Ana and I decided to just have dinner in our lovely hotel because we had such a wildly delicious lunch. And so here was what we ordered… really I just expected simple food but was pleasantly surprised by the outcome — totally great food! Sorry about the pictures, I was ill-equipped as I thought we weren’t going to encounter anything write-worthy. Boy was I wrong.
We first got a Grazing plate with olives and goat cheese and some tapenades.
The goat cheese tasted fresh and local, with just the right amount of salt and softness. The tapenades were wonderful. There were 3 kinds – tomato, which was nice, sweet and zesty. Spinach, which was subtle and yet creamy and the bean…oh this is very wonderful since it was pretty smooth, nutty and creamy. The bread was just heavenly but it was a little undercooked (yes, this is what i learned in Tita Jill’s intensive bread making).
Clubhouse. I thought that this was going to just have a simple, typical clubhouse…but I was really happy to find the extra gourmet mile the chef went through with this dish. The steak was rubbed with herbs and cooked medium rare. Its slices of it were laid down in the first layer of the 3 layer bread. Then it had Australia’s famous thick bacon…which provided the smokiness and was a nice contrast to the buttery flavor of the steak. Then there was brie by the lettuce and grilled tomatoes. It made the sandwich, salty, tangy with a little pungent note to it from a good aged brie. The bread was fantastic — crunchy on the outside and soft and warm in the center. This was the best and ritziest clubhouse i have ever eaten.
Then there was Ana’s dessert…she always had room for dessert. And just when I was about to pass on dessert…it came in beautiful fine dining plating. It was a Valrhona flourless dark chocolate fondant, creme fraiche, lime and black pepper sorbet, vanilla bean yogurt. The sorbet was nice and tart with delicious lime rind. Black pepper adds a wonderful zing to the whole experience. The vanilla yogurt had dark chocolate brandy snaps like little flowers on the top. The warm dark chocolate cake is pleasantly bitter and very rich and creamy. We cut the center and so much of this thick dark chocolate sauce began slowly flowing out of the center of the cake. The center is just flowing ganache of most likely a heavy cream and dark chocolate. There is a slight crust that forms on the outside of the cake which gives a pleasant bitterness and as you get to the center of the cake, it reveals a glorious, gooey mixture. (you must have this! you must have this!!!). All together they provide the best textures for a dessert – cold, warm, crunchy, soft, dry, wet. And all the combination of flavors you can possibly get in a dish – bitter, sweet, sour, salty, creamy…it was just like eating in heaven. For a bar menu, this one took it to a fine dining level…it was fabulous.