I started off my day by cleaning scallops.  The hotel gets them with the roe pouch as well as the abductor mussel attached.  When cleaning them I remove both aforementioned parts and save the roe to be deyhdrated for a scallop roe powder.  The next task was to clean sole.  This involved separating the head and tip of the tail from the body.  It was followed by removing the exterior boney flesh from both sides of the fish.  Then, just like the scallops, remove the roe sack and discard it.  I saved the clean bones and trimmings for a white fish stock that I put on next.  While the stock was simmering down I helped make hard boiled eggs.  Using the steamer they’re cooked for 12 minutes.  Then the shells are cracked and the eggs are shocked in cold water.  Shortly after I went on break.

When I returned the kitchen was in the midst of a busy service.  I jumped on the line and helped Brendan plate many of the dishes.  This went steady for about an hour and a half.  When things started to settle I helped finish up some extra prep by peeling baby beets and making a red wine gastrique.  I have used this term many times throughout my last posts and wanted to clarify.  The term gastrique, in this instance, is reffering to any sweet pickling brine.  Be aware there are other definitions of gastrique.  Afterwards I helped break down fish station and left.

I was back on fish station for the next few days.  I started off by making a few pickling brines for compressed vegetables.  The first was a raspberry gastrique that was a combination of brown sugar and raspberry vinegar.  While that was coming up I quickly made a beet root puree.  Next I made the apple cider gastrique which was a simple syrup of vinegar and sugar.  It didn’t involve heating so I just added sugar and let it hydrate.  At the same time I made the champagne gastrique for the compressed cucumbers.  This involved combing vinegar sugar and mustard seeds and bringing it to a rolling boil.  I then worked on peeling beets and preparing them for compression.  I made a simple red wine brine and then quartered the root and compressed it with some liquid.  Shortly after I whipped a goat cheese mousse for service and put it in an ISI container.  I then took my break.

When I got back I jumped into service helping Brendan plate items.  When things slowed down I peeled off and worked on other projects.  I chopped some vegetables for tomorrow’s soup.  It was a mixture of fennel, onions and celeriac.  Once that was complete I marinated chicken livers for the parfait by coating them in nitrates, sugar and white port.  Service was very slow after that so I helped Brendan break down and clean up. 

Before leaving he asked if I wanted to go to the pub.  He was kind enough to be me both of my rounds.  I started with a Dublin Pale Ale which had characterstics of hoppiness combined with the bitter punch of citrus rinds.  My next was a house beer.  It was a great oyster stout that reminded me of a strong cup of coffee.  We left around half 12 and I walked back.

La Florentina Review

The meal commenced with a glass of prosecco blanco and house ricotta cheese served with toasted sourdough.  The cheese was carefully garnished with salt, fresh cracked black pepper, minced parsley and extra virgin olive oil.  It spread like soft butter across the light toast coating the bread with a rich fatty layer of pure perfection.  My first bite was astounding as my palate sampled a complex play between the fattiness and smoothness of the ricotta and slight tang and crunch of the sourdough brushed lightly with olive oil.  Each slice had slight bits of char near the edges adding another delightful contrast each bite.  I meandered through the course savoring each bite.  The wine was quite fruit forward and had a nose of apples and pears.  It paired gorgeously with the cheese, which slightly enhanced the fruity attack and gave it a sharper flavors. 

With perfect timing I moved to my main course, a liguine arribiatta.  Both the pasta and risotto are available as entrees for a supplemental charge.  I still chose a starter portion and when it arrived I observed that the portion was more than generous.  Upon  my first taste I was assaulted by perfectly cooked pasta coated in a complex tomato sauce.  Balances between the sweetness of the cooked tomatoes and acid they inherently provide made me supremely satisfied.  Each bite finished with some slight spiciness, as to be expected with arribiatta, that was gauged well by its creator.  I was offered a dusting of parmagiano which I graciously excepted.  As it was grated across my plate I discovered that it had been aged 36 months.  This course was paired with a medium body montelpuciano, which carried a nose of earthiness, a few black fruits and almost a sharpie type aroma.  It’s attack was round and complex with almost no fruitiness.  It finished quite dry and it lingered on my palate for many seconds.  Paired with the pasta the complexity of the wine was slightly mellowed by the sauce, but was still quite enjoyable.  As with the first I took my time enjoying each bite to the last.

