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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

~

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

~

Fourgerus
porcini and morel mushroom ragout

~

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

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Categories
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

~

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

~

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 breakfast Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc to offer Sunday Brunch in late March

Ad Hoc BrunchAd Hoc says they’re going to start offering family-style Sunday brunches beginning Mar. 23rd, which also happens to be Easter Sunday. If that means there’s more fried chicken and waffles to look forward to, then I’m a happy guy.

The pictures in the collage are from the New Year’s Eve Brunch that I wrote about a couple days ago. I can’t say whether or not Ad Hoc’s ears were burning, but Sunday brunch at Ad Hoc sounds like a great way to kick off Spring.

I just called and made my reservation. You can do the same at 707.944.2487.

Categories
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

~

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

~

Huckleberry & Banana Parfait
with house granola

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Categories
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?

Categories
Ad Hoc pork reviews Thomas Keller

Ad Hoc (10.07.07)

We’ve been trying to stay away from Ad Hoc until my birthday (and fried chicken night) on the 22nd, but last weekend, my friend Patty called and said she was going to be in the Bay Area before going home to Thailand, and she really wanted to go to Ad Hoc. Who was I to refuse?


Garbure
cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage
sweet potatoes and butternut squash

~

Snake River Farms
Braised Pork Short Ribs

on faro with toasted pecans, shaved celery
and splenda apple sauce

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Gubeen
spiced concord grape jelly
baguette croutons

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Ice Cream Sundaes
candied pecans, fresh blueberries
chocolate and caramel sauce

This particular visit was notable because the cheese course ended up being a pseudo-chemistry lesson. Gubeen, a pungent cow’s milk cheese from Ireland, was paired with a spicy housemade Concord grape jelly and crispy baguette croutons. Gubeen smells and tastes kinda like garbage, and eating it on its own wasn’t very pleasant. I almost didn’t want to try another bite. But when you combine the Gubeen with the jelly and the croutons, you see why this pairing works. The jelly was more like a grape syrup with a hint of cayenne for heat, and it cut the intensity of the Gubeen, making it a lot more palatable. It’s definitely not the best cheese course I’ve had at Ad Hoc, but it was certainly the most interesting.


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This was also the first time I’ve had soup as a starter at Ad Hoc. The Garbure, a light soup featuring cannelini beans, haricots verts, savoy cabbage, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, was hearty and delicous without being too filling. The main course was Snake River Farms pork short ribs, which were excellent. Prepared sous vide, the pork was juicy and tender and the sweet apple flavor really came through. The rib bones were also included, which contained some of the best fatty meat of the evening. It was served on top of faro, a barley-like “supergrain” that apparently fed the ancient Egyptians, but a vegetable side dish was nowhere to be found, which was unusual for Ad Hoc. Some greens would have been nice.

All in all, another solid meal at Ad Hoc, but I’m really looking forward to my birthday fried chicken.

INFORMATION
Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599 map
707.944.2487

Categories
Ad Hoc fried chicken recipes sous vide

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken (Sous Vide Version)

UPDATE 2/25/08: This recipe is now just a proof of concept. It works, but I think the original recipe, which I’ve modified to include sous vide steps and other tweaks, is a lot better, and taking the time to make the brine makes a huge difference. I’ll leave this recipe up for archival purposes, but for best results, see the original post.

Last week, we made Ad Hoc’s Fried Chicken by following the recipe to the letter, and it was beautiful, juicy and crispy. However, the entire process was a bit complicated because the brine has to cook and then cool completely before using it. A friend suggested cooking the chicken sous vide to ensure its juiciness and allow the flavor of lemon and herbs to be infused into the meat as it’s cooking in the bag. After removing from the water bath, simply dry off the meat, then dredge and fry it to finish it off.


Fried Chicken (sous vide)

BRINE INGREDIENTS
1 gallon cold water
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar

SOUS VIDE INGREDIENTS
1 lemon, thinly sliced
ground black pepper
3 large rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch of thyme
1-3 pounds of chicken thighs

DREDGE INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for frying
Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Simply mix 1 gallon of cold water with 1/3 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of Kosher salt. Add chicken to the brine making sure chicken is completely submerged and store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from the brine, rinse the chicken and pat dry. Lightly pepper both sides of the chicken.
  3. Add two pieces of chicken to each vacuum bag. Place a slice of lemon on the skin side of each thigh.

