Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kai - Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort Restaurant

I should have posted this closer to when we went to dinner because now, I have forgotten about some of the details...but here goes it.

On Friday (2/21/08) we had reservation at Kai at 8PM to have a nice dinner. We had heard great things about this place so we went in with high expectations. We arrived a little bit late because we got lost and couldn't find this huge resort in the boonies. After 35-40 minutes of driving, we arrived at our destination, without much help from our GPS system.

The resort and restaurant was beautiful. It was really spacious and was surrounded by windows that allowed you to see the pool outside that was designed to resemble a river, curving and wrapping around the hotel. The lighting was warm and cozy and we felt very comfortable there. We were seated pretty quickly after arrival.

After we were seated, our waiter came out to introduce himself and brought us hand painted menus that was done by a local artist. He explained the menu because at Kai, eating begin with "The Birth" which is basically their soup and salad section. Then, you move on to "The Beginning", similar to the appetizer section at regular restaurants. Next is "The Journey" where your entrees are. I thought it was good that they try to use as much of the local materials and food as they can in order to support the Native American community as this restaurant was on an Indian reservation.

We started the night out with a drink I think called "The Eastern Cloud" which was some fruity drink and I can't recall what was in it but it was pretty good. It was very sweet and fruity.

Then we were served an appetizer of sort, something seafood in a yogurt base with raspberry sauce presented in a shot glass that you pour over the bowl. I liked this dish because it was beautifully presented and very fresh tasting. Karthik thought it was alright mainly because the portion was REALLY small. The taste was tart and salty at the same time with a touch of raspberry sweetness. Very interesting and flavorful...

After this was bread and olive oil served in matching plate and dip bowl. We were served 3 different types of bread and locally produced olive oil with some type of nuts at the bottom. The waiter explained the different types of bread but we were seated next to this big table of 17 and it was difficult to hear so I have no idea what kind of breads they were...but they were delicious.

After the bread, we were served our soup. We ordered only one soup and they split up the portion and served us in a beautiful bowl that was hard to eat from. It was a creamy, smokey, and delicious Wood Grill Toca Squash Puree soup. The soup was pour over an arrangement of Aji Amarillo Scented Cotton Candy, Sweet Pork Nuggets, Rio Zape Beans, and Maitake Mushrooms.

Following the bread was the BEST appetizer we both have ever tasted. It was our Lobster Degustation - lobster prepared in 3 different ways. (Our fav was the middle one). To the left was the Butter Braised Tail, Avocado mousse, Tear Drop Salsa & Lobster Coral. The middle (and best) was Lobster Cobbler with Mesquite Meal & Farm Raised Local Goat Cheese. The right section was Lobster Knuckles in Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Sour Radishes. They served this with "Indian Fry Bread" and this Indian is supposed to be Native American Indian, not Indians in India but Karthik commented that they tasted just like puris. Surprisingly, the puris went well with the lobsters. DELICIOUS ALL AROUND! Definitely worth every single penny.

We were then served some fruity sorbet to cleanse our palettes and of course, I forgot what flavor they were. Gorgeous presentation and very small. I love the egg shell looking bowl and twiggy spoon. By the way, we could get a sense of whatever the next dish was coming out by touching our utensil. They serve cold utensil with cold dishes and warm utensil with warm dishes.

Next were our entrees. Karthik had the Grilled Tenderloin of Buffalo from the Cheyenne River Tribe and that included Smoked Corn Pure, Barbeque Scarlet Runner Beans, Saguaro Blossom Syrup, Cholla Buds & Cool Weather Mushrooms. Surprisingly tender and very tasty.

Unfortunately, it was small in portion, at least in comparison to my Bone-In New York Strip Steak with "Kai Steak Sauce". Served with grated Horseradish Root and Russet Potatoes, Creamed Baby Spinach with Gruyere Cheese and Marinated Grape Tomatoes. It was pretty good, but the buffalo dish was better. I think that although this steak is a little more expensive than high end steak houses, the taste is on par with say, Capital Grille's Steak. The next time I am craving steaks, I think I will go to Capital Grille instead of Kai.

