"It's not much but it's ours"

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I am delighted to announce that I will be rejoining the team for Season Four of the hit Food Network Show, THE NEXT IRON CHEF.

If last season was great, Season Four promises to be outstanding. This time The Food Network have brought together some of the very biggest names in the United States to compete for that coveted title of Iron Chef.

There are some incredible names on the list

Anne Burrell – Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Worst Cooks in America (Food Network)

Michael Chiarello – Bottega Restaurant (Napa Valley), Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello (Cooking Channel)

Elizabeth Falkner – Citizen Cake, Orson (San Francisco), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)

Alex Guarnaschelli – Butter, The Darby (New York), Alex’s Day Off, Chopped (Food Network)

Chuck Hughes – Garde Manger (Montreal), Chuck’s Day Off (Cooking Channel), Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)

Robert Irvine – Robert Irvine’s eat! (Hilton Head Island), Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America (Food Network)

Beau MacMillan – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Phoenix), Challenge, Iron Chef America – challenger (Food Network)

Spike Mendelsohn – Good Stuff Eatery (Washington D.C.), Kelsey & Spike Cook (

Marcus Samuelsson –Red Rooster Harlem (New York), 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)

Geoffrey Zakarian – The National, The Lambs Club (New York), 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Chopped (Food Network)

I will be joining my chum, Iron Chef Michael Symon and new judge, UK Iron Chef Judy Joo at the judging table and, as ever, the mercurial Alton Brown will be keeping the chefs in check.

The series will air in Fall (Autumn to us Brits)2011 and I will confirm the exact dates as soon as I have them.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011


It has been too long since we (and by "we" I mean "me") have organised one of the glorious feasts we like to call "Dine With Dos Hermanos"

With me being 6,000 miles away from civilisation, er I mean enjoying my new life in Los Angeles, and Hermano Primero being too busy eating, it has been over six months since we last sat down with a group of our dear readers and enjoyed the sort of meal that makes us all so happy.

I am back in Blighty for an all too short time at the end of June and thought that this might make the ideal time to revive the tradition of a consuming a vast amount of food and wine at a place where the people running the place give a rat's ass about our pleasure and don't present the bill while wearing a mask and carrying a gun.

The one meal I have been craving more than any other is a traditional British Sunday lunch. The good Lord knows how I miss those regular weekend blow outs with HP. A suitably powerful cocktail with some snacks to begin, huge joints of roasted animal flesh, the pre-requisite accompanying vegetables, an unhealthy dessert and enough wine to float a battleship.

So, I turned to the people I knew best and asked them if they could help. Of course they could and I am pleased to announce that the next DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS will be hosted by Goodman Steakhouse on Sunday 26th June.

Our aim is to create what everyone who attends will acknowledge as the finest Sunday lunch ever created.

We will enjoy pre lunch drinks and lunch will begin with the incomparable smoked salmon from Frank Hederman in Ireland.

The main courses will be huge, perfectly cooked joints of meat from the legendary O'Shea's butchers in Knightsbridge and will include Shoulder of Lamb, Shoulder of Pork and, of course, the Roast beef that made Henry FIelding write

When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman's food,
It ennobled our brains and enriched our blood.
Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good
Oh! the Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!

There will be plenty of accompaniments and desserts, if you can manage them, will will include a few slabs of fine British cheeses.

There will be booze a plenty (with the help of Dino Joannides who is soon to launch the Melograno , Alimentari in Holland park ) and the whole lot will set you back a mere £60 a head from the moment you walk in to the moment you waddle out into the sunlight on Maddox St a few hours later.

The people at Goodman are turning over the whole place to us for the event, which means we can invite up to 75 people to be part of the experience.

Please see below for the details




TIME: TBC (Probably around 12.30 for 1pm)

COST: £60 Per Person (All Inclusive - although, as ever we ask that people reach into their pockets if they feel that the service deserves extra recognition> It usually does)

As there have been some no shows at previous events, we will be taking deposits for this event. If you cancel 48 hours or more before the event, you will receive a full refund. After that, you will only receive a refund if we are able to resell your ticket.

I will respond to all requests for places before the end of April. Please bear with me as I am busy with work here in LA right now.  I appreciate your patience.

