Welcome to Four Eyes Forum, a meeting place to exchange news and views on food, food photography, the word on food, food science, style and architecture. Join me, the blogger who wears glasses, in this world as I throw out engaging stuff that I think you'll find interesting, beautiful and delicious. As Charles Dudley Warner, American editor and writer, said,
"Lettuce, like conversation, requires a good deal
of oil, to avoid friction, and keep the company
smooth....You can put anything, and the more
things the better, into salad, as into a conver-
sation, but everything depends upon the skill of

That's my job.

(All photographs, unless otherwise cited, copyright
Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2016)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Restaurant Week, Traverse City, Michigan, 2015 Fair Weather At The Boathouse

Dinner at the Academy Awards is a culinary celebration of fantasy made real, but the offerings at Restaurant Weeks across the country are quite extraordinary, also. Witness Restaurant Week in Traverse City, 2015. I was invited to The Boathouse, one of the finest restaurants in town, and it rose to the occasion and shined, glowed, warmed, delighted!
All for $25. (my friend from Boston let out an audible gasp when she heard that)

To set the evening's tone, the drive out from town was unexpectedly delightful. It didn't snow all day and the temps weren't bone chilling yet. Additionally, the road was in good shape, so we could relax enough to take in the view of  Grand Traverse Bay, frozen though it was, and the lovely homes which line Peninsula Drive.

And that just made the dining experience more seductive. I love the interior design of The Boathouse. There are three large dining areas, and all are inviting spaces.  Most importantly to me, the acoustics are such that it's not loud and echoey.  The lighting is softly bright, shining out of beautiful spiky sconces and ceiling fixtures from Old Hickory Furniture Co., that resemble brown, bare branches. (the website calls it 'cottage decor' -- I call it 'hip, cottage decor') Very nice in total. (I was especially impressed that the decor matched the clothes of my friend's daughter -- those subtleties a photographer really appreciates.)

P.S. These rolls were incredible!

The fireplace could be bigger, but it was there, burning comfortably in the largest room. It adds to the general ambiance more than anything else, because what's central to the dining space is that it's window-lined. (we could see people Cross Country Skiing on the frozen harbor outside. Charming!)

All this set the stage for the meal -- appetizer, entree, dessert. You can Google Restaurant Week for the full offering, but, after the Wedge Salad, (which I adore!) 
I had the 5 oz. steak (black angus), with fingerling potato, parsnip puree, haricot vert, tomato jam. and it was perfection!  
The Parsnip Puree rocked!

My dining partner had the lobster and it, too, was outstanding. 

I saw more of these coming out of the kitchen than anything else. The combinations of stuffing got more and more interesting to the palate, too, working from north to south. We were assured it was fresh Maine Lobster. It certainly tasted that way.

Dessert was a tad underwhelming after the fireworks of the entrees, and small portions, now that I think of it. But that was somehow in keeping with the winter mood -- just a little chocolate, creme brûlée, or apple crisp to go with that last sip of champagne; that was a more fitting conclusion to this lovely meal than more sugar.

By the time we were done, the light had finally faded from the sky, and the parking lot was a shimmering, blue canvas of snow. I'll return in the spring to check for continuity, but I've eaten at the Boathouse twice now, and a third time will make real my endorsement for best restaurant in Traverse City. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

And The Oscar Goes To...

Wolfgang Puck, of course! Like the Superbowl at halftime, he's choreographed his 300 chefs and 600 waiters (swear. I'm not kidding) so well that the show will unfold as if by magic, no doubt. Let's see, that works out to roughly one staff to two guests, if all 1,500 show up.  Make that, two lucky guests. Wikipedia says that Wolfgang Puck's favorite food is macarons, and, for some reason, this makes aesthetic sense to me. Macarons are fun, uplifting, luxurious, and he seems to have these qualities in spades. He's serving them tonight, actually, huckleberry macaroons! Be still my creative heart. 

Let's dispense with disclosure right now. I took none of these pictures; how could I? They're from the BBC News website yesterday, and have no photographer credited. He or she has a beautiful camera, however, and I think these images are stunning. I'm happy to share them with you. After all, the food at the party is 1/2 the story. God knows what projects may be brokered in about seven hours over huckleberry macarons and champagne and demitasse?

 So, come along with me. Here's a mini gallery of some of what's in store tonight.  I don't care who wins or loses statues, what anyone's wearing, or what they said. I'm just swept up in this culinary moment.

Mac and Cheese and ?  Then, breaded, fried chicken, served on ? with cabbage sprigs.

How cute are burger sliders? Real cute.

I adore food as modern art! Presentation, people!

Caviar looks right at home on a perfect pot pie.

Salmon Pizza, o.k.

                                             I know…get out with the huckleberry lollipops!

And here's a video from BBC News Entertainment.
It's a knockout. I'd eat something before watching it, though.

Next post, Restaurant Week. I promise.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

James Beard Awards, 2015

It's that time again!

No, not tax time, it's time for the James Beard Awards. Semi-finals have just been announced, and Myles Anton, of Trattoria Stella in Traverse City, has been nominated again (5th time) for Best Chef Great Lakes. Congratulations to him and all of the other semi-finalists. The awards will be announced on May 24. For the complete list, see the James Beard Website.


And speaking of the website, I had forgotten how much fun it is to wander around in there. I could spend hours and hours. Especially on the Kitchen Cam! Nothing like live action.

Have fun, everybody, and a parting congratulations to Chef Anton!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy New Year, 2015

Where was I? Oh, yeah, back in July. And, before I knew it, the summer was gone 

 (I was shooting, not blogging) 

and then fall came and went

with the last hurrahs of the outdoor farmer's market. The colors are so intense before the ground has to give it  up! (shooting, not blogging)

And then it does and there's nothing to do except BAKE and wait for the snow. (maybe do some blogging)

And then the snow came, and more baking, where I perfected Grammie's Apple Pie at last.

So I celebrated that, serving it on Audobon Bird Plates, Meakin China from England, and it was perfect.

So here we are, up to date, and it's still snowing, but now I'm blogging.  What to do now but participate in Restaurant Week in Traverse City. I will infiltrate the offerings and get back to you. Surely someone else will be baking.