Monday, March 14, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

I love that right next to Fat Face, there's a place called Let Them Eat Cake. Really, there was no way my friend, Kevin, and I were going to go to one without going to the other. I only got to take one bite of two different cupcakes here, but those small bites tasted so good, I had to write a post about them.

Let Them Eat Cake is a hole-in-the-wall spot with a few staples, but most of their appeal comes from their rotating schedule of daily specials.

The first cupcake I took a bite of was the Happy Days cupcake. Just like the description suggested, this cupcake actually tasted like a root beer float. It was really amazing actually. The vanilla buttercream was light and actually kind of refreshing as far as cream goes. The cake tasted a lot like root beer, but wasn't too literal. It hinted at root beer just enough to enjoy, but not enough to make you sick. The cream sweetened up the cake and added even more moisture to the already perfectly moist cake. Needless to say, this made my day. Happy.

The Amy Winehouse cupcake wasn't as delicious as the Happy Days cupcake, but it definitely stood on its own. Some people don't enjoy orange with dark chocolate, but I actually really enjoy that combination. This cupcake balanced a good amount of alcoholic orange with a dark, but still sweet, buttercream. The orange and chocolate were just right, but the cake could have used a little bit less booziness. If they were trying to mimic Amy Winehouse's tendencies, though, I guess the cake could have used a lot more alcohol. Would this cupcake keep me from rehab? Maybe from alcohol or drug rehab, but not from cupcake rehab.

What I love about the two cupcakes I got is that you get exactly what you expect. The cupcakes have interesting flavors that don't stray from classic flavor combinations and the cupcakes are simple and modest. They're not too small or too large, they don't crave your attention, and they don't leave you feeling like you have a fat face.

Small shops like Let Them Eat Cake and Fat Face are doing great jobs at making Davis a more interesting spot for food than most would imagine.

Let Them Eat Cake
423 L Street
Suite B
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 750-2253

GET: Happy Days Cupcake.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zen Toro

Japanese food is one of my favorites. Sashimi in particular. And the great thing about sashimi is that you get all the fish and none of the carbs. Let's be honest: sushi rice just takes away from the fresh fish you should be enjoying anyways, right?

Sashimi was the last thing I was expecting to be blown away by in the Davis food scene. Davis just doesn't ring a bell when I think of good sushi. And then I went to Zen Toro.

While Zen Toro isn't the absolute best sashimi I've ever had, my isolated, no-frills experience with them made me appreciate their restrained creativity and the high quality of their seafood.

My friend, Kevin, and I went to Zen Toro and shared a few different items.

The first thing we got was the House Made Special Gyoza. These gyoza looked deceptively normal. With my first bite, however, I was hooked. I was shocked by how crispy the sides were, and the filling was unreal.

The filling is packed with pork, veggies, garlic, and chives, with no single ingredient overpowering the rest. The filling was also incredibly juicy. The side sauce was unnecessary because the gyoza was so good on its own.

Kevin got the Tuna Sashimi, which came with a small set of tempura. The tuna was bright, fresh, and soft. These slices of tuna were just thick enough, and I constantly wondered how this place got a hold of such fresh fish for such a reasonable price. The tempura was lightly fried, crispy, and perfect to complement the raw tuna.

I got the Yakizakana Saba, which is basically a grilled mackerel. This fish was also ridiculously fresh and the meat itself was juicy and succulent. The char was perfect and the crisp added just the right amount of texture to the fish. The piece of fish was also surprisingly large for its price.

At this point, Kevin and I were both looking to get more food. I was so impressed with the seafood that I had no qualms with ordering their daily special and some more sashimi.

The Oyster Royal Miyagi from B.C. Canada was beautiful. I was a little disappointed that the oyster wasn't served on its own without garnishes. In the end, however, I loved how the sweet roe, the citric lemon, the sparky chives, and the spicy pepper worked on the oyster. The freshness and brininess of the oyster lent itself really well to meld with the other flavors. So addictive.

The last thing we got was an order of their Hamachi Sashimi. The sashimi glistened in the light and was big enough to cover my entire tongue, which instantly filled my mouth with the flavor of hamachi. Hamachi is my favorite type of sashimi, and this was definitely up there. I didn't need put any soy sauce on the sashimi because of its pure taste.

Overall, my experience at Zen Toro was surprisingly great. The service was unstoppable, the flavors were simple and fresh, and the gyoza was probably some of the best I've ever eaten. If you happen to find yourself attending UC Davis, don't be surprised if you become a regular at this place.

