fleur de lys

oh man, have i failed to upkeep. so much has happened just since the last time blogging – rang in the new year with a home-cooked meal and multiple bottles of champagne with friends; found out one of my dearest friends is preggos; and celebrated the end of cc’s bachelorette days with a wild weekend.

i guess i’ll back track to the time when i last updated this thing, starting with mf and i celebrating our anniversary at fleur de lys. it’s a restaurant i’ve always wanted to try, but was always lured away by the newer, trendier restaurants. this place is not trendy at all – it’s very traditional and classic french both in ambiance and cuisine.

We started off with a mini corn bread and shooter of split pea puree, butternut squash puree, and creme fraiche. the flavors of the shooter was an interesting mix, perfect for whetting our appetite!

next, we had a small dish of roasted endive with duck, mustard seed (which mf immediately recognized because of his strong aversion), chives, and a jalapeno brioche. i thought it was okay overall, but the mustard seed and endive left a funny sour aftertaste in my mouth.

for our appetizers, i had fois gras again! It came with ragout and corn and truffle popcorn! i always love me some fois gras, but i can only take it in small doses. this portion was definitely more palatable than the portion at gary danko! it also came with a cute little bucket of extra truffle popcorn! adored it!

mf always seems to gravitate towards lobster dishes, and this time was no exception. the roasted main lobster was amazing, served with lemongrass and pomegranite. the lobster was so buttery and the pomegranite seeds were like little surprise bursts of sweet/citrust in my mouth!


on to the main course. wagyu beef cheeks, picked onions, butternut squash. i liked the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the beef, but both of us felt like it tasted like some sort of asian beef stew our moms made at some point. overall it was kind of disappointing…

…which is why i kept taking bites of mf’s filet mignon with lobster claw, and mac ‘n cheese stuffed brioche. the mac ‘n cheese was delicious, but then again, it would be hard to screw up mac ‘n cheese.

the best part of dinner this time was the dessert! chocolate souffle that looks very similar to gary danko’s, but imho was no where near as good.

my dessert on the other hand, was the highlight of the meal. i knew about their fleurburger and knew i wanted it without even looking at their dessert menu! there was a mini chocolate banana “milkshake” that was sooo yummy i chugged it down in 2 seconds. okay, i left some for mf to try and he really liked it as well. the “burger” part consisted of a small beignets as buns and chocolate ganache as the “patty”. i don’t recall what the “cheese” was, but the “tomatoes” and “kiwi” were thin slices of strawberry and kiwi, respectively. and the “pommes frites”! oh my lordy – little strips of frozen fennel ice cream…. the whole thing was so divine i inhaled it even though i was STUFFED.

after dessert i felt like i had absolutely no room in my stomach, but somehow made space for a few bites of our chocolate mousse “happy anniversary” cake and tray of petits fours!

the highlight of the night? making friends with a couple sitting next to us, celebrating their thirty or forty something wedding anniversary. they were so bubbly and chatty, and even asked us which anniversary we were celebrating. i felt kind of silly when i told them, but the lady was like “puh! most people don’t even make it that long!” despite being complete strangers, they were so happy for us and gave us such encouraging words! they said they had been together since 18 and had lived together for a long time (i forgot exactly, but something like 15 years) before they got married. to see the passion so alive still was really inspiring!

i really aspire for my love to be like theirs. we are lucky in life to find great loves, but to achieve and maintain that kind of long-lasting, strong bond takes more than luck – it takes a lot of hard work over time.

muchas gracias to mf for a fab dinner, and being my great love too. :)

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gary danko

this is my first official time writing here, and what better way to kick off the blog than to share my recent memorable dining experience! it was a couple weeks ago at gary danko, a restaurant i’ve been wanting to try for a long time. well, an occasion finally arose for me to go and let me say… i’m already excited to go back!

to put in context, it was the man’s birthday and i had had to call exactly two months ahead of time to secure a reservation at a decent time! i didn’t mention making birthday plans to him, as i wanted it to be a surprise. a few hours prior to dinner on his birthday, we went out to happy hour with some friends. i thought he was just going to sip on some margaritas but to my HORROR , he started finishing about 3 too many drinks and also ordered a HUGE plate of nachos! finally, when i could stand to watch no longer, i put my foot down and told him firmly, “NO MORE NACHOS!” this confused him, since i am not one to ever control his food intake.

