Contra

This is actually my first time in Contra which I been wanting to visit for a long time. I truly love the the concept and the way they change their menu. The way they update their menu and use of ingredients is a true statement of the quality of cooks that they are. The menu is unpretentious and delicious. A Very casual setting but with great flavors and an unbeatable price. A true value in one of the most competitive cities in the world.

Contra in New York City
Welcome snack, potato, smoked roe, pickled peppers
Bread service
Celery root, asian pear, scallops
Crab, buckwheat, golden enoki mushrooms
Albacore, olives and lettuce
Veal, onion and sorana bean. My favorite dish of the night. The veal was so perfect!
Meyer lemon and fennel parfait
Bitter almond and mandarin
Ice Cream

Pineapple & Pearls **

This is my 5th meal at Pineapple & Pearls and every time is just gets better and better. Loving how now they are brining a lot of table side presentations to the table. Every time I have visited the menu is almost completely new which show how much they push to create new dishes. Truly spectacular experience.

 

Pienapple & Pearls, 2 Michelin Stars by Aaron Silverman
Snacks: potato layers with caviar is one of the favorites
chips & dip
Abalone panna cotta with royal ossetra caviar
Madai Crudo with grapefruit and coconut cream
Barely cooked Salmon with trout roe and vin blanc
Bone-in turbot being carved table side. Love how Pineapple & Pearls is bringing back the all the beautiful table side preparations
Bone-in turbot with sauce grenobloise
crispy turbot skin with black sesame tahini
Beggars’ purse with egg yolk
Selle de Porc “a la Bocuse”. Beautiful classic presentation at the center of the table.
Selle de Porc “a la Bocuse” – plated 
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Cabernet Sauvignon, Renaissance Winery, Taken From Granite, Yuba, California 1997
Tete du moine, hazelnut praline & warm truffle honey
Fennel sorbet and labneh
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Basil & Vermouth
Pecorino cake with pesto ice creams
Chocolates. That blue cheese chocolate was memorable.

 

Somms Uncorked: Myers vs Segelbaum

Somms Uncorked, a ‘Wine Dinner’ held at Jaleo Crystal City featuring dishes of Chef Jose Andres, each one paired with two wines from Andy Myers (Master Sommelier and Wine Director of Think Food Group) and Eric Segelbaum (Advanced Sommelier and Wine Director for Starr Restaurant Group)

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Chef Aaron Helfand, Eric Segelbaum, MS Andy Myers, GM Farhat
First course: marinated baby artichokes, meyer lemon aioli, caper salt, artichoke chips
First Wine Battle: Bodegas Tradicion, ‘Cuvee Jose’, Palomino fino, Jerez, Spain V.S. 1994 D’Oliveira verdelho, Madeira, Portugal (Winner)
Second Course: Smoked broccoli, cauliflower, jamon iberico de bellota, preserved lemon, caramelized hazelnut, romesco
Second Wine Battle: 2010 Quinta dde Muradella, ‘Alanda Blanco’, Dona Blanca/Treixadura/Verdello, Monterrei, Spain (Winner) V.S. 2015 Jean Foillard Morgon, ‘Corcelette’, Gamay, Beaujolais, France
Third Course: Seared Scallops, sunchoke puree, pimenton, cava cream sauce
Third Wine Battle: 2011 A Coroa, ‘200 Cestos’, Godello, Valdeorras, Spain V.S. 2014 DeLille Cellars, Chaleur Estate Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Columbia Valley, Washington (Winner)
Fourth Course: Seared cuck breast, clementine, cana de cabra, rosemary sauce
Fourth Wine Battle: 2014 Commando G, ‘La Bruja de Rozas’, Garnacha, Sierra de Gredos, Spain V.S. NV Lanson, ‘White Label’, Sec, Champagne, France (Winner)
Fifth Course: Grilled meyer lemon pound cake, macerated fruit, lavender ice cream
Fifth Wine Battle: 2015 Jorge Ordonez & Co. ‘Victoria’, Moscatel Dulce, Malaga, Spain V.S. 1987 Bodegas Toro Albala, ‘Don PX’ Gran Reserva, Pedro Ximenez, Montilla-Morilles, Spain
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Somms Uncorked, Washington DC.

