Sunday, April 19, 2009

Raclette is a semi-hard salted cheese from Switzerland

Hokkaido

Tonight is one of the very few occasions I am dining without Kim.  I have the night off and Akeme has asked for a dining partner.  We're headed half way up the hill, to what used to be B's cafe.  It's just in front of Bang Bang's.  It has re-opened this season as 'Le Foyer', a French style restaurant.  We walk on in and it feels as though you're walking into an old European house.  The walls are planks of wood with artwork adorning them, rose colored table cloths and even a leg of Jamon displayed in the middle of the room.

Hokkaido

We both start with a glass of red wine while we navigate our way through the part English-part Japanese-part French menu.  We settle on 2 starters to share.  The first to arrive, a plate of house-cured and smoked salmon.  The brilliant orange slices generously covering the plate.  There's a squiggle of mayonnaise, a beetroot reduction, a herb oil and some tiny picked dill leaves and baby chard.  The salmon itself is nicely cured with a nice hint of sugar and salt and the smokiness is just an underlying flavor.  The beetroot reduction is awesome, going very nicely with the mayonnaise and dill.

Hokkaido

The recommended appetizer selection is next to arrive.  We do our best to divide it equally, so as we both get a taste of everything.  There was a pork terrine sitting on mixed leaves, smoked chicken breast with tomato and black olive tappenade, sliced smoked salmon with potato salad, a jellied prawn consomme with creme friache and a slice of marinated mackerel.  Everything was nice, all be it not too memorable.

Hokkaido

When we were browsing the menu, Akeme mentioned she'd never tried confit duck.  So, tonight was her night.  The duck arrived accompanied with a bit of salad, some braised daikon, cherry tomato and a few battered onions rings.  Then there was a little plate of sauces, red wine jus, a Japanese sauce and herbs de provence as well as a plate of shoestring fries.  The duck had great flavor, but was a little dry.  It had perhaps been confited but then deep fried.  Whatever the Japanese sauce was, it went really well with the duck and the fries all ready seasoned with herbs de provence a nice accompaniment.

Hokkaido

The last of the sauces and fries were all mopped up with a basket of crusty baguette.

Hokkaido

A chalkboard placed beside the Christmas tree is then spotted advertising today's cake.  Charlotte of framboise brings back some college nostalgence, Akeme not even knowing what it is so putting her trust in me.  

Hokkaido

The first thing I notice as the plate is put in front of us is the textbook feathering.  A puddle of custard is decorated with a swirl of chocolate and strawberry syrups into a beautiful spider-web design.  There's a sprig of chervil, which we've noticed the Japanese use a lot for garnishing desserts and cakes.  Oh, yeah, the charlotte.  The layers of sponge are separated  by a delicious berry ice-cream with some fresh berries on top.  Very yummy!

Hokkaido

We're happily content. We sit and chat and let our meal digest a little when what should be wheeled out from the kitchen .....  A raclette cheese melter, with half a wheel of the delicious Swiss cheese sitting under the hot lights.  Raclette is a semi-hard salted cheese made from cow's milk that originated in the Swiss canton of Valais.  The cheese is heated either in front of a fire, or in this case, under a specially designed heat light then scraped onto plates or over vegetables.  The word raclette derives from the French racler which means 'to scrape'.

Hokkaido

We watch, mesmerized, as the whole thing is conducted about 3m's from where we are sitting.  As the top of the cheese is melted, the stand is spun around and slightly tilted, a spatula like device is then used to scrape the hot melting cheese down over a plate of waiting vegetables.  As all of this is done, the smell fills the room, like toasted cheese sandwich.

Hokkaido

Well, we thought we were done.  Who's going to pass up the opportunity of fresh grilled Raclette?  Certainly not me!  We're so pleased we just sat for a while after we were finished, because neither of us remember seeing it on the menu.  We call over the waiter before the trolley is wheeled back into neverland to never be seen again, and asked for what they're having ....

Hokkaido

The anticipation is too much.  The lights on waiting to melt another layer of the beautiful cheese.  And that smell just filling the whole room.  All of a sudden we're both so hungry again!  It's such a joy watching the melted cheese scraped from the wheel over the awaiting vegetables.  The plate arrives a big gooey delicious mess.

Hokkaido

There's a few steamed potatoes, roast eggplant, cheery tomatoes and lots of cheese!  We twirl our forks into the gooey melted mess and forget for a moment we are in Japan.

But then as we make our way through the top layer of goodness, the biggest surprise of the night.  A beautiful coil of pork sausage.  This lightly grilled sausage pairing brilliantly with the salty cheese.

Hokkaido

And I thought this was just going to be another okay dinner, but the surprise at the end of the night making it a night I won't forget.

1 comment:

rduht said...

To prepare for world of warcraft gold his big date,FFXI Gil a young man went 2moons gold up on to the roof AOC Power Leveling of his apartment building in order Atlantica gold to tan himself.Not wanting any tan lines to show, he sunbathed in the nude. Unfortunately,maple story power leveling the young man fell Knight Online Noah asleep while on the roof, world of warcraft power levelingand managed to get a Guild Wars Gold sunburn on his "tool of the trade".aoc power leveling He was determined not to miss his date,flyff power leveling so he put some lotion 2moons dil on his manhood and wrapped it 2moons power leveling in gauze.The blonde showed dog clothes up for the date at his apartment,Maple Story Power Leveling and the young man treated her world of warcraft gold to a home flyff gold cooked dinner,power leveling after which they archlord money went into the living room to watch archlord power leveling a movie.During the movie,last chaos gold however