Auros (auros) wrote,

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Foodpr0n: Orson FTW!

So, my cousin-once-removed (who blogs at writerway_feed) is in town for MacWorld, along with her boyfriend Tom (whom I already knew somewhat because he used to work at The Other Change of Hobbit in Berkeley, but now he lives up in the Seattle area), and we made plans to get together for dinner. I sorted through the OpenTable Bonus Point restaurants in the neighborhood of her hotel, offered a few suggestions, and she picked out Orson, the new bistro from chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake, which has been my favorite pre-matinee-opera brunch spot for years.

Orson is pricey, but oh-so-tasty. Stuff we ordered included:

Obama Rocks (basically a non-minty mojito -- rum, lime, cane syrup, on the rocks)

Ginger Royale (kind of like a Kir Royale, but with a ginger liquer instead of kir: sparkling wine, Canton Ginger Liquer, and a "ginger javelin", i.e. a large piece of crystallized ginger on a shiny skewer)

House made mozzarella with chiffonaded basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, with sourdough toast

(comped) french fries cooked in duck fat, served with brown-butter bérnaise dipping sauce

Explosive Caesar Salad: heart of romaine, parmesan pop rocks, parm/garlic/black-sesame ultra-thin crunchy toasts, a smear of olive-oil/lemon aioli (with something sweet in it, which was an interesting highlight) on the plate underneath the bed of lettuce, and dressing (I think it included anchovy paste, black pepper, and lemon -- the basic caesar salad flavors) inside magic bubbles (which I assume were made using some variation of spherification -- though the surface seemed more like natural eggwhite than like algin)

Lemongrass shrimp bisque (tomato-y, looked to have some rice in it; my cousin had this, I didn't really try to analyze it much)

Pizza with poached egg, prosciutto, chevre, and pesto (I think basil and walnut?)

Scallops with mushrooms, sweet potatos, and dashi "tears" (another molecular gastronomy creation)

Grilled flank steak on a bed of eggplant, with ancho-cumin "paint" coating the plate, and a "salsa verde" (basically just chopped herbs in a bit of oil) on top

"a walk through the forest" -- crepes layered with persimmon jam, hempseed ice cream, butterscotch creme, poached persimmon cubes

"the clock past midnight" -- pumpkin custard, brown butter streusel, root-beer/maple syrup

"meets the eye" -- olive oil ice cream between milk chocolate caramel wafers, with cocoa crunch pop rocks

"by the open fire" -- oven roasted chocolate cake, honey-orange glazed chestnuts, burnt-orange ice cream (all of this had a smoky warmth to it)

I was commenting to our waiter, early in the meal, that I'd been an admirer of the chef for years, and he pointed out that she was having dinner with her accountant at the table across from us. (I probably would've noticed -- she stands out -- except I was seated facing away from her.) So I bought a copy of Demolition Desserts to get signed. Just before we got dessert, she finished up, and stopped to say hello, and we chatted a bit. I mentioned something about a restaurant in Phoenix, and she told me that I absolutely have to try Pizzeria Bianco, which has apparently become a destination for chefs. And we discussed wedding cakes. (I want her to make the cake for mine and Xta's wedding.) She was describing the giant wedding cake she brought to city hall. Hopefully we'll get gay marriage legal again soon, so she can do that again. :-)

Anyways, I got to meet one of the chefs I most admire, and I have a copy of Demolition Desserts with a personally-addressed signature and note inside the cover. Yay! :-)

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