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minibar by Jose Andres (Washington DC)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 20, 2014 by jaydel818

Chef Jose Andres’ minibar website claims that reservations are “in short supply, but available to the passionate.”  If by passionate, he means willing to stay awake until precisely 12:01am on the evening of May 31 to get a table sometime in the summer of 2014, and willing to drive to Washington DC on a Thursday night for a 6:30pm seating of only six people in total, then -yes- I am passionate.

Chef Andres, who owns several restaurants in the DC area, was in Tokyo for a charity event when we visited for our anniversary dinner.  However, his extraordinarily capable staff -surely among the world’s culinary best and brightest- welcomed us hospitably and left us pleasantly full.


Cocktails deftly mixed by JP: 

Corpse Reviver #2 (left) made with gin, lemon, cointreau, lillet blanc, absinthe 

and Smokey Gonzales (right) made with tequila, apricot liquor, ginger syrup, pear juice, and laphroig wash 


Amazing fruit and flowers at BarMini for our 4th wedding anniversary dinner




Pisco Sour at BarMini


Edible pressed flowers in a crisp, clear potato starch paper and flavored with St Germain (elderflower liquor)

Served in a book

Resting on the “marble” chair


“Hot and cold” pisco sour: icy cold lime sorbet in a hot lime foam


Back: Pineapple shortbread

Front: Parmesan canele


Pizza margherita (“crust” made with same starch paper as earlier pressed flowers)


“Cold bowl of rocks”

Almond tart with blue cheese


“Rubber Ducky”

apple meringue filled with foie gras ice cream


Hard at work!


“Late-Night Chicken Shawarma”

wrapped in potato starch, making lettuce wrap easier to pick up and eat

Filled with crispy chicken skin and flavored with aleppo pepper, dill, mint, parsley, cilantro

Herbed yogurt on the side

Easily one of my favorite dishes all night (and ever!)


Thai basil iced tea (mini cocktail): homemade ginger beer and micro Thai basil


Homage to “Vietnamese street food”

Crisp pig ear topped with braised pork shoulder, julienned vegetable slaw, mint, citrus, basil, curry

Served on, yes, a brown paper bag and with a pipette of optional chili oil

(I could have eaten this the rest of the night and gone home happy.)


Don’t eat the expanding hand towel!

(scented with orange blossom)


Geoduck sashimi (omg— gorgeous, clean taste of pure ocean)

in “smoke custard” flavored generously by bonito tuna and katsuobushi

topped with “citrus caviar” (finger lime)


The shellfish-less version of the geoduck dish

Baby Japanese peaches and apple miso ice



Absolute insanity…

Fusilli pasta handmade by molding each on a corkscrew, 

freezing it with liquid nitrogen, then injecting it with pesto

The texture has a pop that makes you want to cry.

Served with deconstructed pesto elements: egg, generous parmesan flakes,

pignoli, and shavings of black truffle


Andalucian tofu with gazpacho ice (instead of rice)

Tofu had a gorgeous almond flavor (think marzipan but not sweet)

Served with sesame, garlic, and sesame

The gazpacho ice was a little over-salty, but that made the tofu seem almost sweet

by comparison.  The tofu flavor was insanely good.



NOT PICTURED: Shabu shabu

Coconut flesh and black garlic ravioli

dragged through a bowl of broth made from young, green coconut and shrimp broth

flavored with scallion and garlic

(My shellfish-less version was a sweeter and very aromatic

coconut broth made with ginger and lemongrass.)



Iberico Tendon

Starchy kuzu root emulates the creamy mouthfeel of marrow

in an onion broth / beef consomme made richer by a quail egg


Jicama raviolo with bone marrow

topped with foamy butter and black pepper 

On top of delicious, mustardy capers

(the shellfish-less version of espadenyes with bone marrow below)

“a study of jicama” flavored with coffee


NOT PICTURED: Espardenyes with bone marrow

Roasted bone barrow with bone marrow sauce, sea cucumber




Beech mushroom papillot with truffle

The texture and flavor of these mushrooms was heaven-

incredible aroma as the clear bags were cut open

topped with Maldon sea salt, winter truffles from Australia, and truffle cream sauce

(a little temperature hot but delicious)



Lamb shoulder with whey and dill

I don’t love lamb, but I could’ve eaten a whole plate of this…

Tzatziki-inspired with dill, dill flowers, cucumber flowers,

(see the little cucumber attached to the yellow flower?)

Fork-tender lamb shoulder topped with milk skin


“Bonne Bouche Cheese Puff”

Vermont unpasteurized goat cheese encapsulated in walnut and mannitol sugar


“Spring Thaw”

Apple herb ice flavored with basil, cilantro, and coriander

Buttermilk “snow”

Sugar-cured lychee gelee

Ginger chip

Sugar-cured cucumber


BEYOND DELICIOUS.  Spring should always taste this good.


