Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A festive dinner at Manresa

Just before the holidays, we went to Manresa in Los Gatos to celebrate my son's birthday. We took the seasonal tasting menu —highly recommended to us— that consists of 7 savory and 2 dessert courses and is the best showcase for the inventive cuisine of Chef David Kinch. It is also quite adventurous: only the ingredients are listed so you don't know ahead of time what each course would be like.

Chef David Kinch's cuisine speaks of who we are and where we are located and many products are produced at Love Apple Farms in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Owner and farmer Cynthia Sandberg uses biodynamic and organic principles to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers, and produce eggs, honey, and goat's milk. The Love Apple Farms produces were perfectly showcased by one of our favorite courses, “A walk through the vegetable garden”, a colorful alchemy of bitter leaves, sweet flowers, raw and cooked root vegetables with multiple dressings hidden under the leaves, some more citrusy, some more vinegary.

A walk through the vegetable garden

The next course reached even higher heights. Called “The Midwinter Tide Pool”, it was a bowl of rich broth that contained seaweed, clams, sea urchin, enoki mushrooms and the ultimate savory deliciousness, a thin slice of foie gras.

The Midwinter Tide Pool

I am not a dessert person but our second dessert was also one of my favorite. It was a mushroom ice cream with maple syrup, cinnamon chips and a small crispy churro. The dish was sweet and savory at the same time and full of umami flavors.

Mushroom ice cream with maple syrup, cinnamon chips and churro

The wine list has a nice focus on the Santa Cruz Mountains. We chose a 2006 Mount Eden Estate Bottled Pinot Noir from the nearby Mount Eden Vineyards. Located on a 2000 foot peak about 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the winery was founded in 1945 by pioneer winemaker Martin Ray who planted his first vineyard of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay there. Today, seven acres of the estate vineyard are planted with Pinot Noir. The wine is fermented using natural yeasts and matures for eighteen months in French oak barrels (75% new). The wine showed a medium red color with fragrant aromas of forest berries, spices and earth on the nose. On the palate it was all about elegance, medium-bodied with a smooth texture and a savory earthy finish that went wonderfully well with David Kinch's alchemy.

Technorati tags: