Thursday, April 29, 2010

How NOT to be Mistaken for the Food Paparazzi

It’s no secret that I love taking pictures of food. But I cringe whenever people lump me in with the food paparazzi — a growing movement of so-called serious foodies documenting everything they eat in pictures, as portrayed in a recent Los Angeles Times feature.

Sure, for fun I have a “food paparazzi” feature on my blog, but that’s when I pretend to be a paparazzo after I spot a celebrity chef or famous food person in public. But the people featured in the Times article, and a similar one in the New York Times, are those who are almost obsessed with photographing their food, taking minutes to set up a shot, leaving a reservation if they don’t have the right lens, or blasting the dreaded flash in the middle of the dining room.

What I found interesting were some of the comments from chefs, a couple who were offended by people taking more time to photograph their food than eating it. Chef/Owner Grant Achatz of the famous Alinea restaurant in Chicago has vented — in the article and elsewhere — about how people photographing the food has affected the restaurant’s operations, causing an already long tasting dinner to stretch out longer because the food paparazzi has thrown off the service’s pacing.

Chef Ludo Lefebvre of Los Angeles (who also appeared on “Top Chef Masters”) originally welcomed food bloggers, even inviting them to a special tasting and setting up a portable light box for them to take their photos with the right light, but then turned on them when they took so much time taking pictures and letting their food turn cold.

I know some chefs are artists and feel their food needs to be served at the right time and temperature, but I’m of the camp that believes “I paid for that food and if I end up eating it cold, that’s my own fault.” Some chefs have now recognized that food bloggers and our ilk are a necessity of life because every time we post a photo of their food, we give them free publicity and buzz.

However, I don’t believe it’s fair for the chef, the restaurant, and other patrons when food photographers slow down the pacing of the service because they spend so much time setting up their shots.

The emergence of the food paparazzi is a mixed bag for me. On the plus side, the more people taking pictures during dinner the less I stand out when I’m doing it too. On the flip side, there’s a possibility of a backlash and I don’t like how some people stare at me wondering if I’m going to set off a flash. (And I really hate it when a server or diner next to me sees my camera and say “is that for Yelp?” Ugh, puh-leaze. I do not Yelp.)

While the media is putting the spotlight on food photographers, they’re also guilty of encouraging it. The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, has joined up with Foodspotting to see who can photograph the Top 100 list and win a dinner with its restaurant critic Michael Bauer. And 7x7 Magazine has also teamed up with Foodspotting (slut) for the magazine’s “The Big Eat” list.

In today’s world, there’s no avoiding the food paparazzi. But I do believe there should be some etiquette when it comes to photographing food. So I’ve come up with this list of rules on how to photograph your food at a restaurant that hopefully will make you less the food paparazzi and more the welcomed fooderati:

Rule No. 1: No flash. This is what gives food bloggers a bad name. The blinding white light not only turns into a washed out photo, it’s inconsiderate to those around you. The only time I’ve used a flash is when I’m traveling and I’m sitting far away from guests such as when I took this picture at a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I was sitting in the garden at night and was two tables away from the nearest diner. If you’re worried about lighting, try changing the ISO setting on your camera, which affects the camera’s film speed. For dark lighting, you want a film speed around 800. (The result might be grainier images but that’s fine if you’re only using it for the Web.)

Rule No. 2: Turn off your shutter sound. You can fly under the radar if you don’t make that snapping sound. When I carry my digital SLR camera, I unfortunately can’t turn off the sound. But when I use my smaller point-and-shoot camera, I put it on mute mode so that it won’t make a snapping sound.

Rule No. 3: Two’s the limit. When I take pictures of my friends’ dish, they always ask me if that was it because I typically take just one shot — at the most two — because I don’t want them waiting any longer to dig into their food. My rule is if you can’t get the shot in two takes, then don’t bother.

Rule No. 4: Leave the tripod at home. I can’t believe anyone would even bother carrying around a tripod to dinner along with the camera. But some people have gotten so serious about this that I’ve heard that’s what some people do. Don’t. There are other ways to steady your camera, such as placing it on top of a vase or salt shaker, but don’t bust out a tripod at the table no matter how small. It just says “geek” in so many languages.

