Italian Restaurant: Via Del Borgo (revisited)


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Last week, I thought it was about grand time to pay a visit to one of the best three (in my biased view) Italian Restaurants in Shizuoka: Via Del Burgo.
Since their re-location last August, the restaurant has ceaselessly and amply justified its reputation for great quality and inventiveness.
That is why I never bother to read the menu in such an establishment.
My friend and I just ordered the Chef’s recommendations!

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But first things first: I went into their cellar (yes, I’m allowed to do so, and any guest should act likewise as their cellar is open to everyone!) and chose a slightly extravagant Barolo red 2002, Azienda Agricola Cascina Fontana, Perno, Monforte d’Alba.
A very rich brew with a lot of red fruits, a slightly tannic attack turning quickly smooth on the palate after a little twirling around. The perfect nectar for the dishes that graced our table on that particular evening! (Rowena and Jen are going to kill me for such a succinct appraisal!)

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We were offered a pair of small crostini to help us wait for our first order: blue cheese cream and liver paste.

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Zuwagani Chitarra Pasta. Zuwa Crab is a delicious and slightly extravagant crab coming from the cold seas of the North. Great balance attained with the tomato and cream sauce.

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Ezo Shika Ragu Tagliatelle. Ezo Shika is a great indigenous (Japanese) deer/venison that would adorn any of our good tables in the Old and New Worlds!

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Black Truffles Risotto.
One reason why I consider Via Del Borgo one of the three best Italian Restaurants in Shizuoka is simply because they make the best risotto in the Prefecture!

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Roasted Boar Cub from Kumamoto.
Brought me back memories of French “marcassin”!

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As we had a little wine left, I asked the chef to bring a little cheese:
A spoon of acacia honey for Quartirolo (cow’s milk), Taleggio, dry figs, green pepper smoked cheese and a little home-made bread.

I have been told that my reports are a bit dry, which I totally agree with! Photos will always say more than all the prose you might embark on!
LOL

VIA DEL BORGO
420-0034, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 3-2-7
Tel/fax: 054-221-7666
Business hours: Lunch (11:30~14:30), Cafe (15:00~), Dinner (18:00~22::00)
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

French Cake: Gironde Tot-Fait

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The Gironde Estuary between Bordeaux and the Atlantic Ocean is famous for the following cake, a kind of French rum-flavoured short cake. This cake is best accompanied by wine jam or fresh grapes. Enjoy an old rum with it.
I dedicate this recipe Taste Memory GirlvTaste memory Girl who likes her cakes so much!
Ingredients (4 people or more):
Powdered sugar: 200g
Flour: 200g
Rum: 150cc
Eggs: 3~4
Vanilla extract ( or essence): 1 teaspoon
Milk: 3 tablespoons
Butter: 30g
Salt

Recipe:

Separate egg yolks from whites. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a big all-purpose bowl until it whitens. Add flour, vanilla & rum swiftly beating at same time. Add milk and mix well.
Preheat oven to 6 (180 degrees Celsius). Beat the whites with a pinch of salt until very firm and gently mix with above mixture.
Butter the inside of an oven dish (square if possible) and pour in mixture. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve lukewarm or cold.

Apple Souffle

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Apples are everywhere on the markets these days, even that late in Autumn. This is a good time to try something different. And as I said before, souffles are not as complicated as they sound or look!
I’m sure that Lojol will enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS (4 people):
Apples: 1kg (green probably best)
Eggs: 6
Butter: 50g
Powder Sugar: 100g
5 Sponge Biscuits or the equivalent in Sponge (Short) Cake
Calvados (French Apple Brandy): 100cc

RECIPE:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Wash the apples and wipe them dry.
Take off stems, cut in four and cook as they are in a covered saucepan inside the oven for one hour.
Take out and sieve flesh of apples. Pour this compote into a fry-pan and cook on a small fire for 5 minutes to take out excess water.
Stop the fire and mix in the 6 egg yolks.
Beat the whites with 50g of powder sugar. Fold in the beaten whites delicately inside the cooled down compote with a spatula trying to achieve the lightest possible mixture.
Cut the sponge biscuits and imbibe them with the Calvados.
Butter and sugar the inside of a souffle dish.
Pour in half of the souffle mixture.
Then spread the calvados-imbibed biscuits and top with the rest of the souffle mixture.
Cook for 15 minutes at 200 degrees celsius.
Take out and eat at once!

Coq Au Vin/Chicken Burgundy Stew

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You’ve got a one-too-many bottle of red wine (it does not have to be Burgundy!), or “unwanted” present!
No worries! Here is a simple recipe to use it! As the alcohol will disappear during the cooking, everyone can enjoy it!

Ingredients (6 people):
Cockerel or chicken (cut in appropriate-sized pieces): 2kg
Butter: 40g
Lard: 100g
Onion: 1
Echalotes (highly flavoured small onions): 2
Carrot: 1 small one
Garlic: 3 cloves
Flour: 40g
Cognac ( or marc or brandy): 50cc
Tomato puree: 1 tablespoon
Red wine (the stronger, the better): 750cc
Bacon: 125g
White mushrooms (champignons de Paris, white agarics): 250g
Bouquet garni (fresh thyme+parsley+laurel)
Salt & pepper to taste

Recipe:

In a deep saucepan heat 40g of butter and the lard cut in pieces (if soft, just as it is). Cook the pieces of chicken until golden. Then add onion, echalotes, carrot, garlic (all finely cut). Sprinkle with flour. Mix well. Pour in the Cognac and flambe on high fire (light the alcohol). Then pour in the wine and one cup of water, and the tomato puree. Add salt and pepper and the bouquet garni. Pit lid on. Let simmer on small fire for 1 hour and thirty minutes to two hours depending on the chicken’s firmness.
Cut the bacon in pieces. Put them in cold water. Bring the water to boil for a few seconds and drain the bacon. Cut the bottom of the mushrooms stems. Clean and slice. Cook the bacon in a small saucepan on small fire for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms. Saute (fry) on high fire for five to eight minutes. Pour the lot in a deep serving dish. Keep warm.
Take the chicken pieces out of the saucepan. Put them on the bacon and mushrooms.
Sieve the sauce and reduce on high fire for a few minutes if necessary. To make the sauce thicker and richer add the chicken liver crushed. Pour the sauce onto the chicken. Sprinkle with freshly minced parsley and serve with plain boiled potatoes.

