We did not go to that many new restaurants this year – we stayed with our favorites. Also, as we didn’t do a European trip in 2010 and only traveled up north; restaurants are limited to Southern and Northern California.
12 Tiny Eggs Sunny side up – Huevos a la Cubana “Andy Garcia” – a crispy rice cake was topped with 12 fried quail eggs, crispy shavings of Jamon Serrano, dabs of an intense, spicy tomato puree, crispy bacon and topped with some diced chives.
Cotton Candy Foie Gras – absolutely spectacular – eat this in one bite and the cold foie gras terrine rolled in corn nuts with the sweet cotton candy is a marriage made in heaven.
Napoleon tartare, hand sliced steak tartare with a layer of caviar
Crispy egg, shaved cold asparagus, dill creme fraiche, ossetra caviar
Escargots de Bourgogne – marinated snails in garlic-parsley butter and puff pastry - the puff pastry is placed on top with the snail underneath
Boudin Noir – blood sausage with potato puree and poached prunes – a half portion. Chef Rory is now making the boudin noir in house and it was perfect with decadent potato puree
Scrambled eggs with chives, boudin blanc and white truffles – this was an oh my, off the charts dish – the creamiest eggs, the fabulous boudin and sensational white truffles.
Crispy Soft Shell Crab Cone, Mango, Red Spicy Mayo, Corona Granite – the corona granite was an essential component as this definitely had a spicy kick to it.
Marinated King Salmon, German ButterBall Potato, Red Wine Vinaigrette, Creme Fraiche – this was in a word a Michelin 3 star dish – absolutely perfect
Crispy glazed quail with grilled pineapple – the quail was cooked to perfection and the grilled pineapple a perfect accompaniment
Foie Gras in Cumin Seed Caramel, Ice Plant – this was just an OH MY dish – luscious, extravagant, luxurious with a perfect “mouth feel”
Monterey Bay Abalone in its own bouillon, Cucumber noodles, Squash Shoots,
Octopus a la plancha, Tempura Squash blossom, Bonito Butter- the Bonito butter was just perfect.
Into the Vegetable Garden – Squash, New Potatoes, Radish, Sorrel Leaves, Courgettes, Cucumber, Bronze Fennel, Tomato, Ficoide Glaciale, Green Shallots, Pansy, Green Beans, Mizuna, Arugula, ”edible dirt” – this really is like walking through the garden; I really can imagine myself wandering through Cynthia’s Sandberg’s Love Apple Farm in the Santa Cruz mountains, stooping to nibble on all the “goodies.”
John Dory a la plancha, Crispy Mussels, Tomatillos, Vichy of Seabeans, Watercress – Chefs should take lessons from Chef Kinch on how to cook fish and the mussels reminded me of the crispy oysters from New Orleans
Roast Porcelet, Boudin Noir, Anchovy Puree, Toasted Barley Emulsion – I am a huge fan of boudin noir and most chefs tend to treat it like a tough sausage – this was melt in your mouth goodness plus the porecelet was bursting with flavor and tenderness.
Goma tofu, Kyoto-style. The tofu is made from sesame seeds, stuffed with uni and topped with freshly grated wasabi and gold leaf, served in a light dashi seasoned with shoyu and mirin.
Kobe Beef Tartar, Caviar to be eaten in one bite. A Slice of Red Bell Pepper as a chaser. My husband declared this orgasmic!
Toro stuffed with monkfish liver and a Japanese vegetable that Hiro described as a type of onion with a strip of turnip from Kyoto topped with caviar, yuzu dressing –
Hoba Yaki – On a giant Hoba Leaf was Santa Barbara shrimp, Hokkaido scallop and Kobe beef, This sat on top of a puree of Kyoto miso sauce that is made by mixing egg yolk with sweet miso. The dish was being lightly roasted in the Hoba leaf for a couple of minutes over the coals on the brazier.
Lobster Cooked with uni “paste” on top served with a slice of ginger
On the left, frisee salad with whole grain mustard, crispy pig ear and on the right pork terrine, pickled ramps and cornichons – focused food done well.
Scottish Salmon slowly poached in olive oil and duck fat, Beluga lentils, sugar snap peas, Port wine sauce – this was one of the dishes of the evening. I am not a great lover of cooked salmon – I often find it dry, overcooked and in a word boring. This was melt in your mouth perfect; I am guessing that the duck fat poaching had a great deal to do with that. The port wine sauce just added to the excellence.
CHURCH AND STATE
Tartine d’Oursin – Sea Urchin on a bed of white bean aioli, a touch of espellete pepper on a toasted crouton - this is an OH MY dish
Gambas a la Grenobloise – The Santa Barbara spot prawns had been alive 60 seconds ago, according to Walter. It was done with brown butter, lemon and capers – the prawns were cooked to perfection – not the slightest bit of rubbery overdoness
Quail en Porchetta “stuffed” with Lamb Tenderloin, Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin on a bed of lentils with zucchini and carrots, Haricot verts wrapped in carrots, Heirloom cherry tomatoes, Potatoes steamed in saffron – what an extraordinary meat dish – every bit of incredible meat goodness in each bite with market fresh vegetables.
Sauteed pork shoulder, crispy pork belly, hoisin, steamed pork buns, Asian vegetable salad (cabbage, celery, carrots, green onions) – another ode to Asian cuisine that was pork goodness to be wrapped in a steamed bun.
This could be called quiche with caviar. Tart with bacon custard topped by American Sterling caviar, creme fraiche, chives, chive blossoms – John had gone to heaven – bacon and caviar – two of his most favorite things in the world. This was off the charts perfect – what an addition to the caviar dishes at the FL.
Mac ‘n Cheese” – House-made Macaroni, Mornay Sauce, Sauce Perigordine, Brioche Bread Crumbs – rich is an understatement. The Australian Black Truffles were shaved table side
Santa Barbara Uni, Eureka Lemon Granite and Perilla – The uni was highlighted without a lot of extraneous ingredients -”less is more” with just the right balance from the lemon granite
Uni “En Feuille de Bric,” Yukon Gold Potato and Shaved Summer Truffle – unfortunately the photo doesn’t even come close to doing this dish justice. This was a perfect bite of food – the potato was wrapped in the feuille de bric so you had smooth with crunchy, the uni was pristine and topped with one shaved summer trufffle.
Japanese Blowfish Wrapped in Bacon, White Sturgeon Caviar Creme Fraiche, Chive – I love how Tim combines bacon with caviar.
Toad in the Hole” Iberico Ham, Jidori Hen Egg “Poelee,” Brioche Toast
Australian Truffles shaved on top – The Toad in the Hole with the Truffles was in a word A+
Four Story Hill Farm Milk-fed “Poularde” – Crust of Apple-Smoked Bacon, Brentwood Corn, Corn Pudding, Swiss Chard, Black-Eyed Peas, Black Strap Molasses Gastrique, Veal Jus – again this had a definite Southern influence.