Monthly Archives: December 2012


Last night was the peak of the Gemenids meteor shower. I took some pictures, mostly at 20 seconds and 2000 ISO.

Here is one, with the horizon.

Here’s one of the longest and brightest stars of the night. (I got lucky!)

Atelier Crenn

After reading about coworkers’ glowing recommendations of Atelier Crenn, Shamiq and I ate there this last Saturday. We opted for the shorter 5-course, $95 menu. Overall I found the food satisfying, inventive and well matched.

I did have a major case of menu-envy as I watched the tables around us enjoy the longer Chefs Grand Tasting Menu ($160). I’d like to go back and try the longer menu since the presentation seemed more whimsical and over-the-top. Four of our five dishes were from the longer tasting though, so I’ll wait till the menu changes, perhaps to spring or summer.

Amuse Bouche: White chocolate shell filled with apple cider.
I managed to explode the first one on myself, so they brought me a new one. Lesson learned, keep your mouth shut.

First course: Grains & Seeds, Dashi, Yuzu Kosho

I wish I could eat this for breakfast everyday. I found the broth very slightly too salty, but I tipped the bowl away and the mix of grains was both interesting and delicious.

A palate cleanser of hibiscus and some sort of sorbet. I don’t remember. :( But it was lightly flavored and I love the flavor of hibiscus.

Second Course: The Sea. Grilled shellfish, fish, uni & fennel.

The seafood was perfectly grilled, the uni was super fresh (none of that hint of sewer) and the fennel was a great pairing.

Brioche. I found it lacking. The crust was a bit… mealy, I’m not sure why. It was warm and soft, so not too many complaints, but I thought it was the weakest part of the meal.

Course Three: Walk in the forest

A mix of mushrooms, pine meringue & lots of other subtle but unique flavors. Most interesting was that it was a horizontal plate, and the flavoring of the mushrooms seemed to go from savory to sweet from one end to the other.

The other side of the walk in the forest. One mushroom tasted like steak.

Course Four: Ocean & Land

Quail, squid ink, black sesame and sea grapes. The quail was perfectly cooked, medium rare with crisp skin and appropriate garnishes. The sea grapes were a novel and interesting touch, textually… but they don’t seem to taste like much.

Our Cheese course, a $20 add-on. Three cheeses, walnut bread and wild flower honey.

Course Five: Betterave (Dessert)

I’m not sure why the course is called that on the menu… But, beet sorbet, grains (a nice book ending touch with the first course) and a chocolate beet root. I love beets. I want more beet sorbet. But less chocolate roots.

Mignardises: Strawberry gelee, some sort of citrus marshmallow and a salted caramel that didn’t fit my Santa-Gnome theme so I didn’t include it in the picture.

And an obligatory slightly creepy photo of Crenn from a distance. She did stop by our table twice, make small talk with us and was really nice (and told us all to eat more).


Banana Bread Science

(left to right, banana breads 1, 2& 3. recipes below)

Before the Thanksgiving break, I took home all the bananas the snack staff at work had on hand since they were going to throw them away in anticipation of the holiday. What better to do with over a dozen bananas than some banana bread science?

Recipe 1: Courtesy of my roommate, – 3 bananas

Recipe 2: Cook’s Illustrated’s “Ultimate Banana Bread” (membership required) – 6 bananas

Recipe 3: Cooks Illustrated’s “The Best Banana Bread” (membership also required) – 3 bananas and yogurt

I took half of each loaf to work and had people take small samples of each and cast anonymous votes. The results were overwhelmingly in favor of banana bread 1. Banana bread 1, however, also has the most sugar, so that very likely affects peoples preferences.

Other notes, banana bread 6 had more banana flavor than 3, but probably needed more sugar. 3 was the clear loser.

I’ll try this again with even amounts of sugar.

Science is a good reason to stuff yourself with banana bread.

New Camera!

Because I didn’t already have enough cameras hiding in my drawer. I decided I was buying myself a Hasselblad for Christmas. I know it’s a bit early, but I found a pretty good (I think?) deal on one.

I got a 501c body, waist level finder, two film backs (A12 & A24, though the 24 is pretty useless), C T* f2.8 80mm Planar & a couple accessories.

Now all I need me is some unexpired film… Somehow all the 120 film I’ve got is expired.