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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #154

Culinary no-no's


The sun had not yet set that evening on Waikiki Beach. My new bride, Jennifer and I were just embarking on an absolutely phenomenal dinner at La Mer at the Halekulani Hotel. The view from our table looked exactly like this:




La Mer

Just one floor below, right along the beach, former Miss Hawaii Kanoe Miller was singing and performing traditional hula that we could see and hear from our table:




House Without A Key

For my appetizer, I ordered Big Island Lobster Medallions with a Carpaccio of Yellow Beets and a Warm Lobster Soup. I vividly recall it was more expensive than most entrees back home. And that was just for starters.

Yes, I felt like royalty after an extravagant appetizer, main course, and
Lilikoi soufflé because after all, I’m just a lowly state employee.

There’s also something very decadent about dining at Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World. In this land of parades, fireworks, rides and roaming classic characters there is elegant haute cuisine, a multi-course prix fixe menu served by Victorian-clothed maids and butlers to the accompaniment of a harpist (Yes, she does “Can’t Help Falling in Love”).
 


Hard to believe that not too far away, Mickey Mouse ice cream bars are being sold out of push carts.

I mention this print version of my home movies because the lead sentence of a recent LA Times article grabbed my attention:

“What's the most expensive dinner in America?”

My damages at La Mer and Victoria and Albert’s and other finer than fine dining establishments set me back hundreds of dollars. Even so, I’m oh so positive that I couldn’t afford to park at the place that serves the most expensive dinner in America. My natural curiosity to learn more was en fuego.

Friends of ours have eaten at Moto in Chicago where a constantly changing menu has degustation meals of 10 and 20 courses. Could this or some similar presentation be it?

Nope. Moto at about $175/person is in the same ballpark as Victoria and Albert’s that charges $125/person plus $60 for wine pairings. La Mer is right there, too, and can get even pricier along with V & A’s if you order caviar and bottles of wine.

So what is the most expensive dinner in
America?

Pardon my Midwestern plebian tastes, but it better be the most succulent cut of beef paired with lobster that just crawled out of an ocean-drenched cage with champagne from the cellar of a French sommelier that has written 25 books and lectured 8,000 times on the subject followed by a soufflé that is so light it floats to the ceiling. And it must all be written on the menu in terms that I can spell and understand, Oui?

S
o what is it?


Spiaggia?



Charlie Trotter’s?



French Laundry?



Per Se?


None of the above.

The answer, according to the LA Times, is Shaboo. Shaboo is not located in New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco.

You will find Shaboo in Las Vegas’ sparkling new $8.5 billion 67-acre CityCenter filled with shops, restaurants, and a
4,004-room hotel-casino.

You have probably figured out that Shaboo
features Oriental cuisine.

Enough teasing already.

The LA Times reports the most expensive dinner in America is “most likely $500-per-person Japanese hot pot -- yes, hot pot.”

Now this is going to be a tough sell for yours truly. Japanese and Chinese? Maybe twice a year, tops for me. Asian fusion? Now you’re talking.

But Japanese hot pot? At $500 /person?

Oh, it gets better, folks.

It gets better.

Masayoshi Takayama has opened Shaboo and one of the featured items is shabu-shabu. The LA Times describes shabu-shabu as traditionally paper-thin slices of beef quickly poached with vegetables in a water-based broth.”

Now imagine you’re celebrating a special birthday or anniversary and you make reservations at a gazillion star restaurant and the menu offers “traditionally paper-thin slices of beef quickly poached with vegetables in a water-based broth.” Your eyes span to the other side of the menu and you see…..$500.

My guess is even though you are struggling to breathe and you are drooling to beat the band, you will somehow find the power to utter a distinctive, “Say what?”

Back to the LA Times.

‘”Hot pots are by nature informal, cozy affairs, with everybody leaning over a big pot in the middle of the table, taking from it whatever they want.”

Now that’s special and romantic isn’t it?

More from the newspaper.

“And they are easy enough to make at home that they can be impromptu meals.”

SO THEN WHY IN THE HELL DOES IT COST $500 IN A RESTAURANT?

Could this be why?

The owner wants to serve it in solid gold bowls that cost $80,000 each.

Well........ that’s different. You can forget the beer batter.

One more time, from the LA Times.

“The foundation of the hot pot is the broth, which often includes dashi, a stock of konbu and dried bonito flakes. For his seafood shabu, Takayama uses a golden broth of dashi made with konbu and niboshi, or dried anchovies. The stock for his beef shabu is prepared in an eight-hour process making a consommé from konbu, niboshi, seared Ohmi beef tendon, carrots, onions, garlic, beef and chicken bones, and bay leaf.”

Yep. On a really cold night, just like Real Chili from downtown Milwaukee, I can see that. No, really. Sounds good. But for $500? And no cheese???

American restaurants are interested in the concept, but really, should we be dunking high-priced slices of beef into what is being described as a consommé?

This is a culinary no-no on so many levels, but especially this: The LA Times reports Shaboo, “The restaurant's name is a slightly infelicitous play on the words ‘shabu’ and ‘taboo’.”

Now, shouldn't that raise all kinds of flags?

Las Vegas is swimming in great restaurants. Shaboo with its $500 boiled beef would be my absolute last resort.



CULINARY NO-NO BONUS

Hot dog hysteria

"Believe it or not, the government is about to regulate the shape of hot dogs."

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