Manresa

Bottom line at the beginning – Chef Kinch outdid himself – what a wonderful meal.

We started the meal outside, in the beautiful garden – the air was balmy – the setting gorgeous.

 

Petit Fours “red pepper-black olive” This is a visual pun – the madeleine style amuse is actually black olive and the red “gum drop” red pepper

 

 

Lavender lemonade, mint – very refreshing and a wonderful start.

 

Parmesan Churros –  one of our first meals at Manresa included the churros and it was super to revisit an old favorite.

 

Aji and seaweed ice, lemony herbs – I love aji, but the combination with the ice was masterful – all I needed was a seashell to hold to my ear and listen to the ocean.

 

Sweet corn croquettes (cromesquis) – insert croquette in your mouth and in one bite the liquid summer corn explodes in your mouth.

 

Courgette (zucchini) sorbet, pistachio vinaigrette, garnished with Orache, a member of the spinach family – another refreshing, light, summery palate pleaser

 

Farm fresh peaches in argan oil, prime filet of beef  (Bresaola) cured in house, thinly sliced – another wonderful combination whispering summer

 

Golden beggar’s purses filled with wild char roe and a quail egg – I really messed up on eating this dish. I forgot that I had to pop the entire purse in my mouth.  Unfortunately, I lost some of my roe on the table – no problem, just picked them up with my fingers and ate every single one.

 

Hand-churned salted butter with house-made bread that took several months to perfect 

 

Marinated shellfish and golden raspberries, fragrant green curry oil and just for me Iranian caviar – Again, what is striking to me about Chef Kinch’s cuisine is the juxtaposition of ingredients – shellfish (didn’t have time to write everything down), raspberries and green curry – we were on a world-wide tour in one meal.

 

Pumpkin veloute “petit rouge’, ripe figs. First the bowl was served with the figs and the fig leaf ice cream. The roasted petit rouge pumpkin veloute was poured on top. I wasn’t aware there was a summer pumpkin and there is just no way to describe how delicious this was.

The veloute poured on top

 

Vegetables with exotic spice spice, flowering coriander – Dana, our wonderful server,  is extremely patient with me – I ask numerous questions and no matter how backed up she is, she always slows down so I can quickly write her descriptions. Basically the vegetables were garden roots – beets, Thumbelina carrots, baby carrots, green garlic, baby leeks in an Indian spice

 

Into the vegetable garden – Chef Kinch called this menu the summer garden and essentially this is what this dish was – the freshest and just picked vegetables from the garden – the major seasoning being the jus from the vegetables. 

 

Monterey Bay Abalone with garden basils and courgettes, slow egg – every time Chef Kinch pairs a dish with this miraculous slow cooked egg, I am in heaven.

 

Kokotxas in a young garlic bouillon witth New Zealand spinach. Dana explained these were salt cod cheeks or Cod Jowls.

A google search produced this:

“Out of each cod only two of these precious kokotxas are obtained.  So yes, they are precious.  Giraldo carefully hand selects the Kokotxas according to size and texture.  This is a very gelatinous product that allows the interested chef to become creative in the kitchen.  Do not peel the skin off of the product which is a mistake often made.  You should only remove the partial skin that is left in the middle joining the two long sections.”

 

pigeon presented

Wood pigeon roasted in salt, morels, braised chard and morellos cherries with the pits (Dana warned us in advance) – absolutely perfect

 The pigeon plated

 

Roast Sonoma lamb from Dave Watkins with garden vegetable roots, exotic spice, natural jus

Thank goodness Chef Kinch handed us a menu at the end of the evening– as is my usual penchant for note-taking, after quite a bit of wine, I am useless at this point in the meal for detailed notes.

 

Blackberries and bitter chocolate, caramel popcorn croustillant

 

Sheep’s milk yogurt mousse with nectarine, coriander

 

Olive Oil ice cream with sea salt, carnaroli rice with plum

 

Petit fours “strawberry-chocolate”

 

Wines for the evening:

1990  Billecart Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth, lovely, clean and festive as always

1989  Batard Montrachet, Jobard, disappointing, not “over” but not at peak
1996  Echezeaux, Arlaud, superb, great well aged burgundy
1993  Sauternes, Chateau d’Yquem, disappointing, not a great Yquem, a bit metallic on the finish, not exciting at all.

As always this was a wonderful meal. What I found most interesting is the evolution of Chef Kinch’s cuisine – it had many global influences, but always with a firm restraint, an insistence on the quality of the ingredients and a true commitment to seasonality.  

Now, I normally do not add in lodging comments, but Toll House needs a special mention. I have been recommending this hotel to all those who go to Manresa as affordable and decent. This hotel is now off the list. We have a room we like with a huge balcony and my husband had booked it months before. Mark, the front desk person, said, sorry room unavailable, but he insisted that he had a very, very nice room that we would love.

The balcony was tiny and my view was of the parking lot.

Tub was missing a stopper so that took 45 minutes for “engineering” to find one.

 

 

Around 2 am, my husband went to use the toilet and found that he couldn’t stop it running. Jingling the handle, it fell off. When I went to use the toilet at 3 am, no way to flush the thing. Remember the above meal necessitated using a toilet and we had an unflushable one.

When my husband woke up around 6, he was able to figure out a way to manually work the thing. When we went to check out and my husband complained to this Mark person, Mark pointed to a sign that said that Toll house would be renovated in September and what were we complaining about. We said but this is July and what does that have to do with anything. Then, we asked to speak to a GM or AGM, but she was not on duty yet.

 Finally the AGM reached us by cell phone and when we asked for a credit, she said we got a special rate so what were we complaining about – this rate was published on the internet and it was not special. Bottom line – they did credit us for the night, but it took a lot of persuasion.

 

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5 Responses to “Manresa”


  1. 1 sygyzy July 30, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    What a great review. I’ll be going in a few weeks. Unfortunately, we can’t start early enough to take advantage of the setting sun, which would be ideal for photography.

  2. 2 lizziee July 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Have a wonderful time and I suggest you order the chef’s spontaneous tasting menu.

  3. 3 sygyzy July 31, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks and it’s already done. We are getting the ‘extended’ or ‘grand tour’ :)

  4. 4 alifewortheating August 5, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Looks like a beautiful meal, Lizzie. And along with your French Laundry meal, a great anniversary celebration. Congratulations!

  5. 5 lizziee August 5, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for the kind words – it was a wonderful anniversary. Next up – Chicago!


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