Doce, Pittsburgh

IMG_0173This is a new place on Carson Street in Pittsburgh. It has been open a few weeks now and I am quite taken by it.  They are on Facebook too.  See here

The menu is nice, simple and scrumptious. The only taco I have not tried is the veggie one. I love LOVE the carnitas. the best I have had east of Texas.

IMG_0175The decor is nice. Good vibe.
IMG_0176
IMG_0177It is also very small in there, a squeeze if you will.
IMG_0181The Chef, why do we always pose with our knives?  We went on the weekend and met another brother. So jealous of the bright chef coat he had on.
IMG_0174Not that it is needed but you have a choice of hot sauces, you can also ask for it extra hot and he will add some jalapenos to your taco.
IMG_0175More Day-core!
IMG_0182This was the chicken taco. I love the flavor and his tortillas remind me of my childhood in southern California and getting fresh made tortillas from the abuelitas. They have a cooler filled with soda and other beverages. They also give you a punch type card to fill out for if you buy x amount you get one.. Bar none this is my favorite taco place and it so competes with Smoke for my favorite tacos ever. The migas at Smoke is my ultimate love, but the carnitas with the shredded pork that is highly flavorful with the lovely succulent fat drippings in the meat.. Damn, I need to go there now where are my keys!?

Le Bernardin Part Deux

After the first round of appetizers, water was refreshed and the next set of plates were gracefully placed in front of us.

Sea Trout
Sea Trout
Ultra rare smoked sea trout; pickled red onion citrus-miso emulsion, there was also a potato chip on top. Sea trout is an American fish from shallow flats/brackish waters. It is not actually a trout but a member of the bream family. It has a light delicate flavor even though the color reminds one of salmon it is not oily. It was a delicious dish.

Peekytoe Crab

Crab
Warm Peekytoe Maryland lump crab; shaved heirloom cauliflower, mustard emulsion. This was my personal favorite dish of those that I ordered including my dessert. The crab was sweet and light in flavor. the cauliflower added a nice flavor but the mustard emulsion is what brought the dish together. the emulsion was highly flavorful with out hiding what it was served with. Acidic with a little sweet heat from the mustard. A most evolved dish.

Artichoke
Artichoke
Warm artichoke panaché; vegetable risotto, lemon emulsion with shaved black truffles.
I found this to be the most visually stunning of the dishes. It was lovely to taste as well. Sometimes artichokes can taste a bit earthy muddied. This was almost pure light artichoke the lemon ‘sauce’ really brightened this dish.

Entrees

David’s Skate
Skate
Poached skate; braised daikon, charred scallion jam, lemon confit-kimchi broth. Skate, I have only had it once before and compared to this heavenly prepared skate the previous example was like shoe leather. The morsel I nibbled was flavorful and light. The broth was aromatic and a little spicy. I think this was the best entree of the evening hands down.

Andrea’s Pasta
Pasta and Asparagus
The dish presented to Andrea was house made pasta with asparagus and shaved truffle with a truffle butter sauce. It was rich, delicious and the flavor was amazing. Pasta was perfectly cooked. Andrea could not finish it and we asked for it to be wrapped up. They whisked it to the kitchen and Andrea was presented with this…
Claim check
She will be able to pick up the pasta in a nice container and baggie at the end of the meal so our table will not be cluttered.

Dorothy’s Lobster

Lobster
Pan roasted lobster; baby leeks, sunchoke purée, red wine “sauce Américaine”. I do not often order lobster although I love it so. When it is prepared properly it is succulent and buttery. So many times it is rubbery and dry with no flavor. Not here. Each bite was scrumptious and full of flavor. The leeks were yummy and the green puree was light in flavor but added a nice touch to the depth of the dish in its entirety.The gave me a small plate to place my shells on and when they were all removed the plate was immediately whisked away. I could have licked that sauce off the plate. Ok, I almost did, Dave held me back. Good Dave.

Desserts

Andrea’s Pavlova
Exotic Fruit Pavlova
Roasted Pineapple, Guava Jam, Yuzu-Coconut Sorbet. Pavlovas are a light summery dish. Their take had a meringue shell on the sides of one of the most intensely flavored sorbets I have ever had. Second only to a mandarin one I had at Le Bec Fin a few years ago. The sorbet coupled with the fruits and the nice crunch of he meringue was sublime. Both bright and sweet. It was a perfect spring/summer dessert!

Dorothy’s Strawberry
Strawberry
Elderflower-Scented Strawberries, Crème Fraîche Panna Cotta, Frozen Strawberry Snowflakes. the first bites were very intensly strawberry. Then I hit the panna cotta and it hit me, this was a cheese blintz with strawberries. A rich custard type of panna cotta, the Crème Fraîche really gives a nice tang to the dish that would otherwise be an overly sweet dessert. I loved the strawberry ‘snowflakes’ which reminded me of dipping dots texturally. The micro basil was a nice touch.

David Won

Dark Milk Chocolate
Milk Chocolate Mousse, Dark Caramel, Candied Peanuts, Warm Malted Caramel. I wanted to order this but of the two Dave debated on, he chose this so I picked the snow. To me, this epitomizes the perfect chocolate dessert. creamy, crunchy, sweet and salty. It was probably the best chocolate dessert I have ever tasted. It was that good. Yeah, I am a sucker for malt too.