Zen Toro
132 E Street
Suite 100
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 753-0154

GET: Hamachi Sashimi; Daily Oyster Special; House Made Special Gyoza.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Butter-Toasted Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are one of my favorite types of nuts. They're amazing. They have such a sweet, deep flavor that evolves with heat, more so than other types of nuts. There's a local hazelnut vendor at the farmer's market by my house, and I've always wanted to buy their raw hazelnuts and toast them. I've toasted hazelnuts before, but I wanted to explore what else I could do with toasted hazelnuts. As usual, working with nuts meant taking a gander at what Heidi Swanson has to offer. A quick search brought up her Butter-Toasted Hazelnuts Recipe, which is easy, subtle, and delicious.

Start off with some hazelnuts and toast them in the oven.

Lightly brown some butter.

Toss the hazelnuts in the butter with a good amount of lemon zest, orange zest, and thyme leaves.

The end result is a batch of beautifully crisp hazelnuts with really light hints of citrus and thyme. The zest and the thyme are perfect for balancing out the natural sweetness of the hazelnuts.

So simple, so good, and they make the air in your apartment edible.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fat Face

First of all, Fat Face is a great name. I'd like to think that I didn't leave the place with a fat face. Regardless, I enjoyed my two visits during my short visit to Davis.

The actual place is a little bit tough to find with a small sign and a humble entrance.

Nevertheless, there's plenty of parking, and a lot to eat. The interior is simple, with limited seating and a wide-open kitchen. Overall, it's very inviting. A few tables encourage the eaters to draw some pictures during their meals.

With a name like Fat Face, I thought this place would be serving bacon by the ton, but it didn't take much to realize that this place had a lot more depth to their menu. Fat Face is about winding up comforting sandwiches and pitching them to you as slight curveballs.

Sandwiches are typically loaded with carbs from the bread, but an easy way to still enjoy sandwiches at restaurants with no fiber-full alternatives is to eat the sandwich as an open-face sandwich. If you're eating your sandwich with some sides, eat most of the sides first. You can also eat half of the sandwich without the bread first, and eat the second half of your sandwich in its full glory. The less carb-loaded food will hopefully slow down the speed at which the bread might turn into sugars.

The menu is short and changes frequently. While in Davis, I got to try three of their sandwiches.

The Cola Braised Pork, Queso Fresco, Avocado Salsa, and Lettuce Sandwich was surprisingly sweet. I guess I didn't think the cola braise would make the pork that sweet for some reason. The pork was tender and melted on my tongue. Clearly, they have a pig on their sign for good reason. The queso fresco and the avocado salsa were great ways to mellow out the sweetness and intensity of the pork, but I think the lettuce was a little bit unnecessary. I think something like a bitter arugula or frisée would been another great way to counteract the sweetness of the pork. The bread was good and soft. Overall, a good sandwich.

My favorite sandwich of the afternoon, though, was the Eggplant "Meatball", Roasted Pepper Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, and Arugula Sandwich. The cashier directed me towards getting this one. I'm a huge fan of meatballs and eggplant, so it was interesting to see the two of them combined into one. The meatball itself was just as hearty as a singularly meaty meatball. The roasted pepper sauce was similar to a marinara sauce, but packed a lot more punch and flavor. The fresh mozzarella was stringy and melted more and more over the duration of my meal. The arugula added a nice bit of bitter vegetable to round out the roasted pepper and heavier meatballs. Really delicious.

I was most interested in getting the Beer Poached Figs, Caramelized Onion, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Sandwich. Unfortunately, the sandwich was a bit disappointing. I think the figs were perfect, with just enough resistance and seediness. The caramelized onions and the arugula were fine, too. I think what didn't sit well with me was the goat cheese. I originally thought that fig and goat cheese would go well together because they're both found in Mediterranean cuisine. I think this particular goat cheese, however, was just too intense and overpowered the sandwich. The sandwich probably could have used less goat cheese or maybe a brie. I say brie because one of my favorite snacks is a whole grain cracker topped with some creamy brie and fig jam.

Fat Face is also all about their popsicles. I was ridiculously curious about the interesting popsicle flavors here, and they were pretty reasonably priced, so I dropped a couple bucks and treated myself to a popsicle. Popsicles tend to average at about 15g of carbs per serving, so I settled with taking a couple bites out of each and going on a good 45 minute walk while waiting for my buddy, Kevin, to get out of class.

