Archive for the 'Manresa – Los Gatos' Category


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:

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!








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.


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


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


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


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


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.


Chef David Kinch is just getting better and better. His tasting menu labeled  “The Winter Garden” was masterful. This is not a haphazard selection of carelessly chosen courses. In fact it is the exact opposite. Chef Kinch’s tasting menu is carefully orchestrated that has an internal harmony that tells a wonderful story. Execution is perfect plus the ingredients are of extraordinary quality. Much of the ingredients are supplied by Love Apple Farms.

From the Love Apple Farms web site:

“We originally became known for growing 100 varieties of heirloom tomatoes each year. The farm is now the exclusive kitchen garden for world-renowned Manresa Restaurant (Los Gatos, California).”

“Cynthia Sandberg, owner and farmer, uses biodynamic and organic techniques to grow over 300 different cultivars of fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers for the restaurant.”

“The farm and restaurant are a mere fifteen minutes apart, nestled half way between San Francisco and Monterey. No restaurant can become one of the finest in the land without an incredible amount of struggle and hard work. So too, struggles the farm, striving to grow the best produce possible.”

We can’t duplicate what Cynthia Sandberg or David Kinch does but we did bring home six varieties of heirloom tomato plants so at least we will have a small taste of Manresa this summer.

Tomato plants ready to be planted.


BYO Krug to start – MV- 1990 direct from Krug via Soutirage

Petit fours – Roast Red Pepper Gelee and Black Olive Madelines – a signature beginning and as good as always

Garden Beignets, vinegar powder, aged goat cheese with baked kale – a one bite wonder

Smoked Avocado Ceviche – another winner with the underlying “smoke” a great flavor enhancer

Monterey Bay abalone in its own gelee, local milk (perhaps from Nutmeg the cow) panna cotta – what a glorious combination of tastes and textures

Roasted Fava Beans on the plancha – just eat the whole thing pod and all – this is when if an ingredient isn’t pristine this wouldn’t have worked – obviously it did!

BYO White Wine – Delarche Corton ’95

Black Radish, turnips, savory granola, arugula, milk curd – the granola added just the right texture component and the combination of flavors was superb – I know I sound like a broken record but this is where Chef Kinch excels.

Spot prawn with buckwheat-nettle dumplings, asparagus and nasturtium gazpacho – the spot prawns were pristine and the dumplings a surprise ingredient that was perfect. The gazpacho sang “freshness.”

“A Winter Tidal Pool” – Monterey Bay Abalone, Scallops, Foie Gras, Seaweed, Dashi Broth – the abalone and scallops never had it so good as this tidal pool they found themselves in

“Into the Vegetable Garden” – this is a signature dish of Chef Kinch that features the vegetables and flowers from Love Apple Farm – the key to the dish is the edible dirt made from dehydrated potato, almond and chicory and the foam from the garden vegetable broth

BYO Red Wine – 1969 Volnay

Brussel sprouts roasted with chanterelles, oyster and oyster vinegar, oyster emulsion, mandarin orange, rutabaga puree – the combination of ingredients was extraordinary

Japanese Sea Bream, Braised Artichokes, vegetable and bone marrow bouillon (the bouillon had been thickened with bone marrow), truffle – a perfectly cooked fish witth a rich and luxurious broth

Duck, (Sonoma County aged 21 days) slowly roasted in hay and salt crust, faro and parsnips, shallot jus, sauce was made with homemade green walnut wine – this was unbelievably off the charts A+++

Grilled Beef rib (Flannery beef dry-aged 48 days), alliums, ocean persillade, baby shallots, green onions, green garlic vinaigrette – in any other standard tasting menu I would be stuffed at this point. Not with Chef Kinch’s cuisine as it is not meant to overwhelm. It is so light and thoughtful – I would add that it is very cerebral cuisine – you don’t just shovel food in your mouth – you look at a dish, study the components, taste thoughtfully and marvel at the intricate and delicate nature of each and every dish.

Cheese cart

Close-up of the Cheese

BYO Riesling – Gunderloch

Garden Tisane – a digestive

Passion fruit sherbet, coconut and salted peanut crumble

Pine nut pudding with maple gelatin, candy cap ice cream, sunchoke, chocolate

Chocolate Birthday cake –

Old-fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

This was a fantastic meal from beginning to end. It just doesn’t get better than this. My biggest complaint with the young chefs is their theory of more is more – they need an editor! With Chef Kinch nothing is put on the plate for show, each quality ingredient is handled with finesse and executed with mastery.

Manresa – Los Gatos

How many ways can I say fabulous and wonderful? There are so many chefs who talk about farm to table cuisine, but Chef David Kinch actually delivers on this promise. You feel an affinity to the land and the sea after a meal at Manresa. Chef Kinch is of the school that less is more and he lets the ingredients speak for themselves. They not only speak, they sing!

