Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Merritts a Mention

After all that range ruminating, Andrew's mom gave us her O'Keefe & Merritt. I think it's from the '20s. The oven is teeny tiny, but it looks fabulous in the kitchen. We drove up to Visalia to pick it up. Last night I cooked my first meal on the new stove in the new kitchen in the new house. I finally feel at home! Thanks to Pie in the Sky the dinner was so good and comforting. Unpacking endless boxes of books and dishes requires a little comfort and the tuscan spaghetti really hit my spots. There was even enough room in the oven for a dish of roasting asparagus and a loaf of bread.... Not too bad...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Range Rover

We'll be moving into a new house in just over a month. Our very own house. The kitchen setup is driving me nuts. The most confusing part has been trying to select a range. This is my big chance to finally have the stove of my dreams, but the dreams have been changing every night. I thought Viking, Wolf, Thermidor. Then I heard about DCS and Dacor. I read the book, Bungalow Kitchens and it spoke of the "Rolls Royce of ranges," La Cornue. I fell in love. The price? About $36,000, taking approximately three to six months to be custom built by hand in France. Clearly that was out of the question. But what about they're more reasonable, prebuilt line, CornueFe? Eight grand. Still a lot too much and there is not much feedback out there on the internet. There's the Bluestar and the Jennair and the AGA, which stays on constantly and requires a lot of pot shifting, but is pretty gorgeous. Somehow checking out the AGA led me to the Lacanche. I'm not sure how, but it did. And now I think I am smitten and developing an unhealthy obsession.

Lacanche. I've spent the last few days reading posts about these ranges dating back to 2001. I can't stop. I think it's really the range for me. I think the Cluny might be perfect. Two ovens, one gas and one electric. Four burners and one French top, simmering plate. I've never used one before, but it seems extremely versatile. The oven is not selfcleaning, but apparently is very easy to clean all the same. The burners are sealed. The service is supposedly unbeatable. There are tons of very happy Lacanche owners out there dying to talk about their experiences. And these ranges look fabulous! Beautiful enamel and stainless steel and brass knobs and handles... Super low simmering paired with high BTUs. They take eight to ten weeks to be built to order in France. I don't know if I can wait. We move in on the 15th of March. A few weeks with nothing to cook on, may be impossible. There is a reserve list of immediately available ranges. The question is will my dark red linoleum floors, seafoam green/turquoise tile, black cabinets and Colorado White Pine walls and ceiling look good with French Blue enamel???? My colourist says yes!


Hoping to take it seriously

Here goes... A serious rebirth...

Last night after missing the Goddard film at UCLA and going east instead of west and missing the NuWilshire entirely, A and I ended up at Chameau. I've been meaning to try it since it's earlier days on Hyperion. We were received by a red hallway of headless torsos, and were then fairly blinded by the eerie blue of the reception area/bar. I'd read so much about the fantastic decor that I guess I was a little surprised... Maybe not my cup of tea. The ceiling looked, as Andrew aptly put it, like an inverted vagina. But we were lucky to get a table at the last minute, so I was actually quite grateful to be sitting down with menus before us.

We ordered a bottle of Rioja, a big change from A's usual pick of Malbec or Syrah. Pretty good. I started with the Duck Bastilla. I'd read about it a lot. If I'm not mistaken J. Gold was raving about it just recently. A began with the Grilled Merguez with Chickpea Puree, Cipollini Onions and Eggplant Salad. The Bastilla was delicious. Crisp pastry, light sprinkling of powdered sugar, soft sweet duck. In point of fact, it was probably too sweet for me, and even A said it tasted like dessert. I almost always prefer the salty savory to the sweet. I just have never been a dessert person. So it was very tasty, but I really loved the Grilled Merguez. The textures were amazing... And the flavors sharp and perfectly balanced. The sweet soft onions, the creamy chickpea puree, the rough and slightly spicy Merguez... Wow!

I'm pretty crazy about couscous. It reminds me of the year I lived in Bordeaux. There was couscous and Merguez everywhere! Couscous is so comforting. Like at Chez Omar in Paris two Thanksgivings ago. It was so cold and inside it was so crowded and warm. We were jam packed in there but the couscous was divine. Couscous has never been such a transcendental experience... Except for when I was there the first time with Brian and Mo the year prior.

Huge digression... Last night I ordered the Lamb Shoulder Tagine with Vegetable Couscous with Almonds and Raisins. I loved it. Again the textures complimented eachother exquisitely. The candied almonds played a huge part in this. I would have liked a little more lamb, but the abundance and variety of vegetables pleased me. Yellow beets, asparagus, carrots, potatoes. I've got some leftover so, I'll be revisiting it this evening. A chose the Lamb Shank with Figs, Almonds and Scallions. I didn't have a taste, but he seemed more than a little content.

I'm not sure if a tagine gets to be called a tagine just because it is served in a tagine, nevertheless I'm quite sure we'll be back.