Archive for September 2009


I had the great fortune to dine at L2O last night as an early birthday celebration with my friend Kevin. Laurent Gras is a 3 star Michelin chef whom is classically trained in French cuisine and influenced by Asian and far east cooking. When I asked what L2O meant, I was told it reflected Gras's decision to specialize in a predominantly shellfish and fish menu, and his love of water after growing up on the coast of France. The L from Laurent, replaces the H in H2O. The L2O could also be a play on the source of the fish- Lake to (2) Ocean. The water theme is subtly carried out in the decor of the restaurant. A gold painted coral sculpture greets you as you descend into the main room, a grouping of lit glass balls hang in varied lengths from a corner of the room recalling air bubbles, clear and frosted glass panels and floor to ceiling vertical netting divide the space into small rooms and a fish tank lives in one of the unisex bathrooms. The beige color palette of the room and combination of carpet, wood and honey onyx surfaces mimic the ocean floor.

The fish are flown in daily from artisanal purveyors around the world including Japan, the coast of Spain and Maine. We decided to bypass the four-course prix fixe and six-course tasting options to indulge in the twelve+ course autumn tasting. It was an epic culinary adventure beginning with what would be one of several amuse-bouches and ending with a pistachio macaroon. It was nothing less than a sensual journey of color, flavor, texture, and aroma. We sampled bites of tuna snow, scallop paired with blueberries, the most beautiful uncooked prawns I have ever tasted, chorizo foams, gelled discs, raspberry pearls with gold leaf and flawlessly sculpted chocolate eggs full of vanilla liquid explosions. Almost every dish showcased an array of beautiful fish that I cannot even begin to name including tuna and halibut. The journey ended on a tour of the massive kitchen and the private tatami rooms where your server dons a traditional kimono. The sweet and savory flavors and surprising textures still linger on in my mouth. Thank you Kevin.

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Winter: Swedish-Style

Not that I want to hurry Fall (see post below), but I've been thinking that the Swedes do it right.

The Glögg
3 sticks cinnamon
2-3 pieces dried Seville orange peel
2-3 pieces dried ginger (not ground)
some 10 cardamom seeds (whole)
some 10 cloves (whole)
1 cup water
1 bottle of wine

Heat spices and water to boiling, then turn off heat and let stand overnight. Filter out the spices and then add the wine. Reheat with wine and add sugar to taste (2/5 of a cup).
* Note that alcohol evaporates so reheat, don't boil.

Growing up, we always added brandy too. I saw some recipes that included blackberry schnapps. Sounds interesting.

The Fireplaces

The Textiles
The Shoes
Ok ok ok and IKEA and H&M. Oh oh and gravlax too.

And, the Divine Comedy feels the same way.

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Autumn Spirits

Autumn is here and it is only a matter of time before the leaves begin to change. As much as I will miss the lacksidasical feel of summer, or lack of summer this year in Chicago, I cannot help but look forward to fall. Whether it be the beautiful colors it brings, the smell and feel of crisp leaves under my feet, the return of my sweaters, hats, jackets and scarves from the closet, or the holidays soon to come, fall will always be my favorite season.

The farmer's markets will be open through fall and bring with them apples, pears, concord grapes, blackberries, raspberries, figs, sweet corn, pumpkin, leafy greens, root vegetables, and more. In spirit of the new season, we have changed the new cocktail list at the restaurant. We spent five labor intensive hours smoking and grilling pears to infuse a batch of brandy, stemming concord grapes and boiling them down to make a lip smacking simple syrup, boiling peaches and saffron, pureeing them, then pushing the batch through the chinois for a golden delicious syrup, toasting pecans to infuse a batch of Jim Beam, and sampling farm fresh seedling apple cider.

On the new menu you can expect to find:
Wolf Point Glogg made with Sailor Jerry rum, brandy and apple cider; a Gold Rush Sidecar made with a saffron-peach puree, brandy and lemon; an Autumn Negroni with Ransom Old Tom Gin, Cynar and sweet vermouth; a Sazerac with buillet bourbon, simple syrup, a pernod rinse and peychaud's bitters; finally, a Concord punch with concord grape syrup, Tanqueray gin, St. Germain and lemon to name a few. Stay tuned as we fine tune these drinks and bring on the pear brandy and pecan bourbon in two weeks time.

I just bought a new camera and will be posting photos soon.


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