The Thai Tea and Sweet Potato Popsicle was delicious. I wasn't sure the popsicle rendition of these flavors would capture the rich creaminess of thai tea and the substantive starchiness of sweet potato, but with my first bite, I was addicted. The initial flavor is mainly thai tea, but there's a stark aftertaste of sweet potato that was really welcoming after the strong sweetness of the thai tea. It was really tough to not finish the whole thing. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a popsicle, and not ice cream. Otherwise I would have complained more about the icy-ness of it.

Because the Thai Tea and Sweet Potato Popsicle was so good, I came back here with Kevin the next day and we each got a popsicle. Props to Kevin for finishing the majority of both of our popsicles.

The Plum, Basil, and Green Tea Popsicle didn't disappoint. It's amazing how each bite followed the flavors in its name in that same exact order. The first flavor you get is a really sweet and tart plum flavor, followed by the slightest hint of basil, followed by an obvious green tea finish. The Kaffir Lime and Avocado Popsicle was the closest any of the popsicles I tried got to a straightforward 50-50 combination of flavors. I loved the way the sour lime was grounded by the avocado in this popsicle. Really amazing. This was probably my favorite of the three.

I really wish I had a few more days in Davis so I could try the rest of their popsicles. I love how all three of these popsicles managed to capture several layers of flavor with each bite. The popsicle isn't even physically multilayered, with sweet potato on the inside and thai tea on the outside, for example. They're all single flavor mixes that manage to develop as they melt. It's really weird talking about these popsicles as if they were some complex wine or carefully composed dish or something. I also love how they take the shape of traditional popsicles. So awesome.

Overall, my experience with Fat Face was great. I wish I could recommend something specific, but for now, have someone who works there direct you towards a sandwich and a popsicle.

I probably didn't need to go to a place called Fat Face to be called a fat face, but now it's official. Fat Face, thank you for contributing to my fat face.

Fat Face
425 L Street
Suite C
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 555-1212

GET: A sandwich and, more importantly, a popsicle.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Roast Chicken (4/24)

Meet chicken number four. Unassuming in this picture, but this is probably the most involved bird recipe I've done to date.

I've never watched Tyler Florence's show on the Food Network, but the recipe was enough to convince me to get to know him. Tyler Florence's Ultimate Roast Chicken is a serious study in subtlety of flavor. While the flavors might seem obvious to a person who saw the preparation of the chicken, a person who only met the chicken in its Sunday's best would never guess how many articles of flavor this chicken was wearing.

As if calling on all the skills I used with the previous three chickens, this recipe called for smearing butter, tucking ingredients under the skin, and stuffing the cavity to capacity.

First up was the butter. Because plain old butter isn't enough for Tyler Florence, the recipe asks the reader to aggressively mince up a good amount of parsley, oregano, and thyme. A trick I learned from Jamie Oliver is to mince all the herbs at the same time rather than mince and measure them individually to ensure that all the herbs blend with each other sufficiently and evenly. It's a simple suggestion, really, but a great one. Also, I'm a huge fan of Tillamook butter. So creamy and so delicious.

After mixing in the herbs, the butter was incredibly fragrant. I was tempted to just eat the butter on its own, but I restrained myself...after taking a couple bites.

Getting this butter on this chicken was actually a little difficult, mainly because chunks of herb butter kept falling off. After the butter and chicken got to room temperature, however, it got easier and easier to keep the butter on. A tip for this part: butter the back side of the chicken first, then season it with salt and pepper, then flip the bird over, butter the breast side, and season that side with salt and pepper. I tried to butter the whole bird and then tried to season the whole bird and the whole thing got a bit messy and uneven. I have to say though, spreading butter throughout the underside of the chicken skin was a pretty satisfying feeling.

Next came the contents of the cavity. I don't know how Tyler Florence thought to pack the bird with so many huge halves of ingredients, but I'm assuming an actual 5.5 lbs chicken would have the cavity for what his recipe calls for. My chicken was only 4.5 lbs, so I had to sacrifice one onion half, which was find by me, because that meant more roasted onions in the pan. I also chose to use a blood orange rather than a regular orange because I wanted to make sure that the flavor of oranges came through, and blood oranges are generally known for their stronger and more intense orange flavor. Also, blood oranges just look cooler.

My favorite part was robing the chicken with smoked bacon strips. I think it's well-established that I enjoy bacon. I had no idea how this bacon would affect the chicken in the end, but I was definitely excited. The recipe doesn't really call for the reader to do anything with the bacon afterwards, so I rinsed the herbs off the bacon and used them to make a batch of Rick Bayless' Bacon-and-Tomato Guacamole.

No words. I mean really, this bacon blanket is just awesome. I had never heard of this technique before, but apparently my friend's mother or grandmother dresses her chicken in bacon as well.

The end product was great. The chicken glistened with butter and crisp, and the over-stuffed cavity made the bird look like it was about to explode. The meat was ridiculously juicy and tender. If you got a clump of herbs, the herbs hit you hard, but weren't so overpowering that you couldn't taste the chicken. The skin was just as crispy as it looked and had brief moments of bacon. The meat closer to the cavity had a light, orange aftertaste. The garlic wasn't very strong, and neither was the onion, but the onions roasted in the pan drippings made sure you weren't missing them. The perfect bite included all of these elements and created a ridiculous flavor bob-omb. Each bite conducted a a long series of flavors that unraveled one after the other. Not the healthiest or lightest chicken, but ultimately, it was pretty darn delicious.

I didn't have the time to pursue the roux, and I was hoping to utilize some guar gum, but in the end, I think I enjoyed the chance to enjoy the chicken in its own right. I'm pretty positive I'll be making this chicken again at some point, and when I do, I'll do the roux.

Would I call this the ultimate roast chicken? Not just yet, but I guess we'll see at the end of this year.

Props to Matt, Dan, Cait, Ryan, and Rachel for making sure I had no leftovers, and special props to Dan for cutting up the chicken like Robocop.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bouchon Bakery

I know what you're thinking: "What happened to the diabetes?"

Not to worry, everyone: I still have diabetes. Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery was a nice reminder that nothing is entirely off-limits when you have diabetes. It's all about smart portioning. And when it comes to baked goods and pastries, one, small, strategic bite is all you can afford and really need.

A few tips off the top of my head when eating sweets, pastries, and baked goods:

- Don't waste your bites on portions that are all bread and no filling, or all filling and no
bread. Make the bite worth it.
- Make sure this isn't the first thing you're eating; eat a good, hearty, less-carby meal to
slow down the speedy carbs.
- Don't take a bunch of these bites all at the same time. If you want to try a lot of things,
eat the stuff that should be eaten fresh first, then save some of the others for after another
meal or for the next day.
- If you have more than one opportunity to go to that particular bakery, don't order
everything and save some for your next visit.

The space of this particular branch of Bouchon Bakery stands opposite the Phantom box office in The Venetian. The line stays long throughout the day, but the bakery is more of a grab-and-go setup. There's no seating and no formal space to escape the buzz of the casino floor. Though it's not one of my favorite spaces to enjoy a pastry, I enjoyed the street-corner feel of it all. Let's get to the food.

The first thing I looked for when I got there were the Macarons. A couple years ago, Steph C. was thoughtful enough to restrain herself from vacuuming a box of macarons on the drive back to LA from Vegas.

The first thing you notice about the macarons are how large they are. This is what a small child must think a normal macaron looks like. The macaron could literally fill up my entire palm.

From left to right, the flavors were: chocolate, espresso, vanilla, orange, raspberry, and pistachio. My favorite this time around was the vanilla macaron. The flavor was perfectly simple, which really helped to feature the texture of the macaron. The crumbly shell easily gave way to a smooth center. Each chew got progressively chewier. Steph C.'s box came with the same flavors, except there was a lemon macaron instead of an orange one. My favorite from that batch was the lemon one because of its sweet, citric bite.

The bread selection was great, but they were all a little bit disappointing. The pecan pastry was way too sweet, while the almond bread was appropriately sweet, but nothing special. I was looking forward to the croissant the most, but maybe because it wasn't a fresh batch, it was really underwhelming. I'd take a croissant from Cafe Besalu (post coming soon) over what I had at Bouchon Bakery (on that particular day) any day. Because it's Thomas Keller, and because this branch doesn't seem to lend itself to fresher goods, I'd be more than willing to give the pastries another shot at another branch.

Steph C. also saved me a bit of the TKO a couple years ago. How she refrained from gobbling the whole thing without a second thought is still a mystery. My second encounter with this cookie was similar to the first. The smooth white chocolate ganache filling is a worthy substitute for the "white stuff," and the thin, crispy cookies are great in both texture and flavor. The cookie crumbles and mixes with the ganache in the way an Oreo would after being dipped in milk. You can tell that this isn't an Oreo, but every few chews you get a quick glimpse into memories of eating Oreos as a kid.

