Mister Parker’s : Dining Like the Rat Pack

By Tsz on February 16, 2012

Gastrophoria is a skillet of garlicky escargots at Mister Parker’s.

Lounging in a pool of herbaceous butter, a bite of the formerly humble garden crawlers can transport you to old Hollywood glamour, where the times seems more elegant and ritzy.

It certainly helps that the surroundings reflect the food and the mood. Tufted leather booths, smoky wood paneling, low mirrored ceilings and a kitschy mod art collection—they evoke a hybrid between speakeasy and a gentleman’s study. You can almost picture Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack dining in the next table over.

As you perfect the art of extracting escargot in true Pretty Woman style, be sure to say hi to Mister Parker’s executive chef, Frank Decker. Deeply passionate about food, he is always game for sharing recipes or divulging the anatomy of a dish.

Since Chef Decker is currently tinkering with a new concept for the lounge of The Parker, he graciously gave me a sneak peak at a dish he’s working on: seared beef carpaccio with a spicy scallion angel hair and soy caramel. Indulgent yet light, it was the perfect interlude to the main attraction.

The special of the evening was a filet of sole over a bed of faro risotto, swiss chard, glazed carrots and sage butter. I rarely ever finish my food, but I cleaned the plate for this!

As the portions from Mister Parker’s are quite generous, it’s an undertaking to clear enough stomach real estate for dessert. If you do, I would recommend their profiteroles. They’re not your run-of-the mills boring cream puffs, no siree. Instead, they’re filled with zesty ginger curry ice cream, topped with roasted peach and paired with honeycomb candy. Flossy flossy.

Here’s to you, ol’ blue eyes!

Mister Parker’s
4200 East Palm Canyon Rd
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Phone: (760) 770-5000


Ginger Orange Magret Duck with Kasha

By Tsz on February 3, 2012

Gastrophoria is an updated version of the classic Duck l’Orange.

French foods can be quite daunting to the uninitiated because of their fancy sounding names (ie. profiteroles, brandade, etc.). However, once you get pass the unfamiliar sounding names, French cuisine is actually quite assessable and often quick to prepare.

Case in point is the famous Duck L’Orange, which is really just a simple roast duck served with a sticky sweet orange sauce. It’s already simple enough, but for me, I like to go the extra mile in making it easier and faster to prepare, so instead of serving the whole duck, I used only the breasts, which are deboned already thanks to D’Artagnan.

The sauce also got a makeover. There’s the addition of ginger for a slight kick and the copious amount of butter originally used has been replaced with cornstarch for a health(ier) rendition. To soak up all the flavors, I made Kasha, a popular Eastern European grain (buckwheat groats). It’s loaded with fiber, but what’s so great about it is that it cooks in 10 minutes and have a great nutty and toasted flavor to boot. It was the perfect main course for my recent foie gras dinner party.

Happy Eating!

Ginger Orange Magret Duck with Kasha
Serves 6

3 Magret duck breasts from D’Artagnan
Freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. With a sharp knife score the skin of the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern and season with salt and pepper.
3. Warm an ovenproof cast iron skillet over high heat.
4. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in the skillet to render off the fat, about 6 minutes. Reserve 2 tbs of duck fat for kasha.
5. Turn the duck breasts over and sear for 1 minute.
6. Turn the fat side down again and place the skillet into the oven to roast for 7 to 9 minutes, until breasts are medium rare.
7. Let the duck breasts rest for 5 minutes then thinly slice.

Ginger Orange Sauce

2 oranges, zested and juiced (about 1 cup)
1 tbs freshly grated ginger
1 cup water
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs light soy sauce
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 tsp corn starch
1 tbs Grand Marnier

1. Over medium heat in a medium sauce pan, combine orange juice, zest, ginger, water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and orange marmalade. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Mix corn starch with 1/2 cup cold water. Slowly pour mixture into boiling sauce while stirring until thickened.
3. Turn off the heat and add 1 tbs Grand Marnier.


2 cup buckwheat
2 tbs rendered duck fat, reserved from the seared duck breast
2 tbs fried shallots
1/2 cup mushroom stock
4 cups water
Freshly ground pepper

1. Fill a medium pot with 4 cups water and bring to a boil.
2. Add Kasha buckwheat and boil until tender (about 10-15 minutes).
3. Drain and put in a bowl. Toss with mushroom stock and rendered duck fat.
4. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fried shallots.


1. Arrange 1/2 cup kasha in the center of the plate.
2. Place sliced duck breasts over kasha.
3. Drizzle ginger orange sauce and garnish duck with a few strips of orange zest.


Duck Prosciutto with Fennel and Apple

By Tsz on February 2, 2012

Gastrophoria is a simple salad made with duck prosciutto, fennel and apple.

With a subtlety sweet and smoky taste, duck prosciutto is the zippy sports car version of its mainstream cousin made from pork. Although they’re made essentially in the same method, the higher fat content in duck m eat (and its fatty covering) produces a much more luscious product.

To balance the richness, it’s best to pair it with something tart and crispy, such as pears and other stone fruits. However, I decided to go with Granny Smith and fennel for taste and color. When tossed with mixed greens and a simple lemon vinaigrette, these items takes on a life of their own. It was perfect as a appetizer for a foie gras-centric meal.

Happy Eating!

Duck Prosciutto with Fennel and Apple
Serves 6

1 breast duck prosciutto from D’Artagnan, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
mixed greens, washed and dried

1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tbs)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper

1. Whisk lemon juice, zest, and olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
2. Mix greens, fennel and apple. Toss with dressing.
3. Split salad amongst six plates and garish with duck prosciutto slices. Enjoy!


Foie Gras Macaron and Chicharrones

By Tsz on February 2, 2012

Gastrophoria is foie gras served two ways: foie gras macaron and chicharrones.

Whenever possible, I try to cook from scratch—it’s always better to know what’s in your food as well as save some cash on the side. However, there are several time and labor intensive food items that I would gladly spend money on, such as macaron, foie gras, bread and pasta. Because time, patience and preventing potential frustration are worth their weight in gold.

For a recent dinner party featuring foie gras, I decided to serve it in macarons and on chicharrones for the night’s amuse bouche. However, there is no way I could find 2 days to age egg whites for the macaron shells and several more to salt-cure foie gras lobes.

So, the next best route is to pull a Sandra Lee and get them pre-made. In this case, macarons from ‘Lette’s, foie gras mousse from D’Artagnan and chicharrones from 4505 Meats.

With the ingredients ready, this little number can be finished in just 10 minutes. Delicious and simple—it gave me less to worry about and more to impress guest with. Win-win situation I say!

Foie Gras Macaron and Chicharrones
Serves 6

8 oz foie gras mousse
6 pieces of chicharrones
12 macaron shells
Fleur de sel
Freshly grounded black pepper

1. Fill macaron shells with foie gras mousse and assemble.
2. Spread foie gras on chicharrones. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and black pepper.
3. Serve both side-by-side and enjoy. Now you’re a modern day Sandra Lee too!