July 13th, 2007


foodpr0n: Chez Panisse, Xtaversary 3 (2007-07-12)

Amuse-bouche: Almonds roasted in spices (vaguely Moroccan/Spanish?) and a bit of salt.

Table wine: A dry Riesling from Germany; I wish I had remembered to call again, when the waitress who served us is in, to find out exactly what it was. (I called when I was writing this and the person who took the call thought it might be Pey Marin 2005, but that would be American, and I'm quite sure the waitress said she had a German Riesling available by the glass for that night.) Only very subtly sweet. Hints of pineapple.

Appetizer: Cannard Farm black mission figs (ripe, juicy, sweet) with crème fraîche (smooth and tangy), prosciutto (very tender, not at all fibrous), and a small salad of baby greens and mint with a little olive oil and a bit of the crème. Definitely a good way to start off -- all of the ingredients were the best quality I've had for those things. A wow dish.

First course: Pan-friend local petrale sole with crisped nasturtium petals and capers, in lemon beurre blanc. I'm not usually a huge fish fan, but I do like it when it's cooked right. This was just the right balance of firm, tender, flaky, and flavorful, and the sauce, with the crispy colorful bits, was very good.

A beverage to go with the second course, since we'd finished the wine: Elderflower spritzer. Subtle, aromatic, and not too sweet.

Second Course: Grilled Sonoma Liberty duck breast au poivre (studded with coarse-crushed black pepper and broiled), with jardinière of summer vegetables (corn, pea pods, morels, onions, and probably a couple other things) and some fresh greens that I think were watercress (they had a crisp bite). Again, duck is tricky -- it's very easy for it to end up too greasy or too dry -- but this was excellent, and I liked the simple seasoning, mostly just salt and pepper on the meat. There were also some other herbs in the veggies, I think.

Dessert wines: Niepoort 1994 Colheita Tawny Port, Sainte Croix du Mont 2001 Sauternes. Both excellent. I wished the port had a slightly more viscous consistency (I like it when port clings a bit), but it had good flavor, very distinctly raisin-y, with a caramel/butterscotch aftertaste. The sauternes was sweet, but crisp; notes of apple and pear.

Dessert: Santa Rosa plum galette with raspberry ice cream. Mmm. Northern peninsula plums are the best in the world, and the raspberry ice cream was still soft from being made. I easily could've eaten a second helping of this.

Mignardises: Almond pralines and panforte.
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