Archive for the 'Northern California' Category

French Laundry

We were extraordinarily lucky to be invited to the 20th anniversary of the French laundry. We have been going to the French Laundry for over 19 years and have had the pleasure of tasting the cuisine of each executive chef. This special dinner featured French Laundry classics. The letter Thomas wrote to us at the dinner speaks volumes – what a wonderful person. This is why the French Laundry is our go to restaurant in the States and why we will continue to be supportive clients and more importantly friends.

Thomas 20th Letter

I will let the photos tell the story of our incredible evening.

F- Champagne

Champagne to start

F- Cornet

Cornets

F- Gougeres

Gougeres

F- Oysters and pearls

“Oysters and Pearls”- Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviaar

F- Salad

Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm – Brentwood Corn, Garden Radishes, Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms and Wild Purslane

F- Bread after salad

Bread Service

F- Wine after salad

Next wine

F- Skate

Atlantic Skate Wing “Poelee”, Caramelized Savoy Cabbage and Whole Grain Mustard Emulsion

F- Lobster

Not a great photo – half eaten!

“Peas and Carrots” – Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Pea Tendril Salad and Sweet Carrot Butter

F- Wine after Lobster

Next Wine

F- Ragout

Another mostly eaten dish – my photographer was enjoying himself and eating instead of snapping!

“Degustation de Pommes de Terre” – Ragout of Garden Potatoes, Romaine Lettuce, Strauss Butter and Shaved Australian Black Winter Truffle

F- DuckF- Duck 2

Wildflower Honey Lacquered Liberty Farm Pekin Duck – Poached Brooks Cherries, Garden Turnips, “Foie de Canard” and Watercress

F- Beef

Charcoal Grilled Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf” – Crispy Bone Marrow, Garden Beans, Oregon Cepes, and Blanquette de Champignons

F- Gateau

Gateau de Bleu D’Auvergne – Stewed Blueberries, English Walnuts and Cutting Celery

Not pictured: Photographer quit!

Strawberries and Cream – Mascarpone Sherbet with Tellieherry Black Peppercorn and Strawberry Syrup

Il Flottante – Thaition Bean Creme Anglaise, Poached Swiss Meringue, Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux and Spun Sugar

There is no way to convey what this evening meant to us. We feel like we are a member of the French Laundry family and we never take that for granted. We consider ourselves blessed.

Manresa

Manresa is one of our favorite restaurants and Chef David Kinch is a brilliant chef. We were extremely lucky to have a meal at Manresa on Wed July 2. I have horrible news – Manresa had a fire on Monday July 7.

News here:

http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_26102133/los-gatos-manresa-restaurant-damaged-by-early-morning

Unfortunately we will have to wait for Manresa to reopen to have another incredible experience.

Our Meal:

M- drink

John decided to start with one of Manresa’s special cocktails – “Dirty Turnip”- dry vermouth. bison grass infused vodka, turnip and pickling solution from the turnip

BYO Wines for the evening:

M- Champagne

M- Silex wine

M- Chambolle wine

I will let the photos tell the “story.”

M - petit fours

Signature dish of roasted red bell pepper and black olive madeleines

M- Croquette

Apricot, chervil croquette – you ate this in one bite and the liquid center was delicious

M- olive oil

Olive oil and spring savory ice cream, kale seaweed dried with kombu,

M- sea urchin

Sea urchin and fermented plum panna cotta, diced green apple, lemon juice, grapeseed oil, sea bean, borage flower

M- Bread

Bread Service – not shown incredible home made butter

M- strawberry

Strawberry picada with anchovies, dried crispy capers, sourdough, crunchy vinaigrette. raspberry ice, raw milk curd, basil ( I hope I got this right – I ask a lot of questions and want to know all the ingredients – the wait staff is very patient with me)

M- summer clams

Summer clams ( razor and surf from Mass), cape berries, malibar spinach, bachelor button flowers, salt wort, gelee – roasted lemon cucumber with bronze fennel

M- morels

Morels, Celtuce, nasturtium with levain, puffed buckwheat, ice plant, vichyssoise sauce

M- kinMedai

Kin Medai (snapper) with eggplant, tomatillo, sesame salt, amaranth

M- into the veg garden

Signature dish – “Into the vegetable garden” – I tried to get what was in this but was only able to get a few – dehydrated parsnip, chicory, potato, radish, turnip  – taking notes at Manresa is a challenge

M- Black Cod

Black cod with lightly pickled carrots, flowering coriander, coriander emulsion

M- Tidal Pool

“Tidal Pool” – abalone, puffed crispy rice, pumpkin seeds and dashi and onion broth to finish

M - Lamb

Spring lamb, confit of squash and porcini mushrooms

My photographer was getting weary and me his partner was also weary of taking extensive notes so from the menu presented to us:

Goat’s milk caramel, green curry sorbet…

…yogurt and matcha, cucumber with shiso

Peaches and Cream

Petit fours “strawberry-chocolate”

I only hope that all goes well with the reconstruction of Manresa and that Manresa opens as soon as possible. I wish David Kinch and his staff my best and I know when Manresa reopens it will be better than ever and I will be there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Laundry

From a meal in early December.

Champagne – not pictured

Fr-cornet

Salmon Cornets

Fr- gougere

Gougeres

SOUP

FR - soup 1

Parsnips chips, Piedmont hazelnuts, cranberry, burgundy truffle

FR - soup 2

Celery Root Veloute poured on top

Fr - Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls – Sabayon of Pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

FR wine 1 after oysters

Wine

FR - sea urchin

Maine Sea Urchin Chiffon (mousseline of uni) – Kendall Farms Creme Fraiche, Sour Apple Relish, Finger Lime, Cilantro

FR- langoustine

Wild Scottish Langoustine en gelee, smoked steel head trout roe, preserved tomato, horseradish, celery, oyster crackers

Fr - Snapper

FR - snapper 2

Gulf Coast Snapper gently cooked in olive oil, snapper brandade, remoulade, watercress, Spanish saffron, young fennel, picholine olives, saffron broth poured on top

Fr - Hen Custard

Hen Egg Custard with a ragout of Perigord Truffles

Fr wine after custardd

Wine

FR - canape of meat

FR - canape of meat 2

“Tour de Canapes de Viandes” 1.Duck pastrami, hearts of palm, raisin puree   2.Braised Quail leg, Onion Marmalade, Dijon

Fr - salad of palm

Salad of Hawaiian hearts of peach palm, compressed Jacobsen Orchard Persimmons, Sunchokes, toasted Piedmont Hazelnuts and Black Winter Truffle Puree

Fr - lobster

Sweet Butter-poached Maine Lobster, La Ratte Potato Puree, Garden Celery, Pommes Maxim’s and Razor Clam Chowder

FR wine after lobster

Wine

Fr - white truffles

White Truffles Presented

FR - risotto

Carnaroli Risotto Biologico – Castelmagno Mousse, Beurre Noisette

FR - risotto with truffles

The Risotto with the White Truffles from Alba shaved on top

Fr wine after truffles

Wine

FR - beef

Charcoal-grilled Snake River Farms Calotte de boeuf, Short rib Croustillant, Garden Broccoli, Nantes Carrots, Black Trumpet Mushroom Coulis and sauce Bordelaise

Fr - birthday cake

Birthday Cake

Fr - dessert plated

“Passionate about Vanilla” – Vanilla custard with green tea biscuit and passion fruit mousseline

FR - desseertss more

More desserts!

David Breeden is now chef de cuisine at French Laundry and he showed his skill, expertise and finesse with this meal. It was excellent.

Manresa

David Kinch is one of the most innovative and creative chefs in the country.  Combine this with his passion and dedication  plus his extraordinary ability to get the most pristine ingredients and you have a restaurant that is definitely off the charts perfect. Bottom line: there aren’t enough superlatives to capture the excitement of a Manresa meal. My descriptions will be brief as they were jotted down from my illegible notes from a meal in early December. Apologies to Chef Kinch for the inaccuracies. I also am not commenting on each dish as delicious , off the charts, perfect blend of ingredients as they apply to each dish.

man-krug

BYO Krug to start

Man - mad better1

Lousy picture – Petit fours – Roast Red Pepper Gelee and Black Olive Madelines – a signature beginning

Man- chestnut truffles

Chestnut Truffles

man- presentation plate

Notice the beautiful new presentation plates – each hand-made from exotic wood

man- beignet

Garden Beignet with crispy kale, malt vinegar and aged goat cheddar

Man- oyster

Belon Oyster and seaweed ice

Man - white wwine

BYO Wine

man- abalone

Monterey Bay Abalone, local milk, panna cotta, breakfast radishes garnished with a salad brunette

Man- pim's butter

Pim’s Butter

man- bread

Brioche and Green Olive Bread

man-crab

Local Dungeness crab, roasted chicken gelee, persimmon, pomegranate, dusting of fennel pollen

man-scallops

Nantucket bay scallops, autumn veggies – kohlrabi, celery root, brussel sprout petals, tapenade of black trumpet mushrooms, candied black olives

Man- into the garden

“Into the Garden” – notice the new plate!

man- tidal pool

“Autumn Tidal Pool” – assorted shellfish clams, mussels, cured sea bream – pine and matsutake mushrooms, pine mushroom broth, lemon peel

Man -red wine

Red Wine

man- egg with sushi rice

Fried Egg with sushi rice, white truffles, parmesan cheese, garden bok choy

man with sushi rice 2

Another photo of the above

man- deer

Japanese tenderloin of rho deer that had been aged 60 days, garden carrots, bordeaux spinach, quince with saffron and licorice

Man- persimmon

Persimmon

What a meal, what an experience – run don’t walk to Manresa for a true culinary adventure from a gifted chef

French Laundry

This was our second meal at the French Laundry in July! It has been quite some time since this meal so I will have to let the photos tell most of the story. Enough to say, it was quite a story! (At least I did keep my detailed notes).

Champagne to start

Salmon Cornet

Gougeres

Soup being poured

Sweet Brentwood Corn Veloute, Baby Corn,Truffle Vinaigrette, Lovage and Truffle Relish

First Wine

Oysters and Pearls – Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

Seafood Canape – Santa Barbara Uni (in the spoon), Cucumber, Lychee, Yuzu, Garden Blossoms, Ginger Sake Granite

Second Wine

Mediterranean Lubina, Razor Clams, Mussels, Dehydrated Eggplant Chip, Cauliflower, Micro Cilantro, Thinly Sliced Fennel, Lemon Vinaigrette

Hen Egg Custard with a Ragout of Perigord Truffles

First Bread Service – Brioche, Pinwheel Pain de Mie

Butter Service

Summer Salad – Summer Melons, Hearts of Palm, Baby Radish, Garden Cucumbers, Watermelon Sorbet, Yuzu Puree, Black Sesame Nougatine, Mountain Mint and Finger Lime Vinaigrette

Grilled Fillet of Atlantic Halibut, Hobbs’ Bacon, Green Tomato Relish, Demi Sec Tomatoes, Black Strap Molasses

Third Wine

Next bread service

Sweet Butter Poached Lobster Mitts from Stoney Point, Haas Avocado, Romaine Lettuce Spears, “Piperade”, Meyer Lemon Creme Fraiche

Australian Black Truffles Presented

Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, Black Truffle Beurre Monte, Australian Black Truffles (The truffles were shaved table side – no photo)

Fourth Wine

Four Story Hill Farm Poussin Presented

Four Story Hill Farm Poussin, Cracked Bulgar Wheat, Fairytale Eggplant, Moroccan Olives, Cilantro Shoots, Poussin Poularde Reduction

Marcho Farm Nature-Fed Veal (sous vide and roasted), Creamed Morel Mushrooms, Caramelized Cipollini Onions, Nantes Carrots, Chives, Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

Reblochon – French Laundry Garden Pole Beans, Frisee, Fennel, Summer Truffle, Summer Truffle Vinaigrette

We never do a full dessert course at French Laundry so …… for John his favorite “Coffee and Donuts”

donut holes

Cappuccino semifreddo

Macademia Nuts

What a fantastic meal!!!!!!!

French Laundry

French Laundry is always a special experience. We are very lucky in that we have been to The Laundry many times over the years and both the front of the house and the back of the house know what we like – a front-loaded menu with many canapé-type courses. We never look at a menu and just let the chef decide our meal.

What was interesting about this evening at the Laundry, it was like a “party!” Many people feel that the French Laundry is like dining at a temple –  focused diners who speak in hush tones. This was not even close to that. We all were laughing, enjoying meeting each other – a lovely couple from Australia and a Chinese family tops our list and engaging the staff in a lively conversation about food. To say the least it was quite an evening.

As for the food, I will let the photos tell the story.

Champagne to start

Gougeres

Salmon Cornets

New Holder for the Cornets

Dungeness Crab Arancini

SOUP – First the Iberico Ham Foam and Korean Chili is presented

Then the Brentwood Corn Veloute is added table side

White Wine

Santa Barbara Uni, Sea Beans, Lychee Granite, Royal Oscetra Caviar

Island Creek Oyster, Tokyo Turnip, Champagne Gelee, Royal Oscetra Caaviar, Edible Gold leaf

Tartare of Pacific Kanpachi, Hass Avocado, Pink Lady Apple, Squash Blossom, Cucumber and Ginger “Aigre-Doux”

Hen Egg Custard with a Ragout of Perigord Truffles

Salad of Hawaiian Hearts Of Peach Palm, Santa Rosa Plums, Black Sesame Nougatine (the crumble), Spruce Tips, Mizuna and Yuzu-Tofu Emulsion – the hearts of palm were presented 3 ways – baton, ring and diced

Red Wine

Sauteed  (pan-fried with skin on) Fillet of Mediterranean Lubina, Brentwood Corn Pudding Puree, Popcorn Crust (the popcorn had been ground up and sprinkled over the pudding), Black Eye Peas and Blackstrap Molasses Gastrique

Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster Tail (the lobster from Ingrid of Maine), Oven-Roasted Pancetta, Globe Artichoke, Picholine Olives, Oven Roasted Tomatoes tossed in French Sea Salt, Greek Basil from French Laundry’s Garden, Spicy Lobster Broth and Foam made with Bird’s Eye Chili from China

Truffles presented

“Campanelle Carbonara” – Guanciale, Dungeness Crab, Jidori Hen Egg, Snap Peas

The finished dish with Shaved Australian Black Truffle – truffle puree was on the bottom and the crab was underneath the yolk

Red Wine

Liberty Farms Pekin Duck, Royal Blenheim Apricot, Broccolini (from The French Laundry Farm), Marcona Almond, Crushed Almonds Puree, Tarragon, Garden Blossoms, Natural Duck Jus

NO PHOTO:

Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf Grillee”, Marble Potatoes, Nantes carrots, Breakfast Radish, Young Fennel, Ice Lettuce and “Sauce Chevreuil ( demi glace that you break with a herb vinaigrette)

“Monte Enebro” ( goat cheese from Spain), Baby Beets, Brooks Cherries, Radicchio, Mustard Seeds, Dijon Mustard

It is our choice not to have sorbet and a parade of desserts.

My husband however does insist on his doughnut holes!

As always a special place with incredible ingredients handled with finesse and served with grace and precisian.

Manresa

As always I can’t rave enough about Manresa.  Chef David Kinch handles the freshest of ingredients with the greatest finesse. Nothing is on the plate for show. The skill and thoughtfulness of each dish is so evident and points to the fact that Chef Kinch is a supremely talented chef.

I didn’t get a menu so these are from my own notes! Hopefully I didn’t make too many mistakes. Dana, our wonderful server, answered my many, many questions.

Enough to say that every dish was sensational and I will let the photos tell the story. The key to Chef Kinch’s food is that it does tell a story – it is not a collection of dishes – it is like reading your favorite novel with nuances and an unfolding of an incredible food plot.

BYO Champagne

Savory Black Olive Madeline and Roasted Red pepper Petit fore

Garden Beignets filled with aged goat cheese covered with crispy kale

Local Milk (Dainty, Dottie and Nutmeg – Manresa’s cows – yes I ask a lot of questions!) Panna Cotta, Monterey Bay Abalone, Breakfast Radishes, Gelee made from braising liquid of the abalone, sake, soy – the panna cotta was the bottom layer and when mixed with the other ingredients was a sublime combination.

Bread Service (Levain, Olive, Baguette) and Butter churned from Dainty, Dottie and Nutmeg

BYO White Wine

Amberjack sashimi style, Radish (finely julienned), Vinaigrette of Shirodashi

Surf Clams, Meyer Lemon, Seaweed Granite, Savory Granola, Toasted Nuts, Sea Beans, Unripe Green Tomato

“Into the Vegetable Garden” – Shaved turnips, Nasturtium flowers, strawberries, radish, watercress, sorrel, beets, green beans, dehydrated potatoes and chicory root dirt

Soup presented before broth was added

Mediterranean Style Fish Soup, Sorrel, Squash Blossom, Lobster, Quenelle of Saffron Cream, Seafood and saffron broth was then added

BYO Red Wine

Wild King Salmon cured in herbs then warmed with tomatillos, fennel, cultured cream (crème fraiche, buttermilk, goat’s milk whey)

Local Chicken from Fog Line Farms in Santa Cruz, slow egg, morel mushrooms, green shallot leaves, chicken dashi broth.

Napa Valley Lamb (tongue, tenderloin, saddle), compressed cucumber with vinegar, blueberries, dehydrated black olive, juniper dust, smear of yogurt, blueberry jus

Garden Tea – assorted mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, anise hyssop, chamomile leaves

Tea in the cup

BYO Dessert Wine

Verjus Sorbet, Anise hyssop, assorted berries, kefir yogurt, pink peppercorn mousse, , golden raspberry, cape gooseberry, macaroon sticks

Apricots with puffed rice, apricot sorbet, apricot fudge fried moshi ball

“Celebration” Cake

It just doesn’t get better than this – rush not walk to Manresa for an incredible experience.


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