 2008 | 2:19 pm

     
  33. nang says:

    i love that bread from breadtalk too. it’s called a fruit loaf and it’s especially nice if toasted until crispy.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 4:14 pm

     
  34. APM says:

    Hi Marketman

    Great Post. Try this out go to youtube and search under per se. You should get a post by someone named rowdy food. Play the video and disregard the kitschy video. Some of the images may bring back some memories.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 4:51 pm

     
  35. APM says:

    Sorry I meant kitschy audio

    Jan 16, 2008 | 4:55 pm

     
  36. Candygirl says:

    I wish I had a sister :-)

    Jan 16, 2008 | 6:33 pm

     
  37. sister says:

    Although service was included in the price of the meal, an additional gratuity of 5-10% would be a nice compliment to the staff. Don’t forget the sommelier, either. The portions were not overwhelming and the pace of the meal was carefully orchestrated with no gaps in between. All drinks, other than wine or liquor, sparkling or still water, and coffee and tea were included in the package for the private dining room for 10 guests. All in all, a great value for a memorable evening.

    Jan 16, 2008 | 7:21 pm

     
  38. shalimar says:

    Our chef here a New Yorker and I promised to meet up with him one day to eat at NY finest restaurants…. but at the moment I am enjoying his creations a top notch chef we have….
    hello from Georgetown Exumas…. PS guests caught 3 mahi mahi yesterday by they way..

    Jan 17, 2008 | 2:53 am

     
  39. chi says:

    Killer meal for sure! MM, do you happen to know what the Vermont artisanal and CA butters were? I’m a butter freak and am always on the lookout for different kinds.

    Also, French macaroons are my absolute favorites. I can get tham at Le Panier, a local and gratefully nearby French bakery. In addition to the flavors you listed, they also make orange & strawberry. Pistachio & Orange are my faves. Do you have any idea how they’re made?

    Jan 17, 2008 | 5:03 am

     
  40. Marketman says:

    Chi, they did mention the names of the butters but I can’t recall. The butter from Vermont is made by a lady that sells most of her stuff to Per Se… Macaroons are fantastic and I find, rather difficult to make. Others seem to do them reasonably well, but I have not been able to replicate them at home… the best, I find are at Laduree, Pierre Herme, La Maison du Chocolat and other french patisseries…

    Jan 17, 2008 | 6:16 am

     
  41. Ted says:

    It’s $240/person at French Laundry and I can’t get a reservation for the next 2 months, and won’t let me get over the two months. I’m just 15miles away from Yountville and they do have another recommended place as a substitute to French Laundry, has anyone been to “ad-hoc”

    Jan 17, 2008 | 7:39 am

     
  42. negrosdude says:

    Feliz Ano Nuevo, Marketman! What an absolutely terrific post! And you deserve every minute tasty morsel of that feast at Per Se. May you and all who matters to you have more memorable meals in 2008 and succeeding years to come!

    Jan 17, 2008 | 8:11 am

     
  43. sister says:

    Ted, call everyday, they do get cancellations and are happy to replace those with another party. I’ve found even the busiest restaurants will often have an opening at the last minute. Leave your name and number on the wait list.

    Jan 17, 2008 | 12:51 pm

     
  44. Bakii says:

    Very nice posting, fun to read. Lambs lettuce grows in winter, it can be harvestet as long as its not freezing outsides, then you have to wait until temperature is back over 0 degrees (Europe), but it can be grown under glass as well. Demand is very high in winter, because the usual lettuce is so boring and tasteless.

    Jan 17, 2008 | 5:20 pm

     
  45. Candygirl says:

    Hi Sister, do you have a blog of your own? I think it would be great to read about your cooking/dining experience too :-)

    Jan 17, 2008 | 7:56 pm

     
  46. MegaMom says:

    Mr and Mrs MM, Happy anniversary!
    Great post, I ought to try this on my next visit (before or after the homage to Peter Luger, I wonder, hmmm…).
    Dined at the Fr. Laundry in Napa, it was a three month reservation, we really had to plan a trip out west.
    Great tip from Sister. That’s how we got into those “hard to get into” places in NYC!

    Jan 18, 2008 | 1:05 am

     
  47. Madeline says:

    To everybody out there, dont you know that what MM & sis are sharing with us are not only the best in the USA but also one of the best in the world.

    French Laundry, in Youthville California is rated as the 4th of the world’s top 50 restaurants in the world 2006 as cited in worldpress.org and the Best Restaurant in the Americas while Per Se, in New York, New York is the 8th. El Buli, Montjoi , Spain is the world’s best restaurant and the best in Europe.

    I had bumped also into Chubby Hubby’s blog and he had a nice presentation of Per Se also. What camera do you use MM? Most people who blogs fine dining are also good in photography. Do you have any formal training in photography? The kid is lucky to be learning from you at an early age.

    Jan 18, 2008 | 11:05 am

     
  48. Marketman says:

    Madeline, I have a VERY basic Canon Ixus point and shoot digital camera. No formal training at all… and most of my shots are chamba… :)

    Jan 18, 2008 | 7:58 pm

     
  49. Therese says:

    My aunt makes leche flan and gelatin and serves it inside individual egg shells to dserve at the town fiesta. There is no visible opening or crack and you have to split the egg open to eat it :) I don’t know how she does it but my dad thinks she injects the liquid in.

    Feb 29, 2008 | 4:14 pm

     
  50. terrey says:

    my oh my…i never knew the best of the bests till ive been reading all these blogs here. now, i have thomas keller, per se, french laundry in my vocab enough to impress other jologs like me. hehehehe …thanks MM and the sis for sharing all these to us readers. i can only dream of dining in these restos.

    Sep 19, 2008 | 2:06 pm

     
  51. saurabh srivastava says:

    hey it was nice piece of information which was a learning for me that what is going in the world in culinray field.
    It would be nice of you if u could tell me more about cuisine as i can tell and further communicate to my team members as by profession i am a chef working in oberoi hotels in India……This will help in cross continent learning thus helping to know more about things going in the world…
    thanks
    culinary regards
    Saurabh

    Apr 24, 2009 | 4:36 am

     
 

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