Garlic and Sapphire by Ruth Reichl
This book was absolutely eye-opening and an extremely fun book to read, especially for food nuts!
It told the experiences of the author, Ruth Reichl, when she was the restaurant critic for New York Times.
I would have never guessed that multiple disguises, with different personalities would be involved in writing about restaurants!
The author wrote in details of her encounters with people around her, the services and attitudes she received as these alter egos.
All the work to make sure she had a full spectrum and clear understanding of each restaurant she was writing about — and what a contrast to the tweeting and instantaneity of today’s society!
Ruth went to each restaurant at least 5 times before she wrote a review, and made sure she was not recognized in some of those visits — inevitably the New York Times critic would be treated far superior with better table and services, bigger and fresher portions of food and larger berries on desserts.
It was fascinating to read about those encounters when she dressed up as an old lady, or someone who did not seem to be rich, or a blonde.
It gave me to jolt of a reminder that how quickly we tended to judge people in general — is it right or is it wrong? something to ponder on.
Personally as a food blogger writing about my restaurant experiences, this was a bible.
Particularly the inclusion of the actual reviews that Ruth wrote.
They opened my eyes to how descriptive writing could be; and to experience as if I was sitting in the restaurant having that exact same meal the author was writing about.
The power of descriptive writing — something I am slowly learning — and does not come natural to me especially all my experience are in technical scientific reporting.
The book also contained recipes for times when we wanted to roll up our sleeves!
Finally stopped by Crumble and Flake on Capitol Hill — I was speechless!
Their pastries were really delicious!
I tried the chocolate croissant, lavender cherry scone, double chocolate brownie, cream puff and canele that day.
Since it was difficult to park around the shop, I did a dash and run while DH waited outside in the car.
First thing I ate when I ran back to the car was the cream puff!
Couldn’t let it get soggy!
These cream puffs were amazingly yummy and they were filled-to-order.
They offered classic flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, blackberry etc. and they particular day, they had yuzu — I immediately went for that!
The cream puffs had crunchy tops with crystalline sugar, but bready and chewy inside.
The yuzu filling was this dense pastry cream which was very nice with just the right amount of sweetness and the lovely scent of sweet grapefruit.
This definitely made Beard Papa paled.
The chocolate croissant was very flaky — as the store name!
It had a generous amount of chocolate, buttery with many layers to savor on.
The scone was another buttery treasure with mild lavender and plump cherries.
I applauded the perfect amount of lavender used in the scone — it tasted just a hint of floral without the soapiness or perfumey scent when it was overused.
Sugar on top of the scone gave the crunch on the overall dryer and denser yet tasty scone.
It was lavished with cherries in it which I loved!
I just wish the scone would be bigger!
The Canele was amazing!!
Tiny little treat, they only made them on the weekends.
It had a crunchy hard outer shell tasted like it was made with burnt sugar and the inside was moist, custardy, heavenly laced with vanilla and rum.
It was very eggy which was ultra delicious and tasted just like the custard in bread budding except quite a bit chewier in texture.
The double chocolate brownie was incredible.
It had strong dark chocolate flavor without the sweetness.
It was not chewy in texture but much softer and gentler in the mouth.
It almost boarder to be chocolate mousse instead but it had the rigidity to stand on its own and sustained the car ride home in a bag.
These awesome treats were pricey, they were $3-$4 a piece in small sizes.