Tag Archives: menus

Lunch at Le Madrid, Guéthary

You might start to notice that I’m working backwards now, which is slightly awkward, but I’ll make do.  I’m finding it less awkward than starting from the day I stopped blogging and working forward.  I hope you’ll stick with me on this strange anti-chronological journey.

Le Madrid was the unofficial (official?) hang of our stay in Guéthary.  Our first two days in Guéthary it was closed for two days before officially opening for the summer season, but Le Madrid was all I heard about for those two days from our Parisian friends and hosts.  It was so inflated as a “spot” that it hardly occured to me that the food would be any good.  When I ate dinner there for the first time on the night of the 8th I was absolutely blown away (some of you might remember a tweet of mine about the Cote de Beouf melting in my mouth).  Those kind of dinners aren’t for stopping every few minutes to photograph.  We were among friends, telling love stories, and sharing wine and Cote de Beouf (with Bearnaise of course), and since the best parts of the ephemeral meal were only captured in memory, I pledged to return in a more alert state so that I might record some of my meal for ARL.

Of course, the real way to do Le Madrid is this: aperitifs at home (our aperitifs of choice on this trip were foie gras (forgive me), radishes, and wine).  Savor all this from approximately 7pm-9pm, then make your way to Le Madrid for the real meal.  Oh, and having Manzana Verde post-Cote is the digestif de riguer.  The few images I have from Le Madrid at night:

le madrid 9

Customers entering Le Madrid behind lovely Martine at approximately 9pm

sunset

The view from outside Le Madrid at approximately 9pm

So, that said, on to lunch.

le madrid day

The view from the terrace

le madrid menu

The menus

It is worth explaining that I. and I fell in love with the menus as pieces of art in and of themselves.  We loved the fonts, the illustrations, and the color.  When we mentioned this to our friends they explained that the menus are designed by Martine, one of the owners, who was a graphic designer before she was a restaurateur.

lunch menu

The lunch menu

rose

The essential rosé

le madrid signage

Looking back towards the restaurant from the terrace

club

My companion’s club sandwich (I had a bite–absolutely delectable)

maigre

Maigre a la Plancha, pate fraiche & herbes

The perfect lunch.  The oil for drizzling has parsley and tarragon, the cherry tomatoes are roasted, and the pasta has a crisp piece of bacon artfully arranged at an angle atop.  And, how is it that the French know how to salt meat so perfectly?  You can see the small crystals of sel de mer on the maigre here.  Delicious.

Now that we’re in Spain it seems impossible, but I am actually missing Le Madrid.  If you are in the area go, sit for a few hours.  People watch, imbibe, and go back a few times to sample a variety of what’s on the menu.  You won’t be disappointed.

If you are as in love with Le Madrid as I am, you can click here to see the dinner menu: Continue reading

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Reporting Back: Syvlan Mishima Brackett of Peko Peko at Mission Street Food

Last night at Mission Street Food was great.  Sylvan did an excellent job, and as I predicted, the croquettes were a sleeper hit (neither of the two people I was dining with wanted to order them and we ended up getting a second order).  Here’s my evening in pictures:

establishing

Above is the facade of the restaurant known as Mission Street Food every Thursday and Saturday evening.

sign3

On each Thursday and Saturday evening a simple laminated sign that reads “Mission Street Food” is posted on the hostess stand.

line2

And on each Thursday and Saturday folks line up three and four deep and down the block for their dinner.

the hostess

The lovely hostess takes names.

sylvan steelhead

This Saturday Sylvan Mishima Brackett (in blue) prepared the steelhead salmon for the Ochazuke (a bowl of rice with green tea and dashi, salt-cured steelhead salmon, scallions and nori).

sylvan menu meeting

This Saturday Sylvan Mishima Brackett described the Oshinko (cucumber with shiso, napa cabbage with kombu and red chili and green pepper and katsuobushi pickles) to the team of servers at a menu meeting.

halibut

It was too dark for great pictures, but we ate some amazing halibut (Hirame kombu-jime: local halibut cured with kombu; with little lettuces and radishes).

steelhead

Here is the transformation of the steelhead you saw Sylvan pouring over above.

The croquettes and pork belly went too fast for the shutter (we ate two orders of both), as did the scallion pancake with duck and apricots (x2) not mentioned on the previous menu (it turned into a beautifully refined taco when folded).

Bravo Sylvan!

Sylvan can be found at eatpekopeko.com and twitter.com/pekopekobento

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Sylvan Mishima Brackett of Peko Peko at Mission Street Food

Post updated 10:55pm PST 6/18/09: This Saturday at MSF from the MSF blog

I first heard of Mission Street Food (a pop-up restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco) through Chris Ying of the McSweeney’s clan.  Rimpletide had bought me a ticket to see Michael Pollan, Bonnie Azab Powell, and Harold McGee on a panel at 826 Valencia moderated by Ying back in February of this year.  The whole thing was lovely, and perhaps loveliest was Ying and his vintage volume of Beard.  I’m not totally clear on the connection (perhaps Ying knows the two who started this whole madness?) but my understanding is that Ying cooks at MSF on a regular basis.

