Sunday, June 6, 2010

Manresa

If there was a living definition of a foodie it would be me and my DH. We are palate adventurers and although with young children, our experiences had to be definitely toned down to the more mundane
we still love having our tongues titillated. We are trying to get our kids to expand their reportoire but it is a struggle.
I remember watching Babette's feast with interest and have been watching Iron Chef way before the American version- in Japanese even- who needed translation?- you can see how amazing it all was.
In celebration of our 17th wedding anniversary- how quick the time passes.... my DH took me to one of our favorite restaurants- Manresa. It is nestled in a little street off of the main street in Los Gats California and as always it did not disappoint.
We did the tasting menu- a selection of different items from the menu that the Chef chooses for your tasting. Never mind that the dinner for two may translate to a week's wages for many especially if you do the wine pairing but it is an amazing experience to be had.

It started off with a savory amuse bouche of red pepper gelee and black olive madelines served on a piece of slate. Such delicious morsels!
It was followed by strawberry gazpacho with marcona almond to add a bit of crunch served in a shot glass. My only regret was that I did not have a long enough tongue to get to the bottom to get every sweet drop.




Next came a poached oyster with seaweed and seawater gelee. It was the essence of the sea. Served on a bed of salt in a very organic rock plate. The dinner is a feast for all senses including that of visual pleasure as you can see.
David Kinch, the chef at Manresa just received the coveted James Beard Foundation award for best chef Pacific region. Although he was not physicially there this night, his philosophy and cooking style was still present in all that we had.


The oyster was followed by my favorite tidbit - the Arpegge egg served in its own sheel with sherry and chives- I was so eager to have it, alas, forgot to take the picture before it was delightfully consumed.
Japanese cuttlefish grilled with fig cream served with pickled and unripe strawberries followed. I have eaten in a lot of places- and I mean a LOT- even at Manresa itself many times- and I have never tasted anything like this- I would have liked to have a whole bowl of it and I am sure I would have licked it clean.



But my favorite dish of all was a simple asparagus dish. Delta asparagus, shaved thinly and julienned cooked with bonito butter and roasted seeds which were so sophisticated in flavor, my DH who is not much of an asparagus fan wiped the plate clean with the fabulous home made bread to sop up every drop.



I have been a fan of snout to tail cooking which means to use every part of an animal who has been sacrificed to give us sustenance and I saw Dr Kinch on Martha Stewart where he used the leaves, stems and the flower of the nasturtium for a fabulous soup and I just love that philosophy. This dish was called Into the Garden - hand picked vegetables, steamed baby carrot, broccoli, purple cabbage with variety of greens and even some "edible dirt" on the side- made of roasted chicory, almonds, parsnip and potatoes- a venerable garden. He has a local farm "Love Apple Farm" in Santa Cruz Mountains where they grow sustainable organic products to be hand picked daily for their previleged diners.

The dinner continues to their savory courses starting with the pil-pil Cod - cooked Basque style, in an emulsion of the cod's gelatin and olive oil- served with watercress and artichoke hearts as well as bell pepper tears and artichoke chips. Bell pepper "tears" is such an evocative name- and the artichoke chips were so delicious I know I could get my kids to eat it... if I can only figure out how they did it....






This next dish was a small abalone with porcini mushroom on apple puree and dashi to finish.










This was another interesting dish of veal sweetbread with morel mushrooms and green garlic served with sweet onion broth enriched with beef marrow. The green on top was crispy and delicious- how they got it so crispy is a mystery.









Roasted lamb and roasted tongue confit followed. My DH made a face when he heard "tongue" but after tasting it found it super tender and flavorful and even thought my pickiest of the boys would have liked it as long as they did not know what part it was.
The chickpea panisse was really good- makes me want to make some at home for my boys. It was served with nasturtium flower petals and puree of pinenuts which was also delish!

The desserts were to die for- seriously. The black pepper toile cookie in a ring with roasted strawberries ( which were really intense in flavor ) inside with yuzu sorbet which was the perfect complement.




The final dessert was a chocolate sorbet with vanilla meringe, cashew nut cream, which was amazing, and white chocolate.












A sweet selection of strawberry gelee and chocolate madelines closed the evening - very alliterative!
The wine pairings were also amazing -2008 Domaine de Salvard Sauvignon Blanc Cheverny was absolutely delicious but I have no pictures to accompany the wines- only our satisfied palates and memories to keep us going for hopefully another 17 years!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't know you were a foodie. The pictures look fantastic.

Dorothy said...

mmm yummy!! happy anniversary!!!

Amanda Morris said...

As a fellow foodie (and SU demo, to boot) I can completely understand spending a weeks wages on a meal! My husband and I love watching all the shows (especially Top Chef)and testing out the top rated restaurants in Atlanta. We're heading to Bacchanalia next weekend for our 7th Anniversary. Thanks for sharing the photos (yum!) and congratulations on 17 years!!