Tuesday, July 8, 2014

aubergine - carmel-by-the-sea, ca

www.auberginecarmel.com
monte verde at seventh
carmel-by-the-sea, ca 93921

- first of all, carmel is a wonderful town...i wish we had been able to spend more time there
- easy street parking is available right around the corner
- we arrived a few minutes early, and after waiting in the lounge for a moment, were seated side by side at what was probably the best table in the (very small) restaurant
- the staff made us feel very comfortable right away, and were great throughout the entire night...i greatly appreciated the kitchen tour we received at meals end
- the meal's standout courses were...flavors of gazpacho, potatoes cooked in beef fat (best potato dish i have ever had), a5 wagyu from hokkaido (easily worth the extra $$$), vermont cheese with morels, and the peach dessert
- i was a bit surprised by the brevity of the meal...we are not fast eaters, and were in and out in just over two hours
- the take home menu is not very thorough, so you may want to take notes (i didn't) if you want to remember exactly what each dish entailed
- there is no doubt chef justin cogley is executing at a michelin starred level...here's to hoping the red guide ventures a bit further south this year
- recommended? yes!

lemon berry soda

oyster with caviar

flavors of gazpacho

melon with yogurt

duck liver

potatoes cooked in a5 wagyu fat with nori

monterey bay red abalone, artichoke

cheddar brioche

presentation of a5 wagyu beef

lamb

grade a5 hokkaido beef

vermont white cheddar, morel mushrooms

sorrel sorbet, rhubarb

peaches, rice crisp, lemon verbena sorbet

praline two ways

mignardises

pizzeria delfina (2) - san francisco, ca

www.pizzeriadelfina.com
3611 18th street
san francisco, ca 94110

- very small space, but seating during off hours (2 pm.) was not a problem
- the staff was very friendly and attentive
- saffron arancini is as good as it sounds
- the "neapolitan inspired" pizza is served sliced, does not have a wet center, and holds the toppings well...it is fantastic
- loved the balsamic poached cherries with the baba rum
- recommended? yes!
saffron arancini

roasted corn with peppers

prosciutto pie - prosciutto di parma, caciocavallo, mozzarella, panna, arugula

baba rum with balsamic poached cherries

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

elaia (4) - st. louis

elaiastl.com
1634 tower grove avenue
st. louis, mo 63110

this meal was in celebration of my wife carrie's birthday, and the team at elaia put on a fantastic show. service was excellent per usual, with chef ben poremba, chef de cusine josh charles, and sommelier andrey ivanov all spending time at our table presenting food/wine. there were no duds to speak of, but the standout dishes included the goat cheese mousse, lamb tartare (spiciest dish i have ever had on a tasting menu), chilled cobia (incredible texture), and the negroni inspired olive oil cake dessert (chouquette should make this in cupcake form!). elaia has continued to get better with each meal, and i am looking forward to returning to the restaurant in a few months for what promises to be another stellar experience.
crispy sweetbreads - kefir-chive-dill, "old standard" hot sauce
1933. "parisian good morning". absinthe, dry vermouth, yellow chartreuse. left bank, paris, fra

bread service - parfait of foie gras
2010. murgo, "brut rose". sparkling rose of nerello mascalese. vino di tavola (sicily), ita
 
goat cheese mousse - peach, celtuce, cucumber, pistachio, basil
2012. weingut brundlmayer, "kamptaler terrassen". dry riesling. kamptal, aus  

ciabatta and focaccia

lamb tartare - bulgur, moroccan paprika, argan oil, yogurt, "petits herbs", black garlic cracker
2010. barnard magrez, "kahina". syrah, grenache. gerrouane, mor

cobia "conserva" - fennel, peperonata, garlic scapes
2011. kavaklidere: prestige series. narince. cappadoccia, tur

barely-steamed salmon - charred broccoli, black garlic puree, sesame
2011. domaine douloufakis. liatiko. dafnes, gre

bonus course! goat heart, lamb tongue, pork belly

plumb granita with elderflower soda

poached sea scallop - corn broth, shitakes, summer truffle-shitake crema
2008. edi simcic. sauvignon (blanc). goriska brda, slo

filet of beef - burnt eggplant, charred romaine, crushed potato, egg yolk confit
2009. chateau musar, "hochar". cinsault, cabernet sauvignon, grenache. bekaa valley, leb

olive oil cake - gin-spiked cremeaux, vermouth gelee, campari-glazed blood orange
nv. atra pacharan, "sierra de orduna". basque sloeberry and anisette liqueur. pais vasco, esp

choquette
the rare wine co. madeira