Saturday, March 10, 2007

Alain Passard of L'Arpège at Manresa

*Spoiler* The Early Spring Garden Menu

picture photograph of the early spring garden menu with david kinch and alain passard at manresa 2007 copyright of sam breach
click to enlarge

Because other readers will undoubtedly be attending tonight's and tomorrow's sittings, I am not going to say too much about last night's dinner at Manresa. Alain Passard of L'Arpège in Paris joined David Kinch in his Los Gatos kitchen where together they created a special Spring tasting menu highlighting many of the vegetables grown in the Manresa kitchen garden at Love Apple Farm. Those of you who won't be attending can click on the menu to enlarge and see what we indulged in.

Because Fred doesn't eat fish or seafood and the set menu would have been wasted on him, I joined my friend Amanda Berne, Food Editor at Ten Speed Press instead. Dining with a local Food celebrity like Amanda has its advantages: I was seated next to, and enjoyed conversations with Harold McGee and also had the pleasure of meeting the owner of soon-to-open in San Francisco Le Sanctuaire. He is a fascinating guy, as was his friend, a snappily-dressed young Chef who is working on a new San Francisco restaurant project that sounds extremely interesting. My lips are sealed for now. Alain Passard, himself, was almost a feature at our table by the end of the evening - I think he developed a crush on my rather gorgeous dining companion.

Elsewhere the client list read like a Food Bloggers Who's Who too, with sightings not only of the 'Lady of Manresa House', the inimitable Pim, but Fatemeh, Joy and NS too.

From the menu, the Consommé of osetra caviar was one of my favourite tastes of the evening which was paired for us with a sake by wine director Jeff Bareilles. It was served with a light seaweed brioche and a thick slab of the most wonderful butter ever seen on this side of the Atlantic. Hand churned by Soyoung Scanlan of Adante Dairy, it was a rare treat. To say we were eating it in cheese-like proportions wouldn't be an understatement.

The dish that really blew me away was the Lotte, moutarde onctueuse d'Orléans, pomme de terre fumée au bois de hêtre. The wine pairing arrived first - a 2000 Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru, Clavoillon, Domain Leflaive. I took a sniff and a sip before surprising even myself by unconsciously declaring "smoky bacon!". The tender monkfish, balanced on a splash of mustard sauce was coupled with a small finger potato that looked and smelled like a fat little frankfurter sausage. Despite its unexpected countenance and curious aroma the mingling of all these elements resulted in a well balanced and pleasurable course.

Transparency Report: Both Amanda and I personally know Manresa's Chef David Kinch.

This was a second time visit to Manresa. Read my previous report here.

Further Reading
Another 2007 Resolution (#6) is crossed off the list
2005 | Thieving from Town Hall and the first of dozens of visits to A16

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Alain Passard of L'Arpège at Manresa


  • At 10/3/07 14:02, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yay! Merci mille fois for posting about this. I have been online all morning hoping someone would say something! Mr. Food Musings declined to read the menu -- "I want to be surprised," he yelled from the other room -- but I happily clicked, read, and swooned. I have to assume tonight will be as celebrity packed as last night, but who knows?

  • At 10/3/07 15:29, Blogger Barbara said…

    The food all sounds wonderful...and those wines I'd be happy with any one of them.

  • At 10/3/07 17:10, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Harold McGee... That's celebrity enough for me. Food nerd. Food nerd love.

  • At 24/3/07 20:01, Blogger LoveAppleFarm said…

    Thank you for mentioning my farm, Sam, and had I known you were there that night, I would have introduced myself as a lurking fan of yours. If you're ever in the Santa Cruz area, I'd love to show you around the garden. That dinner was indeed fabulous!


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