Saturday, January 05, 2008

More C Food

Ok, so the batteries are no longer rechargeable, my excuse for no pix from my latest restaurant excursion with Dino and Krista. I'd been to C restaurant before in 05 and found the scallop course to be the best thing I'd ever eaten (up til that point) in Vancouver. Their website said they were featuring dishes from the whole 10 year history of the restaurant so I wanted to try it, see if anything else on the menu was as good as the scallop I recall so fondly.
First, our bouches were amused with a small bite of salmon tartare on watermelon or something. Pleasent enough. Next, Dino and Krista feasted on oysters, to the extent that such a thing is possible, while I tried the "octopus bacon wrapped Bayne Sound scallop, warm Summerland apple salad, black truffle gastrique." It tasted like the best possible pastry. And I'm not particularly fond of pastry. Was it as good as the scallop I had here in 05? My culinary memory isn't that good, but it was outstanding. When seafood tastes like fruit, I know I'm in the right place.
Dino and Krista had some sort of salmon. My bite was rather dry. The wines in general were well-paired, as in Necessary. Seafood without wine is like a sandwich without bread.
I think my fascination with sous vide menu items may have come to an end. I ordered the "butter poached lobster 'sous vide,' braised celeriac, gnocchi, fois gras jus" and though pleasent, wasn't what I was expecting from the city's premiere seafood restaurant. OK, it was a cold winter night and the food matched that well. Filling, to say the least, and certainly warming. I had to take more than half home to eat over the following two days (can my appetite actually be diminishing? Is that possible?), the lobster was overwhelmed by the celeriac, gnocchi and fois gras jus. Maybe it was just a bad idea to combine these ingredients. I wasn't at C for comfort food, but something transcendent, like the scallops. I think the next time I see "sous vide" on any other menu than Diva's, I'll order something else.
Over dinner, I discovered that my companions had also seen the recent flick Ratatouille. As much a love affair with food as I've ever seen onscreen, and this was Animated food. Something I noticed upon first watching was, in what was supposed to be the best restaurant in Paris, there didn't seem to be any meat. Is that because the chef is a rat? The moment when the critic try's the rat-chef's ratatouille and is transported back to childhood is exactly what Keller and Bourdain were talking about (see my review of A Cook's Tour in an earlier post). Either food (here I mean EXPENSIVE food at the best restaurants) takes you somewhere you've never been and you never want to leave (the winning mushroom soup from the Golden Plates competition, for example) or it recreates some past memory and sends you back to a place you could only revisit with your tongue. No other time travel machines can do it. Fumiyo and I discovered, a few years ago, that ratatouille, which I've been making for at least 40 years, is perfectly paired with yaki soba. That's the only way I eat either of them now - eternally married, at least in the Ishikawa kitchen. Though I don't doubt Thomas Keller's ratatouille could take me to someplace equally as exquisite, I'll cross that reviewing bridge when I get to his restaurants.
While suffering at the dentists' the other day, I tried to concentrate on a CBC Newsworld show about China on the TV above the dental chair. The story was about a young man who had earned a degree in computers, but decided to become a chef instead. Apparently, there is a Chinese saying, "food is heaven." Ratatouille was about that consciousness. The poor, overwhelmed lobster from C was not.

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