  4. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

  5. Place a sprig of rosemary and thyme on the bone side of the each thigh. Vacuum seal the bag.

  6. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

    • Process the chicken at 160F/71.1C for around two hours.
    • Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and dry them off.
    • Dip the chicken pieces in buttermilk and then dredge them in flour.
    • Fry in 350-375 degree oil until skin is brown and crispy.
    Categories
    Ad Hoc Best of Inuyaki chicken fried chicken recipes Thomas Keller

    Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe!

    When I heard that Ad Hoc’s lemon-brined fried chicken recipe was in Food & Wine magazine, I got extremely excited. Normally, I wouldn’t go to the trouble of making this because I’d rather go to Ad Hoc (picture below) and spare myself the work, but I just had to see if I could pull this off.

    Buttermilk Fried Chicken

    Excerpt from Entertaining Napa Style in Food & Wine magazine:

    To make this juicy and delectably crisp chicken, Thomas Keller soaks it in a lemony brine, then coats and fries it. The chicken, which is served every other Monday at Ad Hoc, is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. “Since Fried Chicken Night only happens twice a month,” Keller says, “people have a wonderful sense of anticipation.”

    UPDATE (2/25/08)
    I’ve had the chance to make this fried chicken a lot in the last few months and have basically finalized it for myself in the updated recipe below. I’ve included a sous vide step, an updated ingredient list and double dredging. If you want to see the original recipe, see the link to Food & Wine magazine above.

    ACTIVE TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
    SERVES: 8

    INGREDIENTS
    16 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (I prefer dark meat, substitute as desired)
    Cooking oil for frying (peanut if you have it.)
    Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

    BRINE INGREDIENTS
    1 gallon cold water
    1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
    12 bay leaves
    1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
    2 tablespoons black peppercorns
    3 large rosemary sprigs
    1 small bunch of thyme
    1 small bunch of parsley
    Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

    DREDGE INGREDIENTS
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    2 teaspoons paprika
    ½ teaspoon ground pepper
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    2 cups buttermilk

    DIRECTIONS

    1. In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chickens, being sure they’re completely submerged, and refrigerate overnight.

      Lemony Brine
    2. Drain and rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is really dry and that you scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin.
    3. If you want to sous vide the chicken before frying, add two to three pieces of chicken to each Foodsaver bag, then vacuum and seal the bags. Place the chicken at 140F/60C water bath for at least 1 hour. Otherwise, skip to step 5.
    4. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Make sure chicken is very dry.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, ground black pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper or use a wire rack. Let sit for 20 minutes and then redredge the chicken in buttermilk and flour before frying.

      The Dredge
    6. In a very large pot or dutch oven, heat oil to 360F. Use enough oil to deep fry the chicken. If you want, you can also pan fry the chicken, as seen below. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches until golden and crunchy and the internal temperature is 160F/60C (about 20 minutes).

      Note: If you cooked the chicken sous vide, you can really just trust your judgement and fry until you’re statisfied with the color of the crust since the chicken is already cooked.


      Turn the chicken once
    7. Transfer the chicken to cooling rack to drain, and keep warm in a low oven (175–200F) while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs and serve hot or at room temperature.

      Ad Hoc's Fried Chicken

    SOUS VIDE NOTES

    • Cooking the chicken sous vide ensures that it’s moist and tender.
    • 140F/60C may seem like a low temp for the chicken (160F/71.1C is considered “safe”), but the internal temperature of the chicken will rise when it’s being fried.

    GENERAL NOTES

    • Chicken should be at room temperature when you’re ready to cook.
    • You can add herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc.) to the oil as it’s heating to infuse it with flavor and then use the same herbs as a garnish.
    • This fried chicken is great the next day, cold and straight out of the refrigerator.
    • See comments below for more tips…some come straight from the source!