As always, I should make it clear that DH do not make a penny out of these events. our only aim is to promote places and suppliers we adore and to restore the tradition of communal feasting to an otherwise jaded and cynical dining scene.

If you would like to come, please e-mail us at or mail us via the DOS HERMANOS FACEBOOK Page.

I hope a few of our readers will want to come along and we both look forward to hearing from you.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Regular readers of the blog will know that we rarely post anything about upcoming events on DH. This is, as we often remind people, the eating adventures of the Brothers Majumdar and not a public service.

However, there are few things I would not do for my good chums, the Haskell Family. So, when David Haskell, LA's finest sommelier, asked me if I would mention a silent auction he is organising to benefit Japan, I was more than happy to oblige.

The auction coincides with the latest pop up event to be organised by David and Joseph Mahon, erstwhile Executive Chef of Bastide, and will take place at Royal-T in Culver City between the 17th and 19th of April.

The Magnum pop ups are always fun, with excellent food and great wine & beer pairings. With a percentage of the proceeds also going to benefit Japan, there is even now more reason to book a place.

There are some spectacular prizes on offer in the silent auction, including meals, wine, beer and ice cream tastings. Best of all, one generous soul will receive a five course feast prepared by Michael Voltaggio, Walter Manzke, Joseph Mahon, Craig Thornton & Waylynn Lucas complimented with wines selected by David himself.

I hope those new readers of DH in LA will take the time to click on the link below and see what the event is all about and make a bid for what is definitely a very worthy cause.


Thanks. Normal service is now resumed. Back to talking about us and our bellies.

P.S I found the images of David and Joseph on the Internet and am happy to credit the owners if they let me know who they are. I am sure they don't mind me using them for a great cause.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011


A few years ago, I read an old review of a Broadway musical. The critic savaged the play for its lousy acting and poor score, but gave due praise to the costumes and staging. He finished the review by stating “the audience left the theatre whistling the scenery”

It’s a brilliant description of how elements of any production, which are supposed to be in a supporting role, can often be given undue prominence to the detriment of the whole experience. It’s also exactly how I felt as Sybil and I wandered out to collect our car after a hugely underwhelming meal at CUT, Wolfgang Puck’s Los Angeles Steakhouse.

It was my own fault, I guess. Sybil had asked me where I wanted to go for the annual celebration of my journey to the grave and the notion of a large steak in smart surroundings seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It appeared that a similar notion also fit the bill of lots of other people as well. Even well in advance, the only reservation we could get on the big day was so early that I half expected to be offered a Pensioner’s menu as we were shown to our seats.

There are no discounts at CUT however, as I soon began to realise as my eyes wandered up and down the menu in search of the largest cuts of meat. Starters ranged from around $20 to a whopping $30 a pop, while the main events leave $50 behind like a fat man running for the bus. Turn to the selection of impressive looking Wagyu and Kobe cuts brought to the table by our server and you wont see much change out of a Benjamin. While we made our mind up, we finished our pre-dinner drinks and nibbled on some excellent gougère, little knowing that they would turn out to be one of the highlights of the meal.

When I posted about my meal on Twitter before setting out, more than one person suggested that I must try the “Bone Marrow Flan with Mushroom Marmalade and Parsley Salad” an interesting twist on the dish that has made Fergus so famous. Indeed the relationship to to St. John’s most famous dish became even more apparent when the plate arrived. The flan had been set inside two narrow veal bones, flanked by two quenelles of the mushroom “marmalade” (do you think any chefs actually know what marmalade really means any more?) and topped by the parsley salad and a hefty dose of the all purpose "fine dining" veal reduction that I thought had gone out of fashion about ten years ago.

It was a pleasing enough plate to look at and the mushrooms had terrific flavour working well with the sharp bite of the parsley salad. Unfortunately, the star of the show had little to recommend it other than a perfect consistency. There was no recognisable marrow essence that either Sybil or I could discern and it merely ended up as a few flavourless blobs of savoury custard on toasted brioche.

Sybil’s starter was a more standard “Big Eye Tuna Tartare” which was obviously made with fish of impeccable provenance and came topped with avocado and surrounded with Japanese accompaniments. While the fish was of superb quality, the whole dish screamed out for the ignition key of citrus and a hefty dose of seasoning to wake everything up. When I asked Sybil what she thought, her shrug was enough to tell me all I needed to know, if not to justify the $28 price tag.

