The Weekly Whisk - 2/26/24

Musings from a foodie…

As I noted above, this is my birthday week. One of the traditions that I’ve always asked for in my home – which started with my Mom – was to have her prepare a “Waldorf Astoria Red Cake” for my annual birthday cake. Each of the kids had their favorite type of cake and mine was clearly “Red Cake”. So, I was more than a bit disheartened when I was told that the dye used in Red Cake has been deemed to be carcinogenic. Yikes!!  So, what to do? Suzanne (my wife) came up with a great suggestion by offering up a “Traditional Red Cake” made with red beets for the color instead of using dye. Hmmm. But, will it taste as good? I’m not sure because I’m on the road and will not be home until Saturday when the “new” Traditional Red Cake will be presented in all of its glory with more than a few candles. I’ll report back in a couple of weeks…with the recipe of course! Meanwhile…

Anatolia Mediterranean Restaurant – But, I couldn’t resist mentioning a newfound restaurant in the southern Northeast in Somersworth, NH. Anatolia [ * * * * * ] is a fabulous find that we only recently learned about from friends. I did not get to meet the Owner/Manager – Chef Ali Kalem, but I can assure you I will be asking for him (continuously, if necessary) during upcoming visits. He’s done a masterful job of creating the right food, with the right ambiance and the right staff who truly believe in offering you the finest in dining “experience”. If you like (I “adore”) Mediterranean foods, Anatolia is the place to visit if you are in the Northeast. It’s a bit hidden in one of the back entrances to one of the old mills along the river but it is worth the search. It represents the fusion of Turkish and Greek cuisine at its best. The only downside from my perspective was the noise level was a bit high so I turned the hearing aids down a bit and simply said “Huh?” a bit more during the conversation with our friends. Make reservations because a walk-in may take a bit of time. Check it out: Anatolia Mediterranean Restaurant, 2 Main Street – Somersworth, NH 03878 – (603) 841-5372 – www.anatolianh.com

The Weekly Whisk - 2/6/24

Musings from a foodie…

Our family recently had the opportunity to break bread together in the Phoenix area for a New Year’s celebration. So, given my penchant for selecting good places, the business of selection fell to my lap. And, I surely responded. I decided to try a place that has been on my list for a good couple of decades – Vincent on Camelback [* * * * *]. While the experience pinched my pocketbook substantially, it was worth the once-in-a-couple-decades experience rating. The menu is a combination of French and Southwest styles combined in an excellent fashion to offer the best of both worlds. I decided to forego the first starter that caught my attention – Crispy Potato Pancake with Lobster and Ginger Dressing – because, as I told the waiter, “I’m from Maine and I can’t believe the lobster is as good in the desert as it is on the seashore.” And, he believed me 😊. From there, we proceeded to a varied menu of meats including lamb, beef, and duck with lots of various veggies and a few starches for the diehards. Every – YES, “every” item was great. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in many moons but, it was also the priciest!! So, if you go there, you’ll enjoy yourself but, at a price. My suggestion is to reserve it for a very special occasion and then, only once but…definitely, once! Vincent on Camelback – 3930 East Camelback Road – Phoenix, AZ 85018 – (602) 224-0225 – https://vincentsoncamelback.com/.

The Weekly Whisk - 1/22/24

Musings from a foodie…

We recently had the opportunity to visit Toronto – which is becoming one of the world class cities from my perspective. One of the policies that the local town government has established is that each high rise approved for construction in the central city must also include a significant piece of sculpted artwork either as a freestanding piece or as an integral part of the building. It makes for a very interesting visual experience throughout downtown. And, to top it off, the restaurant scene is quite wonderful as well. We decided upon Constantine [ * * * * * ] where Chef Adam Lafleur and Executive Chef Julian D’Ippolito construct an array of culinary delights.

For starters, we had the Tomato and Cucumber Salad accompaniment of Ontario strawberry, sesame, shredded Mountain Ok Gouda, and a sherry vinaigrette. If that were not enough, the other appetizer we chose was the Chicken Liver Mousse accompanied with blueberry jam (of the Maine type where the blueberries are “pea” size), chive and toasted focaccia. I gave it 5* rating for that alone… We were on a roll, so we also had the Welsh Brothers Corn Agnolotti made with charred corn butter sauce and chili oil. Again – quite wonderful!! For the mains, we had the Short Rib Cavatelli with tomato and celery sofrito, the Wood-Fired Half Chicken drenched in a preserved lemon and olive sauce along with Crispy Broccoli flavored with a sherry gastrique and Grilled Carolinian Farms Carrots with Greek Yogurt and Za’atar (naturally, what else would you expect from a Grecophile 😊). The entire dinner plus the ambiance, the staff and all was a great experience. Try it. You’ll like it. Trust Kevy on this one!! – Constantine – The Anndore House – 14 Charles Street East – Toronto ON M4Y 1S1 Canada – +1 647-475-4436.

