Tag Archives: le pigeon

Top Noms of 2013

13 Jan

2013 was truly the best year of my life.  And most of my best memories of the year include (or entirely revolve around) amazing meals.

It was really tough to narrow it down to the top 10 this year with so many amazing meals, so I’m cheating a bit.  (To see the Top Noms of years past, check these links: 201220112010, and 2009)

Second Runner Up: After a lot of buzz and rumors of impossible reservations, we were lucky enough to walk in and get a seat at the bar at Chez Sardine.  This sticks out in my memory both for the amazing, creative food and for the fun of watching them construct it while peering directly into the kitchen from our bar seats.

Chez Sardine

First Runner Up: After two amazing meals at WD-50 (still in the top 3 of all time meals) we were excited to try Chef Wylie Dufresne’s more casual new restaurant, Alder.  Our entire meal was creative and great, but the chicken liver toast was a huge stand out that I still think about all these months later.

Alder: Chicken Liver Toast

#10: Our honeymoon was filled with a bunch of absolutely amazing meals, but our meal at Le Pigeon in Portland, OR really stood out for its freshness and unique use of ingredients. The trout lox paired so incredibly well with the raspberries. An unexpected match made in heaven.

Le Pigeon: Trout Lox

#9: We couldn’t wait to try Betony when it opened since it was from alumni of one of our absolute favorite restaurants, Eleven Madison Park.   We fell in love with the “Tuna Melt” with melted fontina cheese and there was sculptural beauty (and flavorful beauty) in the Marinated Trout Roe. Any other year this could be a #1 restaurant, but not in 2013.

Betony: Marinated Trout Roe on a puffed rice cracker with cucumber

#8: While we couldn’t take pictures of the Brooklyn Fare Chef’s Tasting menu, you will have to trust me that it all looked and tasted delicious.  We were very excited when they opened up a grocery store near our apartment in Manhattan and can’t wait to try their restaurant.  The Uni with White Truffle was so incredibly amazing and made me fall in love with uni (after a lot of “what’s the big deal?” in the past).

Brooklyn Fare Chef's Tasting

#7: For our date anniversary dinner, Mike took us to Del Posto, where we enjoyed the beautiful place almost as much as we enjoyed the near flawless meal.  It has certainly earned its stellar reputation as being a top restaurant in New York.

Del Posto: Lobster

#6: In what world does The French Laundry in Napa Valley, CA come in as #6 for the year?  I still am in a bit of disbelief that we didn’t love this famous restaurant even more.  In the end, it was probably one of the most perfect meals I’ve ever had, but it just wasn’t surprising.  But the oysters and pearls have truly earned their place in culinary history.

The French Laundry: Oysters and Pearls


#5: Coming back from the honeymoon, we had one last hurrah at The NoMad in NYC.  We tried the famous chicken, which had the audacity to not just be perfectly cooked with impeccably crispy skin, but also stuffed with foie gras and black truffle.  It was every bit as good as I hoped it would be, as was the rest of the meal.

The Nomad: Roasted Chicken

#4: Blanca was another Chef’s Tasting menu that didn’t allow us to take pictures of the meal (bummer), but this private room behind Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick, Brooklyn offered surprises around every corner. There were more than 25 meticulous courses, including a stand-out king crab with plankton butter sauce and not a single bad dish in all 25.

Blanca: Chef's Tasting

#3: Anytime someone asks where they should go in NYC if they want a nice meal, I recommend Colicchio and Sons.  It never fails to impress and we went back to see if the Tasting Menu could live up to our opinion from the previous time.  Each dish built upon the last and they were all expertly crafted. I have especially fond memories about the uniqueness of the potato bavarois dome with Hackeback caviar and vodka cream with homemade potato chips.

Colicchio & Sons:  Tasting Menu


#2: A huge surprise was how much we fell in absolute love with Canlis in Seattle, WA during our honeymoon.  Every dish was great and service was so warm and so welcome.  It’s hard to pick a favorite part of this meal, but I still remember how much I enjoyed their preparation of foie gras with homemade brioche to spread it on.

Canlis: Foie Gras

#1 (THE #1): I was so excited to finally try Chef Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago, IL at the very end of the year.  Every moment of this meal was special and fun and incredibly delicious. Even if it hadn’t been as entertaining and creative, the taste of the food alone would have made this the meal of the year.  The rest, and especially the cleverness, made this the meal of a lifetime.  The best meal we have ever, ever had.  The white truffle risotto that they brought out as a special treat was hands down the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.  It is worth a special trip to Chicago just to have the good fortune of eating here.

Alinea: White Truffle Risotto


Alinea: Scallop


We are so incredibly fortunate.  Thank you, 2013.



Honeymoon: Portland, OR – Le Pigeon

19 Jul

One more round of applause for Mike for his restaurant research for our honeymoon. Our last night in Portland (after an awesome whirlwind drive along the Oregonian coast) brought us to Le Pigeon, whose chef won best chef of the Northwest from James Beard this year. Mike had read about him in Food & Wine and they were getting a good amount of buzz.

Le Pigeon had an open kitchen and I was envious of those around the bar who had a great view of the action.  (We were in the center of a 6 top communal table, but neither of the other 2 couples were very social, so we just observed their reactions to the dishes, made fun of the ridiculous date going on beside us, and enjoyed the food).



Here was the menu for the week:


DSCF1844 DSCF1845

And the specials of the day.


We opted for the Five Courses where the chef selected what would come out (though I made a special request for the beef cheek bourguignon to be included since that seemed right up my alley).

We decided NOT to do the wine pairings after our delicious yet unfortunately over-indulgence at Kingdom of Roosevelt.

Our meal started with the trout lox which came with raspberries, fennel, crème fraîche, and roe.  This was delightful.  A great, light entry into the meal and the raspberries tasted like they were grown especially to be paired with trout lox for the rest of time.


Everything was so insanely fresh.


Our next dish was grilled pork belly with peas and carrots, and strawberry jam.


This was cooked very well and the sauce went marvelously with the pork belly.  It was a hearty portion too.


Then we were served the braised rabbit (rabbit again!) which came with shells and cheese, truffle vinaigrette and crispy spring onions. Once again, we really enjoyed the rabbit here.  Everything went so well together and the rabbit was enhanced by the creamy shells and cheese, truffle, and the crispy of the fried onions.


And then came the beef cheek bourguignon. (Apologies for the dark photos… I tried to bring over the candles but it got quite dark in there).  This was packed with flavor.  There was richness from the meat (which was as tender as could be but still a bit of char on the outside) over a potato puree which may or may not have had pears in it (Mike thinks he heard that, I don’t recall).


On the side there was a roasted root vegetable (maybe parsnip) that we very much enjoyed.


And then came dessert: Foie gras profiteroles (yes, seriously) with caramel sauce and sea salt.  This was a masterpiece.  On the side was a roasted (?) fruit dish in a white chocolate cup.


The profiterole was incredible. The foie gras somehow totally worked with the sweet and it didn’t seem at all weird to be a dessert the moment you tasted it.


And then they came out with one last bite, a “spicy” chocolate.  I asked the waitress what kind of spice and she immediately said not to eat it and gave them both to Mike.


And brought me out a most perfect dark chocolate cookies (which I believe had some salt on it) and was a perfect final bite.


When we walked away from our meal at Le Pigeon, we were raving.  It was only a few weeks ago, but I really remember loving it.  Incredibly, however, when stacked up against the delicious and well served meal we had at Canlis and the original and fun meal we had at Kingdom of Roosevelt, it falls ever so slightly behind.  But that is not to say it wasn’t an incredible meal. It was just in very competitive company.

I’m very glad we tried it and I highly recommend it.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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