Saturday, March 24, 2012

Next Door

Locally sourced everything makes the body and palate good. And more so if those ingredients compliment one another. I’m oversimplifying it. In other words, Next Door Restaurant in Mount Pleasant is expert in marrying ingredients forming unique palate experiences. They take the best local ingredients and make pastas in house to proudly serve dishes that are memorable.

Buffalo Mozzarella and Roasted Beets with Carrots, Orange Supremes, Arugula

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza, Bosc Pear, Arugula, White Truffle Oil

Fennel and Apple Soup with Celery Leaves, Candied Walnuts

Conclusion: Make your body and palate good, go Next Door.

Next Door on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Heirloom Eats (Mt. Pleasant)

Heirloom Eats is an important and delightful new addition to Charleston’s culinary scene. As its name suggests, the restaurant invokes a rich sense of family and tradition with farm fresh southern sophistication. The homelike ambiance welcomes you with french doors from an 1800's plantation within the bar, mahogany door from the Wentworth Mansion with suspended mason jars for lighting, and heart pine tables custom built by mortise and tenon. There’s even more to love about Heirloom Eats, the food!

So the food...well, the two of us usually get 3+ entrees and plates, enough for 4, just for the joy of tasting.

Smoked Pork Rillette (This was meant to be. I went to Whole Foods that day, and inquired about pork shoulder and pork fat, bought the spices, and was preparing to make a rillette, but VOILA, went to Heirloom Eats and there it was.)

Farro "Perlau" butternut squash, sweet potato, charred onions. I tried to replicate this at home. It didn't work. This dish's brussel sprouts are cooked perfectly.

Short Ribs with black pepper dumplings, parsnips and carrots, goat cheese cream

Butcher Steak with warm yukon potatoes, roasted root vegetables, applewood bacon demi.

Choose your own (one meat and two sides): we chose Fried Chicken with collard greens and "Heirloom" beans

S'mores Cake in a Jar (Imagine this. Wait, you don't have to, just go get it)

We have been to Heirloom Eats more than once, and have ordered more than pictured. That fact alone can tell you how much we think of this place. Come here on date night, or bring the family.

Also, brunch will be served starting January 15.

Conclusion: Mount Pleasant is privileged to have a place that takes fresh sophiscated southern to another level with surprising value. Welcome home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 28

Thursday day 28

Graduation!  I walked. I don't understand the grading system, but I know my grades suffered because of the catastrophe yesterday. The most important and valuable thing is that I passed. 
This has been a wild and wonderful journey into food, and my hope is to continue on with my learning. Thank you, Le Cordon Bleu Paris, for your passion in cuisine and for your expertise in teaching. This experience will be a part of me forever.
Getting my certificate

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 27

Wednesday Day 27

Worn little to no makeup so points aren't deducted. Carried 3 bags with me: 12 pound knife set, bag of studying papers, and purse. Looking forward to hulling things from the locker today. I'm being sarcastic. 
I'm leaning and trusting on doing my best. The recipes are still floating around in my head, like why is there cream in the sauce and thickening agent in the blanquette de veau (veal stew). I'm on metro now.
Our team listened to Eye of the Tiger Rocky theme outside of the practical room. I was the last one to enter, so the Chef drew out my chip, the last in the envelope. Sure enough, veal stew. I walked to my station, apparently not fully knowing where I was supposed to be. A team member moved my carving board over, another team member said that I'm not there, that she was in fact there. So first off, confusion. It was a station I had not cooked on. Different burners, different knobs, and different oven. I was frustrated when I realized that the knobs to my burners had no numbers, no heat settings because they have been rubbed off. The numbers usually goes from 1 to 6. 1 being the lowest, 6 being the highest. 3 out of the 4 knobs were like this so I had to depend on the one and only one knob with the numbers to help guide me. Because of the inability to identify the heat settings on the burners, I let my stew sit there for at least 20 minutes without boiling. You see, it's supposed to boil first, then simmer for an hour or more. The 10 glazed onions (our technical dish, one that we had to do regardless of our chosen exam dish) were looking very grim. I guess I had placed too much water in it, so 2 fell apart. I thought the most logical thing was to use a couple of pearl onions from my stew and glaze them. UNTIL, I realized I had absolutely burned them. I was unaware that my burner was so hot. Charred. Ok, so my next thought was still to add the better looking onions in with my glazed onion dish. I didn't think that the burnt ones really weren't cooked thoroughly, just burnt on the outside. Regardless, I thought I had created a solution. My 200 grams of pearl onions for my stew was ruined so instead of 200 grams, I peeled and cooked 50 grams. It was all I had time for. Stupid stove knobs without numbers. Crap practical exam. I almost cried, imagining me quitting, setting down my utensils, and leaving. I got composure somehow, and cooked my stew. 

Goofing off after the exam!

Graduation tomorrow hopefully. And awaiting any message from school that I did not pass. 
I also placed myself on waiting list for intermediate. I can't believe I want more of this stuff. 
Went to the Pantheon, Place des Vosges, home, dinner at the Le Dome du Marais restaurant, then home. I love my new friends. 
Good, no email from school.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 26

Day 26 Tuesday 

My brain hurts, I'm so confused. All of these recipes look alike. Same ingredients, similar techniques that are close enough to confuse me. 
At the last demo today, we had champagne. Afterwards, we went to the same classmates house that we were at last night. We had purchased a chicken to practice dressing it and trussing it. Another classmate brought Dom Perignon 2002, so it was like a champagne and chicken party. Funny thing is that the group, myself included, had brought (and to replace) the Cokes we drank the previous night. Cokes vs Dom. Winner obvious. 

Chicken and Anna in Background

I came home and after lugging my knife set around Paris, I cleaned and sharpened my knives. Then I made a video and post it like I had nothing else to do. So even after sitting down and studying, I am still confused and I seriously need more time. I'll have to wake up early tomorrow morning before the practical and study more. My brain hurts. I'm sure I already said that. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 25

Day 25 Monday

We have our last practical today! At points I think to myself I love this so much and then there're moments in time I think when will this be over. We made a duck with orange sauce today. The sauce is sweet-and-sour, and was delicious with the duck. The orange peels almost tasted candied. The breast, huge. I tried to make the skin crispy because chef likes it that way. So do I. 

Chef's Duck with Orange Sauce

Afterwords we went to classmates apartment to go over the dishes for the practical exam. We ordered Dominoes pizza. It was still very French. We ordered the three cheese pizza which included camembert, goat, and blue cheese. Combinations I've not ever had on pizza. My international friends included one from Russia, one from Lebanon, one from Chili, one from Canada, one from Greece, and yours truly U.S. Minimal requirement to be there, two languages. Just kidding, had I known just English, they still would have included me.

I found out I passed my written exam today!
Now off to study the practical exam!

Sunday, December 11, 2011