I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. John took the pictures without flash and some are very blurry and just don’t do justice to the food. I almost didn’t post the photos as they are very “iffy.”

BYO Krug Champagne

Petit Fours “red pepper-black olive”

Lavender Lemonade, Mint Granita – light refreshing and perfect for a summer evening

Garden Beignets (beignet filled with vegetables), Baked Kale, Ground Cherries – terrible photo but a delicious bite

Foie Gras in Cumin Seed Caramel, Ice Plant – this was just an OH MY dish – luscious, extravagant, luxurious with a perfect “mouth feel”

Sweet corn cromesquis – insert cromesquis in your mouth and in one bite the liquid summer corn is an explosion of sweet corn essence.

BYO White wine: Dageneau ’03 Pur Sang

More absolutely lousy photos with perfect cuisine – huge apologies to the chef

Fig leaf and Coriander Ice, Marcona Almond – I didn’t get a full description of this dish so I know I am missing a lot of elements.

Strawberry Gazpacho is then poured on top – the strawberry gazpacho was absolutely as fresh as a summer’s day

This is no longer the Arpege egg – it is now the Manresa egg with plum and miso, spices and  a low temperature cooked runny egg yolk. I want this recipe – I want to make it now!

Pim’s butter or better known as “mixed cow” butter from Daisy Cow and Geselle Cow from Watsonville – John loved it so much, he had a second serving.

Manresa’s Rolls – all made-in-house

Monterey Bay Abalone in its own bouillon, Cucumber noodles, Squash Shoots, Octopus a la plancha, Tempura Squash blossom, Bonito Butter- the Bonito butter is just a perfect foil for the tender abalone and the octopus.

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.”

BYO Red Wine

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.

Rack of Napa Valley Lamb, Nasturtium Leaves Pesto, Shallots, Pinenut Pudding – I didn’t do justice to this dish as I was getting very full.

BYO Dessert Wine

Summer Berries, House-made Granola, Fromage Blanc Soup – another dish of summer goodness.

Petit fours “strawberry-chocolate”

Manresa is the perfect restaurant for me – everything I feel about cuisine is exemplified by Chef Kinch’s cooking – seemingly simple, anything but.  Execution is exquisite and ingredient quality off the charts perfect.


Manresa was absolutely spectacular Wednesday night. There was not one misstep and my general feeling was who needs to go to France for a 3 star meal. One of the joys of dining with Chef Kinch over the years is to revel in his evolution as a chef. Not that he wasn’t terrific years ago, but the subtly, the layering of flavors, the seemingly simple that I know is complex is just wondrous now. There were sublime elements Wednesday night and it just reinforces my feeling that he is a great chef.

I apologize in advance for some very blurry photos. Blurry, though they are, sometimes I will just let the pictures tell the story as words seem unnecessary – how many ways can you say extraordinary?

Dana – an extraordinary server with our BYO Champagne

Chef David Kinch

Petit Fours “red pepper-black olive”

Chef Kinch had just returned from a trip to Kyoto at the invitation of the Japanese Culinary Academy. A little souvenir  from the trip – a box from Japan

Garden Beignets (beignet filled with vegetables), Kale leaf, Vinegar Powder

Pear sorbet with Avocado Mousse, Nasturtium leaf, Yeast Crumble –  this almost functioned as a palate cleanser or a precursor of things to come

Seaweed  tartine, house-cured lardo, walnut infused honey, seaweed, marjoram garnish – what an extraordinary blend of flavors

Fork Crushed Fingerling Potatoes with Purple Cabbage from the Garden, Dill Ice Cream – a simple sounding dish that elevated each element to a wondrous blend of flavors

Persimmon, Apple, Green Tomato, Garden herbs and flowers, urchins in seawater

The sea water added  was actually made from three types of seaweed.  Uni – I love it!

Pim’s hand-churned butter

BYO White Wine

Assorted Shellfish in tuna broth gelee, toasted seeds – the shellfish included crab, octopus, littlenecks, mirugai – how many ways can I say this was unbelievable

Nantucket Bay Scallops in brown butter, Pomegranate seeds, sliced Persimmon, Yellow Foot Mushrooms, Salsify – too many chefs overcook scallops and that is why my husband has an aversion to them.  However, in Chef Kinch’s hands the scallops are meltingly tender

Scallop dish deconstructed by me

John doesn’t like scallops so Chef Kinch substituted a mushroom dish.

Raw and cooked mushrooms (Yellow foot)  bonito butter with toasted Furikake seeds from Japan, Black trumpet tapenade, Yellow Foot Mushroom Tempura – John wouldn’t share one bite – he loved it.

Into the Vegetable Garden – Mizuna, arugula, mustard leaves, bordeaux spinach, white carrot, amareth, fingerling potato, red pepper puree, “dirt”, peonies – 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.”