“After Eight” mint

Peppermint meringue, table torched to caramelize the sugary exterior

“Cocoa puffs”- almond chocolate cookies

Surprise center- tempered chocolate


Chef Andres’ favorite after-dinner drink: gin and tonic with juniper berries


On round, black plate: 

White puffs= raspberry wasabi bonbons

Chocolate mini-bars (ha ha, get it?)- milk chocolate with passionfruit

Yellow “wrapped” candies- Saffron pate de fruit in edible wrappers


Sticking up from the clear block:

 dark and milk chocolate sesame Pocky stick (sooooo good!) 


Dark chocolate covered yuzu marshmallows


Ice cream doughnuts

I can’t even begin to tell you delicious these were… like frozen Krispy Kremes.

I have no idea how they captured that flavor and made it cold (and better!)


Scotch gummis (“Jell-O shots”)


Pina colada cotton candy cake

(a special treat for our anniversary)

made with pineapple, coconut, and rum


Our 4th (“fruit and flowers”) wedding anniversary!


The Pinterest Entry- Or “How to Throw a Caterpillar Kids’ Party”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2013 by jaydel818

Our little guy’s first birthday party was a whirlwind of Very Hungry Caterpillar fun.  After months (and I do mean months) of planning, here are the final results.

First, I  had  my sister help me design these cute caterpillar-like invitations and printed them as postcards (less than $1 each!) on Zazzle.  I was also able to make custom stamps on Zazzle, which were kind-of pricey, but I decided to  splurge.

rj invitation


rj stamp

I ordered lime green and yellow throwaway tablecloths from Oriental Trading and alternated them at each table.  The centerpiece for each table was a picture of each food the caterpillar ate pasted onto posterboard and supported by an 18″ metal restaurant menu holder.  (I got these online for $2.50 each at a restaurant supply warehouse, figuring I can reuse them to make future birthday party centerpieces.)  Finally, there were balloons to match the “food” assigned to each table.  For example, the caterpillar ate one apple on Monday, hence the single red balloon.  At the next table, you can see two green balloons for the two pears he ate on Tuesday.


Each place setting was composed of plates and cups from Oriental Trading.  I found the dotted napkins at BJ’s Warehouse.  The favors were small, round plastic containers I got  from Oriental Trading and filled with Skittles.  I printed the date and occasion onto small, round labels purchased at Staples.


I used  plain white bags to make goodie bags for kids, cutting a leaf for each  from construction paper and punching holes with a standard hole puncher.  In the goodie bags, I put a Hungry Caterpillar coloring book, Play-Doh to make caterpillars at the party, and a cute caterpillar craft kit from Oriental Trading for a party activity.  (No candy in the bag… just fun activities to  keep kids occupied!)


My sister and I made homemade garlands from craft paper:


ImageMy favorite part of the party was the “caterpillar ate” table, filled with all the foods our favorite hungry little Lepidoptera ate on his “journey” through the week: apples, pears, strawberries, oranges, Swiss cheese, sausages, swirl lollipops (the closest I could find to yellow-and-blue suckers in the book were these swirl pops from Oriental Trading), et cetera.  The only fruit I couldn’t find was plums (not in season in late December!) although I was able to get my hands on a watermelon.  For the ice cream cone, I rigged up tin foil over my deepest baking pans, inserted ice cream cones into holes made in the foil, poured pink cake batter into each cone, and frosted them with pink buttercream icing (confectioner’s sugar, milk, vanilla, and butter). Voila! Instant “ice cream cone” that doesn’t melt! For each food, I printed up a little label on my color printer using Bodoni font (similar to the font used in the book).






More easy fun with balloons:


One of my favorite parts of the party was this strawberry and buttercream cake from Ardsley’s Riviera Bakehouse.  The folks at Riviera listened carefully to what I wanted and exceeded all expectations with this gorgeous, artistic cake:




Finally, the hit of the party for kids was this Melissa & Doug caterpillar crawl-through tube I ordered from Amazon.  Everyone commented on how much fun our son had at his own birthday party, and I attribute that in large part to how much the kids enjoyed this toy.  It was  well worth the couple of bucks (and free shipping!) for a toy that he will continue to use.


I got a lot of great ideas from Pinterest (see my first birthday party board) and added several of my own ideas.

*Not pictured: Caterpillar onesies made on saying, “I survived my parents’ first year!” and “very hungry birthday boy.”

We had a great time, and -most importantly- our little boy had a fantastic day!