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Gourmet Menu At Manresa

Back in June, my wife and I splurged and went to the Michelin two-star restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos for a “seasonal and spontaneous” dinner for two that cost in the neighborhood of $400. More expensive than I’d expected, but there we were, so we went for it.

I don’t like to be one of those people that annoyingly flashes their camera in a restaurant, or even someone who’s photographing his food without a flash. So today’s photos are still from our road trip out west.

[Tufa at Mono Lake near Lee Vining, California.]

In any case, I did make a note of each of the fifteen (!) servings we got. Here they are, with two minor complaints.

1. Black olive madeline with a cube of red pepper jelly
2. Abalone in aspic on panna cotta
3. Crisped kale with goat-cheese beignet
4. Lightly cooked egg in shell with cream and maple syrup
5. Veal tartare with shaved tuna
6. Courgette, pistachio and nasturtium blossoms with cream

[“Miners lettuce” near Green River Lake in Wyoming.]

7. “Into the garden” salad
8. Mediterranean fish soup with lobster and saffron
9. Japanese sea bream (not impeccably fresh)
10. Slice of chicken breast and raw egg in a hot seaweed-chicken broth
11. Lightly braised lamb with cucumber (some of the lamb was tough and raw)
12. Raspberries and ice-cream
13. Banana cake and frozen chocolate mousse
14. Pistachio parfait with cherries in wine
15. Chocolate madeline with a cube of strawberry jelly

[A rocky slope against the sky at New Fork Lake, near Pinedale, Wyoming.]

All in all it was a great experience, more like theater than like a meal, really. Tiny exquisite dishes that focused your senses. It took three hours. The dining space is very pleasant. And the servers timed it so our two plates would come out at the same time, with two servers carrying them, the plates touching our table at the same instant.

[“Bell bottom” horse hooves at the Rendezvous parade in Pinedale, Wyoming.]

I hope to go to Manresa again…in a few years. Or sooner, if a proverbial visiting movie producer wants to pick up the tab.

6 Responses to “Gourmet Menu At Manresa”

  1. Eileen Gunn Says:

    Love those 8-legged Percherons, Rudy! Is that a flying saucer over Mono Lake (upper left)?

  2. Kehrtraud Says:

    No fish and seafood for me, please. And no raw lamb.
    Leaves nothing else than soup, salad and dessert. That’s fine for me.
    Grüße aus München

  3. Roy Says:

    Did you try eating some of that “miners lettuce?” The plant we call “miners lettuce” here in California has a different leaf. It’s smooth-edged—and it’s a gourmet treat.

  4. Kehrtraud Says:

    I would like to taste – but I don’t know this lettuce. Californian flora is different from European.

  5. EH Says:

    Going to a fine restaurant like this is like visiting a great museum – overwhelming amounts of art, worth doing every so often – but less important than the beauty of everyday life.

    The greatest improvement I have found recently in everyday food is low-temperature cooking of meats. You don’t need a sous-vide machine and a calibrated water-circulator, just a good thermometer, some real Ziploc bags and a big pot of water. Get the water to 140F/60C, put the meat and a little fluid in the bag and immerse all but the seal of the bag in the water to get all the air out. Cover the pot and check every few minutes to make sure it is still up to temperature. Cook long enough that the center of the meat spends at least 15 min. at 138F/59C, or 45min for poultry. (An extra 4F /2C cuts the time in half.) Good steaks can be done a little lower bath temperature (54-58C), fish much lower, even down to 50C, chicken breasts at 63C. Searing afterwards briefly but at a high temperature gives a finishing touch. The difference between meat cooked at exactly the right temperature versus the usual way is like the difference between “lightning” and”lightning bug”, as Mark Twain once said about adjectives.

    Dave Arnold, a professor and researcher in culinary technology has a useful set of temperature charts here on his blog, which also has much other fascinating, if less easily applied research on topics such as exotic pear repositories, custom-mutated mad-scientist distillation apparatus, and bionic turkeys.

  6. Anon Says:

    That’s most definitely not miner’s lettuce.

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