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Ad Hoc beef Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc Sunday Brunch 11.09.08

We went to Ad Hoc for brunch today with some friends (and Ad Hoc virgins). I think brunch is a great way to introduce Ad Hoc to the unitiated. The menu follows the pictures.


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SUNDAY BRUNCH

Deviled Eggs
bibb lettuce salad, fra’mani salami, sweet carrots
shaved fennel, marinated cucumbers, palladin toast

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Rustichella Rigatoncini
with Prime Ribeye Beef

garbanzo beans, baby arugula, shaved parmesean
chanterelle mushrooms

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Blood Orange Granité
sugar cookie
toasted almonds

I’m not really sure if I can pinpoint the real highlight of this meal, but the Blood Orange Granité is a strong contender. Those are strong sentiments when you consider the main course included prime ribeye with chanterelles and pasta and was one of the best entrees I’ve eaten at Ad Hoc.

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Ad Hoc fried chicken Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 9/17/08 (Anniversary Dinner)

It was our third wedding anniversary, Thomas Keller was in the house, and it was fried chicken night at Ad Hoc. Not a bad way to celebrate.


Salad of Petite Romaine Hearts
marinated white anchovies, pickled red onions
torn garlic croutons, creamy anchovy dressing

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken
tfl garden cucumber salad
country style whipped potatoes

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The Cheese Board
marshall’s farm honey
spiced nuts

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Parfait
house made granola, black mission figs
vanilla cream

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I also found out that our anniversary is the day after Ad Hoc’s anniversary (it was their second) and may explain why Keller was in town. Our waiter, Dan, said Keller was at Ad Hoc three nights in a row, and when I asked why they also served fried chicken last Monday, he said Keller was hosting some friends and they wanted to eat fried chicken. Add that to the normal Wednesday night fried chicken and fried chicken night tomorrow, and that’s three fried chicken nights in eight days. If you’re an Ad Hoc fried chicken junkie…it’s been a good week.

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Ad Hoc – 9/7/08

So we went back to Ad Hoc so that my sister in law could try their brunch. As luck would have it, Prime Ribeye with Poached Eggs was the main entree, but check out the Smoked Pork Bruschetta. Here’s the menu and pics:


Smoked Pork Bruschetta
bailey long pork tenderloin, red onion marmalade, living watercress
tfl garden cucumber & fennel salad

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Prime Ribeye and Poached Eggs
heirloom tomatoes, garlic potato cakes
red wine jus

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Parfait
jacobsen orchard nectarine jelly
housemade granola

 

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As we talked and joked with the staff during the meal, it occurred to me that next Wednesday is not only our wedding anniversary, it’s also fried chicken night. So we’re going back next week, and holding out hope that they might serve fried chicken and waffles for dinner.

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Ad Hoc Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 8/31/08

You don’t have to go to Slow Food Nation to appreciate some slow food. In fact, one of the best ways to revel in slow food is to head up to Yountville, get some goodies at Bouchon Bakery and have dinner at Ad Hoc. My sister-in-law is in town for the next week, so naturally, we took her to Ad Hoc. In fact, halfway through dinner, we made a reservation for this week’s Sunday brunch. If you still haven’t made your way up to Ad Hoc, Sunday Brunch is a great way to be introduced to the restaurant. But enough about brunch…I’ll post pictures of that next week. :-)

Coincidentally, the first anniversary of the Ad Hoc Menu Archive is on Sep. 1, so this was something else to commemorate (although this wasn’t planned out like our Ad Hoc anniversary.)

Here’s last night’s menu:


Three Bean Salad
rancho gordo heirloom beans, haricots verts, red onions,
tfl garden tomatoes, sherry vinaigrette

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin
brentwood sweet corn, wilted spinach, pine nuts,
roasted marble potatoes, eggplant mustard

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Capriole Dairy’s
Mont St. Francis

glazed peaches
toasted brioche

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Ice Cream Sundaes
california strawberries, crushed pecans,
chocolate and caramel sauces


Check out the corn on the cob. It was definitely the unexpected star of the meal. We even asked for a second helping.

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Ad Hoc beef Italian reviews steak Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc — 07.25.08

My friend Maria was in town on business, which gave us another excuse to go to Ad Hoc. I learned there were some issues with the menu on this night. Originally, the main course was supposed to be veal osso buco, but by the time we arrived for our 9pm reservation, the main course was prime New York steak. Apparently the osso buco wasn’t up to standard and they made some changes on the fly. A coworker who had been there earlier in the evening said he was served pork belly and that they made the menu change after the first table had received their osso buco.


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While I was bummed about not being able to get my hands on some osso buco, the steak was really good. But the revelation of the meal was the Heirloom Tomato Salad—thick, juicy, and meaty tomatoes with mixed greens and kernels of Brentwood corn.

Can’t wait to go back in August when my sister-in-law comes to town.

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Ad Hoc beef Northern California reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc – 6/29/08

Our first visit to Ad Hoc was a year ago today, and though it might seem strange to commemorate the occasion, I had a major culinary epiphany that evening. If you read my review of that first Ad Hoc dinner, I think you can actually see the light bulbs going off in my head as dinner progressed. The entire experience made me reevaluate how I thought about food and cooking, and in many ways, it’s why this blog even exists.

