Friday, July 02, 2010
From June 18, at 3 Doors Down Cafe, a cocktail and an appetizer
House-made maraschino cherry sidecar, a refreshing cocktail with the added delight of those two cherries, one Bing, one Rainier. See the juice about the drip from the Bing?
Thanks to 3 Doors Down Cafe for widening my food experience well beyond its former boundaries. Here you see the latest in a six-year-long line of luscious-looking dishes whose tastes, smells, and textures are all designed to please the senses. This is an appetizer, a house-made rabbit and pork terrine, served with accoutrements: the mustard and the cornichons (tiny tart pickles) and the toasted, sliced baguette. The roundish shapes in the slice of terrine are hazelnuts I found out once I had finished and flew to the kitchen to ask, "What's that nut in the terrine? "Hazelnut," Dave answered, a slight smile on his face, as Lamont stood to his right, sort of shaking his head in wonder that I've eaten the terrine and loved it. (He does that whenever I eat anything new and different because he knows what a picky eater I was growing up, really disgustingly picky.) I loved my first hazelnuts, too. Yummy mild flavor, smooth texture. Every single bite of that terrine, slowly eaten to extend the experience, yummy. I confess, I didn't eat any of the mustard--I'm not much for mustard--it's too pungent for me. But that bread, that terrine, those cornichons, a perfect combination of flavors, crispness, and densities.
Curious about the terrine's provenance, later on I got Lamont to explain it to me. Seems that at 3 Doors Down, the rabbit and pork are rough ground, mixed with eggs and spices (I didn't get a list of them), the hazelnuts, then poured into a thinly-sliced-proscuitto-or-pancetta-lined iron loaf pan (Lamont couldn't remember which P--they're both divine Ps from pigs to me.) The loaf pan is placed in a water bath which is then placed into the oven where it is baked. Lamont explained that because the mixture expands as it bakes, once it's out of the oven, while still in the loaf pan, it's wrapped in foil or paper--I can't remember what for sure and I've already called the poor guy twice in the last three hours--and a piece of something sturdy (like cardboard) is cut to fit onto the top of the loaf, fitting up against the inside rim of the pan, then something heavy, like a brick or two or a ten-pound weight, is put on top to cover the entire sturdy piece completely in order to compress the mixture as it cools. The whole idea is to compress the ingredients into a firm loaf that will slice smoothly into an attractive piece of forcemeat. See the photo for success.
And I have to say that thanks again to 3 Doors Down Cafe, for when I read page xiii of "Medium Raw," I knew exactly what Anthony Bourdain meant when he wrote these words: terrines, rillettes, and pate. I've savored bites of each one of them at one time or another there where my two sons and a whole lot of other intelligent, creative, determined, hard-working people willingly step up repeatedly to prepare, to cook, to serve those of us blessed with the time and the money for a night out, dining on the results of their excellent efforts. Thank you, one and all.