Jun 21, 2019

Cuisine[S] Michel Troisgros Tokyo - Possibly by Far the Most Amazing Pigeon and Brioche I've Ever Had

Before talking about my wonderful dining experience at Michel Troisgros Tokyo, I need to complain about the photo service used for this blog - Photobucket. It'll work semi-smoothly for few months then boom! Either image not found, album naming issue, or website not loading, these errors can be deadly for blogs. And it keeps happening periodically.

I have never encounter such poor photo hosting site, keep in mind that I use Imgur for work. Perhaps it's time to switch entirely to Imgur, but I feel like being kidnapped with all my past photos stored with Photobucket, damn you.


Anyways, back to happier thought with Michel Troisgros. If, fingers crossed, only if these delicious food images can be shown correctly on my blog.



Well, besides technical issues, coming to Michel Troisgros was also a headache for me and my mom. But that's my fault. 


We were "kind of" lost at Shinjuku station, which was only about 10 minutes walking distance to Hyatt Regency, where Michel Troisgros located at. Perhaps overwhelmed by waves of crowds on a late weekend afternoon. At first, I thought walking over to the restaurant should be a piece of cake.


Apparently not. Our reservation time is approaching, forget about walking, the right thing to do is to dump into a cab and quickly rush over. Only if catching a ride is possible during such peak hours. 


Fine, metro it is. So we went up and down inside this almost maze-like station. Finally we managed to arrive at the restaurant 10 minutes after our reservation time. 


Time to take a breath. Days feel longer in summer, that's a good thing. We still got a moment to enjoy some greens outside the window.


With a drink to cool down of course (do not drink and drive, you know how we got there already).


Finger foods -


From right to left, daikon/rhubarb/ginger; green peas; scallops/nori.


Start from the very left, with a refreshing sourish opening, presented in a sakura-like flower cup made with daikon. 

Then moved on to the middle one with creamy filling that bursts out with only a slight pressure -


Lastly stronger tasting tart with scallops, garnished with nori/dried seaweed powder -


Awesome brioche -


I added "awesome" myself, but it was possibly the best brioche I've ever had. Layers upon layers of paper-thin crusts that can be elastic yet filled with dense buttery aroma at the same time. Meanwhile, still maintaining rustic scent from wheat.


The very outer layer was flaky but not easily crumbling apart on the table, these crusty buttery layers were held together by stretchy and gently chewy dough underneath. Imagine what would it taste like with extra spread of French butter. Out of this world.

Duck -


Escargot/squid ink -


Second round of bread -


Earlier brioche was already buttery and awesome on its own. Not saying this one is not as good, but I've managed to use up all the butter here, nothing goes to waste.

Bresaola of tuna, eggplant and celery -


Tender tuna and eggplant, but with the help of that thinly sliced celery hidden in between, which added a clean crunch and a brush of anise-like aroma. 


Delicate as it is, some might think it's too light, but for ones who had many simple but carefully crafted food, they'll understand this is the dish that all the ingredients truly shined and fully expressed their own characters. Really enjoyed this one here.


Beautiful Mediterranean flavor (that's what it wrote on the menu) -


Nicely cooked fish with potato on the bottom, paired with bouillon, mainly dominated by saffron.


Fish was plump and juicy, and the sauce tasted almost like crustacean stock, it's that aromatic. Overall pungent and strong, but in a well-rounded way, all the edges have been smoothed out.


Pigeon ruddy lips -


Put the ravioli aside. The main piece of meat laid there like a sound asleep baby, with an orange bell pepper blanket softly covering the pigeon.


Also served with bell pepper sauce on the side.


The texture of the pigeon was so fascinating. It's like liver being sifted numerous times then reconstructed. Yet it's not dry at all, more so tender and juicy. The flavor somewhat like condensed dark meat, with a hint of sweetness in the end.


It was so great, I even ate half of my mom's share. She couldn't finish all the food anyway.

Pre-dessert -


Almond ice cream, coconut, pineapple jelly, and fresh thinly sliced pineapple. That touch of acidity washed away any lingering taste from previous savory courses. But, I still want to hang on that pigeon dish a little bit longer, it was too great to let go.

Small desserts -


From left to right, hazelnut/shiitake; raspberry/white chocolate; lychee macaron.


The incorporation of shiitake was a fun twist. Paired with hazelnut, both added a non-intruding earthy tone to a rather sweet and savory type of dessert.


Then move on to the center raspberry and white chocolate mini tart.


Followed by the sweetest and most aromatic lychee macaron.  

Black and white -


While in Japan, these dishes also got some inspiration by local ingredients. Black sesame represents black and rice echoes the white element.


The most interesting twist was the use of ginger slices. Not overly spicy but rather provided another layer of refreshing scent to end the entire course. It also highlighted the sweet taste, which wasn't that obvious in this mild dessert.


Then we ended our meal with Shizuoka black tea and minty herbal tea. It's already late after all, tried to avoid strong caffeine -


Overall the courses were delicate. Not the heavy type that gives you a punch, but the aroma and fine technique lingered even longer, in one's heart and mind too.


Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros Japan/Tokyo currently holds 2 Michelin star status.



Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros Japan/Tokyo 

Hyatt Regency Tokyo 1st floor 2-7-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, 
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan 160-0023 
+81 03 3348 1234 
Official website: http://www.troisgros.jp/en/cmt/ 
Hyatt Regency website: Hyatt Regency 

Opening hours: 

Lunch from 12:00 noon ~ 1:30 p.m.
Dinner from 6:00 p.m. ~ 8:00 p.m.
Close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays except national holidays

Jun 16, 2019

Chorizo and Broccoli Orecchiette

It's not the fancy type of pasta with vibrant red sauce all over, thick and heavy creamy white sauce, or filled with ass-kicking Creole style spices. Just a simple, quick, and easy-to-make pasta with two basic ingredients - chorizo and broccoli. The flavors also got an upgrade with the help of aged Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzles of Tabasco sauce.

Chorizo and broccoli orecchiette -




Ingredients (about 5 to 6 portions)?


  • 2 heads medium sized broccoli
  • 180 grams Iberico chorizo
  • 500 grams orecchiette
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Some olive oil
  • Some salt
  • Some aged Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Some Tabasco sauce (optional)


How?



Break broccoli into smaller florets, trim and chop the stems into smaller pieces too. Transfer to a container. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and drizzle some olive oil. Steam for 10 minutes. Remove and let it rest in room temperature while releasing any trapped steam and some moisture at the same time.



Cube the Iberico chorizo. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. 



Transfer these two to a big pot. Also add in some red chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Turn to medium heat and sear till that red colored fats render from the chorizo.




Meanwhile, bring a big pot of water to a boil and add in few pinches of salt. Cook the orecchiette till nearly al dente. Once ready, drain and set aside first.


Back to the chorizo pot, add in steamed broccoli along with 1 more teaspoon of salt. Give it a quick mix, cook for one more minute.




Transfer the pasta over and mix with these ingredients. Cook till the pasta reaches desired texture. 




Plate and grate a generous amount of aged Parmigiano Reggiano all over right before serving. Accompany with Tabasco sauce if desired.


With such a simple style pasta, the quality of the ingredients become vital. This is especially the case for Iberico chorizo and aged cheese. These two basically determine the make or break of the dish, providing extra umami and depth of flavors in every bite. 


Other pasta recipes:


Jun 9, 2019

Meatballs with Preserved Mustard Greens 梅菜肉丸

Mustard greens "jie cai" (芥菜) has many forms in Asian cuisine. Besides fresh mustard greens, once salt cured and fermented, it became pickled mustard greens "suan cai" (酸菜). From there, further dried up to about 70%, the name changed to "fu cai" (福菜). Once dried all the way, it has reached its final form "meigan cai" (梅干菜).

The name can be very confusing, and so does the taste. Taken from the same vegetable, the flavors vary widely depending on the time of  preserving and drying. I guess the best way is finding a chance to try them all to get a better understanding of such versatile leafy greens.


Meatballs with preserved mustard greens/meigan cai -





Ingredients?


  • 1 cup loosely packed preserved mustard greens (meigan cai)
  • 0.8 lb lean ground pork
  • 0.8 lb coarse ground pork
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • Some cilantro
  • Some water


How?

Soak the preserved mustard greens first in cold water for about 15 minutes. Drain and dry well with kitchen towel. Give it a few chops if the leafy pieces are too long. Make sure it's small enough to be mixed with ground pork then form into meatballs.




Peel the garlic cloves. Destem the scallion then cut into about 2-inch long sections.




Prepare a big container, mix in all the ground pork, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of corn starch, and chopped preserved mustard greens. Mix and form into medium sized meatballs. Try to toss the meatballs between palms, back and forth, to draw out trapped air.


Transfer these meatballs into a clay pot. Arrange garlic cloves, scallion sections, and ginger slice throughout.




Pour in about 2/3 cup of soy sauce along with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Skim off any grayish brownish foam floating on top during the process. Cover with lid and continue to cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Remember to flip the meatballs once or twice during the process for even coloring. 

Depending on preference, this can serve with some sauce or simply cook till nearly fully reduced. I waited a wee bit too long so all the sauce has been completely dried up and slightly burnt the bottom of my meatballs. But hey, at least they still taste good.




Plate and garnish with cilantro and some black pepper.



Extended reading:


Jun 3, 2019

Teriyaki Salmon 照燒鮭魚塊

Food makes me happy. But at times I kind of lost the urge to seek food. Like the feeling of eagerly wanting to try new restaurant, that push to book a fancy meal. However, that doesn't stop me from making comfort food at home. No energy to dine out? It's ok, at least I've still got a semi-equipped kitchen here. A soul-soothing meal without going out can be a good alternative for now.

Teriyaki salmon -




Ingredients?


  • 0.7 lb salmon fillet
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some flour
  • Some toasted white sesame seeds

Teriyaki sauce -

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger  


How?

Peel and grate the garlic cloves. Peel and grate the ginger. Destem and chop the scallion.


Mix all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved. Set aside for later use.



Slice the salmon fillet into big chunks and dust with flour.



Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a wok, or non-stick pan. Make sure the oil can evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium high heat and wait till the oil turns hot. Carefully transfer salmon over and sear till colored. 


Do not flip the salmon until slightly browned, otherwise it might still stick to the pan and tear the fish. Sear till slightly darkened on all sides.




Pour in pre-mixed teriyaki sauce. Mix the fish with the sauce to make sure even coating. Cook till the sauce has been reduced and thickened.




Plate the salmon cubes and garnish with toasted white sesame seeds and chopped scallion.




Even though not really dining at fancy places these days, still slowly gaining weights at home. Probably still need more time to recuperate, till I get my urge back, that kind of "I wanna go out and have fun" kind of urge. But no worries, still enjoying food one way or another.



Other salmon recipes: