Food-Parade of Our Weekend Including Journeyman Restaurant Review

Let us begin this week with a photo-parade about our at home eats and our dining out experience at Journeyman Restaurant.

We began the weekend without a CSA, or winter market.  We actually didn’t go grocery shopping either.  We sort of made a pact to try to live off of the last bit of produce in our fridge, and our heap of ‘put away’ food.  We’ll see how that works out for us over the course of the week.

Carrots, Celeriac, and Turnip, all awaiting a watery grave of chicken soup. 🙂

We had soup using the stock I made Friday morning.

The chicken stock produced from my long simmering earlier in the day.

Friday Dinner: Chicken-Spelt Soup with Winter Veggies, served with buttered Oatmeal Sandwich Bread Toast.

More oranges being cooked for our chocolate-orange-almond flourless cupcakes.

Friday Dessert: Chocolate-Orange-Almond Flourless Cupcakes with melted chocolate on top.

Saturday Morning: Shera Kitty in her fantastic new kitty sweater. I don't think she likes it....

Saturday Breakfast: Spiced Cornmeal Molasses Pudding with sliced apple and maple syrup.

Saturday Lunch: Leftover Chicken-Spelt-Veggie Soup with added spinach and served with butter toast.

Saturday Snack/After Lunch Dessert: Taza Chocolate and Dates sent to us from my sister in CA. Thanks Gret!

Journeyman:

For Saturday Dinner, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner out.  Theresa had heard about Journeyman, a fairly new restaurant in Union Square on another foodie blog, and was quite interested.  It was a restaurant that favored local and seasonal ingredients, but unlike other locavore joints, this one had less of a homey New England menu, and had more trendy gastro-influences using artisanal ingredients to make delicious and novel creations.  Intrigued, and interested in trying something a little new, we headed to Union Square after landing a reservation for 5:30 (otherwise we would have had to wait until 8:45).  The location of the place is almost at the back of an alley way, off of Washington St.  It had a very hidden feeling, like accidentally wandering into a secret garden.

Journeyman Menu. There are three major options: 3 course, 5 course, 7 course meals, with the 3 and 5 course having vegetarian or omnivore offerings.

Journeyman Ambiance. Rustic but contemporary: window boxes adorning the front of the restaurant.

Beautiful Woodwork adds a sense of unrefined elegance.

The kitchen was open to the dining space. This gave a sense of transparency and made it feel like the kitchen was another guest to your party. The interplay between wait staff and kitchen chefs and cooks was well synchronized, and interesting to watch on its own, let alone how things were being made in the kitchen.

We decided to try the five course meal, myself getting the vegetarian offerings, Theresa getting the omnivore offerings, with a pact to share everything equally, and a promise to take pictures of the whole affair.  We also got the wine pairings for the meal, but decided not to go into too much documentation on that one… I think it’s pretty obvious that we’re more food focused here.

A complementary face pleaser: A Pretty Things's American Darling Pale Lager and Chickpeas Three Ways: Fresh Chickpeas, Cooked Dried Chickpeas, Chickpea paste with lemon juice and cumin served with microgreens and pickled carrot. All together, it had a bright refreshing flavor, with a complex interplay of tastes between ingredients.

Bread: Two rye breads: Pumpkin Seed and Caraway. The Pumpkin seed rye bread was deliciously mellow with the caraway seed rye having a robust sour-rye quality. Both very pleasing.

Winter salad with sautéed spinach, white potato mash, beet mayonnaise, two colored beets, black radish, sunchokes and roasted garlic paste. This salad was really appropriately a winter salad. It had a heavy weight between the sautéed spinach, root vegetables and deeply savory sauces. It wasn't overdone since it was a very small serving, allowing you to enjoy the heaviness and unique flavors of individual root vegetable flavors.

Cauliflower soup with pickled cauliflower, mushrooms, fresh cauliflower, greens, and soy sauce beads. This soup was divinely creamy. A dreamy creaminess that I never though cauliflower soup could ever be. The pickled cauliflower was a good sharp contrast in flavor, and the soy sauce beads were very novel (like soy soaked tapioca beads, but softer, like they wanted to pop in your mouth) and added a perfect salty finish.

Two types of bivalves with baby bok choy and pillows of tomato confit in chicken broth. This dish was quite a umami-fest. Delicious clam, I mean extraordinarily fresh, tender and savory, with a rich savory sauce. The pillows burst in your mouth and added a nice mellow character to dish.

Butternut squash custard with miso foam, served with a potato and pine nut biscotti. This was perhaps my favorite. The butternut squash custard was like a rich dessert, only savory, with miso foam on top with finely grated mushroom that perfectly complemented the custard and brought deep complex flavors to the dish. The biscotti made it feel like a cappuccino, but once you dug in, it was a surreal savory cup of dreamy, cloud-like winter squash pudding. Faboo.

Leg of duck with white beans, gilfeather turnip puree and pickled watermelon radish. This was a good standard winter locavore dish. The duck was succulent, and puree was very flavorful, and the pickled watermelon radish was a delightful bright addition in visual and taste appeal.

Blue cheese wheat berry risotto, roasted leeks and kohlrabi, and pickled watermelon radish. The roasted kohlrabi and leeks created an unusually delightful and surprisingly rich topping for the wheatberries, and the wheatberries were very strongly infused with blue cheese, without revealing the blue cheese's whereabouts. Yet again, nice use of pickled watermelon radish to complement heavier savory flavors.

Pork loin with rye spaetzle, sauerkraut and crab apple three ways: sorbet, mustard sauce and compote sauce. This was a unique take on a classic combination of flavors; pork, sauerkraut, rye and tart apple. The pork loin was immaculate. It was extraordinarily flavorful.... almost too flavorful to describe. It had lovely hints of bacon from the slow cooked fat, and the apple in its various guises complemented it perfectly.

We had a complementary palate cleanser here, I believe white rice gelato or sorbet with lime jelly and elderberry foam.  Very dynamic combination.

Coconut dessert with coconut pound cake, coconut panna cotta, coffee cream, coffee tapioca balls and meyer lemon gelato. What can I say. The lemon gelato was intense, the panna cotta dreamy, the coffee cream was thick and rich, the pound cake was just plain good pound cake, and the coffee tapioca beads were an unusual addition that brought many of the flavors together.

Last compliment of the chef: Walnut merengue cookies. Good meringue cookies, with intense walnut flavor. How did they manage to get all that walnut flavor into such a small cookie? I will never know.

As you can see, we had an intense gastronomic experience. We obviously enjoyed it, food, wine, ambiance, staff and all.  Every plate was a unique and carefully crafted sensory experience that demonstrated that the dining at Journeyman is truly a culinary art.  The food was surreal, with innovative combinations, unexpected flavors and textures, while still being wonderfully delicious.  Although it is not your homey locavore joint, it wasn’t pretentious; a little trendy, expensive, and foodie centric (our meal lasted about three glorious hours), yes, but it focused on high quality local artisanal ingredients and the talent of their chefs to create a unique and refined experience.   We enjoyed that intense and novel experience.  It was pricey, and therefore, not a place that we would go to often.  However, it was quite a highly crafted experience, that I think merits the price, but also merits being a special experience for special occasion.

The last of our more humble weekend food:

Sunday lunch:  Teddie Peanut Butter and Homemade Blackberry Jam on Oatmeal Sandwich bread.  A quick meal on the go that didn’t get documented.

Sunday Dinner: Winter Mexican Casserole: Chorizo Sausage, Butternut Squash, Corn, Tomato, Peppers, Onions, Shredded zucchini, with a Sweet Potato Crust.

A delish combination of winter vegetables, preserved produce from the summer and mexican spices.

A sweet finish to our weekend: Stewed Strawberries with a dollop of Herrels' Chocolate Fudge. Nom.

That was our weekend of eats.  It was quite a full experience. I hope everyone else had a lovely weekend.

This morning is pretty promising; sunny and warm.  Not a bad start to the week.

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4 Responses to Food-Parade of Our Weekend Including Journeyman Restaurant Review

  1. Mubs says:

    Journeyman sounds really interesting– especially for a once urban now suburban-ite! Do you have a recipe reference for the Winter Mexican casserole or is that your own recipe? It sounds good plus I have a bunch of cilantro that I bought frivolously at the farmers market 2 weeks ago and haven’t used. Thx.

    • I have lots of idea references for the Winter Casserole (Moosewood, Nikki and David, Bittman), but no one direct source of inspiration. It was a freezer and pantry dump and pray recipe. The filling was a canned tomato base, with chiorzo sausage, corn, onions, frozen shredded zucchini and leftover chopped butternut squash. I measured nothing, as this was an “OMG Laura will be home in half an hour” dinner. Cook the sausage first, remove when well browned. Add the canned tomatoes and cook until it beings to reduce to a sauce. Use this time to chop onion, measure out corn, pry frozen summer squash from its bag, peel and chop winter squash. Dump the whole mess in with the tomatoes. Add spices as you see fit here. I used cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Really good sausage can really help the flavors go a long way. Cook until stew-like and winter squash is tender.

      Now, I debated here. Serve as a stew? You can top with sour cream/yogurt, cilantro, cheese, etc, with cornbread on the side.

      OR! You can dump it in a dish and top with mashed sweet potatoes and broil until hot and crisp on top, then serve with lovely toppings. I also toyed with the idea of dumping cornbread batter on top and cooking until the bread was done, but my pan was near on overflowing as it was, so that was a non-starter.

      I’m terrible at writing (or following for that matter) recipes. I have a pretty laid back attitude to cooking. Don’t eat meat, add fake sausage or beans. No frozen summer squash? No sweat, don’t add it. Use sweet potatoes in place of winter squash. Etc. Be brave! I would love to see what you can do with nothing more than a good idea!

  2. Magda says:

    Oh goodness that looks delicious!!! There was certainly a range of colors and flavors going on at journeyman!
    I miss you two! Call me! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Cleaning Out the Fridge Day 1: Taking Inspiration from Professionals | The Lovely Locavore Ladies of Boston

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