The Weekly Whisk - 12/4/23

Musings from a foodie…

I just returned a business trip with an add on of a few days related to personal travels in France. The pre-holiday spirit was present as well as the silent march to highlight the need for society to recognize the rise in antisemitism (See above). On the “Foodie Front”, I was able to arrange a dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Paris, L’Auberge Etchegorry located in the Latin Quarter near the Marriott Rive Gauche. I was curious about the cuisine since my last visit was prior to the pandemic by a couple of years. However, it’s clear that Chef de Cuisine Henri Laborde-Balen still does a masterful job in the kitchen! The restaurant was established in 1935 and specializes in southwest food. It’s been owned by the same family since 1962 so consistency is one of the watchwords for this place, The seared Escalope de Foie Gras served over figs was absolutely outstanding and is a not-to-be-missed starter course. The choices on the menu change daily but range from Confit de Canard (duck), to Beef Filet, to French Cassoulet, to various Chicken dishes – and, of course, dessert. You will not be disappointed if you happen to be in Paris and make the decision to visit L'Auberge Etchegorry – 41, rue Croulebarbe – 75013 Paris, France – +33 (1) 44 08 83 51 – www.etchegorry.com. It’s located in a house near a park and a wonderful walk from the central Latin Quarter.

There were lots of other options as well. So, if you get there, enjoy the spirit of Paris. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world, of course, just a bit behind Kittery, Maine…

The Weekly Whisk - 9/15/23

Musings from a foodie…

We’ve just finished our 6-week tour of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland with the vast majority of time spent in the latter province. I must say, I was initially reluctant to consider such a long trip. But, now that it is ending – it was a fabulous experience. In my last issue, I highlighted my review of the various “Fish & Chips” sites around Newfoundland with the exception of the Norseman Restaurant in L'Anse aux Meadows near the Viking encampment established in 1054. It was exceptional. There are two other favorites I discovered if you happen to visit Newfoundland. They are both located in/near St. John’s, the capital of the province. Both were extraordinary and definitely worthy of a visit.

Mallard Cottage [8 Barrows Road – St. John’s, Newfoundland –  709-237-7314 –[* * * * *] Upon arrival, we were greeted quite warmly in the casual – yet formal – atmosphere of “the Cottage”. In fact, it felt like a cottage with soft music playing in the background and people casually engaged in conversations both at their tables and with one another. It was almost like dinner at a friend’s home. I can’t say enough good about the place. The chanterelles with kale and a creamy lemon sauce, the summer squash, the cod tongue (fried, of course) were amazing. We couldn’t decide between the cod and the halibut so we got one of each. Both were cooked to perfection – all under the leadership of Dave Woods, the Chef de Partie. Unfortunately, he is departing back to his home in Toronto where I hope to meet up with him again in a couple of months when we are there for a visit. However, Todd Perrin, the Chef and Owner, will be continuing so I expect that the reputation of Mallard Cottage will not be tarnished. Mallard Cottage is the first of two restaurants in the St. John’s community that are “must trys”. The second one is…

Terre Restaurant [125 Water Street – St. John’s, Newfoundland – (709) 383-2136 [* * * * *] The second place to absolutely consider is Terre!! I’ll keep this short. Every single dish that we ordered was outstanding from the sour dough bread with a hint of rosemary to the grilled Shishito peppers to the Tuna Tartare to the veggies (pea shoots with a ranch style dressing and toasted bread crumbs and roasted tomato with habanero sauce AND bacon!! I could go on and on. We did the extravagant thing and ordered the “Let The Kitchen Cook For You” whereby they basically cooked small portions of almost everything that was on the menu. What a taste treat. The only downside was the noise level got a bit extreme at times during the course of our dinner…but, other than that – it was a fabulous dining experience. I’d go again in a microsecond – and, then take several hours to enjoy 😊.

 

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