My favorite item, though, was the Carrot Cake Cookie. The thick cookies themselves are rich, soft, and chewy and are a literal interpretation of a carrot cake. Sandwiched in the middle is a delicious cream meant to mimic the frosting on a carrot cake. The overal effect made this cookie sandwich exceptionally more delicious than most carrot cakes I've had, but it's also one of the heavier renditions of carrot cake I've had. Then again, I didn't purchase this cookie with the intention of having something light and refreshing. In any case, I definitely wouldn't pass up this cookie if you get a chance to hit up a Bouchon Bakery.

I wish I took a picture of the result of all my portioning. It looked like a rat had found its way into the bakery boxes and took tiny bites of everything. I probably looked like a rat while I was eating these, too. Luckily, I had my parents with me to polish off the rest over the next couple days.

There's a lot more I want to try here, and with more branches popping up each year, I'm sure I'll get another chance soon enough.

Bouchon Bakery
The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 414-6203

GET: Macarons; TKO; Carrot Cake Cookie.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heidi Swanson's Edamame Soup

I love Heidi Swanson. When I was diagnosed with diabetes, a good friend recommended that I pick up a copy of Heidi Swanson's cookbook, Super Natural Cooking. During the first few months after my diagnosis, this book was a godsend. Many of her recipes are heavy on the nuts and veggies, and I like both of those things. Her recipes are always very health-conscious, and her book provides great insight into the benefits and importance of superfoods and other highly nutritious ingredients. This book was the first to show me that a diabetic's diet is really just a healthy diet.

A couple of weeks ago, that same friend invited a couple friends over for a small dinner. I prepared a couple of other things (posts on those coming soon), but I really wanted to make a soup because I hadn't made one in a while. As I was browsing through various websites and cookbooks, I came across Heidi Swanson's Edamame Soup recipe on her website/blog. I love edamame, I love soup, and I wanted to make something vegetarian-friendly for the dinner, so this was perfect.

What I love about this recipe is that there's a lot of leeway to make this recipe your own. The base recipe is simple and typical.

You start off with sautéing one potato and one onion in some olive oil.

Then you add in some vegetable stock and a ton of shelled edamame beans. Then you grab your handy dandy immersion blender, purée the heck out of the soup, and strain.

Behold, my straining contraption. I only strained the soup once, but I probably could have gotten a much silkier texture if I had the extra time to strain the soup one more time.

After straining the soup, you can add in a good amount of crème fraîche, salt, and pepper and let your imagination run wild. My imagination that night, was not running all that wild. I was running around wildly, though, because I was already running late to the dinner. I did get a chance to blend in some garlic, add some cayenne pepper, and throw in some onion powder to give the soup some straightforward depth. The soup itself was fulfilling, creamy, and entirely comforting. The recipe is so easy and cheap that I wouldn't hesitate to whip up this soup again in the near future.

If I had more time, I would probably take up Heidi Swanson's suggestion to top the soup with some crushed, toasted peanuts and fried shallots, or add in some thyme and hazelnuts with squeezes of orange and lemon, or just throw on some bacon. Really, though, the possibilities are limitless.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I got the chance to spend the first four days of 2011 in Vegas, and my favorite spot that trip was José Andrés' Jaleo. I really wasn't sure what to expect from the Jaleo empire, but from what I'dexperienced at The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel, I knew I'd be in for a treat. It's rare for this to happen, but I loved every single thing I ate. I didn't get to hit up their back-room tasting menu, but what I had was enough to convince me to set aside the $150 next time and experience é.

The space itself is beautiful. The vibrant colors, spectrum of textures, and artistic layout not only lent itself towards a casual dining experience, but also previewed the food that we were about to enjoy.

But before we could order food, the animated atmosphere got us in the mood for some sangria.

The Sangria de Vino Tinto was welcomingly straightforward and traditional, as if respecting one of Spain's signature drinks. Each soft swig took me back to the months I spent in Madrid and other parts of Spain, drinking either wine, cava, or sangria with nearly every meal. It was refreshing, clean, and easy to drink, but I had to restrain myself from drinking too quickly, not because my parents were there, but because we wanted to save some to drink with the food.

After placing our orders, our food either came out ridiculously fast, or time went by ridiculously fast. Jaleo has a passion and vibrancy to it that leaves very few seconds to boredom. Everything from observing the multiple open kitchens to seeing other people's orders arrive in plates shaped like shoes and hands (seriously) made the entire dining experience undoubtedly unique.

I wanted to order the whole menu, but after discussing our options with the kind waitress, we settled on a handful of dishes.

There was no way I wasn't going to order the Aceitunas Rellenas Aceitunas 'Ferrán Adrià'. This is probably the closest I'll get to a Ferrán Adrià original in the near future. The stuffed homemade olives were amazing, with the roasted piquillo peppers offering a slightly charred base to a nice, briny, and salty kick from the anchovies.

The last time I saw a picture of these liquid olives, they were more of an avocado green color. These, however, were a deep rose color, and were a great way to contrast the rich green color of the homemade olives.

I only sacrificed one of these liquid olives for this picture because the real experience is popping the liquid olive in your mouth. The liquid form allows for the flavor to seep into every taste bud and ride down your throat like honey. The experience is strange at first, but quickly gets addictive. Eating the liquid olives with the homemade olives was a fun way to confuse and give a little jolt to my taste buds in preparation for the rest of the meal.

The Croquetas de Pollo, like the sangria, was a tribute to the simple pleasures of Spanish cuisine. No liquid croquetas came with this dish, but these chicken fritters opened up to contents just as delicious.

The innards, for lack of a better word, were gooey, cheesy, and unreflective of how crispy and perfectly fried its casing was. The chicken was stringy and at times, just as gooey as the rest of the insides. I ate tons of this stuff when I was in Spain, but this was my favorite.

The Ensalada de Coles de Bruselas con Albaricoques, Manzanas y Jamón Serrano was beautiful. Warm, bright, green, fluffy brussel sprout leaves bounced in the plate with apples, apricots, grapes, and Serrano ham. Each brussel sprout leaf was delicious on its own, but the perfect bite was irresistible.

The brightness and texture of the fruits balanced well with the chewy and fatty richness of the Serrano ham, while the slight bitterness of the warm brussel sprouts covered in olive oil added a strong, comforting base to the dish.

I will say that I was disappointed when I saw that the Arroz a Banda con Bogavante didn't come out on a huge paella pan, but the plating was undeniably beautiful.

The lobster was perfect. While some might complain that you have to use your hands to get to the meat, I say grow up and have some fun ripping into the lobster. Tapas are often about finger foods, and this was no exception. The paella rice was texturally perfect, but just a bit too salty. The saltiness didn't stop me though.

At this point, everything we had ordered had made its way out. I looked up at my parents, and they were already waiting for the waitress to bring back the menus, like kids waiting to get on Space Mountain. Though we wanted to order a ton more, we had to limit ourselves to two more items because we had a show to catch.

One of the other things I ate every single day in Spain was white asparagus, so I couldn't pass up the Espárragos Blancos con Limón y Tomillo. One of the chef's signature presentations is in a tin can, which he often does to pay tribute to Spain's renown canned goods. This tin can came with a generous portion of white asparagus deliciously seasoned with lemon and thyme. Sitting on top of the asparagus was an equally generous portion of fluffy strands of Idiazábal cheese. The milky and delicate cheese melted on contact and balanced out the the acidity of the lemon. The thyme added a familiar depth to the bright white asparagus. Every bite was delicious and I quickly found myself scraping the bottom of the can.

Our last dish, Gambas al Ajillo, was also one of the best. The technique behind this Spanish staple is simple: sautée some shrimp with some garlic. This rendition blew my mind.

Each shrimp bursted with garlicky flavor. The dish had a perfect amount of heat coming from some chiles and the simple combination of herbs really added a lot of depth to an already delicious dish. This dish, along with the other more traditional dishes, showcase how José Andrés can stay true to the classics, but still update them in texture, flavor, and presentation.

The word "jaleo" is what Spaniards call the audience's shouts of encouragement during flamenco performances, and this restaurant takes up that term for good reason. The food encapsulates the fiery passion, vibrant showiness, and friendly camaraderie of flamenco, which in turn encapsulates the life and culture of Spain. In other words, through its food and atmosphere, Jaleo reminds the diner of the necessity of good company and a genuine, and sometimes rowdy, passion for life.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 698-7950

GET: As Much of the Menu As You Can Afford or Stomach.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...