Morish Morimoto!

The main purpose of the visit to the US was to celebrate my cousin Jon’s marriage to Carol. But as is custom when my mom’s family get together, food is very high on the list of priorities.  As it was also D’s bday we thought we’d go somewhere special with D & my mom to celebrate. From the extensive list of recommended places from Jon & Carol, Morimoto looked like the perfect place.

Because we wanted to experience Morimoto properly, we decided opt for the omakase (chef’s choice) dinner & beverage menu.  We arrived for a 530 reservation, and boy were we glad for the early time, since we ended up spending 4 hours there, savouring every course and glass of wine, sake & champagne.

The restaurant has quite a demure entrance – glass doors in a whitewashed stone wall – pretty non descript. However, once inside, the space is like a concert hall dedicated to culinary opera.  The reception area has low ceilings, which then soar up to double height ceilings over the seating area and lowering again to meet the sushi bar at the end of the long room. Either side of the walls had these fibreglass organic shapes backlit so they glowed.

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The seating itself was futuristic diner style- booths for 2 line each wall, and 2 rows of larger booths run through the middle, but instead of cheap veneer the booths are made of thick opaque glass, with inner lights that subtly change the colours of the booths.

We were seated in a booth in the middle of the room with a great view of both the entrance and the sushi bar at the back. Despite the very open nature of the room, and the resulting ambient noise, it was really easy to chat and hear each other. We started with cocktails to toast D’s birthday, and sipped that while we decided which level of omakase to go for – and decided that we might as well splurge.  And so the extravaganza began.

Our first appetizer course was toro tartare.  This was a gorgeously rich pillar of finely chopped tuna, topped with crispy shallot, then finished with a layer of cavier.  The whole was gently placed in a little pool of light soy, into which we dolloped wasabi to taste.  The beverage pairing was a glass of Veuve Cliquot NV.  Delicous. Every. Bite.

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I love the little palate cleansers between dishes, and this omakase had some great ones.  The first one came after the toro tartare, a wee plate of 3 yamamomo – japanese mountain peaches. I’d never seen these things before, but oh I loved the taste. Sweet, tart and somehow very mountainous.  They remind me a bit of hawthorn berries and the dried fruit discs that we used to buy from Chinatown shops. Though small, they pack a punch in flavour.  I’m off to find a yamamomo tree as these little guys are amazing.

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Next up, we had the freshest, plumpest, tastiest oysters I have ever had the pleasure of slurping.  Each oyster had a different sauce – ponzu, thai, and I can’t remember the middle two. Only that they were yummy.  This was paired with a pretty yummy sake. Too bad I can’t remember the name!

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The third appetizer dish was exquisite – thinly sliced big eye snapper, seared on the edges, and melt in the mouth delicious.

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Fourth up was the last dish for the appetiser course – a   yellowtail sashimi, paired with a viognier.  This was the only dish where I didn’t think the pairing created fireworks in my mouth. The viognier was too much for the delicate fish.  Still, the fish was amazing, and the wine on its own also delicious.

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We got another palate cleanser, which was a pear spritzer. And so ended our appetiser course.

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At this point, the manager came round to check we were happy, as did the sommelier.  I should mention that the service was exemplary. Our waiter was friendly, smiley, and provided our drinks always at the right time for each course. Always present yet unobtrusive.  When I was looking for the loo, he appeared out of nowhere to show me the way.  The sommelier was a great guy, and, since I was a little drunk I mentioned that I was surprised by the pairing with the yellowtail… and as a treat, for the next course he brought us out some Kung Fu Riesling, an absolutely amazing Riesling from Washington state produced by Charles Smith.  Absolutely gorgeous – dry, with gorgeous citrus and honey nose.  Yumm.

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Our next dish (number 5) was grilled 8 spice lobster with ponzu creme fraiche. This came paired with a Barth Rene Pinot Blanc which was lovely, but the Kung Fu girl totally won out.

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Next up was as number 6 was probably the most memorable dish for me – wagyu steak with pomme frite.  I’ve had wagyu before, but nothing compared to this.  Each piece was as rich as foie gras, melt in the mouth, and full of flavour. 2 of those slices would have been plenty.  Four was just plain gluttony.  But oh what heavenly gluttony it was!  We had 3 dips for the wagyu – a sea salt peppercorn, dashi soy, and finally a tonkatsu sauce.  The wine we had was a Pinot Noir from Anam Cara. The 2006 reserve (another hit from PNW, this one from Oregan’s Chehalem Mountains) was really just perfect.  Enough body to match the richness of the wagyu and still keep the lovely gentleness of a pinot noir.

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The last dish (number 7) to round off our main course was a dish of sashimi.  Tuna, snapper, salmon, yellowtail, and jackfish, with a glass of “Über-Demon-Slayer” sake (Wakatake Daiginjo).  Sigh. It was sad to reach the end of the mains!

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As if the chef knew, he sent out a coffee jelly with coconut sorbet palette cleanser that was the perfect pick me up.  Gentle buzz, with delicious sorbet.  And of course it looked pretty yummy too!

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And finally, our nice round number 8 dish, was dessert.  We were presented with three goblets of Taylor’s Tawny port.  The dish was a simple vanilla ice cream on chocolate cake with a smear of pumpkin on the plate.  It sounds so run of the mill, but it really wasn’t. It was rich and dense and perfectly balanced, enough sweetness without being cloying, and the pumpkin smear added a lovely depth and zip.

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It was sad when it was over – like coming to the end of a great show. We stumbled into a taxi back to our hotel where I promptly passed out. Despite the raging hangover the next morning, this is so far the best dining experience I’ve ever had.  Superlatives galore, happy drunkeness, great service, and just the most amazing yummy food. If you go to Philadelphia, you really musn’t miss Morimoto. Totally morish!

There’s no place like home

Glad y’all enjoyed the Rhinebeck post. I had such a great time there, and found lots of exciting new yarns, which I will post about later.

We went to my cousin’s wedding in Philadelphia (the original reason for the trip) where he and his wife are studying to be doctors.  The ceremony was lovely, as was the reception afterwards.  On top of all that fun, the night before we celebrated D’s bday by indulging in the tasting menu at Morimoto.  I hadn’t heard about Iron Chef & owner Masaharu Morimoto so I googled him. Pretty impressive and once head chef at Nobu.  The dinner was just amazing – 4 hours of culinary delights.  I’ll do a separate post for it – took photos and recorded details for every course as it was so great and I wanted to remember what I was eating (each course was paired with a glass of wine/sake/champagne, so it got increasingly difficult to remember!).

After a couple weeks away, coming home was like coming back to a big warm hug. Dorothy was right – there’s no place like home.

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We spent Friday lollygagging around Rhinebeck. We tried to go for lunch in Poughkeepsie, then Hyde Park at the CIA (the bakery had a queue about a mile long!) so we just kept driving on into Rhinebeck and lunched at  Terrapin Red – a wee cafe with the most amazing burgers.  Choice like you can only get in America – choice of bread (ciabatta, sourdough, brioche roll), choice of filling (veggie, duck, beef, chicken, fish) and then an array of toppings and sauces.  I had a quarter pound bacon burger with maple mustard sauce, sherried onions, tomatoes and lettuce. Yummy. We also discovering Southern Tier Pumpking Beer.
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That stuff is witch juice!!!  Amazing – like Williy Wonka’s magical gum, every time I took up my glass the aromas would change from nutmeg to cinnamon, and each mouthful was seriously amazing.  Susan and I spent a good 10 minutes ooohing and ahhing over our beer!

We did a wee bit of shopping around Rhinebeck town, then went back to the hotel to meet up with Momma Sockstar – Carole from New Joisey.  We went off to the CIA and while it was still good fun. Ron MIskin of Buffalo Gold joined us for a really lovely evening. We giggled and knit, and drank Gin Cosmos. We toasted missing friends (Sam! Joan!). And just had to repeat our in the fountain shot.  We were slightly less inebriated this time, so noticed when our shoes and clothes got wet!  Sadly the photo isn’t so great – David took it at a more than safe distance away.  I’m the one looking like i’m conjuring up some demon spirit. You can kind of see Susan’s arm in the middle of the fountain (4 tall spires of water – and a little Susan arm sticking out at a 2 oclock angle)

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Saturday we got to Rhinebeck bright and early. Really early. Like 830 am early.  We beelined to Hatchtown to get ourselves one of their gorgeous spindles – they spin absolutely beautifully and are gorgeous to boot!  Wandered around fondling yarn.

I didn’t see Jane or Kate but did see Nathalie & Michelle, Ysolda, Laura Chau, Jess, Casey, Mary-Heather, Sarah & Spindle Rose
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Went to the Rav meet up on Saturday. Lots of woollys.

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And even a surprise visit from Bob! 🙂
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Susan wore her Coraline made in buffalo – see how we’re all bundled up? True to form that fibre keeps you toasty warm like you’ve got a mini heater strapped about your body.  Carole wore her Icarus shawl.

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There were sheep of course, but also these cuties

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There was food (we had the most amazing lamb sandwiches from the pot pie people)

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Pumpkin pie, of course…

And pumpkins!
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We picked up a copy of Clara’s new book ‘The Book of Wool‘, which she signed for us.  She even gave each person with her book a little piece of the most delectable cormo ever as a comfort talisman.  She carries a piece of it around with her and uses it like a stress stone – just stroke the softness when things get a little too jittery around you.

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Laura was signing her new book too.

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We even got a sneak peek at Ysolda’s new design (coming soon) – modelled by Ysolda herself – completely lovely!

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Saturday night we stayed in rather than head to the Rav party. The cold, and the distance (we are about an hour away) stayed our hand.  We picked up a bunch of micro brews, and got some pizza and just knit the night away.   The white top bottle is bloody mary. Sadly no Pumking (sold out) so we made do with some pale imitations.

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After a little show and tell (Susan’s haul left to right: Moosie, Boswort & Hatchtown on top of some Abby’s limited edition batt of pygora and something)
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and a little silliness (blame the pumkin juice)
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we took turns nodding off and falling asleep and finally had to call it a night.

Sunday was really a great day for Rhinebeck. Snow and rain were forecast for the Saturday but the weather held (and was, despite the cold, a beautiful clear day).  It was however a little too crowded for my tastes and I burned out pretty early in the day.  Sunday was a different story  – we wandered slowly.  It drizzled the entire day so the crowds thinned out quite a bit.  We wandered, wreaking havoc wherever we went. I found myself (by accident! I swear!) behind the counter at the pot pie place poking my nose into the delicious roast lamb pans… we met Gil from Robin’s Wheels who  was charming and lovely.  And his spindles!! Absolutely divine. Perfectly balanced, a wonderful spin!  I was lucky enough to have been given this beautiful Lily Spindle by Gil.  Love (1000).

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We met the boys from Red Maple Sportswear and got ourselves some of their toasty stripey alpaca socks, and I got a handwoven alpaca wrap and a toque. Was I glad to have the wrap – so warm!  And it was pretty dang cold on Sunday.  We fell in love with Verity as worn by M-H (the very one as photographed in the pattern) and we hunted for yarn to make our very own. It’s a quick knit – I cast on yesterday and am at the band now today.

We had dinner at Terrapin- and hogged the final few bottles of Pumking. Almost had a panic attack when the bartender started to talk about how he was out of Pumking, but thankfully he had 4 bottles left, and we came to an understanding that those were our private stash!  That stuff seriously has some kind of pumpkin vice in it – my lips went all weird and numb and my legs were on fire!  but boy did it taste good. We were joined at dinner by Ron, and the Still River Mill peeps.  I have to say we were all fired up on Pumking so were probably not the best dinner company… spent a fair amount of time laughing like lunatics and taking photos of each other pulling faces.

Ooh and knitter sighting – fell in LOVE with Prism’s Long Tailed Wrap in Prism Kid Slique in Tahoe.  Mimi Hyde, the owner of The Needle Lady was sitting with the wearer of aforementioned wrap and hopefully will confirm my fuzzy memory.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK

Reporting from Poughkeepsie, NY in the wee hours.  Arrived yesterday in the pouring rain – 6 degrees here! Boy am I glad I brought my wool socks.  Brrrrrrr.  Met up with Susan at the airport and we all piled into our massive beast of a car to drive up to Fishkill/Poughkeepsie (not sure which one, is it the same place?) to our hotel.  Pouring rain, kind of scary to drive when you can’t really see.  But we made it, driving through the cutest little main street to our hotel, which happens to over look a massive walmart.  D&I managed to stay up till about 11pm, though as usual I’m up at the crack of dawn (532 this morning).  Perfect time to blog! If i got up at 530 everyday I am sure I could get loads done!  Early bird, worm and all that.

Tonight is a repeat performance of last year’s visit to the CIA (that is the Culinary Institute of America) and tomorrow Rhinebeck.   Sadly we are missing both Joan & Sam so we’ll drink a toast to them tonight. It’s also Sam’s birthday so happy birthday to you!!

As promised here are some photos of the gorgeous Knitosophy sock yarn from Dream in Color.  Each colour is based on a painting by Veronica herself, with inspiring quotes to go with it.

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I’m knitting up the Laugh colour which is Green, Magenta, Turquoise, Purple, Deep Red – it’s still dark out so will wait until I’ve got better light to show you my Laughing Monkeys.

A little sneak peak at a new arrival to the shop – sterling silver stitch markers on a necklace.  Really cute.

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Now off to grab some coffee, breakfast and of course do a little knitting! Looking forward to seeing Nathalie & Michelle (it’s a Stash-fest!), Jane, Carol, Carole, and hopefully many more familiar faces.  Will report back on Rhinebeck – am going to go to  Clara Parkes’s book signing and pick up her new book – squeeee! – and will be keeping my eyes peeled for the latest squee-inspiring yarns and fibres.

PS thank you to everyone who bought my Aurantium Pattern.  Big hugs to each one of you!



Aurantium Shawl Pattern

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A while back you’ll remember we had an SMSKAL – that is a Socktopus Mystery Shawl KAL, held on Twitter.  There were over 100 participants in the KAL Twibe who knit up some beautiful shawls.

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Meg made an awesome green one. Sadie a gorgeous orange one. And Colorfan another lovely green one. Nora did hers in Malabrigo. Here is a shot of some of the gorgeous projects for this pattern on Ravelry.

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Well, the Aurantium Shawl pattern (my first ever for sale pattern!) can now be purchased as a Ravelry download for $6.50. You can buy it by clicking on the button, and it will take you to Paypal to complete check out.

Hope you like it and enjoy knitting it up. 🙂


Win Wollmeise!

We are taking part in the Macmillan Cancer Support Comfort Blanket campaign (which is linked to the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning). On Thursday 24 September a group of us got together at the Socktopus shop in London to knit squares to make up a lovely, cosy, comforting blanket which will be given to somebody who is living with cancer. I think we have all been touched by cancer in some way, and whilst we knit the square, we think about its impact, and hope that our blanket might make a small amount of difference to the person it is given to.

We realise that knitting a blanket isn’t enough, so we are fundraising too.  I’ve donated a skein of gorgeous Der Letze Versuch as a raffle prize.  Here’s a teaser… (slurpped from Lilith’s flickr stream, I couldn’t get the purple to show properly!)