BYO Red Wine

Black Cod, Cippolini onions, chervil cream

Sweet onion broth with beef bone marrow added tableside to the black cod – I can honestly say that few chefs handle fish as well as Chef Kinch plus the addition of the bone marrow to the broth gives new meaning to surf and turf – what a depth of flavor.

Crispy Chicken Confit, Slow Egg (one hour), Crispy Garden greens – fennel, purple mustard, celery and chicken broth to finish – I kept thinking what comes first the chicken or the egg – in this case both!

Duck Roasted in Chestnut leaves and salt

Duck plated with Black Trumpet Mushroom Tapenade, jus – I will just let the photo tell  the story

Gouda from Switzerland – “five years”

Gouda plated

Lemon Meringue, Lemon Curd, Meringue Ice Cream, Hazelnut Crumble – lousy photo, but  delicious

What a spectacular meal.

Manresa – Los Gatos

Chef David Kinch is just getting better and better. His tasting menus have an internal harmony; it is not just a collection of dishes randomly put together. I see a David Kinch meal as a symphony with each course enhancing each other. Many chefs talk about seasonality and a farmer’s market menu, but with Chef Kinch it is really true and not just hype. The relationship between Cynthia Sandberg and Chef Kinch has become stronger; it is a close collaborative relationship with Chef  Kinch and Cynthia in the most compatible marriage of ingredient to the table. A vegetable becomes more than just a vegetable, an herb is more than just an herb, and an egg yolk is a gorgeous yellow. Manresa is so much more than dining – it is love affair between the earth, the soil and the sun. There is a reverence for the product, be it animal or vegetable.


M- BYO champagne

BYO Champagne


M- madeleines

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


M- lemonade

Spearmint Granita, Lavender Lemonade – light refreshing and perfect for a summer evening


m - cromesquis

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


M - foie gras

Sorrel Foie Gras Royale with a Tempura Fried Exotic Spice Blossom


m - foie gras 1

Close-up of the Sorrel/Foie Gras Royale – it is essential that you dip your spoon to the bottom and get a taste of foie and sorrel in each bite.


M - arpege egg

Arpege Egg – perfect as always


pim's butter

Pim’s hand churned butter


M- BYO white wine

BYO White Wine


M- sea bream

Seabream with Shellfish (octopus, giant clam, crab) in a green tomato broth with Joe Schirmer’s Strawberries from Dirty Girl Farm.  This was sensational – each fish was served flawlessly and the addition of the tomato broth plus the strawberries was an ode to summer.


M- BYO red

BYO White Wine


M- veloute pumpkin

M- veloute 1

Nasturtium Ice Cream, Pumpkin Confit and then Chestnut Pumpkin Veloute is poured on – this had the most incredible mouth feel – just luscious.


M- young potatoes

Young Potatoes, Unopened Squash Blossom, Romano Beans, Fiorelli, Bonito Butter – Again an ingenious pairing – the potatoes were wondrous, but the pairing with the bonito butter off the charts superb.


M- potatoes 1

Close-up of the young potato dish


M- into the garden

“Into the Garden” – Carrots, Arugula, Mizuna, Sorrel, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Watermelon Radish, Beets, Potato, Cucumber – a Miro painting of the freshest vegetables


M= salmon

Pacific Salmon, Chervil Cream, Onion Consomme with Bone Marrow


M- salmon 1

Consomme added – this dish gave new meaning to a marriage of fish with meat i.e. the bone marrow.


M- BYO RED wine

BYO Red Wine


M- chicken

Chicken, Porcini Mushrooms, Garden lettuces, Fingerling Potatoes – My meat and potatoes guy husband was in love with the potatoes.


M- lsamb

Rack of Napa Valley Lamb, Quinoa with Arugula, Lamb Tongue Confit – the lamb was flawless, but the lamb tongue absolutely sublime.


Cheese Service

M- cheesw-

M- cheese 1

M- cheese 2

I think I got this right – Queijo da Serra”, sheep cheese, made in the Serra da Estrela region, where the highest peak of Portugal is located.


M - chees 3

Bernard Antony’s comte – 2004


M- cheese 4

Comte – half eaten


M- fig carpacccio

Fig Carpaccio, Summer fruits, Santa Rosa Plum, Green Gage Plum, Peach, Dirty Girl’s Farms Strawberries,  Gold Dust


M- sauterenes

BYO Dessert Wine


M- New Orleans

The flavors of New Orleans (taken from the website – my note-taking was deteriorating rapidly) – Coffee, Chicory, Pecan Praline, Banana


M- Beignets



M- cupcake

Dark Chocolate Cupcake


M- Dana

Our incredible server, Dana.

 This was an exceptional meal- not one misstep. It is not easy to orchestrate a great tasting menu. It is not just a collection of dishes. My initial paragraph likened it to a symphony and what a symphony this was.