I never really followed up on MSF, since I, as a devoted resident of Rockridge, rarely venture across the Bay (and dine almost exclusively at Oliveto, but you all know that), but when I got word of a new collaboration, my curiosity was piqued.

The word: Sylvan Mishima Brackett of Peko Peko will be a special guest chef at MSF this coming Saturday and I’m just too excited not to shout it from the rooftops (and by doing so making it harder for myself to get a table, but, well, all in the name community service).

And the best part is, I even got my hands on the menu! Dishes are no more than $12 each and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Mercy Corps and St. Vincent de Paul. Apparently, Brackett got his hands on the last of the season’s freshly dug bamboo shoots harvested localled in Livermore.  And in addition to the notable shoots, the menu consists of:

Buta no kakuni
Braised pork belly and daikon with sake and ginger; with hot mustard and mustard greens

Kare karaage
Whole fried local petrale sole with mori tsuyu

Asari sakamushi
Tomales Bay clams steamed with fresh dashi, sake and mitsuba

Hirame kombu-jime
Local halibut cured with kombu; with little lettuces and radishes

Korokke
Panko-fried potato and cream-corn croquettes

Ochazuke
A bowl of rice with green tea and dashi, salt-cured steelhead salmon, scallions and nori

Oshinko
Cucumber with shiso, napa cabbage with kombu and red chili and green pepper and katsuobushi pickles

Aisukuriimu!
Apricot and boysenberry ice cream with apricot sauce and noyeaux whipped cream

My mouth is watering just thinking about the amazing flavor combinations.  One of my favorite things about Brackett’s cooking is his ability to balance fresh delicate moments with crunchy deep-fried indulgence.  Consider the Oshinko and the Kare Karage, or the Korokke (I must try that–there are few people I trust when the work “croquette” is involved, they are too often too mediocre, but I have a feeling these will be the dark horse hit of the evening).  I’ll be lining up early.

But if for some reason you don’t make it, the line is too long, the fog is too thick, you live too far away, or heaven forbid the inevitable happens–MSF runs out of food–you can experience something close with Peko Peko’s most recent bento featuring a Tonkatsu Sanwhich for just $12.50.  A truly authentic Japanese experience, the Katsu-Sando bento is a recreation of the humble but extremely popular lunch of students, salary men, and OL’s alike.  I am loving the new boxes…

katsu

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Japanese New Year with Peko-Peko

My father has a fascination with Japan that is ongoing.  When I was around the age of six it was at a peak.  He would take me to Little Tokyo in L.A. to buy obscene amounts of origami paper and instruction books.  Then we would eat a Japanese lunch and drive back to Hollywood.  I was a very accomplished origamist and quickly became a little Japanophile myself.  I read Sadako and the 1,000 Paper Cranes, mourned Hiroshima, and eagerly awaited my father’s return from trips to Japan with his arms full of Japanese silks and Geisha dolls.

geisha

During those years my father would take me and my family to his Japanese friends’ homes in Los Angeles for Japanese New Year, celebrated on January 1.  The Japanese New Year feast is composed of foods referred to as osechi.  My father would tell me that if I ate everything and was very polite and respectful that he would take me with him on one of his trips to Japan.  I was not a fearful eater and ate many different types of foods from a young age, but swallowing some of the more foreign elements of osechi (bitter orange or bitter melon, roes of various sorts) was a feat even for me.  

Years went by, and my father continued to travel to Japan from time to time, but tickets were expensive, my prep school schedule was demanding, and despite all my good eating of osechi, the trip to Japan never materialized.  

Two years ago I went to Belize and got engaged.  The engagement was long coming, and we weren’t going to wait.  The marriage would take place within six months.

When I got back to the Bay Area my parents were there waiting to greet my new fiance and me.  My father greeted me with two business class tickets to Tokyo for him and me.  It was August, so no Japanese New Year in Japan, but it would do.  

This year my husband and I are celebrating Japanese New Year with Peko-Peko, the fledging catering company from Chez Panisse alum Sylvan Mishima Brackett.  Our bento will include Crab Namasu: Vinegared daikon and carrot with steamed Dungeness crab, Misozuke Beef Tataki: Miso-cured grassfed tenderloin, Datemaki: Sweet rolled omelet with Riverdog Farm eggs and local rockcod for wisdom in the New Year, Yuzu Pickled Turnips, Kuromame: Sweetened black soybeans for health in the New Year, Chikuzen-Ni: Local taro, carrot, potato, and shitake with lotus root and Mary’s organic chicken, Kombu-Maki: Sardines rolled Hokkaido kombu for happiness in the New Year, and Black Cod Teriyaki: Marinated and grilled Bolinas black cod.  

osechi-flier

We are lucky to have relished Brackett’s creations before (click here for that menu).  The fried eggplant was sweet and tender and the summer tomatoes offered the perfect clean refreshment.  My mouth is watering just imagining the flavors our oseshi bento will offer.

I’m hoping this beautiful gastronomic experience will set the tone for my eating for all of 2009.  And as if that weren’t enough, A Rockridge Life is desperate to see Peko-Peko expand: how about a storefront on College Avenue?  Pretty please?  

kotoshi mo yoroshiku o-negai-shimasu (今年もよろしくお願いします) 

I hope for your favour again in the coming year

Click here for more information on Brackett and Peko-Peko.

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