We had coffee, cappuccino and mint tea to finish out the meal. We also were given a small plate each.
Truffles
From left to right; chocolate ginger truffle, pistachio macaroon, fruit gelee (think Habro orange fruit slices but exquisitely done) and a chocolate cherry cake. We devoured them and Andrea was quick to ask for one more for we forgot to photograph one.. they brought us each another. I asked for a copy of the menu for I collect them.
DSC_0044
The dining room captain brought us each a copy in an envelope with a copy of the current Zagat’s guide of NYC.

Replete, the bill was paid and Andrea checked out the bathroom (no attendant but clean). A meal worth it and I am glad to finally hit a three star Michelin Guiderated restaurant. I have eaten at establishments of famous chefs. This and The French Laundry have been on the top of my list. Now, with it bagged off my list of things I would like to do for a culinary experience, I am happy. Happy to share a meal with My Dave and one of my dearest friends, that made the meal so much better.

Of course I made a face..
Dave & Dorothy

Le Bernardin Part one

Dorothy...
I finally made it to Le Bernardin and I was with two of my favorite people.
My awesome Hubby.
Dave & Dorothy

Andrea and I.Dorothy & Andrea

Starting from the, well start. You sit down among well placed and spaced tables. Well lighted, enough that I had no problem with the menu and our photos with no flash came out rather well. The tables are laid out with a setting per person in a rather modern design.
Chaser
Those are not raised bumps but are the opposite.

We were greeted by the Sommelier and waitperson. We explained that Andrea is a vegetarian and they were obliging in tweaking the menu for her. Within a few minutes water was poured and then we were given Amuse Bouches, yummy tidbits that get your mouth a tingle with anticipation of what is to come. I will say it is due to Hubby that I love seafood as I do. My whole life I have tended to avoid it either living to far away from a water source or lack of familiarity. Considering my mothers’ New Englander seafood cooking skills and the fact that somehow I showed remarkable prowess when it came to dealing with seafood in my own culinary career plus the fact I love a great steak, I never spent much time exploring seafood.But since I met Dave I have been a willing taster to stuff he drools over and except for eel, I have been most pleased.

Vegetarian Amuse-BoucheThe One Andrea was served. It had the same soup, a roasted beet salad in the middle and a shaved fennel salad.

Amuse-Bouche From left to right; lobster with wasabi, lightly seared tuna with rice crispies and a carrot soup with a crisp that had dried wasabi on it too.

The Bread.
Bread
To know me is to know I was a baker for many years. I have been lucky enough to work at various establishments that allowed creativity when making bread and I just love bread. I was suitable impressed with the selection. I am sorry we did not manage to get a photo of he bread basket. I tried them all. The lovely light tomato brioche, the nutty buckwheat, a cranberry walnut, rosemary focaccia, poppy seed and my favorite was a toasted sesame with Thai basil. A most complex roll with a good crust and light crumb. Perfection.

The first round of deliciousness.

Andrea’s mesclun salad with a balsamic shallot salad.
Mesclun Salad

Dorothy’s Oysters.
OystersWhile very tasty, plump morsels of the sea. The chilled Beausoleil oysters; sea grape and pickled shallot “seaweed water” gelée was my least favorite dish of the evening. I think the oysters at Eleven here in Pittsburgh are the best with their mignonette sauce and habernero paste is sublime. But back to Le B’s oysters. I loved the texture of the sea grapes. Don’t get me wrong, these were delightful and evoked memories of ocean and the pleasant smells and tastes that are associated with it.

Dave’s Fluke.
Fluke
This was delightful. The ponzu-chimichurrri sauce was both bright and earthy with hints of spice and my first taste of fluke. Amazing at the sweetness of the fluke was complimented and accentuated by the sauce, which they spooned out on top of the fluke in front of you.

To be continued…

NYC the preview

One of my long time goal restaurants to visit has been Le Bernardin in NYC. It is going to happen on June 13. Hubby will be there as well as his cousin R and my best friend A.

Why this place? Well, I like Anthony Bourdain and he and the chef of LeB are good friends and I really like seafood prepared by someone who cares about the seafood being presented in the best way to showcase the flavor of that seafood item.

I look at then menus, the tasting vs the regular and I still have no idea what I would prefer to try.  There are many items I have had and some I have not yet tried. Since A is a vegetarian I checked the reviews on Yelp and being in the business myself I did verify that they will give her some proper vegetarian food.  I am delighted by the prospect of the wine choices. But I am no wino and I wonder if the cousin R will suggest another bottle than what is suggested.  It is cool, three of my favorite people in the world sharing a meal at a place I have been wanting to visit for years.  A fitting reward for gaining my life back a bit more since my stroke.

I also watched Eric RIpert’s tv show on Hulu since we do not have cable but you can catch it on the cooking channel.  It is just a nice exploration of the food world around us and he shows a recipe.  Chef Ripert is very charming and easy to watch.

This weekend is a homemade pizza, all of it from scratch for the dinner I invited my In-laws to on Saturday.