when we finally arrived at the restaurant, he was totally surprised, which made the inconvenience of being secretive worth it. in terms of ambience, it was a lot more crowded and louder than i thought it would be – but i actually prefer that to most quiet, stuffy restaurants so i didn’t mind at all. being the gluttons that we are, we both ordered the summer tasting menu with wine pairing and substituted some of the courses. one thing i loved about gary danko is they let you “mix and match” the courses. theoretically, you could have 5 appetizers in a row and they’ll adjust the portions accordingly.

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before the first course came out, our server (very friendly all through the night, btw) came with an amuse bouche, a cool asparagus soup of some sort. it was very refreshing and perfect for whetting our appetites.

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for the first course, i ordered the seared sonoma foie gras with caramelized red onion and nectarines. we were both taken aback by the huge portion of foie gras, but it was delicious – so tender it melted in my mouth. ahh, like butter. the sweet wine that the sommelier paired with the foie gras went together more harmoniously than any other wine with other courses, and i’m slightly sad i don’t remember the name of the wine!
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he stuck with the traditional first course meal, which was a soup with glazed oysters and osetra caviar, zucchini pearls and lettuce cream. i personally love caviar, but mike felt it slightly salty.

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then came the second course. i had seared sea scallops. again, both of us tried this and loved it. it had hearts of palm, fava beans, frisee and prosciutto, and anyone who knows me i love almost anything with prosciutto!!!

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one of the favorites of the night, however, was his second course – the lobster risotto with laughing bird shrimp, parmigiano-reggiano, basil oil, and the corn. we both loved the corn. i think i could have done without the shrimp, but he seemed to like it. we both agreed we’d definitely order this again the next time (yeah, we were already talking about what we would/wouldn’t order next time we were there)

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the meat course was next and he had a lemon pepper duck breast with duck hash, bacon braised belgian endive and huckleberry sauce. he loved this dish and i thought it was pretty good, but not orgasmic.

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i had a filet of beef with potato-leek napolean, cassis glazed shallots and basil butter. the meat was very tender and had so much flavor that even though i was full already, i managed to almost finish the entire thing. the cab that the sommelier paired with this was just icing on the cake. it wasn’t until mike said “you know, you don’t have to finish that whole thing if you’re too full” that i finally put down my fork in defeat.

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by this point, we were stuffed, but bravely accepted the next course – the cheese plate! gary danko is known for their cheese course, and i being a total cheese freak i was looking forward to this all night long. we each picked four cheeses and managed to at least taste each of them.

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for dessert, we both got the chocolate souffle, also another signature dish at gary danko. our server came to us with the souffles and poked a hole in each. he drizzled two sauces – a creme anglais and a dark chocolate sauce – in each. this, along with the sweet mas amiel – mmm!!!

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as if that wasn’t enough, the server finally came out with an assortment of small birthday biscuits and cookies and a candle! mike took one bite of one cookie and gave up. i didn’t even bother. by this time i was half buzzed and half suffering from food coma. all i could think about was how much i wish i had my stretchy pants with me. so the server offered to pack up our cookies. then he came back with ANOTHER package for me – it was a blueberry muffin for the morning! apparently they only do this for female members of the party, no matter whose birthday it is ;)

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the experience at GD is going to be remembered fondly for a very long time – not just because the food, wine pairing, service was perfect, but because i was in good company and it was a great celebration. seeing mike surprised and having a good time makes me happy. if only i wouldn’t be burning a serious, serious hole in my wallet and ensuring a heart attack by 30, i would be back there every month. i know he doesn’t particularly like celebrating birthdays and has told me before he’d be happy ordering roundtable pizza and calling it a night. so he was particularly pleased and thanked me multiple times – but little does he know… i probably enjoyed his birthday much more than he did! in fact, i should be the one thanking him for being born and giving me an excuse to visit restaurants! :D THANKS MIKE!!!