The final course was just as fantastic.  Three brilliant chartreuse scoops of pistachio gelato topped with a coarse pistachio crumb.  Each bite offered a creamy and smooth blast of pistachio essence and creamy delight.  It was the perfect choice to follow the aribiatta, who’s spice had just over stayed.  The gelato  pleasantly offered a sweet, cool relief from my previous course. 

La Fiorentina
Address: 40 Parliament St
Dublin, Dublin 2,
Phone: 01 635 1922
Website: http://fiorentina.ie/

Atmosphere:  An intimate corner building with very opening seating and a open view of view of Dublin.  Service is excellent as the servers are vigilant and responsive.

Sound Level: noisy

Recommended Choices: Appetizers and pasta or rissotto are a must.  Prices for each dish are mostly under 15 euro.

Drink’s, Wine and Cocktails: the cocktail and beer menu is sparce but is complemented by a large list of wines by the bottle, carrafe or glass from Italy.

Price $$ (Average)

Open: Tuesday to Thursday for lunch; daily for dinner.

Reservations: Accepted

What the Stars Mean Ratings range from zero to four stars. Zero is poor, fair or satisfactory. One star, good. Two stars, very good. Three stars, excellent. Four stars, extraordinary.

For the next couple days I will be working raw bar covering shifts for people who are off.  I started my day early at half eleven to get the station setup.  We didn’t have a briefing at 12 so I jumped right into prep.  I started with tomato concasse.  The station was pretty low so I finished the task completly.  While I was getting ready to move to my next project, I was asked to make a white chicken stock.  I set that up and let it simmer away for a good 4 hours.  Shortly after I julienned 2 heads of iceberg.  Just after that, one of the junior sous asked the pantry chef and myself to organize the walk-ins down stairs.  My partner and I crushed that task in no time at all and we quickly walked back upstairs to continue prep.  We only had 11 reserved for lunch so I was using this time to stock up for the week.  I asked around for other tasks and was told to cut lardons out of smoked Alsatian pork belly.  It had a deep mahogany  color and smelled of a rich hardwood smoke.  I used the trimmings of the lardons for a small sachet for a subiose puree.  Subiose is a creamy onion puree thay has sweet and savory elements, with the addition of the smoked pork belly it takes on a some of the rich smoky flavor as well.  The raw bar had been out of thermidor sauce for several days so I made a small batch.  I’m glad I did because we had an order come in for lobster.  Still looking to kill time I chopped some ham for afternoon tea.  Then I took my break.

Service was slow for dinner as well.  I helped fish station with small projects like vac-packing some mise en place.  I helped pantry portion burgers as well.  The night seemed to drag on but I managed to get my station closed down early.  I jumped over to fish to help Brendan get wrapped up and left around 23.45.

Lazy day

I was given three days off in a row.  Normally I wouldn’t complain but thats just to long.  My third day was leiu time to make up for the extra hours I had worked during the week.  I woke at half 12 and laid in bed for another 30 minutes.  I got up and took a walk to find some wifi.  After about an hour I found a small cafe.  I sat down and browsed internet articles and apps for nearly four hours.  After getting my fill, I walked back to my room and got ready for the staff party at the Shelbourne. 

The party was nice but not really my taste.  The booze was free and most of the associates used the time to get hammered.  I could barely hold conversations with them because of their heavily slurred speech.  I left early and walked back to my room where I called an early night.

You provide the food and I will provide the perspective." – Anton Ego, 2007


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