Faking It With Truffle Oil

Although this really comes as no surprise to me, the New York Times Dining section featured an article (I know, old article. But it’s news to me) explaining that truffle oils are more a chemical concoction containing 2,4-Dithiapentane than a true infused oil. Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to eat fresh truffle but I have always suspected truffle oil wasn’t a completely accurate flavor profile of the fungus.

All across the country, in restaurants great and small, the “truffle” flavor advertised on menus is increasingly being supplied by truffle oil. What those menus don’t say is that, unlike real truffles, the aroma of truffle oil is not born in the earth. Most commercial truffle oils are concocted by mixing olive oil with one or more compounds like 2,4-dithiapentane (the most prominent of the hundreds of aromatic molecules that make the flavor of white truffles so exciting) that have been created in a laboratory; their one-dimensional flavor is also changing common understanding of how a truffle should taste.

Noteworthy Tumblr #5: Table For One

Table For One is simple. It has a white background, photos of people eating alone, a title, and that’s about it. However, it elicits some strong feelings from people.

The tumblr didn’t evoke any negative emotions from me, maybe because I eat alone so often. I enjoy eating by myself. You can’t forget that just because you are at a table for one, it doesn’t mean you are alone.


Photo credit: Jerry Hsu

Star Crossed Lovers

When I made the reservation for eight of us at Cafe Star, it sounded like they might have trouble tabling that many people on a Friday, they took the reservation anyway. When I arrived with only two others they seated us immediately not once asking when the rest of the party will arrive. They quickly took our drink orders and we had full glasses of delicious Cheapskate Cabernet and a bottle of bubbling Vino Verde (not Prosecco) waiting for everyone when they showed. When the other six people arrived, they accommodated our extra arrival without rancor and quickly had another place set before she even reached the table. Our waitress, the dear Andrea, whom I had already fell head over heels for, answered all of our questions patiently and knowledgably. And trust me, we bombarded her with questions about everything on the menu! My wine glass was never empty, nobody attempted to take my plate before I was done (a common occurrence with a slow eater like me), we were rarely bothered during our meals, and wholly taken care of. On top of all that, Andrea didn’t include gratuity in the bill, she knew full well that her performance would do the correct math. Amazing! Was there really this kind of service in a Denver restaurant? How completely refreshing. If this meal were based solely on service it would have been incredible.

Instead, Rebecca Weitzman, made Cafe Star top itself with menu that continues to amaze me. The menu changes to evolve with the season’s freshest produce and meats. Our table started off our meal with three flatbread pizzettas appetizers, all of which were unique and flavorful. We worked the kitchen over by each ordering a unique dish (doubling up on only one plate) and every one of them was delicious. Portions seem small at first glance but are rich and intense with unique flavors. Our buffalo steak was returned because it was a little undercooked, but it came out three minutes later seared to perfection and was promptly devoured. I ordered the lamb which was heaven on a plate and a perfectly sized portion for such a rich cut of meat. There was no problem finding dishes for the vegetarians in our party (and not just pasta with vegetables) though the pressed eggplant was probably the only dish not to my liking. In my opinion the best dish on the table was the lobster-and-rock-shrimp pot pie riddled with tarragon, as comforting as comfort food gets, yet as luxurious as anything. My girlfriend ordered the crisp gnocchi with truffle oil and escargot, which I finished without question. Don’t miss the soft-sweet beets with pistachio-crusted goat cheese or the crab-filled potato ravioli with white truffle sauce. The desserts were good too, though no match for the entrees. You won’t be disappointed with the Chocolate and Chili Pot d’Creme.

Cafe Star is hip, without attitude. Somehow, the entire room feels like both a trendy hot spot and low-key neighborhood hangout. It’s colorful and creative. Flavored and textured.

Now if there were only more restaurants in this town on the same level of excellence as Cafe Star. Have any ideas?

Thanks Mr. Sushi

Last night, my father, my brother, his girlfriend and myself all went to Mr. Sushi in order to celebrate Thanksgiving early because some of us will be out of town on the 27th. We ordered way too much food as is Thanksgiving tradition (or so I’ve been told). I walked out of Mr. Sushi filled to the gills (heh heh). We were the only ones in the restaurant. My father said grace before we ate and I think this is the only time I’ve ever said grace in a public place. Our family always says grace before X-mas and Thanksgiving dinners. We don’t go to church though. Dinner was a real good time and the sushi was decent. Everyone was in a real goof-off mood: joking, mocking around and laughing. One of my more enjoyable Thanksgiving dinners.

A Night At Jerusalem

I went out to dinner with my pops last night and will be doing so again tonight. We ate at a little (only 10 or so tables, and some additional seating outside that was not an option because it was snowing) place called Jerusalem Restaurant over in the Denver University area. The Jerusalem restaurant is owned by the Wahdan family and has been in operation since 1978. Dinner was really relaxed and it was an enjoyable evening.