Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ubuntu in Napa

One of my husband's favorite restaurant is Manresa in Los Gatos. For his birthday every year we have been trekking there for their incredible tasting menu which is like a party in your mouth with every delicious morsel where you wish you could have just one more lick. Well, when his brother came to visit from New York he had one request- to go to Ubuntu, a vegetarian restaurant cum yoga studio in Napa. It was rated as second best restaurants in America by the New York Times and he really wanted to go. Reservations were made and arrangements for babysitting and we were all set to go. Mind you I had some severe doubts- a vegetarian restaurant? yoga studio? You've got to be kidding me!

I tried to be a vegetarian once and I know the health benefits
but made it only a week before I gave in to my midwest girl cravings. The restaurant sits kinda quietly on a street just next door to a steakhouse which I thought was really funny. The day we were there we all decided to have the tasting menu. We started out with these really tasty lavender almonds which reminded me a little bit of potpourri but after that my doubts were given way to visual and taste delights that blows your mind and makes you think you really COULD be a vegetarian!

The tasting menu started with an amuse bouche- a cool carrotty soup with a beautiful edible johnny jump up on top. Then "leaves and things with burrata" grown in they own biodynamic garden. The "english peas in shell consomme" was so delicious with macadamia, white chocolate! and mint.

One of our favorites were the tasting of courgettes and succulents with little cubes of polenta squares that were so good that I forgot to take a picture before I dug in to its hot melt in your mouth taste explosion.

There was toasted dumplings with morels in their natural broth with something called milk skin that was really like tasting a fresh forest at its best- I would have picked it up and licked the bowl if I could have.

Next was a deep fried domaine de la chance egg with rice grits and okra - so delicious- I can still taste it-mmmmmm.

Then the desserts started with raspberry sorbet with watermelon granite and rose geranium.

It was followed by Brioche French toast with roasted apricot and blueberry ice cream, peach and honey.

The meal finished with vegetable petit fours and this tiny carrot cupcake that redefines cupcake. I think my kids would have really liked it would we have not eaten every last crumb.

Jeremy Fox the chef and Deanie Fox the pastry chef worked at Manresa before their venture into Napa and David Kinch's influence is evident. And to disappoint the nay sayers there was no sight of tofu or brown rice any where to be seen...... Two thumbs way WAY up!

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