Sybil is no fan of the cow, and I persuaded her to try the Korubata Pork Chop for her main course, while I finally decided on $59 worth of 35 day dry aged Nebraska Corn Fed Rib Eye as my birthday treat. The pork came with a slight char and had all the intense flavour you would associate with Berkshire pigs. Disappointingly, however, although our server had made a particular note to tell us that it was cooked to medium, it arrived at our table well done and slightly dry. A sign, I am pretty certain, that it had sat for slightly too long at the pass while waiting for my steak to rest.

Quite how underwhelming everything had been so far in the meal would have been forgotten if the main event, the steak had lived up to expectation. This does, after all brand itself a steakhouse and, if Mr. Puck can’t get that basic right, then he should spend more of his time in this particular kitchen and less on the shopping network peddling pots and pans.

Well, whomever he has in operating the charcoal grill and broiler definitely knows what he is doing as my steak came out exactly as requested. For the record, that's medium rare with a char. It had also been allowed to rest for the required time (to the detriment of the pork chop) and the inside colour had spread to an even pink. Unfortunately the perfect execution of the meat meant that the real issue with the steaks at CUT became all too apparent. They lack any apparent flavour. At first I thought it was my own fault for deadening my palate with a strong martini and a glass or three of decent Burgundy, but Sybil was quick to confirm that, although perfectly prepared, the steak had as much taste as if I had sucked on a napkin.

The simple fact, I believe is that the bar has been raised in the steak game over the last few years.  The 100% corn fed cuts that were once the benchmark for a great steak have been left behind by their grass fed or grass fed/grain finished cousins. It seems to be the case in too many of the steakhouses I visit in the US these days, and I often find myself in the unlikely situation of arguing with American friends that I can now get a better steak in London (at Hawksmoor & Goodman’s two branches) than I can at the majority of their US equivalents. Americans don’t want to believe this to be true, of course, but I know where I would want to go if I wanted my last steak on earth and it would not be CUT.

The side dishes, on the other hand, were spot on, with particular attention being paid to superb creamed spinach, which came topped with a fried egg mixed in at the table. Fries were crisp, salty and delicious and, even though I dislike Mac & Cheese, Sybil gave it her thumbs up of approval. One more note before we move on from the main courses. If a restaurant is going to charge $60 for a steak and $12 for side dishes, however good, for shame on them for gouging an extra $2 from you for small pots of the accompanying sauces.

Desserts were a notch above standard steakhouse fodder with a passable Banana Cream Pie whose plate had been decorated with a birthday message, and a chocolate soufflé that completed the only real task of any good chocolate soufflé, that of being both rich and light at the same time.

Service throughout the meal was exemplary and deserved the 20% tip we added to the bill. Along with our pre-dinner drinks and a $75 bottle of Mercurey, that brought our total to a colossal $410 for the two of us, an amount that was made little better than the arrival of a pretty package of leftovers to take away with us and was certainly too much for a meal where the supposed stars of the show had been found wanting.

We left whistling the side dishes. Not really what you hope for when spending $410.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011


By the time we pulled up to our hotel on the edges of Savannah’s beautiful historic neighbourhood, the skies had already taken on a threatening dark hue. It brought with it the thunderstorms and torrential downpours we had seen forecast on the news before we left Atlanta.

Determined to see some of the city before supper, we dropped our bags in the room and immediately headed out to see if Savannah lived up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Even in the rapidly diminishing daylight, it was obvious that it did.

Savannah was founded in 1733 and the original city was designed along European lines with wide avenues and manicured squares. Most of these still remain and when combined with the local architecture and trees, dripping with Spanish Moss, it makes for one of the most engaging cities I have seen on my considerable travels around the US. Of particular interest to Sybil was The Mercer House, made famous in the evocative book “Midnight in The Garden of Good & Evil”. But, at every turn there are stunning buildings and sights to require taking the lens cap from your camera.

Our supper that evening was at on of Savannah’s most popular fine dining restaurants “Elizabeth on 37th”. As the name suggests the restaurant is housed in what I believe was once an antebellum mansion on 37th St. It was opened in 1981 by famous local chef, Elizabeth Terry and soon became known for its modern take on Southern coastal cooking. It was already filling with Savannah’s wealthy set when we arrived and were shown to a table in what had once been the gentlemen’s drawing room.

In truth, the food chosen from a small menu was fine, but nothing to write home about. Particular mention should go to a dish of local clams with cornbread Madeleines and an excellent apple tart. What made the meal memorable however was the service, which was as good as I have experienced anywhere in the US. That opinion may, of course, be coloured by the fact that our excellent server kindly brought over a bottle of Montrachet for us to finish, when he had poured a glass for another customer.

The next morning, the threatened storm had arrived with knobs on and, after a quick breakfast, we wrapped up in raincoats and braved the weather to try and complete the double task of seeing more of the city, while trying to remain reasonably dry. It was a hopeless endeavour, and, by the time it got to 11am, rainwater had already seeped through my clothing leaving me to steam inside my expensive and fetching green Cagoule.

For lunch, we had decided to brave the queues at one of Savannah’s most famous restaurants, Mrs Wilkes' Dining Room. Here, vast portions of Southern cooking have been served, family style, on communal tables for over sixty years. It is only open for three hours every day and all visitors to Savannah mark it on their list as a place to visit. That being the case, about a hundred other people had the same brilliant idea as us and we found ourselves tagging on to the end of a long line of folks sheltering under an assortment of umbrellas.

The notion of standing in the rain for at least an hour for some fried chicken did not seem anywhere close to my idea of a good time. You will know by now, however, that Sybil is made of sterner stuff than I and she remained obdurate when I suggested we should head back to the hotel and dry out. I am not very good in these circumstances, but am quietly proud of the fact that I stood in the torrent of rain for a good sixty minutes, as far from my happy place as it was possible to be, with barely a disgruntled comment.

By the time we reached the front of the line, I was pretty sure that Mrs Wilkes would have to serve up the meal of a lifetime to make it worthwhile. We were allowed in and seated at a large table filled with ten other miserable customers, all of whom were steaming nicely as they dried off in the warmth of the room and none of who seemed in the mood for conversation.

We began to silently pass around the huge plates of food that had been laid out to await our arrival. There were collared greens, yams, beans, ribs, meatloaf, corn pudding, biscuits and cornbread, pinot beans, carrot and raisin salad, apple sauce, BBQ pork, gravy and of course, their most famous dish, chicken pan fried in shortening. The chicken was magnificent stuff, the crisp coating giving way to moist flesh. We at least got enough of a response from our fellow diners to agree that we should request two more plates full of it before we were done. However, much as I am fan of Southern cooking, the rest of the food at Mrs Wilkes was a disappointment and spoke as much to the need to mass produce for the tourist hordes as it did to the Georgian hospitality that was the intention of its original owner.

Last summer I had experienced a similar style of meal at Monell’s in Nashville and told Sybil, more than once, how much better it had been. That pleased her as you can imagine. Thirty minutes after we arrived, we paid our bill of about $35 and I trudged back to the hotel to sulk. As I am sure you can guess, I rarely have need to use a hairdryer, but was thankful of the one in our hotel room, which I put to good use drying my shoes.

Our last meal in Savannah itself was taken in Noble Fare, a restaurant near our hotel with a decent reputation and a dreadful name. It was pleasant enough, if only remarkable for supplying a decent martini and a plate of domestic cheeses that confirmed my long held opinion that American cheese makers still have a long, long way to go before they deserve the name. We retired to bed by 10pm and I had vivid nightmares about standing in line at Mrs Wilkes.

Fortunately, the storms had passed by the time we woke up the next morning. We still had a couple of hours before we had to check out and drive back to Atlanta Airport for our flight back to Los Angeles. So, we took the opportunity to walk along the restored riverfront area of the city and back through the business district where we passed the crowds of people waiting for a table at “The Lady & Sons” the restaurant owned by the walking butter mountain that is Paula Dean. Suckers.

I wanted one more taste of Georgia BBQ before we left and made good use of my GPS system to guide us to the tiny town of Soperton, which boasts not only what must be the smallest City Hall on earth, but also the highly recommended BBQ joint that is Ware’s.
The meaty ribs and a first taste of Brunswick Stew, were as perfect a way to end what had been a hugely enjoyable first trip to Atlanta and Savannah

Despite the weather, we both agreed that it wont be too far in the future before we have Georgia on our minds once more.

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