Sunday, September 11, 2016

GT Oyster Bar

Chicago is a great food town and I've been lucky to have dined at many in my short time here. This weekend, I went to GT Oyster Bar in River North. On a date. A first date.

Let's just say the restaurant will definitely get a second date. The guy, not so much, but that's an entirely different blog post. So, I figured I'd share a few highlights from the evening.

  1. The grilled zucchini small plate was a stand out. With the crispy maitake mushrooms and miso aioli. Please go and order this even though you be tempted to order differently. Like I was initially. But you'll be pleasantly surprised. 
 2. Since we were at an oyster bar - sitting at the oyster bar, we ordered oysters. Two rounds of them. With 26 total. And all were devoured. I favored the Sun Hallow variety as I'm loving west coast oysters these days. The oysters were accompanied by the GT cocktail sauce (a slightly thicker version) and a ponzu mignonette (which I primarily used).

3. As a treat, the oysters arrived with a glass of the Ingrid Gross gemischter satz from Vienna, which I may now prefer with oysters over champagne. I'll have to go back and investigate further. 

4. The guys next to us shared a few bottles of red wine and among other dishes - the lobster roll - which was a miss on our part as it looked, and I hear is, awesome. I'll also go back for this. 

5. The other standout was the sweet corn creme brûlée. Perfectly creamy and topped with lightly toasted meringue and dried corn. The dessert makes you think summer isn't ending. I'm a creme brûlée purist but this variation is great in my book. 

I hope you enjoyed your Indian summer Sunday. No matter where you are.

Your friend,

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blackberry financiers

Hi friends,
As promised, and if you saw my Instagram picture before they were baked, here is the recipe for the most amazing pastry ever -- blackberry financiers.

My favorite part about this little tiny cake (not to be called a muffin in my house) is the browned butter used in the recipe. It gives it a rich nutty density that adds to the almond base and light powdery sugar that's the majority of the cake. And that, in a nutshell, is the recipe.

I use this one that I found on Pinterest a few years ago. There are dozens of variations, like caramel, that I want to try but always go back to the blackberry. And why ruin a good thing?

The history of this little beauty, pronounced fah-nance-EE-ay, is this:

Pierre Lacam, in ''Memorial Historique de la Patisserie,'' published in 1890, wrote that the financier was created by a baker named Lasne, whose bakery on the Rue St.-Denis was near the Bourse, the financial center of Paris. Presumably, the rich little cake was named for the rich financiers who frequented his bakery. The cake was baked in rectangular molds, the shape of gold bars. (Source:  NYTimes)

And what rich, edible gold bars they are. 
I hope you enjoy. And if you have a different recipe, please share. 

Your friend,