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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Balthazar

LAST night, after work, Fabiana coerced me into joining her for a drink at Balthazar.

I headed south on Mercer (I don't do Broadway--too many tourists), then east on Spring and landed at 80 Spring Street. Fabiana was already seated at the bar and enjoying a Ketel One martini with olive juice on the side. I'd told Fabiana I could only join her for one drink and decided upon their syrah-grenache ($8). It happened to be the least expensive glass on the list, but also what I was most in the mood for. (I've recently discovered shiraz to be my favorite red)

It was nice to catch up with Fabiana, we never work the same shifts anymore, but yesterday was her one day, each week, where she works in the kitchen as a prep chef. She asked me if I wanted to share the chicken liver and foie gras mousse ($14) with her, but I had already eaten 'family meal'; before long, I was coerced into joining her for some mousse as well…

The mousse was wonderfully "moussy" with sea salt atop and red onion confit, frisée and grilled toast on the side. Tearing each toast into pieces, I dressed the tops with a good spread of mousse, topped with confit and frisée. Wonderful. It was quite possibly the best mousse I've ever had. Fabiana decided we were having another glass, each, (on her) and I sipped my second glass of syrah while we talked about food, restaurants, Fabiana's soon-to-be catering business and my blog--our favorite topics.

As we neared the end of our second libation, Fabiana insisted upon profiteroles ($9). The dish of three lovely little poufs arrived with chocolate dressing on the side which our server poured atop from a raised arm. Filled with ice cream, they were delicious, and more than I'd expected. By the time we finished dessert, Balthazar was filled to the brim. I told Fabiana that although I liked the food at Balthazar, I still wasn't sold on the atmosphere (too big, too bright, too crowded). But as Fabiana had said I would, I did spot one of our regulars; according to Fabiana, all our regulars go to Balthazar...

FABIANA and I made our way out, past the crowds and headed towards Dean & Deluca, on Broadway, to pick up a few treats for David. ("Since I had a nice treat, I think I should bring one home for David as well!") At the chocolates counter I picked out: lemon-thyme dark chocolate, cabernet sauvignon dark truffle, ganache and walnut dark truffle and white chocolate with rosewater over dark ganache. $4.50

On our subway ride home, Fabiana and I talked about our own different Italian recipes during which she divulged her own recipe for a very simple tomato sauce.

Fabiana's Easy Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:
Fresh oregano
An onion
A teaspoon of sugar
A blender

For this recipe, you'll want to set aside a designated amount of all ingredients for later adjustments. You can also add any additional ingredients, such as red pepper flakes, that you might enjoy.

  • Using your hands, squeeze all the liquid out of the tomatoes; place the 'pressed' tomatoes in the blender.
  • Take the onion and grate it over a bowl; pour the liquid only from the onion into the blender. (save the grated onion for another recipe)
  • Finely chop oregano and add into the blender.
  • Add sugar.
  • Blend lightly, allowing some tomato bits to remain.
  • Check the consistency and add more ingredients as necessary.

Terrific on homemade pizza.

Balthazar, 80 Spring Street, SoHo
Dean & Deluca, 560 Broadway, SoHo
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