Rule No. 5: Don’t stop the server. At some restaurants, the server will prepare some food at the tableside or do things like pour a soup or drizzle some sauce at the table. I always think that’s a nice touch, but when it happens, do not stop them so you can turn on your camera and take a photo. If you want to take this “action” shot, then have your camera turned on and ready. (This means planning ahead and thinking about your shots after you’ve ordered.) Telling them to stop just throws off their rhythm and pacing of the courses, as well as make them more self-conscious.

Rule No. 6: Ask first. When I’m dining with friends, especially for the first time, I ask them if it’s all right if I photograph their food instead of just pulling out the camera and snapping away. It’s just a way to respect their personal space and put them at ease when I do bust out my camera. But after they’ve dined with me a couple of times, then they just expect me to take a picture.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Test Kitchen: Basil Crusted Leg of Lamb

This month’s Test Kitchen is a promise of Brazil and Provence — two very exotic food destinations. And the recipe, from the April edition of Food and Wine magazine, is courtesy of Daniel Boulud, the famous New York chef.

Chef Boulud’s Leg of Lamb with Lemon Vinaigrette recipe beat out other choices in this month’s poll. 41 percent of you went for the lamb, which I admit is a great choice for spring, over marinated sardines (30 percent) by Chef Mario Batali and mussels with piquillo rouille (27 percent) by Bay Area’s own Chef Chris Kronner. (Maybe I should have based the poll on the names of the chefs and then it would have been a popularity contest?)

I admit the photo of the lamb in the magazine (pictured to the right) looked especially enticing. So it was going to be a challenge to duplicate it.

What I also realized is that chef’s recipes (not surprisingly) are a lot of steps and work and equipment. And I should have read the recipe more clearly before putting it up for the poll because Chef Boulud’s lamb recipe required a lot of equipment I didn’t have (namely a food processor and a flame-proof roasting pan). But because I always follow through with my promises, I powered through and the following is how it all went down in my kitchen.

Just a reminder, as the Single Guy, I wasn’t about to cook a 5-lb. leg of lamb for myself. So I cut the recipe in half. As always, you can get the full recipe at the Food and Wine Web site.

I started off by toasting some pine nuts in my oven. Why are pine nuts so expensive? Luckily, I bought it at the bulk section of Whole Foods so I only got the small amount I needed instead of a whole bag.

Next I had to prep the basil leaves, blanching them first and then pulverizing them in a food processor. Like I said, I don’t own a food processor but I remembered that I had a food chopper attachment for my hand blender. So that’s what I used to create a puree with the basil and olive oil. (It might not be as smooth as it was supposed to be, but I think it does the trick.)

The basil puree now needed some toast and pine nuts. (Also, the recipe said to add a clove of garlic and lemon zest but I have to admit I forgot the lemon zest.) For the toast, Boulud specifically calls for three slices of packaged white bread. Since I was doing just half the recipe, it meant I only needed 1½ slices of white bread. I don’t eat white bread, and I wasn’t about to buy a whole loaf just to use 1½ slices. So I just used the whole grain bread I typically buy and used a slice of that. I’m sure the white bread was more for aesthetics because it’s white and will show up better than the brown whole grain bread.

After pulsating the ingredients, I spread the puree onto my flat leg of lamb. The recipe calls for a boneless leg of lamb, and the one I got was about 2 pounds. So more a stub than a leg.

Then you’re supposed to tie up the lamb with kitchen string. I’ve found that the only reason for doing this when cooking any leg or loin is to just keep the nice round shape of the piece of meat instead of it looking flat and spread out. Here’s my handiwork with the tying. (I didn’t have to tie it that many times since the lamb was such a short leg.)

Now the recipe called for browning the leg of lamb in a flame-proof roasting pan, which I don’t have. These are the type of roasting pans you can place on top of your stove and cook with. I think it works best with a gas stovetop but I have an electric stove. So I improvised by browning the leg of lamb in a large pan and then transferring it to my aluminum foil-lined cheapy roasting pan.

I was supposed to cook the lamb for 1.5 hours, but I thought since it was just half the size of what the recipe called for, it might not take as long to cook. So after 45 minutes, I checked the temperature using my instant-read thermometer and it was at the 130 degrees for medium rare. Then I was supposed to cut off the strings, and when I did, the lamb fell apart and unfolded, showing the inside parts were still pink. Ugh, so I had to push it back into somewhat shape (no way to re-tie it when it was so hot) and shoved it back into the oven.

