A Day in the Life…..
April 8, 2016
I’m on the road again, so I thought I’d offer up a day of rather reckless eating.
Met a friend for lunch at the new Clocktower in the spare, modern Edition Hotel. Lovely space (once you manage to find it); it feels as cozy and comfortable as if the room had been sitting there for years, waiting for you to walk in. There’s an air of luxury here, as if you’ve stepped into a time machine, but Jason Atherton’s food is beautiful in a very modern manner. Lunch began with this tuna tataki, the rich fish just lightly seared to a lovely temperature.
And this… has King Crab ever looked more regal? On top, pickled cucumber. Underneath, sneaky little cubes of dashi gelee hide, waiting to add a little zing of flavor.
On to this posh, extremely rich mushroom risotto, topped with the most seductively soft pillows of fried sweetbread. I dare any sane person to polish off the entire plate.
I found this salmon slightly disappointing. The restaurant is using farmed New Zealand salmon. Why? Wild Alaska salmon has so much more character.
A nice touch: the restaurant brings you an entire loaf of warm bread with salted butter:
Met another friend for dinner at Le Coq Rico, which the great chef Antoine Westermann has just opened (it’s a branch of his Paris restaurant of the same name). I can’t think of a better place to be on a cold night than the counter in the kitchen, watching those big birds twirling around, dripping fat.
The theme here is chicken in all its glory. We began with the offal plate: loved that liver on toast. The skewered hearts with apple were a dream. The croquettes, entirely correct. Still, I felt slightly cheated by that bit of chicken wing. Where are the gizzards?
You get to choose your chicken by both breed and age. We ordered an entire Brune Landaise. Gorgeously cooked, it was a bird large enough to feed four (a good thing, given that it cost almost a hundred bucks.) On the side, a correct little salad that practically screams FRANCE!
Many sides to choose from: we opted for this very elegant macaroni.
Do NOT miss dessert. I laughed out loud when this incredibly delicious Ile Flottante arrived.
You won’t want to miss this rhubarb souffle.
There is something disarmingly old fashioned about the food at Le Coq Rico, something that reminds you of all the reasons you first fell in love with the food of France.
Got up early (too early) to head to La Guardia, waited one hour to get through security (the place was a madhouse), and dashed for my plane. Where I was foolish enough to purchase United’s “chilaquile breakfast.” My advice: don’t. The two bites I managed to choke down tasted worse than the dish looks. Which,, you will admit, is saying something.
Landed in sunny Denver, and went off for lunch at Rioja. I’ve always wanted to try this now classic Denver restaurant- and was not disappointed.
I began with the house salad of arugula, gorgonzola, almonds and dates. (Every dish here is a gilded lily; this is seriously cheffy food.)
And the octopus farfalle with piquillo peppers, pickled chiles, fried preserved lemon…. I really loved this dish; it had heat, heft, crunch and sweetness. More please!
Then it was on to another one of Denver’s increasingly fascinating restaurants. But my 24 hours are up!
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Loved your reviews; however I am surprised that you did not mention the acoustics at Clocktower. My husband I and a friend went for lunch during a visit to the city last October.
The food was good and the setting beautiful, but the room was so noisy that one could not hear one’s self think no less have a conversation with table mates. It was, for us, a totally ghastly experience.
Sorry to hear that! There weren’t a lot of people at lunch the other day, and the room was blissfully calm.
United has bad food, I returned from Germany yesterday in business class and the food was not much better. The only thing I like are their icecream Sundays .
Oops , I mean sundaes
Thanks for coming out to PLA. I loved hearing your stories and seeing a hero in person