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To be in with a chance to win, just make a donation at the Just Giving site here. Every £1 donated (excluding Gift Aid as that’ll make it too complicated) gets you a raffle entry, and Hattie, the driving force behind the Socktopus blanket, will draw the results on Saturday 10 October.

Macmillan have asked for blankets to made up of 40 separate squares so that is what we will be doing, collectively.  We are getting together on the 8th at Stash to do the sewing up.

Personal Footprints – on its way!

Just got the email to say Cat Bordhi’s new fabby book ‘Personal Footprints’ is winging its way across the Atlantic to us.  We’ll have them at Stash in a week’s time! Meanwhile you can preorder your copy online here.  Michelle you lucky thing – I can’t wait to get my hands on it.  From my experiments Cat’s new architecture looks to be the best fitting sock ever.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I’ve blogged. I know I say that alot, but I’m always truly surprised at how quickly the days flow through my fingers.  And with my sieve like memory it makes it hard to recreate the days…however I can say that a highlight was Sunday – a movie outing with my goddaughter.  One of the reasons for the new world order was to be able to take the time during day light hours to spend time with my charming GD.  We went to see Cloudy with a chance of meatballs, which was very enjoyable. Sophia offered to hold our hands in case we were frightened during the scary bits.  She announced that she loved me and her mom best in the world, and that she loved everyone she knew, but not everyone she didn’t know. I thought that was a sensible approach.  We rounded off the afternoon with a visit to Ottolenghi, where we demolished the worlds best caramel macadamia nut cheesecake.  Divine. Mmmmm.

So this week I had breakfast with Veronica Van of Dream in Color Yarn. She is over here volunteering for the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle.  Tom Hart Dyke, the man behind the garden, has a fascinating story – he was kidnapped while searching out seeds and plants and held prisoner for 9 months.  He was released without explanation (after a 3 million dollar ransom request), and wrote a book with his travelling companion called Cloud Garden. It’s next on my reading list. Back to yarn – Veronica brought over some of her amazing Knitosophy yarn… I’ll post piccies later. The yarn is Smooshy base, but the colours are Veronica’s creation, completely random, utterly gorgeous. A surprise in every skein. We’re getting some in to Stash for hopefully November. Yay!

Saturday DH and I did what we haven’t been able to in ages – sort out the house! Another reason for the new world order! Day light hours and time to tidy up. We got a new sofa recently and so have a living room that is now cosy and a nice place to cuddle up.  😀 Next room to tackle is the spare room.

Thursday night was the first knit night at Stash – lovely!  One of my absolute favourite bits about Socktopus was the knit nights. The long hours, working weekends, working every day, that sort of sucked. But the knit nights were always the highlight of my week. And so they continue to be.  Socktopus o’Clock – long may you last.

And phew, I’m getting close to finishing my update – Monday was a Yarn Tasting at Stash, with their Yarn of the Month Mulberry Dyer.  I learned all about natural dyes, Inditin (I think that is how it is spelled) and the origin of the expression ‘taking the piss’. Lovely lovely dyers, very knowledgeable. I loved the alpaca/silk lace and the 100% alpaca sock yarn.

And today – more drama with Deuce. He’s been sniffling and snuffling more than usual, and had a running nose over the weekend. We thought he’d gotten better, but this morning he was trembling whenever he inhaled.  I took him straight to the vet, and it turns out he has something stuck up his nose, and has a mild infection. Some antibiotics were prescribed, and the hope is that it will all clear by the weekend. Hopefully whatever is lodged in his wee nostril will get sneezed out.  If not, the vet will have to go in and extract it. Sigh.  My poor little monkey.  I guess when your whole face gets smooshed into the ground when you sniff things, bits are bound to get snuffled up there.

Oh and finally, the October Sock Club sock went out last week. Really love this one, and hope everyone does too! 😀