After another 30 minutes, I was pretty sure it was done, and then I spread the remaining basil puree to create the crust on the top. Then I set the lamb under the broiler for five minutes like the recipe said. Then I was supposed to take it out and let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting into it. When I serve it, I was supposed to create the lemon vinaigrette using lemon juice, Dijon mustard and olive oil.

But what the recipe didn’t say was to sprinkle a whole bunch of bread crumbs on the top of the leg of lamb, and I’m pretty sure that’s what the Food and Wine editors did because if you look at the picture above, no way was that lamb simply encrusted with the basil puree, right?

So I got some croutons that I had leftover from a salad, and I just broke them up into little pieces and topped my cooked leg of lamb with it. The result is pictured below. Again, my photo is at a disadvantage because it doesn’t depict a whole leg of lamb, so it might look stunted. But what do you think?

My tips and warnings about this recipe:

  1. Like I said earlier, you probably want to sprinkle some bread crumbs (with maybe some chopped pine nuts) on top of your leg of lamb before serving, just for better presentation.
  2. Swapping out the white bread with my whole grain bread didn’t seem to make a difference, I think, because you hardly could taste the bread in the puree.
  3. Lamb lets off a lot of oil when cooking, so you might want to use a splatter guard when you’re browning it on your stovetop before placing it inside the oven.

Ease of cooking: The recipe was easy to follow, but it felt like a lot of work — from roasting the pine nuts to pulsating the basil to tying up the lamb and then searing it on the stovetop. And I sure had a lot of things to wash in my sink after I was done cooking.

Taste: I don’t know if I’ve made leg of lamb before (I’ve made lamb meatballs and lamb chops), but this part of the animal is so tasty and tender! My lamb came out very soft. Not sure if it was where I got it or if all leg of lambs are tender, but it was tasty. As for the recipe, I realized while eating that the basil puree really just sounded like pesto. So I wondered why he didn’t call this a pesto-encrusted leg of lamb? The basil flavor, though, was really subtle after being pureed and cooked in the oven. So I’m not sure how much it added to the overall lamb-eating experience. The lemon vinaigrette you drizzle at the end is a nice, fancy, cheffy thing to do and did add a nice zing.

Overall grade: B- because it was a lot of work and created a lot of dirty dishes and overall I didn’t feel the basil came through. But I love eating lamb and this seemed like a fool-proof recipe.

Don’t forget to vote in the poll on the upper right-hand column to let me know which recipe I should test from the pages of the May edition of Food and Wine.

Previous test kitchens:
Pork Tonkatsu
Winter Vegetable Chili
Penne Rigate with Spicy Braised Swordfish
Five-spice Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Walnut Toffee

Monday, April 26, 2010

Skewers near Oakland’s Lake Merritt

Business Lunch Gets a Mediterranean Twist
1999 Harrison St. (at 20th Street), Oakland
Uptown/Lake Merritt neighborhoods
PH: 510.452.2700
Open weekdays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No reservations, major credit cards accepted

Looking at some of the new lunch options around my offices, today I feature a spot that’s literally across the street from my building near Oakland’s Lake Merritt.

Skewers opened a few months ago and even though its address says Harrison Street, the entrance faces 20th Street between a dry cleaners and Starbucks. It used to be a tired, old sandwich spot where these ladies made sandwiches that looked so home-made I resented whenever I had to pay $5 for something I could have brought from home.

So I was happy to see Skewers take its place, with its fresh décor and large dining area. The casual restaurant specializes in meat like lamb and beef cooked on a spit and thinly sliced off to create sandwiches, or like the name says skewers grilled and served as platters or wraps.

The Mediterranean feel took me back to New York, where this type of cooking is so popular for lunch because of its convenience, flavor and ability to make you full for little money. Skewers’ white walls are decorated with a few travel pictures, mostly of London, another city like New York that welcomes a good falafel or gyro.

Side note: Skewers have a few prepared salads in the refrigerated section. I would avoid this because once I got the chicken Caesar salad and the chicken was fine but the croutons in the salad were soft and spongy. It really threw off my overall impression of the salad.

For the rest of the menu, you order at the counter and get a number so your plate will be brought to your table. My first time, I ordered the Chicken Shawerma Wrap ($7.50), which was made up of chicken shavings from the spit with lettuce, pickles, red onions, and maybe tahini?