Tail Up Goat *

Pictures of dinner of 1 Michelin star restaurant “Tale Up Goat” in Washington DC

Tale Up Goat menu
challah, taramasalata, trout roe, dill
focaccia “spanakopita,” kale, feta, pine nut halva, paprika
bbq carrots, duck egg aioli, preserved spring onion
stracciatella, bitter greens, carrot +turmeric, chickpeas, zhoug
sweet potatoes, bagna cauda, chili flake, crispy caperberries
smoked potato ravioli, caramelized + fermented cabbage, mustard, potato crumble
grapefruit sorbet, sesame pasteli, pomegranate, tarragon
almond cake, blood orange jam, creme fraiche

 

Dining Room and kitchen view at Tail Up Goat in Washington DC
Entrance of Tail Up Goat in Washington DC

‘Memories’ of 2017

2017 was a truly amazing year. Over 90 plane rides, 7 countries and I can not even count how many cities or restaurants I was able to experience. I eat more than what I can write, that is for sure.

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Brand new scratch off map for tracking travels

Here is a list, month by month, about it’s highlight experience.

JANUARY 2017

MAIDO, Lima – Peru

The first month of the year took me home, I was able to be in Lima three times this year and able dine multiple times at many restaurants. I visited Maido 3 times this year and each experience was truly outstanding. No wonder they were recently selected as the Best Restaurant in Latin America.

The tasting menu is truly a masterpiece that combines Peruvian and Japanese techniques into something you will never forget. Get ready to give Nikkei cuisine a place in your heart.

FEBRUARY 2017

PER SE, New York City – USA

New York City is 3 hours away from my current location which made it the city I visited the most this year (10 times). Per Se has become a second home to me. It truly feels like family every-time I go back. This year I was lucky to have four meals at Per Se and each of them was truly superb. For me, Per Se is the highest expression of fine dining in the US.

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MARCH 2017

CENTRAL – Lima – Peru

Central is currently the most iconic restaurant in Peru. Led by Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon, Central is a study of Peruvian ingredients by altitudes in every region of the country. A truly unique and risky format, but executed to perfection.

I was able to visit Central 3 times this year and every time the menu was very different with very new ingredients but masterfully put together discovering new flavors and textures.

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APRIL 2017

BRAE – Birregurra – Australia

April took me to the other side of the globe and landed in Australia, where the gastronomic and wine scene is playing a major role in the country and Brae was a clear example of the marvellous culinary experience they have to offer.

Just 90 minutes away from Melbourne, Chef dan Hunter is offering one of the best menus I have tasted this year, respecting the land around and true to its products and seasons. Brae is worth every minute of the ride.

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MAY 2017

NOMA, Tulum – Mexico

Noma, Rene Redzepi’s masterpiece moved to Mexico for 7 weeks this past May to explore and lear from Yucatan’s ingredients and farmers. The result? A brand new restaurant that left its footprints for ever in Tulum’s economy and food industry by creating not only more jobs but systems for farmers and craftsmen around the Yucatan Peninsula.

Noma is getting ready to open in their new location in Copenhagen in 2018 and I can not wait to see what Rene have for us.

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JUNE 2017

ALINEA, Chicago – USA

June took me back to Chicago, a city I visited 7 times this year. The culinary scene in Chicago is one of the highlights of the US right now and Grant Achatz is responsible of propelling this.

Alinea is his maximum expression with an experience that is not only innovative but also interactive. Pushing the boundaries of what a restaurant can be. My two times this year at The Gallery has been truly memorable.

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JULY 2017

MARMALADE, San Juan – Puerto Rico

July took me for the second time to Puerto Rico, where I used to live for 3 years. Marmalade is a special place for me. Not only the food is truly super delicious, but Chef Peter has an unmeasurable passion for hospitality.

The ‘Little White Bean Soup’ is one of the best dishes I have ever tasted. Period.

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AUGUST 2017

MINIBAR BY JOSE ANDRES, Washington DC – USA

Washington DC dining scene has grown in the past few years quite a bit. Last time I sat at Minibar was in August, the third time this year. It is incredible to see what the guest experience from the other side. The way the experience has evolved is truly spectacular.