That first visit was followed by 13 more in the last 12 months, including our Ad Hoc “anniversary” dinner last night. (We did celebrate our second wedding anniversary there last September with some delicious Texas-style Barbecue.) The ever-changing daily menu helped spawn the Ad Hoc Menu Archive, one of this site’s most popular pages. You can see all of my Ad Hoc-related posts, including my attempts at replicating their awesome fried chicken, on this page.

Last night’s meal seemed to take this year-long Ad Hoc journey full circle. It featured beef short ribs, one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world (esp. when sous vide is involved), and it was the focal point of our first visit to Ad Hoc. Of course, Ad Hoc always finds ways to change things up so they don’t serve you the exact same meal twice.

Here’s last night’s menu:


Endive and Arugula Salad
prosciutto di san daniele, pine nuts, shaved fennel,
piquillo peppers, sherry vinaigrette

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Strawberry Mountain Beef Short Ribs
young broccolini, sweet carrots, buttered farro

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Fourgerus
porcini and morel mushroom ragout

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Peach and White Nectarine Cobbler
k & j orchards yellow peaches,
vanilla ice cream

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Ad Hoc chicken fried chicken Northern California reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – Mother’s Day Brunch

We weren’t with our mothers this year, but I’m sure they would have loved this brunch… :-)

MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH

Smoked Trout Salad
Romaine spears, celery hearts, toasted walnuts,
fuji apples, creamy pepper dressing

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Fried Chicken-n-Waffles
wilted spinach, slow cooked hen egg,
hobb’s bacon, vermont maple syrup

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Strawberries and Cream
strawberries, mascarpone cream, shortbread cookie.

 

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Ad Hoc Northern California Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc (Easter Brunch)

It was a beautiful, glorious Easter Sunday, Thomas Keller was in the house (eating, not cooking), and Ad Hoc served up an amazing brunch featuring Duck Confit and Waffles. If you haven’t heard, Ad Hoc is now offering Sunday brunch, with seatings available from 10:30am–2pm. Here’s some pictures for ya while you decide whether or not you want to make a reservation. :-)


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Ad Hoc fried chicken reviews soul food Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc (12/31/07)

In honor of tonight’s biweekly fried chicken night at Ad Hoc, I thought I’d share the amazing New Year’s Eve brunch Ad Hoc offered to close out 2007.


Chicken and Waffles

The menu was centered around one of my favorite foods—fried chicken and waffles—and it’s something I’ve always wanted Ad Hoc to offer as a regular meal. I don’t know if they’ll make it a New Year’s fixture, but I was just glad I had the opportunity to experience this glorious meal. Pictures of the full spread follow the menu, and I’ll let them speak for themselves.


Salad & High Tea Sandwiches
baby mixed greens with sherry vinaigrette
ham and cheese, cucumber mint, lobster salad sandwich

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Fried Chicken & Waffles
spinach and poached eggs, hoppin’ john
fingerling potato hash with hobbs bacon

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Capriole Dairy’s
Crocodile Tear

cara cara orange marmalade
and candied pecans

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Huckleberry & Banana Parfait
with house granola

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Ad Hoc beef chicken fried chicken soul food sous vide Thomas Keller

A Comfort Food Christmas

This year, instead of a traditional Christmas dinner, we decided to do meal composed of comfort food, i.e. fried chicken, beef short ribs, flap steak, mac and cheese, bacon smashed potatoes, and chocolate cake. The fried chicken and short ribs were inspired by the food we’ve had at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, and in fact, the fried chicken recipe is based on the Ad Hoc version that was published in Food and Wine magazine in October 2007.

What this actually means, of course, is that we cooked all the entrees sous vide. I got a 60C/140F water bath going and started the beef short ribs on Dec. 22 so that it would cook for 48 hours. I added the flap steak, which I found really cheap at Costco, to the water bath about 12 hours before serving. The chicken was brined overnight as specified in the recipe and then placed in the water bath about two hours before we started frying. The 140F temperature is a little low for chicken, but we were still going to fry it so getting it up to the “safe” temperature of 160F wasn’t too much of a concern.


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Overall, these were the best sous vide dishes I’ve made to date. After getting some tips from Nick, Ad Hoc’s general manager, on a trip to Ad Hoc the day after Thanksgiving, the short ribs we produced were perfect. I might try them at a lower temperature next time so they’re a little more rare, but I stuck with 140 because we were working with chicken, as well.

The flap steak was initially a stop gap in case we didn’t have enough food, but they ended up being one of the stars of the dinner. After removing from the water bath, I seared them really quickly on one side for appearance’s sake and then cut them on the bias for presentation.

The chicken probably didn’t need to be cooked sous vide, but I’ve been doing it this way to ensure that the chicken is really moist and tender when it’s finally served.

I’ll post the recipes for the mac and cheese and smashed potatoes later, but in the mean time, you can see what they looked in the slideshow. My cousin brought corn and salad (not pictured) and the delicious chocolate tunnel cake that finished the meal.

It’s been a couple years since my wife and I took over the cooking duties at major holidays, so the main goal is to make sure that my mom likes the food. So far she’s been impressed, but I’m trying to figure out if we should do something more traditional next year, or should we start a sous vide short ribs and fried chicken tradition for the holidays?

What do you think?