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Eleven Madison Park

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

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Four-star restaurant reviews in the NYT are sufficiently rare that when one appears, I pay attention, even if I’m not likely to get there. Tomorrow’s NYT has one of those rare occurrences, a four-star review by Frank Bruni of Eleven Madison Park.

Eleven Madison Park, which opened in 1998, now ranks among the most alluring and impressive restaurants in New York. It has reached this pinnacle because its principal owner, the indefatigable Danny Meyer, made a key move in 2006, bringing aboard the chef Daniel Humm, and because together they decided — out of pride, it seems to me, more than any commercial calculation — that this restaurant could and should shine as brightly as any other.

Whether you read the review or not, don’t miss the accompanying audio slide show, which depicts some of the dishes discussed in the review. There is the “five-piece row of single-bite amuse bouches, one with foie gras, another with salmon and another with sweetbreads nestled in a crunchy cornet.” And also the “lavender honey-glazed duck for two” that Bruni admits to being “crazy for.” And also the “Hawaiian prawn roulade” that Bruni is “crazier still for.” It is “an appetizer that tastes like a repurposed California roll with all of the glory and none of the gunk. Poached prawns are dressed with crème fraîche, diced green apple and lime juice and then molded into a thin horizontal column surfaced with thinly sliced, vivid avocado.”

As for dessert, “Mr. Humm supervises the sweets in addition to what precedes them, and with most he finds the right middle ground between hyper-imaginative artistry and molten chocolate pandering. Accessorizing the gooey chocolate centerpiece of one dessert with both caramel popcorn and a popcorn-flavored ice cream did that trick nicely.” This popcorn dessert is also in the slide show (and above).

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Categories: Food, Restaurants

Tour de France Wrap-up

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

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Yes, I know, it ended over two weeks ago. My trip to New York coincided with the final four days of the Tour de France, thereby interrupting both my morning ritual of watching the coverage and my almost-daily reports. By the time I returned to Seattle and caught up with all the coverage on the DVR, it was a bit late to discuss what I missed. Yet, I can’t seem to let go, and it is getting in the way of my writing about other subjects, so I will write one last post about this year’s Tour, to the extent that I can even remember it.

Timely? No. Interesting? Probably not. But I have to do it. Please be patient. Or move on to other posts. Read more…

Categories: Cycling

Whither Career RBIs?

August 11, 2009 Leave a comment

With the advent of modern statistical measurements, the significance of RBI (runs batted in) has been questioned. I have no interest in joining the debate. I will accept the RBI as a valuable measure. It remains one of the three standard numbers attached to any batter, along with batting average and home runs. My interest in this post is in the question of why the number of RBIs a batter accumulates in a season is closely watched, but little attention is paid to one’s career RBI total. In contrast, career home runs are an obsession among fans and career batting average is another of the key statistics used to measure a batter’s career. Any serious fan and many casual fans can name the top 3 or 5 home run hitters of all time, along with their totals. Many can name the top career batting averages and who has them. But RBIs? Why are they such significant seasonal measures but little discussed as career measures? Read more…

Categories: Baseball