Benu - San Francisco

 

Close-up butter image: Faye Liu      -       Pouring butter image: The Skinny Bib

Restaurant: Located in the SoMa district of downtown San Francisco, Benu is a restaurant known for its complex tasting menu. Influenced by many cultures, Benu explores how Eastern and Western flavors, ideas, and aesthetics harmonize with each other. Established in 2010, the restaurant is housed on the ground floor of a historic building that dates back to 1922. Benu has received four stars from The San Francisco Chronicle, the AAA Five Diamond Award, and in 2014, Benu was awarded the highest rating from the Michelin Guide, the coveted (and rare) three stars.

Chef:   Born in Seoul, South Korea, Corey Lee’s family moved to New York when he was five years old. Influenced by his mother’s cooking, he took his first kitchen job at 17. Lee traveled and worked in Europe and New York. His career has spanned over 20 years of working at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world, including a tenure as head chef at The French Laundry where his work was recognized with a James Beard Award. In 2015, Chef Lee authored the cookbook Benu–a collection of recipes and essays that explores the restaurant's food, influences, and people who make it possible.

Butter:  Chef Lee’s butter is like a work of art in flavor and design. The butter is drizzled with ginseng-infused orange blossom honey and topped with Sinan sea salt. (Sinan sea salt is produced in the Sinan Archipelago of South Korea) Warm sprouted grain bread complements the disk of butter that is embossed with a honeycomb pattern. 


Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 685-4860

Benu website



 

The Laundromat Cafe - Reykjavik, Iceland

 

We were walking around downtown Reykjavik and found this nice cafe.  I ordered a bread basket, my first taste of Icelandic butter. The bread and butter were delicious, as was my carrot and ginger soup!

I wish we had a Laundromat Cafe in my home town!

After eating we walked to the market and I purchased some Icelandic butter to bring home. I'm excited to have a taste test with friends.


The Laundromat Cafe
Austurstræti 9 9, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+45 35 35 26 72

The Laundromat Cafe website



 

Under Kastanjen - Stockholm, Sweden

 

Under Kastanjen, translated to Under the Chestnut tree.

While exploring Stockholm's old-town, Gamla Stan, we happend to walk past this lovely courtyard with a huge chestnut tree.  There we found the bistro Under Kastanjen, with its bakery and a wine bar. We stopped for dinner and returned another day for breakfast.

Under Kastanjen serves a salted butter from Finland called Valio. The butter was piped onto a little rock that the owner had gathered while at a Swedish beach, beautiful and delicious.


Under Kastanjen
Kindstugatan 1, 111 31 Stockholm, Sweden
+46 8 21 50 04

Under Kastanjen website



 

Strandvägen 1 - Stockholm, Sweden

 

We left the hotel early hoping to find a place to eat on our way to Skansen. We happened to walk past this restaurant and decided to give it a try. It was really good.

Strandvägen is a boulevard on Östermalm in central Stockholm. 

The menu had a nice illustration of the restaurant. They brought out the butter in a gold-lidded dish. Nice touch. This was a delicious way to start the day.

stockholm_sweden

Strandvägen 1
114 51 Stockholm
Tel +46 8 663 80 00

Strandvägen 1 website

 


Sheraton - Stockholm, Sweden

 
sheraton_stockholm_hotel_butter_smor

My first night in Stockholm I ordered a snack from room service. I ordered a bowl of tomato soup and to my great surprise, the soup arrived with the beautifully embossed smör. Welcome to Sweden! 

sheraton_stockholm_hotel_soup

The Stockholm Sheraton uses salted butter from a Swedish company named Arla. It was tasty.

welcome to sweden

Välkommen till Sverige!


Sheraton Stockholm Hotel
Tegelbacken 6, 101 23 Stockholm, Sweden
+46 8 412 34 00

Stockholm Sheraton website

 

Manresa - Los Gatos, California

 

Friends of ours accompanied us for dinner at Manresa on our anniversary. From the moment we walked in through Manresa’s tall front doors we were welcomed and made to feel like the staff had been waiting for us.

Inside, the décor was minimal and elegant. We were escorted to the lounge area to wait for our table. A woman walked up to us, thanked us for coming and let us know that chef Kinch was excited to cook for us that night. We felt like VIPs.

The meal began with a collection of small bites: red pepper and black olive petit fours, and savory granola crisps topped with a variety of seeds and grains. With each course the food became more beautiful and flavorful.

Chef Kinch came to our table, introduced himself, and thanked us for coming. He mentioned how he thought ButterJournal was interesting and that he hoped that I liked his butter (which of course I did!). The waiters served three different types of deservedly famous bread along with the butter. The butter was rich, creamy, and had a delicious fresh flavor. It wasn’t long before it was all gone. Chef Kinch came out to talk with us again later in the evening. He had the wait staff bring out another serving of butter for us. He told us that he had something special coming later, at the end of the meal.

The service team was perfectly synchronized and the food beautifully orchestrated. This attention to detail made chef David Kinch's elevated cooking rise even higher.

After a host of exquisite dishes, we were served a special treat: old fashioned salted butter ice cream with toasted milk solids and drizzled with caramelized milk jam. The ice cream had a build up and layering of Manresa’s special butter flavors. It was delectable.

As we finished, the staff brought us our printed menus, mini boxes of Manresa’s granola, a few pieces of their celebrated salted caramels, and a some butter in a to-go box.  

We walked out into the lightly lit courtyard, in awe of the evening and our over three hour culinary adventure. We all agreed that this was the best meal that we had ever had, in flavor and experience.


Restaurant:   Located in downtown Los Gatos, Manresa Restaurant offers extravagant farm-to-table tasting menus. Owner and chef, David Kinch has forged a distinctive culinary path putting him at the forefront of new contemporary California cuisine. Influenced by French and modern Catalan cooking, Kinch finds inspiration from European traditions and refinement, American ingenuity, and the vast bounty California offers.

Chef Kinch received the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Pacific” award in 2010, and GQ magazine named him “Chef of the Year” in 2011. In 2012, Manresa was named one of Restaurant magazine and San Pellegrino’s “Top 50 Restaurants in the World,” and in 2013, Bon Appétit called Manresa one of the “20 Most Important Restaurants in America.” Kinch was nominated for the James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Chef” award in 2014.

In July of 2014, a two-alarm fire at Manresa caused substantial damage to the restaurant. After being closed for nearly six months to remodel, which included a complete kitchen rebuild, the restaurant re-opened on New Year’s Eve to popular and critical acclaim.

Manresa held two Michelin stars for nine consecutive years, earning their third Michelin star in 2016. Manresa also became a Relais and Chateaux property joining a group of coveted properties and restaurants around the world in 2016. 

Chef:   Originally from Pennsylvania, David Kinch grew up in New Orleans. At 16, he got his first kitchen job and was hooked. He attended Johnson & Wales Culinary Academy in Providence, Rhode Island.

Kinch spent years honing his skills at top restaurants in France, Spain, Japan, and Germany. He worked at notable establishments in the U.S. as well, based for the most part in New York City and San Francisco.

In 1995, Kinch opened his first bistro-style restaurant, Sent Sovi, in Saratoga. After seven years, Kinch looked for another venue. He opened Manresa in Los Gatos in July of 2002. Manresa garnered national attention in 2004, after Kinch was invited to cook for several top food writers at chef Eric Ripert’s famed Le Bernardin in New York.

Chef David Kinch soon found international acclaim as one of the most celebrated chefs of his generation.

2013 was a busy year for chef Kinch as he launched Manresa Bread, which offers breads and pastries at popups, farmers’ markets, and two retail locations in Los Gatos and Los Altos. He also published his first cookbook, titled, “Manresa: An Edible Reflection.”

This year, David Kinch, Gabrielle Hamilton, and The Mind of a Chef team won Outstanding Culinary Host at the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. We sat next to his Emmy while eating at Manresa. Impressive!

Butter:   Manresa’s butter is in a different league because of their sourcing. They purchase their milk and cream from a small farm in Watsonville that has special Vache Normande cows: a French breed associated with the Normandy dairy region.  “We’ve used cream from the Vache Normande source for almost 7 years now,” says chef Kinch. Unfortunately they had apporximately a twelve month period where there was no milk or cream at all. “I am anticipating having cream once a week until the end of the year,” he explains. “We take it in stride. I’m grateful for the product and I understand the vagaries of artisanal productions.”   

Chef Kinch describes the butter’s origins and notes that three to four years before he found this source, they were making butter from Holstein and Jersey cream and it made a very nice product but the Vache Normande was on such a different level it was truly great to find it.

When they have a steady supply of cream, they make their butter once a week.

Manresa adds either Jacobsen Fleur du Sel or, better yet, their own homemade salt made from water they gather in Monterey Bay. See Kinch’s book "Manresa: An Edible Reflection", for a salt sourcing how-to called Our Salt.

Chef Kinch now feels that there is no point in making their own butter unless they have the tremendous Vache Normande source. “When we don’t have the Normande cream we buy our butter from Sierra Nevada Cheese Company,” he says. There are a lot of European style butters out there, but chef Kinch likes the fact that Sierra Nevada Butter is California produced.

When asked about his butter making goals, chef Kinch says, “We add a fair amount of salt to our butter. We are trying to make a Breton (Brittany, France) style sweet butter, one that is not cultured. I like the richness and natural sweetness and the saltiness of a Breton style butter, as apposed to a Normandy style butter, that is just my personal preference.”