Minibar is truly the best Chef counter I have sat in his year. Playful, imaginative, fun and delicious. It is truly a show not to be missed in the Capital of the USA.

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SEPTEMBER 2017

NEXT (THE WORLD’S 50 BEST), Chicago – USA

September took me back to Chicago once more, this time for Alinea’s sister restaurant, NEXT, which put one of the best menus ‘ever’ this year. A Collection of dishes from restaurants in the Worlds 50 Best List. What a Challenge!

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OCTOBER 2017

THE FAT DUCK, Bray – United Kingdom 

October took me to United Kingdom and to scratch off a restaurant from my bucket list. The Fat Duck. Heston Blumenthal culinary temple that pioneered the used of emotions as  an ingredient philosophy as well as a number of modern techniques widely used today.

The menu is a journey that takes you back in time. The Fat Duck is probably the best experience I have had this year. A truly transformative event.

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NOVEMBER 2017

ASTRID & GASTON, Lima – Peru

November took me for the third time to Lima and to Gaston Acurio’s iconic restaurant for the third time this year as well.  The menu showcases the mixture of Peruvian culture with those around the world in a magnificent tasting menu called ‘Lima Love’.

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DECEMBER 2017

PUJOL (TACO OMAKASE), Mexico City – Mexico

December took me back to Mexico for the 5th time this year. Chef Enrique Olvera’s recently relocated PUJOL was the major highlight of this trip. The Taco Omakase counter where 9 different taco preparations are placed in front of you was so delicious I have done it two times this year already.

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Hope you all have an amazing 2018 full of health, travels, and good food!

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Bad Saint (tasting menu)

December 17th, 2017
Chef Tom Cunanan 
www.badsaintdc.com

Bad Saint New Holiday Tasting Menu

Bad Saint, the Filipino restaurant led by Tom Cunanan unveiled a new ‘holiday’ menu. A Pre Fixe / Tasting of 7 courses which will run until January 8 (However, I truly hope they keep the tasting format).

Two choices: Omnivore and Vegetarian. Anyone you choose, will leave you with a great understanding of his style and what the new Filipino cuisine has to offer.

As usual, no reservations, so lines form outside well ahead before doors open. Warm service, great ambiance, and delicious food (that probably you have never had before) is the great reward for your patience.

Come hungry …

welcome tea, ginger – citrus
radishes, burnt coconut, honey (snack from the vegetarian menu)
Scallops, green mango, prickly pear
treviso, cashews, brown butter. one of the highlights of the night
fettuccini, crab fat, sea urchin
Delicious rice at bad saint
royal trumpet mushroom, shishito, farm egg
dumplings, mungo, yui choi
dumplings, mungo, yui choi
beef tongue, heirloom carrots, tomato
coconut, rice, persimmon
Bad Saint

Cosme NYC (bar)

December 11th, 2017
Chef Enrique Olvera / Daniella Soto-Innes
No. 40 at The World’s 50 Best
www.cosmenyc.com

Cosme NYC by Chef Enrique Olvera

Cosme is a restaurant in New York City’s Flatiron District serving contemporary Mexican-inspired cuisine. World-renowned Chef Enrique Olvera and his team create dishes rooted in Mexican flavors and traditions, while also celebrating local and seasonal ingredients from the Hudson Valley and surrounding region. Cosme’s beverage program focuses on artisanal spirits and mirrors its cuisine, letting the high quality ingredients shine.

A meal at the dining room or at the bar is sure to delivery an amazing and unique experience.

