One of my best friends rented out a house in Carmel Valley California for his 40th birthday party and a bunch of us all drove up/down there.
We “suffered” this terrible view from the balcony of our rental getaway!
But this is the chronicle of the main birthday dinner as cooked by private chef Arielle Mckee (above).
Her loyal assistant, Bailey working the early 90s kitchen.
And so the meal begins:
Cocktail. French 75, Meyer lemon, gin, rose petal, keto simple syrup.
From my cellar: 2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly Cuvée Nicholas et Mathis. Drinking awesome. 93 points. ale gold with citrine highlights. Pungent nose of extremely overripe stonefruit with an underlying citrus/mineral aroma. Tart citrus zest, dark wildflower honey, wax & crushed shell. Well rounded and versatile.
Amuse of watermelon and pistachio coated goat cheese. The ball is a lot like an ancient Roman snack.
Amuse of fresh cheese stuffed strawberries with honey. Delicious!
From my cellar: 2009 La Pousse d’Or Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Le Cailleret. BH 92. A deft touch of wood frames lemon and moderately exotic fruit aromas that include peach, mango and pear. There is excellent richness to the full-bodied, dense and mineral-inflected flavors that culminate in a naturally sweet, sappy and generous finish. This delicious effort is blessed with plenty of dry extract and while not classic in character, it’s really quite attractive all the same.
agavin: this bottle was a touch premoxed.
Amuse of “potted plant“. Actually some kind of turnip or radish in an edible “dirt.”
Arctic char (an ode to spring), pea shoot, pea flower, shaved fennel, cara cara orange, watermelon radish, avocado.
From my cellar: 2013 Prager Riesling Smaragd Klaus. AG 92. Luscious peach and Mirabelle are significantly marked by their pits as well as by smoky black tea and forest floor notes for a low-toned, dark impression. Sappy and expansive, palpably rich in extract and fundamentally firm, this finishes with piquant concentration and formidable length, a hint of blond tobacco adding welcome, saliva-drawing savor.
green garlic, asparagus, and oyster mushroom bisque; goat kefir, shaved goat Gouda, herb flower.
From my cellar: 1999 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Clos de la Mousse. BH 88. I clearly underestimated the density here because my concerns about the borderline intrusive wood that this displayed on release has been successively integrated. The nose now reveals ripe red and black pinot fruit that is still almost completely primary yet the tannins are indisputably beginning to melt and in their stead, offering lovely finishing complexity on the suave and velvety backend. This should continue to positively evolve for the next 5 to 7 years though it is certainly enjoyable now.
Roasted half quail, pan jus, porcini, red gooseberry, California white sage, carrot-parsnip mash.
Pescatarian option: porcini “steak”.
From my cellar: 1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VC 93+. I have always been a fan of the 1989 Château Beaucastel, which I rank just behind the superb 1981 at this fine estate. The most recent bottle I tasted of this wine was still just a touch youthful, but offered up fine complexity on both the nose and palate and shows excellent promise. The bouquet is a blend of roasted fruitcake, cherries, new leather, venison, incipient notes of sous bois, woodsmoke and hot stones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with a bit of tannin still to resolve, fine focus and grip and a very long, classy and slightly chewy finish. I would be tempted to give this wine a few more years to really resolve, as it will be a superb wine and it would be most enjoyable to drink it at the same plateau that the 1981 has been enjoying for a good decade already.
Rack of lamb: blueberry-balsamic. I use the most amazing sherry balsamic vinegar from Portugal, fresh rosemary, Cabernet, morel mushroom, celeriac purée, Russian red kale. Delicious meatsicles!
Sea Bass, French green lentil broth, leek, sherry balsamic, Russian red kale, heirloom cherry tomato salad
Local cows milk cheese: savory candy cap almond flour shortbread, local Catalina cherry preserves, garam masala spiced almond crumble
Muscat poached local stone fruit, bergamot panna cotta, edible pineapple guava flower.
Rose Turkish Delight. Probably the best Turkish Delight I’ve had.
Our wine lineup. Not bad for a bunch of parents!
Mangoberry Cheesecake Gelato — raspberry/mango cream-cheese base with blackberry/mango ripple and house-made graham cracker crumble — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #cheesecake #mango #raspberry #blackberry #GrahamCracker #coulis #ripple #creamcheese
Chess Chocolate Oreo Gelato — Valrhona medium chocolate base with layers of Valrhona Ivoire white chocolate ganache and crumbled Oreos — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #cheesecake #chocolate #valrhona #WhiteChocolate #oreo #chess
Overall, a really nice meal, leaning keto, extremely fresh and indicative of California ingredients and style. We do have fabulous produce (and chefs) here in the Golden State! I was really impressed by the cooking, which for being done by one lead chef and a couple hard working assistants in a rental kitchen was quite on point.sharethis_button(); ?>