Chef Kinch lists recipes for Manresa's Our Butter and Nasturtium Butter in his book "Manresa: An Edible Reflection”.

 

Commentary:   I asked chef Kinch what type of butter he eats when he is at home. He explained, “A friend of mine, as a gift, gave me a good supply of Trappist butter made in Hokkaido Japan. Which is really superb.” Trappist butter comes in vacuum-sealed cans. Hokkaido is known for it’s dairy region of Japan. Hokkaido is wild and isolated with lots of national parks and surrounded by the sea. “The quality is very, very high. It is something that I have in my fridge at home, other than that I usually take some homemade butter home from the restaurant,” admits chef Kinch.

trappist_butter.jpg

 “What I like is really good butter. That is what I reserve my butter consumption to now a days,” says chef Kinch. “Eat less, eat better!”  


Manresa
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, California 95030
(408) 354-4330

Manresa website


David Kinch's other ventures:

 Manresa Bread features an ever-changing selection of breads and pastries  Los Gatos 276 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030 (408) 402-5372   Los Altos   271 State Street, Los Altos, CA 94022  (650) 946-2293

Manresa Bread features an ever-changing selection of breads and pastries

Los Gatos
276 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 402-5372

Los Altos
271 State Street, Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 946-2293

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  The Bywater is a neighborhood Bar & Eatery inspired by the food, drink, and music of New Orleans  532 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030 (408) 560-9639

The Bywater is a neighborhood Bar & Eatery inspired by the food, drink, and music of New Orleans

532 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 560-9639



 

Menton - Boston, Massachusetts

 

Butter Image courtesy of Aliza Eliazarov / StarChefs

Restaurant:  Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood is the perfect setting for Menton, chef Barbara Lynch's modern interpretation of fine dining. With beautifully executed cuisine, an unparalleled wine program, gracious hospitality, and a glamorous setting, Menton seeks to excite and inspire its guests. 

Just as chef Lynch carefully sources each ingredient, every element of the space—from the French linens to the Austrian wine glasses—has also been thoughtfully selected to enhance the entire dining experience. The restaurant’s interior reflects chef Lynch's vision of fine dining: a marriage of luxury, whimsy, elegance, comfort, and surprise. 

Since opening in 2010, the restaurant has received numerous accolades, including a four star review from The Boston Globe, the title of one of Bon Appétit and Esquire magazines' best new restaurants in 2010, and a James Beard Foundation Award nomination in 2011 for Best New Restaurant. In 2012, Menton became the first and only Relais & Châteaux property in Boston and its reputation as a culinary destination was further confirmed with the receipt of AAA’s Five Diamond Award and Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star Award. 

Chef:  While growing up in South Boston, Barbara Lynch got her first kitchen job cooking at a local rectory. It was in high school, however, that an influential home economics teacher and a job working with chef Bonello piqued her interest in becoming a professional chef. During her early twenties, Barbara worked under some of Boston’s greatest culinary talents and traveled to Italy where she learned about the country’s cuisine firsthand from local women. She returned to Boston and became the executive chef at Galleria Italiana.

In 1998, Barbara opened her first restaurant, No. 9 Park. The restaurant immediately received rave reviews. Many Barbara Lynch businesses were to follow, including an oyster bar, butcher shop, demonstration kitchen/cookbook store, cocktail bar, diner and most recently Menton.

Chef Lynch has received many distinctions, such as The James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Restaurateur; she is only the second woman to receive this honor. Chef Lynch is currently the only female in the United States to hold the distinguished title of Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux.

As the founder and CEO of Barbara Lynch Gruppo, chef Lynch oversees the operations of all of her businesses, employees and her charitable foundation dedicated to empowering Boston families.

Butter:  Sarah, a former Menton employee, had heard legends of an amazing woman in Vermont who handmade 85% butter-fat butter.  The employee was so intrigued that she searched out Diane St. Clair at Animal Farm and insisted that chef Lynch try her butter.  “I, of course, fell in love with the first bite and the rest of history,” admits chef Lynch.  When I asked chef Lynch if she adds any ingredients to the butter, she replied, “No! I'm a purist when it comes to artisanal products.”

Menton waiters offer several different bread options alongside their Animal Farm’s unsalted butter.  At lunchtime guests are greeted with honey butter croissants, herb focaccia, and milk rolls.  However, at dinner the bread service is a progression, always beginning with their honey butter croissants.  Guests are then offered several bread options including a beer pretzel roll, a potato & dill roll, a mini baguette, or a whole wheat & thyme country loaf (among others).

