Sorry for the delay, readers, but communications in small, 200-person Yupik Eskimo villages is tough on a media addict like me. I just found some connectivity back in Aleyeska after blowing out my memory drives by downloading too many pictures. I think I’ve got things figured out . . . on to more important matters . . . .
Alaska is spectacular, and despite being wildly unenthusiastic about coming here in the winter, I can tell you that the winter sports scene here is as good as it gets. I have changed my mind.
* Ice fishing on a frozen river in the Western Villages along the Pacific, trekking out on foot and snowmobile, trapping mink and beaver along the way, eating seal stew and dried salmon.
* Snowmobiling across and through ancient old growth forests to the glacial passes.
* Mushing dogs through 300 inches of snowfall (they've had a big year!).
* Snowshoeing and camping in an igloo.
* Who knew a city kid could love this stuff? But I do.
Quick catch-up on other matters (I'll update you later this week when I have some time to catch up) . . . . Russ Klein is out at WA Frost (more on that on Friday after I talk to him) and Cru's Shea Gallante is coming into town for the big MPR wine dinner on the 23rd. Here is the menu, and you can get tix by emailing MPR here.
Deviled Quail Eggs with Caviar
Robiola Tartlets with Pine Nuts and Thyme
Cucumber Cups with Smoked Trout Salad
Valentino Brut Zero, Piedmont, Italy
Tartare of Madai with Black Olive, Capers, and Meyer Lemon
WARM LOBSTER SALAD
Red Kuri Squash, Fingerling Potato, Leeks, and Meux Mustard
Pickled Onion and Herb Vinaigrette
Boxler Riesling Reserve, Alsace, France 2004
Stuffed with Braised Hudson Valley Duck
Sage Emulsion and Aged Pecorino
Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, Piedmont, Italy 1992
WARM GRAIN FED LOIN OF VEAL SOUS VIDE
Glazed Winter Vegetables, Brussels Sprouts, and Albies Gold Potato Puree
Warm Black Truffle-Anchovy Aioli
Faurie St. Joseph Vieilles Vignes, Northern Rhone, France 2001
TART AU CHOCOLATE
Valrhona XOCOPILI Ganach and Prunes Stewed with Red Wine
Vanilla Bean-Almond Croquant Ice Cream
Laverriere Banyuls Grand Cru, Roussillon, France 1993
Has anyone read “Unhappy Meals,” Michael Pollan’s piece in the NYT on January 28th? He is coming to town in a few weeks, and I'll blog more about this next week, but in his article he raises the specter of access—access to healthy food. For me, it is a class issue—it costs more to eat well in America, food stamps pay for more junk than they do fresh vegetables, markets that offer the best fresh foods are absent from inner cities across America, and our preachy food culture misses the point that it takes time and money to cook in 2007. In 100 years, we have flipped around, raising a nation of young people who don't know their way around a kitchen. Forget about the "Food Network Argument" that says, “Look at all the restaurants, and magazines, and TV shows out there—people must be cooking more!” Bull.
The multinational, industrialized food cabal has wiped out home-cooking in one generation. They have successfully brainwashed most folks into believing that cooking from scratch is so hard, takes so much time, is so confusing, and is so spendy that modern-day eaters should eschew it in favor of opening jars and boxes and utilizing instant mixes whenever and wherever. Very sad. And that is why the chefs in our top tier of restaurants are so valuable (amongst other reasons): because they don't believe it has to be that way. So for whatever reasons you think all the dearly departed chefs have flown their respective coops, know this . . . they kept some flames alive that need caretaking, desperately.