Then, they brought us some warm towls to clean our hands and prepare for dessert. At this point, Karthik was happy with the portion sizes (eventhough he was unhappy about it earlier thinking that it won't be enough food for him) because by now, he has room for dessert because he was satisfy but not painfully full as he'd be at a normal steak house. We ordered the "Fry Bread with Ibarra Chocolate & Kahlua Ice Cream". It was puri again...with ice cream. It was pretty good but I think I'd have prefer something like chocolate cake or creme brulee.

It was then time to see the damage and see our bill. They try to lessen the pain by bringing it out with 4 complimentary small balls of chocolate. They had 2 different flavors that I can't recall but it was really good chocolate! We ate the chocolate so quickly that we didn't get a chance to take pictures, so I borrowed this picture from Seth, author of a food blog called Feasting in Phoenix.

After we're done, we walked outside with food full in our bellies and smiling faces to get our car and there it was right at the front waiting for us. Inside our cars, was a bar of Kai Chocolate, 2 bottle of Voss water, and a card from our server thanking us for spending the evening dinning at Kai. Very classy and thoughful...They kept referring to us as Mr. and Mrs. Karthik...not yet, but very soon... =o)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Taco Soup & Mushroom Masala

Well, since I am normally very busy during the week, I try to cook during the weekend. It's a good set-up because we can pack the food for lunches and have healthy dinners after work. There is no need to think about what to make when you are hungry and tired at night. I have been making this taco soup which is basically a bean soup for 3x so far, and we both are still not sick of it. It's very filling and warms up nicely in the microwave. One batch of soup will last about 3-4 days for the both of us. Normally this soup calls for grounded beef, but grounded turkey is leaner and lower in calories.

In addition to the soup, I also made mushroom masala because we bought a HUGE package of mushrooms from Costco over the weekend because it was so cheap! I decided to use ALL of the mushrooms because I didn't want them to spoil. After cutting them up, there were about 10 cups worth of mushrooms and I have to pull out wok to cook them in because we didn't have any pans large enough. I imagine that we will both be eating mushroom masala for the rest of this week, maybe into next week too if it is still good. Hm, what can you add to reduce the spice if you added too much spice? I realize some of the pictures are a little dark, but I am not too experienced with taking pictures well yet, so hopefully I can figure out the trick soon.

See, in the last picture, HUGE thing of mushroom anybody hungry?

Grilled Shrimp Salad

First - Happy Birthday Amma! I hope that you have a wonderful birthday over there with delicious food and fantastic time with loved ones.

We are both trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat more vegetables and fruit but it is still a struggle at times to eat...plain salads. Since we both love shrimps, I decided to make grilled shrimps (flavored similarly to the prawns that Amma made) but instead of frying, I grilled them. It was a success because by using the shrimps, I was able to sneak in some lettuce, tomatoes, and corn for Kar's dinner! This was our meal on Wednesday of last week.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Japanese - Chicken Egg Rice

I have been interested in cooking Japanese dishes lately, cravings that developed from eating delicious (oishii) sushi two weekends ago. Tonight, I decided to make a simple Japanese dish, modified from a recipe in this book Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go by Naomi Kijima.

In the original recipe, it was Chicken-Tofu Rice but I have replaced the tofu ingredient with eggs because I don't have any tofu at home. This dish was pretty good but the rice was a little bit dry so next time, I need to add more water than the recommended. Served with Sriracha (Thai hot sauce), this dish earned 3.5 stars out of 5 by amateur food critic, Karthik. This dish was very simple to make, inexpensive, and healthy. All photos were taken by Karthik.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Healthy South Indian Cooking - Zucchini Kootu

Today, I've decided to cook a mushroom dish before the mushroom spoils, but too late, it was spoiled so that went into the trash. After looking at the vegetable remaining in the fridge, I decided to make Zucchini Kootu, mainly because that's the only thing left. I made this dish by following a recipe from this book that was recently purchased from Amazon, Healthy South Indian Cooking by Alamelu Vairavan and Patricia Marquardt.

I had almost everything required to make this dish but coconut powder (which was substituted with shredded coconut) and assafoetida powder.

Karthik said it's a little bit sweet and it's missing something but it's OK (3 stars out of 5)! He initially said he was full and will eat a little but after he finished the first serving, went back for second! YAY! Sadly we did not eat it with chips because we are on diets.

Until next dish...