 

Commentary:  Chef Lynch remembers being a child and shaking heavy cream in a mason jar until it turned into butter and then spreading it on saltine crackers. “It was good, but God, nothing like the gorgeous artisanal butter of Diane.” She is speaking of Diane St. Clair of Animal Farm.


champagne_and_butter_menton-2.jpg

An Evening of Champagne and Butter:

Menton hosts Champagne & Butter every September and debuts a 5 course tasting menu with Champagne pairings, all designed around Diane St. Clair from Animal Farm's gorgeous butter! 

This event is a must for anyone who enjoys champagne and butter, arguably two of the most luxurious creations in the world of food and drink. 


Chef Barbara Lynch's Book


Menton's
354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
(617) 737-0099

Menton website


 

Barbara Lynch's other ventures

 Regionally-inspired Italian and French dishes

Regionally-inspired Italian and French dishes

 Modern take on a classic oyster bar

Modern take on a classic oyster bar

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Bar dedicated to the craft of the cocktail

Bar dedicated to the craft of the cocktail

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Demonstration kitchen and cookbook store

Demonstration kitchen and cookbook store



99 Restaurante - Santiago, Chile

 

Restaurant: Located in the heart of Santiago, 99 serves inventive, modern tasting menus featuring the best Chilean products from land and sea. Though gastronomically sophisticated, 99’s décor is casual and comfortable. In 99’s two years of existence, both executive chef Kurt Schmidt and pastry chef Gustavo Saez have developed a deep appreciation for Chilean local ingredients. They have established relationships with the farmers and producers who give them the delicious and diverse products, from the north to the south, of this very long country.

99 Restaurante is on the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2015 and 2016.

99_restaurant.jpg

Chefs:   Chef Kurt Schmidt is the creator and owner of 99. After studying French cooking, Schmidt opened a tiny lunch café and De Raiz, a catering business where he offered tasting menus and pop up dinners.  His first apprentice experiences in Chile were with Cristopher Carpentier and Borago’s chef Rodolfo Guzmán. He travelled around the world gaining experience in famous restaurants such as Noma, Arzurmendi and Aponiente. Schmidt has an innovative way of working; he treats each member of 99’s team as part of his family. He always looks forward to working side by side with different chefs and restaurants, creating supportive programs as “The Solidary Table”.

 -

After working at some of the best restaurants in the world, such as Celler de Can Roca, D.O.M and Boragó, young pastry chef Gustavo Saez is now Sub Chef and the man behind the delicious and innovative pastries and desserts of 99. Breaking schemes and creating a completely new style of doing pastry in Chile, Gustavo will be the first chef to represent Chile at France’s Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, world’s most important challenge for pastry chefs.

Butter:  The first dish that arrives at 99’s table is the bread basket with two types of homemade and naturally fermented bread, one Italian, the other with nuts and raisins. Served with the bread is a very special butter mounted on a copper surface. (Copper is the most important and noble mineral produced in Chile.)  

The butter comes from a farm in rural Purranque, located in southern Chile. The butter is mixed with dried wild mushrooms, which also come from the south. With all the earthy flavors from the southern forests, the butter is finally finished with a coastal salt from the south-central village of Cahuil, where natural salt pools yield salt with their own Denomination of Origin. The salt has been harvested annually for 500 hundred years by salt makers who continue to extract it manually. 


99 Restaurante
Andrés de Fuenzalida 99, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
+56 2 2335 3327

99 Restaurante website



 

Richard Rosendale

 
butter_journal_rosendale_radish_butter

I first contacted Chef Richard Rosendale when he was the executive chef at The Greenbriar, a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort. He was serving the radish butter terrine at private dinners.

butter_journal_rosendale_radish_butter2

Chef:  Raised in Uniontown, PA, Rich Rosendale’s love of food and cooking was inspired and nurtured by two great cooks—his grandmothers. Rosendale attended culinary school and classically trained in Norway, Germany, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Northern Italy, and some of the finest kitchens in the United States, including a six-year apprenticeship under seven Certified Master Chefs.

Chef Rosendale has received many awards and accolades during is career. A few of the milestones include:

-   Making his television debut on CBS’s Recipe Rehab

-   Completing a 130-hour cooking exam and earning the title of Certified Master Chef

-   Representing the United States, placing in the top third at the biennial 2013 Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France

-   Serving as the youngest Executive Chef in The Greenbrier’s 200+ year history, opening five new restaurants and launching the 44-acre Greenbrier Farm

 

Butter: The idea for the radish butter terrine was inspired by the delicious combination of eating radishes and butter together. The layered terrine is to be eaten with crusty bread.  

Commentary:  When Chef Rosendale was Chef de Cuisine at The Greenbrier, they averaged one pound of butter per guest. “Butter is something that we would use to carry flavor.” He said. “It was used to enhance flavors, butter was a critical ingredient on our kitchen for many reasons.” They would rest meat in it, sous vide vegetables in it and baste fish with it.