The wrap looked pretty big and was packed with chicken meat, which kind of made up for Skewers’ slightly higher lunch prices. The chicken was good and rustic, almost meaty like lamb because of the way it was cooked. I liked how the wrap was nice and warm with the grilled marks so it’s like a toasted burrito. My favorite part was the bits of pickles, giving the wrap a nice twist now and then when eating.

Next time I ordered a Lamb/Beef Gyros Wrap ($7.50) that I brought back to my office. The wrap seemed longer than the shawerma, almost foot long (don’t hold me to it since I didn’t have a measuring tape). It seemed very similar to the shawerma with the lettuce and pickles. The only difference was the yogurt, which there was a lot near the end. Overall, the taste was good but I felt like it wasn’t packed with much lamb and beef, which were just a few thin slices hidden in the center.

On another visit I decided to order a skewer platter, which, I know, is a lot to eat for lunch. The options include chicken, lamb, or beef, or the mixed option where you choose two. All the platters cost $10.95.

I got the mixed grill platter with chicken and lamb. The platter was huge with the two skewers sitting on a big puddle of hummus that was so creamy it was like whipped batter. I liked it, especially when I dipped the two pita bread that came on the side. The chicken skewer was slightly yellow, making me think it would taste like curry but it didn’t really have any distinct flavor. Maybe it was tumeric?

The chicken was tender and moist, which was a good thing. The lamb, though, was chewy and I think I like the lamb cut into thin slices in a sandwich instead of as cubes on a skewer. The rice was a big scoop of long grain rice with nuts, and the salad was fresh like a Greek salad with tomatoes, cheese, and kalamata olives.

There are also items that try to appeal to more traditional tastes, like the grilled sandwich options. Choices include salmon, chicken, eggplant and hamburger. On one visit, I got the Grilled Mediterranean Chicken ($7.95) and it really didn’t look like it came from a Mediterranean kitchen.

The grilled chicken was on a bun that almost looked like an egg bun in texture but not as yellow. It wasn’t my favorite kind of bread to use because of its height, but the chicken was very tender and tasty. It was sandwiched with spinach leaves and sun-dried tomatoes with creamy feta cheese. You can get the sandwiches with French fries or a huge Greek salad of fresh greens, cucumber, tomato and feta with a very light vinaigrette (in fact, it may have just been oil and vinegar).

One visit I brought along my co-worker Sue, who did order the hamburger. It looked a bit odd because of the square patty shape, but Sue seemed to enjoy it although a bit dry. (I know she especially enjoyed all the free chips that they were serving up).

I was tempted to try the falafel sandwich, but couldn’t get past the idea of the falafel being deep-fried. So instead I tried something I never had before called a Mosakhan Wrap ($7.50). This was made up of chicken bits that’s like ground beef smothered in onion, although you really can’t see the onions. It had just a slight onion taste.

The mosakhan, which supposedly takes a long time to cook the meat to create it, included nuts that I think were almonds. Everything was compressed to create this nice, savory wrap that was rich and filling. The wrap itself was almost like a flaky pastry because it was breaking near the center from the filling and the oil. It was served with a bowl of cucumber Greek yogurt salad.

Because of the prices, I can’t eat at Skewers every day, but it’s nice to know it’s there as an option. It’s so convenient to my workplace and the counter people and server are always friendly. While I’m not a big fan of the lamb and beef, I do find the chicken to always be tender and tasty.

Single guy rating: 2.75 stars (Nice alternative to sandwiches)

Explanation of the single guy's rating system:

1 star = perfect for college students
2 stars = perfect for new diners
3 stars = perfect for foodies
4 stars = perfect for expense accounts
5 stars = perfect for any guy's dream dinner

Skewers Mediterranean Delight on Urbanspoon

What's for lunch?
Trueburger: "Upscale Burgers Arrive in the East Bay"
Chef Edwards' BBQ: "A New Version of an Oakland Classic"
Kim Huong: "When Gimmicks Trump Authenticity"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food Gallery: Summer Kitchen

Visiting my blog you can probably tell that I really love to take pictures. I've been taking pictures for years, and since I started this blog I've been specializing in food photography. And now I no longer do it just for love.

I recently started a side business as a food photographer. What I do is take pictures of food for people like restaurants and other food-related businesses that they can use for their Web site or publicity shots. The following is one of the shoots I did for the Summer Kitchen Bake Shop of Berkeley. I took some photos for their Web site, and below is a series of shots I did in black and white.

You can check out the color food shots on my photography site. And please send anyone who need some food shots done to my site. I don't have a referral fee, but you'll get lots of good karma. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh Fiddlehead! Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d post this photo just because these things are soooo green. What are they you ask? Well, they’re called fiddlehead ferns and I spotted them recently at the Far West Fungi shop at the Ferry Building.

It was unusual to see them at Far West, 1) because it’s not really a fungus but a fern and 2) it looks like curled up snails. But if you believe Wikipedia (and really, who doesn’t?), it’s supposedly cooked like a vegetable in Asian countries like Indonesia and Taiwan and in Native American dishes in North America. (Also, if you believe Wikipedia, then lightly cooking the fiddleheads is a bad thing because you can get sick if they’re not cooked properly.)

The fiddleheads are the sprouts of the fern before they unfurl, which gives them that curly look. It’s not something that’s farmed, but when found and harvested, you’re supposed to just cut off two to three fiddleheads and not all because that can kill the entire plant. (Gee, I guess I did learn something from Wikipedia.)

I’m not going to be rushing to my condo’s garden to look for fiddleheads among the fern plants, but it’s nice to hear on Earth Day that some people don’t waste anything on this planet and a use can be found for anything naturally grown — a good lesson to keep in mind as caretakers for this world.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Passionate Eater lives …

… and She Invited Me to Brunch

This post isn’t so much about food as it is about the people behind the food.

When I first started this blog more than three years ago, one of the early people commenting on my posts was someone called Passionate Eater (I’m going to call her P.E. for short). She also penned her own blog of the same name, which I started to read regularly for the huge photos she’d post and the hilarious adventures in eating she would write about.

But if you’re a regular reader of P.E. as well, you’ll know that she hasn’t posted in nine months, and her last post is the self-flagellating one entitled “Bad Passionate Eater! Bad!” Like that post starts off, you might have wondered “Where in Satan’s name has she been?”

It happens to the best of us. I read several food blogs, and a few of them I follow pretty regularly. Then one day they stop posting and I wonder what happened? Did they get food poisoning? Did they get hacked? Did they move on?

In P.E.’s case, it was a simple case of life catching up with her. A new job, a longer commute, and a new home all added up to zero posts. But I’m here to tell you that she’s alive and doing well.

Recently she sent me an e-mail letting me know about a free food offer at a San Francisco restaurant. (She’s still trying to keep me in the loop.) And we got to talking and she invited me over to her new home in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood for Sunday brunch.

Joining us was our fellow food blogger friend Foodhoe. Rounding out the group was Foodhoe and P.E.’s husbands, and P.E.’s cousin Grace and her friend Arthur. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and P.E.’s new home was a lovely setting for the gathering.

P.E. busted out her fancy waffle maker and her husband made up two stacks of whole wheat waffles and blueberry ones. Foodhoe, who had made some brown-sugar-coated bacon crisps, couldn’t resist making a waffle with her secret ingredient inside.

We munched on Prather Ranch sausages (my contribution) and yogurt with granola (from Grace), along with nibbles of cheese (thanks Foodhoe!) and a huge platter of fresh fruits. But as everyone ate around the table, I mostly laughed from listening to P.E.’s stories.

Even though she hasn’t written about food recently, you could tell she was still passionate about it. She would quiz us about our food adventures, living vicariously through our little food events or experiences dining out. We’d laugh about outrageous things we saw on the Web or new food trends we decided we’re going to start ourselves. (Grace, I still think you should start that vegetable-separating/squatting exercise class!)

Afterwards we just spent some time enjoying the amazing view from their home and walking around their lovely garden. It was great seeing P.E. and her husband happy and doing well, and it just reminded me that there are real people behind the food blogs you read. And at times, these real people might power down their laptops and return to their day-to-day demands.

No food blog is larger than life. And simply blogging isn’t the only thing a life makes. So if there’s a time that I may not be posting as often, or—God forbid!—at all, it’s not because I’ve given up on you, my readers, or on food. It’s just because I’m taking time to smell the coffee and enjoy, well, life.

Previous meals with the Passionate Eater:
When Bloggers Brunch

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Night Dinners at Jardinière

Rotating Chefs Helm the Kitchen in April
300 Grove St. (at Franklin), San Francisco
Civic Center
PH: 415.861.5555
Open for dinner nightly at 5 p.m.
Reservations, major credit cards accepted

I’ve been meaning to go back to Jardinière for its Monday night prix-fixe dinner since the first time I tried this promotion last year. For $45 (before tax and tip), you enjoy a three-course meal with wine pairings, which is a great deal for the high-level of dishes paraded out the kitchen.

I get regular e-mails from the restaurant with the upcoming month’s list of Monday night dinners, and April’s offerings sounded interesting. Typically, Jardinière dedicates the Monday menu to a specific regional cuisine—Sicilian one week, New Orleans the other, and so on. But this month it was the chefs who would change each week.

Executive Chef Traci des Jardins welcomed back four different chefs who once worked under her in what she called “Alumni Month.” I went to dinner last Monday night when the featured chef was Peter Armellino, who went on to earn one Michelin star for his own restaurant, The Plumed Horse, in Saratoga.

The menu for that night didn’t include any meat, so I asked my aqua-vegetarian (that means he eats fish along with vegetables) friend Ken to join me.

Our dinner began with a seasonal salad of Delta asparagus and buffalo mozzarella, sprinkled with smoked almonds and a few pieces of wild arugula. I can’t believe how many asparagus salads I’ve had at restaurants so far this spring! Still, this was refreshing and light.

The salad was served with a tasting glass of Vincent Ricard’s 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “Le Petiot” from Touraine, France, which I felt was nice but wasn’t as crisp in flavor as I’d like. (Turns out all our wine for the night were from France, so it was like dining in Paris.)

The next course was a green garlic soup served with a few pieces of battered and fried Florida frog legs on one side and chopped pieces of rock shrimp on the other. In the center was a shellfish flan, which was engulfed by the brilliant green garlic soup that our server poured at the table.

It was this course that sparked my interest in the Monday menu because I love frog legs, ever since I had them pan-fried and sautéed in Paris. I rarely see them on menus, so I get them whenever I can. Unfortunately, the frog legs were deep-fried (which I’m not a fan of) and I felt that preparation totally masks the natural sweetness of the frog meat (all you taste is batter). Plus, there were just a few nuggets of the fried frog legs so it didn’t seem to be the star of the course, which really was the green garlic soup and creamy flan in the center.

Side note: I give Ken credit for being a good sport with this course. When I saw the menu, I didn’t think of frog legs as meat and considered it along the lines of seafood. I mean, frogs live around water, don’t they? But Ken reminded me that frogs are amphibians. But that’s still not red meat, right?

Our frog leg/garlic soup was paired with a glass of Domaines Schlumberger’s 2006 Pinot Gris “Les Princes Abbes” from Alsace, France.

Jardinière’s Monday prix fixe is generally three courses, but for some reason tonight we had four. (Maybe they didn’t get enough frog legs, which were the publicized main course, so the chef decided to add another course to make up for the soup?)

Anywho, our bonus course was a small piece of Alaskan halibut. Our server drizzled a ragout of wild mushrooms over the halibut at the table. It was served with a few fava beans.

The halibut was nicely cooked, with a slight glassy texture. The mild flavor of the fish was taken to a bold extreme with the ragout, which had a very meaty flavor like a beef ragout.

The course was served with a Domaine Des Nugues’ 2007 Beaujolais-Villages from Burgundy, France. The red wine was the perfect counterpoint to the rich and intense wild mushroom ragout.

Our last course was a pistachio sablé. I’ve never had a sablé before, but apparently it’s a French cookie. The sable, which was like a thin layer of shortbread cookie, was topped with thin slices of Ortiz Farms strawberries and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and some pistachio sprinkles.

The sablé was buttery and light, and I wanted more! Overall, it was a very elegant ending to our meal.

The sablé was served with an Ey’s 2007 Muscat de Riversaltes “Vigne lo Clavell” from Roussillon, France.

Jardinière’s elegant settings and the interesting menu from Chef Armellino made it an enjoyable evening. The fact that it was a Monday night made the work week seem to go by faster.

If you’d like to check out upcoming Monday prix-fixe menus, just visit Jardinière’s Web site.

Jardiniere on Urbanspoon