October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

If you have not seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again.

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

The first computer I ever bought for myself was an original Mac.

I bought it in 1984, the year it first came out. It had 128k of memory (the "Fat Mac" with 512k came out a couple of years later) and one floppy disk drive. It was bundled with MacWrite, MacPaint, and I think that was it. (Was there a spreadsheet for it back then? I can't really remember)

It cost about $3,000 (I doubt I was making $3,000/mo at the time. Imagine what I could buy with a month's salary now!) and it was almost completely impractical.

I have never felt better about any purchase in my life.

That original Mac was about the coolest thing I had laid my hands on. I had been working in the Software business for about three years at that point (I was 27 years old. 2 years younger than Steve Jobs) and had plenty of experience with Command Line (look it up) driven interfaces. Just sitting down to the Mac was a revelation.

Steve Jobs did  that.

I would like to thank him for that, and everything else he has done.

He changed the world.

October 2, 2011

Eleven Madison Park

Doreen and I spent last weekend in New York City for our tenth anniversary. It was a great, though short, trip. I may write more about the rest of the trip later, but I wanted to remember the meal we had at Eleven Madison Park for our celebration dinner. (This was the celebration for the two of us. We had our group celebration the week before)

EMP (as those in the know lovingly call it) is a really wonderful place to eat. We had eaten there once before and loved it so much we have wanted to go back ever since. It is one of those places that is sort of hard to get reservations for, but we got online and were lucky.

We took a cab from our hotel (London NYC) and arrived at the restaurant right on time (I think it was 7:15). We were greeted warmly, and offered congratulations on our 10th anniversary. (Yes, I let them know).

We were seated in a lovely and coveted corner deuce, and were greeted by one of the many folks that would be serving us that evening. We ordered a couple of coups of a great champagne, a Pouillon Premier Cru Brut Vigneron, from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ in the Vallée de la Marne. It was a grower champagne (I always love grower champagnes.) and was perfect for sitting there and enjoying our gougers:

 and we were shown the menus.

We had the choice of a four course meal, were we would pick one from column a, one from column b, etc. It came with a wine course, or, of course, you could select your own wine. There was also a "Chef's Selection" menu, where you got what you got. This, too, came with a wine course.

We were brought the bread, with both goat's and cow's milk butter.

We chose the Chef's Selection. We were very lucky that there was a special guest chef that evening. It was Mauro Colagreco from the restaurant Mirazur in France. He was working with EMP's Executive Chef Daniel Humm. And what a job they did! After the gougers, we had Tomato Tea with Parmesan Lavash and Thyme:

It tasted like a liquid, perfect tomato. I am not sure how they made it, but it something that I would love to make if I had perfect tomatoes. Of course, if I had perfect tomatoes, I would probably just eat them. We had enough champagne to finish off the tea. Next, we had a fluke and scallop ceviche:

which was served with a Sake - Dewazakura Oka. Nice touch with the raw fish. It was a cold sake, made from highly polished rice. The mollusks were delightful and the fish was sublime. There was basil, Meyer lemon, and tangerine with the seafood. It was a nice combination of tart and a touch sweet. The acid in the sake cut through everything.

One thing about EMP is that it seems that they have so much fun there. The next dish was this:

which looked like lollipops. It was lollipops. Goat cheese lollipops. It came with beets and croquettes with watercress vinaigrette.

Next was a Sea Urchin Cappuccino:

which was as strange as it sounds. But I can tell you that you wanted to lick the inside of the sea urchin shell. I can't even describe how buttery and rich it was.With this course we had a Schloss Schönborn Winkel Hasensprung Spätlese Trocken Riesling. I love Rieslings with food. I love Rieslings alone, too.

After that, there was an EMP tribute to a clam bake:

It was cute. Clams, chorizo, corn, potato, and beer. A South Hampton Saison Deluxe. What is not to like about a clam bake?

Images get a little sketchier after this.

The next course (there were a total of 13 names courses.) was Artichoke Salad with Fennel and Lemon Puree. It was served with Pichler-Krutzler Loibner Klostersatz Grüner Veltliner. I have always enjoyed GVs. The sommelier, a young woman from Wisconsin (!) was excellent. I inadvertently offended her when I did not recognize her Master Sommelier pin. But we made up later.

Next up was a foie gras dish. Foie with Plum, Bitter Almond, and Umeboshi. The smell reminded me of the fate of unrequited love. Of course, the wine was perfectly matched, a sweet Kracher Beerenauslese. Delightful.

I don't have a photo of the Quinoa Risotto  with Mushrooms, Parmesan, and Parsley. It was served with a White Burgundy (but not just any White Burgundy. A 2004 Jean-Marc Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet). This was a black and white quinoa . I had no idea that there was a black quinoa. But, as you can imagine, it was good. Chef Colagreco is from Argentina, so maybe that is why he wanted quinoa.

We went back to seafood with a Lobster butter poached with Marcona almonds and Chamomile Consommé. This was served with a Chateau Grillet Rhone - a voingier. A great choice with the lobster. A strong, dry white wine that can stand up to almost anything.

Then we had a roasted lamb with eggplant, sheep's milk yogurt, and sweetbreads. I just love sweetbreads. The Lamb was good, but not transcendent. The sweetbreads were. We had a Cote Rotie (Patrick Jasmin) with this dish. Syrah goes well with lamb. It also goes well with sweetbreads.

We then had a fresh ricotta with yellow beets, gooseberries, and fleur de sel.  Served with a Weingut Alfred Merkelbach, Urziger Wurzgarten Spätlese, another slightly sweet Riesling. It was an evening of Rieslings.

Before our last two courses they took us back to see the kitchen. It was a spectacular operation. Almost perfectly quiet, and as clean as an operating room, it was obvious  that every person had an exact task. While there, they used their liquid nitrogen to make us a frozen passion fruit cocktail. The magic of molecular gastronomy!

Finally, we were back at our table. They made us an EMP Egg Cream (Malted Caramel, Cream, Egg, and seltzer water)

And at last they brought us some chocolates. A lot of chocolates, and a Vin Santo.

The meal ended with a bottle of Cognac left on the table. "As much as you want" they said.

We only had one glass. We could not possibly have had more.