Bar set up and a margarita 
Abalone tostada, salsa macha, peanuts
Uni Tostada, avocado, bone marrow salsa, cucumber
Hiramasa tostada, plantain aioli, avocado, habanero
Scallops, pear, yuzu, vanilla 
Mushroom huarache, fava bean salsa, epazote, black lime
The bar at Cosme NYC
variation of a ‘painkiller’ cocktail. truly delicious
Grilled octopus, salsa veracruzana, blue eye potatoes. 
Fried collar bone
fried collar bone tacos
Nixtamalized apple, canela, smoked milk ice cream 
Husk meringue, corn mousse
Yogurt raspado, tepache, chia, palm seeds
Madeira, The Rare Wine Co., Baltimore Rainwater
Outstanding destilado de agave
Cosme

Sushi Ginza Onodera **

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Sushi counter at Ginza Onodera

Sushi Ginza Onodera, whose NYC outpost is led by Chef Masaki Saito,  was recently elevated to the exclusive club of 2 michelin stars making them the only sushi restaurant in the USA in that category (only Masa holds the almost unattainable 3 stars).

With three different menus for lunch ($100, $130, $150) and two for dinner ($300 & $400), Sushi Ginza Onodera exceeds expectations in every single bite.

Wild Grouper
Yellowtail with Japanese mustard
Cod Milt
Filefish
Monkfish Liver, marinated in red wine for two days
Fluke which has been cured in kelp
Stripebass
Baby Red Snapper
Japanese Barracuda
Japanese Tiger Prawn
Baby Shrimp
Blue Fin Tuna
Medium Fatty Tuna
Fatty Tuna
Jack with egg yolk powder
Miso soup, a mixture of three different kinds of miso
Uni from Hokkaido
Eel, two preparations: with wasabi, and with eel sauce
Egg Cake
Sushi Ginza Onodera NYC
Sushi Counter at Ginza Onodera NYC

Per Se (Salon) ***

December 10th, 2017
Chef Thomas Keller / Corey Chow
3 Stars Michelin Guide
No. 87 at The World’s 50 Best
www.thomaskeller.com

Champagne Laurent Perrier Rose

Many… many years ago I had my first experience at Per Se when I visited New York for a couple of days. Per Se was one of my first fine dining restaurants ever, and I was very intimidated and excited at the same time. Holding 3 stars from the prestigious Michelin Guide and 4 stars from the New York Times (at that time) it was a culinary adventure. Many years have past, and after over half a dozen of visits, I consider Per Se the best example of ‘Fine Dining’ in the USA.

Pictures of my last meal at Per Se (Salon). Worth every single moment.

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Salmon Cornet
Cheese & Crackers
Service at Per Se is always stellar, if not look at this 6 person drop
Lobster Bisque, shaved white truffles from Alba
Oysters & Pearls, sabayon of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and Regiis Ova white sturgeon caviar
Tartare of citrus cure Shima Aji, persimmon puree
Hokkaido sea urchin, lovage panna cotta and crispy salsify
Marco de Bartoli, Vergine, Riserva, Marsala 1988
Hen egg custard, ragout of black winter truffles

Domaine Ganevat, Chardonnay / Savagnin, Cuvee de Garde, Cotes du Jura 2010
Fricassee of pacific abalone, roasted cepes, wilted arrowleaf spinach and hollandaise with shaved black winter truffles
Bread & Butter, smoked paprika parker house roll and Diane St. Clair’s Animal farm butter
synchronize truffle shaving. White & Black
Carnali risotto biologico, shaved black winter truffles and parmesan mousseline
Hand-cut tagliatelle, shaved white truffles from Alba, Castelmagno and Beurre Noisette
Paitin, Soiri Paitin, Barbaresco 2001
Horsepower, Grenache, Sur Echalas Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley 2013
La Dame de Montrose, Saint Estephe 2010
Sirloin of Miyazaki Wagyu, melted caraflex cabbage, ruby beets, pearl onions and steak sauce
Sirloin of Miyazaki Wagyu, melted caraflex cabbage, ruby beets, pearl onions and steak sauce
Prime Rib of Elysian Fields Farms lamb, spaghetti squash rosti, pickled cranberries, winter chicories, and Jus d’Agneau
Gougere, aged gruyere with shaved black winter truffles
Selection of desserts from Per Se
‘The Last Word’, green chartreuse trifle, finger limes, juniper-scented pears
Chicory-Chocolate pudding, caramelized banana mousse, Nicoise olives, crunchy hazelnut praline
Frozen Orange Custard, cocoa nibs, maple nougatine, gingersnap crumble
Selection of chocolate bon bons
View of Columbus Circle