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Here is another variant: I served it with vol au vent filled with some finr ratatoulle!

Vegetarian French Cuisine: Roquefort Blue Cheese and Potato Gratin

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Here is a dish for friends with a big appetite and some of my friends who appreciate vegetarian food such as Allison!

Ingredients (for 2 to 4 people):
Potatoes: 5 medium to large
Butter: 50g
Flour: 30g
Milk: 100cc
Thick sour cream: 100g
Roquefort cheese: 40g (If not , use any other strong blue cheese)
Garlic: 2 cloves, chopped
Basil: a few leaves, chopped
Italian parsley: a few sprigs, chopped
Thin leeks: a couple stems, chopped
Salt: to taste
Pepper: to taste
Nutmeg: to taste

Recipe:

Peel potatoes, rinse and cook for 15 minutes in boiling salted water.
Drain and cut in thin slices.
Butter the inside of a shallow oven dish (25×3 cm).
Preheat oven to 200 Celsius degrees.
In a saucepan, on a small fire, melt butter and cook garlic and all herbs gently for a couple of minutes. Add flour and stir until mixture is smooth. Add milk first and mix well with a whisk, then add sour cream and mix again. Mix in salt and spices to taste. Switch off fire and mix in Roquefort cheese as smoothly as possible.

Place a first layer of potato slices evenly inside the oven dish. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and nutmeg. Repeat operation until all potatoes are used up.
Pour cheese sauce evenly on top of potatoes and cook for 25 minutes. Serve at once.
This is also a good snack to accompany a strong beer or cider!

Lemon Cointreau Souffle

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Here is another kind of Souffle, sweet this time!
It is easier than it sounds! You might have to keep the kids off it, though (LOL)

Ingredients (for 4 people):
Almond powder: 50g
Sugar: 100g (+ 30g for coating inside of molds)
Flour: 50g
Milk: 250cc
Butter: 50g (+ 20g for coating inside of molds)
Cointreau (or orange liqueur)
Eggs: 4
Lemon (clean!): 1
Glazing sugar
Salt

Recipe:

Coat insides of molds of 4 small souffle molds with butter and then sugar.
Preheat the oven at 6 (180 degrees Celsius).
Grate the lemon skin and press out the juice. Put aside.
Separate egg yolks from whites.
In a saucepan, on a small fire, melt butter, mix on flour and cook, stirring gently all the time for 2 minutes, making sure the colour does not change.
Add milk and mix on a stronger fire until thick.
Take off fire. Add sugar, almond powder, grated lemon skin, lemon juice and Cointreau and the the egg yolks one by one and mix well.
Beat the whites with a pinch of salt until very firm. Fold the whites in the mixture delicately. Pour mixture inside molds up to their rims.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Take out of the oven, sprinkle with glazing sugar and serve at once.

Robert Yellin Mishima Yakimono Gallery Newsletter: The Power of Myth–Shimura Noriyuki’s Floating World…..Previews


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Greetings from Mishima,

As late autumn winds blow here in Japan, the world around has become a seductive and gorgeous world of color. A blessing to alive to see, enjoy and be part of. In these days of seasonal and mindful change I wanted to share an artist whose work matches the season, the season of color and the season of inward and outward change. His name is Shimura Noriyuki.

First though to quote Joseph Campbell, a man I never met, yet from whom I have been a humble student of in text:

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.・

and

“The function of mythological symbols is to give you a sense of
“Aha! Yes. I know what it is, it’s myself.”

And these two quotes point to a connection between the power of symbols and art and how they affect who we are and how we live. I believe it’s important to be reminded of this each and every sacred day. Shimura creates his very unique art with these thoughts in mind, giving us everything from small dishes to figures that not only make one smile and ‘find the child within
again’, yet also are visual entities of what Campbell speaks of, the rapture and joy that *is* being alive here and now. Many of Shimura’s pieces are mythical beings and others are just pure fun.

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Shimura (b.1956) is an Izu, Shizuoka ceramic artist, yet this is his first Shizuoka–and worldwide–exhibit. He’s shown all over Japan–after having studied with late, great Seto glaze master Kato Sho. In the early years Shimura entered and was accepted at such prestigious exhibitions as Nitten, Asahi, Chunichi, Suntory Museum, Japan Ceramic Art exhibitions, yet decided to give up these places to show at smaller galleries throughout Japan; since 1996 that is what he’s done.

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His works are colorful, yet his use of color is very shibui, as you’ll see in the preview pages below. The exhibition will go online tomorrow, Thursday the 20th–and Shimura will be in the
gallery all day for those who might like to Skype and say hi.

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If not for yourself, then Shimura’s works are a great year-end gift. Additional photos of any works gladly sent upon request:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Enjoy; peace, health and happiness for the upcoming holiday seasons around our world.

And as always thank you very much.

Warm regards,

Robert Yellin
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery