Saturday, October 23, 2010

Deep Fry Everything


If you make it known that you are into food in any way, shape, or form, someone will eventually ask you the question: What would you eat as your last meal?

It's a question to which I have never been able to provide a satisfactory answer. If I say my mom's green chile chicken enchilada casserole then I'd feel like I was cheating on the perfectly cooked rib eye with garlic mashed potatoes, which would make me feel bad for fois gras and soft-shelled crab from the Chesapeake Bay, not to mention my aunt's baked spaghetti. To me, this is like asking if I could wear only one pair of shoes for the rest of my life or drive only one kind of car or marry only . . . (um, never mind on that score). Suffice it to say, I've never been able to come up with just one thing.

Until now.

Now, I do believe I can say with certainty that if I only had one night left on earth and some kind and intrepid soul helped me fill it with my fill of something good to eat, it would at this point have to be a big ol' plate of Jennifer James' fried oysters with basil aïoli.

Last night, S.B. and I got prettied up and went to eat at what I believe is one of the very few restaurants in Albuquerque 100 percent focused on making serious food, without being overly precious about it. Jennifer James 101 is the third restaurant owned and operated by a gal whose dedication to her craft has earned her near-rock star status as a chef. Certainly, given her accolades, she doesn't need to spend hours on end each night in front of her stove, cooking and plating almost every dish that hits the tables, but she does, which means when you eat at Jennifer James 101, you are literally eating her cooking.

I wish I'd taken a picture, those oysters were so beautiful. The waiter said they came from Washington, plucked out of some bay whose name I don't remember, but their girth made me wonder what the heck all those hippies are dumping in the water up there. Because when it comes to fried oysters, size does matter. One of the most pleasurable sensations in the world is biting through a crunchy crust of deep fried batter (tempura-style in this case, not corn mealed) to hit that distinctive, briny/sweet pillow of plump that is a perfectly cooked oyster. Add some garlic and pesto mayo for contrast and you've got heaven on a plate.

Oh, for the main course, we ordered the wild boar, cooked pot-roast style and coated with a fragrant red wine and rosemary sauce, served with polenta (cooked to resemble mashed potatoes), grilled radicchio, and dice-sized chunks of Gorgonzola. Which was equally divine. As well as amusing. Because nothing breaks the ice with an overly-earnest server like asking where, exactly, Ms. Jennifer James shot her piggy.

Still, I would have traded it all for one more plate. Of those oysters.

23 comments:

Heff said...

Hell, I'd eat a TURD as long as it was deep-fried !

Good luck against Cam Newton today, MUHUHAAHAHHAHHHAAA !!!

moi said...

Heff: Bite Moi. But I mean that with affection.

Boxer said...

I believe we pump our oysters with a ton of rain water, little sunshine and a spinkle of Hippie Mojo?

Or, maybe steroids.

Heff's comment made me spit out my coffee. I'm so glad you and the Man got prettied up and had yourselves a well earned night out having dinner. :-)

moi said...

Boxer: Whatever y'all's secret, hippie oysters rock!

Heff said...

Hey, you guys DO have a good chance of beating us, even though your coach is a complete DUMBASS.....

Big Shamu said...

EXCELLENT (murmured in Mr. Burns speak) I see all went according to plan. Except did you overindulge to the point of not getting dessert?
I guess I know where we're going when we come to town.

Karl said...

Good afternoon Moi,

Good oysters can't be beat and those look delicious.(The whole meal does) She must fly them the 1200 miles. I wonder what it's like getting a bushel of oysters through security.

Pam said...

Oh yummmmmmmm. Have no doubt it is a heavenly dish indeed. Hope you wore some totally fabulous shoes to dinner.

moi said...

Heff: Well . . .

Shamu: Whaddya kidding me, of course we had dessert. But it wasn't nearly as impressive. Which goes to prove my long-held belief that restaurants that serve great desserts employ pastry chefs. That being said, that's a good chunk of change to plunk down . . . so we had a passable chocolate bundt and chocolate/pumpkin tort.

Karl: I can't imagine what hoops restauranteurs have to jump through to ship stuff in. At least oysters don't wear shoes.

moi said...

Pam: Why yes I did. These: http://www.6pm.com/dkny-bella-grey

Which, I might add, I got for $55 dollars at the fashion discount site Gilt Group, back in the spring. Homie don't pay retail.

Heff said...

Hey, GOOD GAME, Moi. Not good enough, LOL !!!

K9 said...

what does that mean she cooks it all herself? are there just a few tables? does the menu change often to reflect her mood. where are the other 2 restaurants?
nice writing on food. i dont like oysters (surprise shamu!) so even deep fried it doesnt work for me. but i do love tempura shrimp and tempura veggies and know what you mean about biting through the crisp to the meat.

PNW Big Ass Oyster said...

We pity the fool who thinks the PNW is just for salmon!

Pam said...

Moly Moly Moly, those are SOME shoes. And a bargain at that. Thanks for sharing! (Note to self: Must up the game re shoe wardrobe ... no wait, must get a game re shoe wardrobe)

moi said...

Heff: They were trading touchdowns back and forth like pinballs. Auburn just got there first. That Cam Newton can RUN!

K9: I think the place seats about 40. The kitchen is open, so you can see everyone working, and every time I've been there, she's never moved from that stove. Menu changes four times a year, with additions and deletions according to her mood and what's available. The other two restaurants are closed. This is her one and only.

PNW: Or hippies! We KNOW there are some conservatives lurking, too :o)

Pam: Bwahahahahaha! I can help with that. Although, I don't recommend those shoes as an example of cute and comfortable. They're strictly cab-to-curb-to-table.

fishy said...

My life is complete.
I now know what is the perfect shoe for eating oysters, boar and gargonzola!

Aunty Belle said...

grilled radicchio?

must try that.


Fergit blogger anonymity --I'd know ya anywhere --the shoes will give ya away!!

czar said...

Presuming these were appetizers? Even at the finest fancy-eatin' places, the appetizers are just about always better than the entrees. What is Moi's take on why that is?

moi said...

Fishy: Yes, but not for walking more than a couple hundred yards.

Aunty: That would be a fun post: bloggers, show us your shoes! As for the grilled radicchio, that was the least impressive part of the meal. Bitter.

Czar: Smaller portions = greater attention to quality and detail, is my guess.

LaDivaCucina said...

Mmmmmmm.....MMMM! Sho looks good, Mizz Moi! I'm SO GLAD you guys had a nice night out! We are overdue too. I love making the polenta soft and serving like mash, got into that habit back in 'stralia. Yes. Fried oysters. po boy. remoulade. Damn, I'm hungry!

Re: paying retail, I went to Burlington Coat factory the other day and picked up an eggplant cashmere wool blend by Calvin Klein for $100. Went to Macy's later, saw the exact same coats from Ellen Tracey, Klein, Miss Sixty, Guess, all full price $200-$300!!! The cookie monster coat has been retired.

Anonymous said...

Goals determine what you are going to be.
http://www.michaelkorsoutletei.com/ 3t5x9q5a8m9c7l3x
http://buy.hairstraighteneraustraliae.com/ 8c2a2v3c2s9y3o9i
http://www.burberryoutletsalexs.com/ 7w6a4j1r2b7a1y9p
http://www.cheapnikesshoescs.com/ 2m4f9i1z0v3y6a0h
http://www.longchampsaleukxz.com/ 7b5t7n6r3j0i4q9j
http://www.nflnikejerseysshopse.com/ 9c6l5z0t8o1d0o5z
http://www.uggsaustralianorges.com/ 0p1t8k6h9b5h0b2o
http://www.cheapnikeshoesfreeruns.com/ 2t7q1o5s2x6v6a4p
http://www.cheapfashionshoesas.com/ 4g8o4s2m6w7r6s9t
http://www.cheapbootsforsale2013s.com/ 9w8o8d2a5w0u4z8q
http://www.buybeatsbydrdrexs.com/ 2q0w4m8w0o9v7y8v

Anonymous said...

cheap ugg boots hjwcwmhn cheap uggs munbidrg ugg boots sale jhxyxgjf ugg boots uk zndhmhob ugg boots uzsojpff ugg sale pjnescyo

Anonymous said...

nike outlet yteoullo cheap nike shoes mspeyyel cheap nike gocuyumf nike shoes