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2007-09-06

>Napa Valley Journal - "Kitchen Conventional"

Sorry, folks.

Yes, I've been suffering from food fatigue. I am not a foodie, per se, rather a non-foodie looking for something exciting, and there hasn't been earth-shaking excitement, food-wise, lately.

To quote Milan Kundera, "happiness is the longing for repetition" (The Unbearable Lightness of Being). Meant for a dog, really, but don't we want to be one sometimes? I have been quite all right with the same old roll in my mouth.

***
Wine Country is always great the first day. (The French Laundry! Cyrus! So many vineyards to choose from!)
The second day, winery fatigue starts to set in. Not as quickly as mall fatigue, but there it is. For those of you who can do more than 3 days - well, my straw hat's off to you.

***
Had a really nice meal at Redd in Yountville. This sounds oxymoronic, but they do it well here -informal fine dining. Big portions, little fuss, perfect techniques. Two-person 7-course tasting menu turned up 14 dishes total, in the following order.


1a. Yellowfin tuna and hamachi tartare cubes, avocado, chili oil, fried rice

1b. Sashimi of hamachi, sticky rice, edamame, lime ginger sauce, seaweed

2a. Chilled calamari salad, marinated daikon and carrot, lettuce, toasted peanuts, Vietnamese sauce

2b. Heirloom tomato and bread salad, red onions, arugula, baby basil, grated parmegiano

3a. Petrale sole, creamy jasmine rice, mussels, crispy chorizo, saffron curry nage (foam)

3b. Caramelized diver scallops, roasted cauliflower puree, golden raisins, almonds, capers, balsamic reduction

4a. Foie gras 2 ways, stone fruit, pistachios, brioche

4b. Glazed pork belly, fig puree, burdock, soy caramel

5a. Wolfe Ranch quail, soft polenta, chanterelles, smoked ham

5b. Braised beef shortrib, horseradish crust, potato puree, summer vegetables

6a. 2 slices of Pecorino Toscano, lettuce, honeycomb

6b. 1 slice of "Sophia" from Illinois (resembling Humboldt Fog), lettuce, honeycomb

7a. Deep fried corn fritters with sour cherries, sauteed corn pops, apricot sauce, Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, micro basil

7b. Peanut butter milk chocolate giandujia, peanut honey parfait, chocolate sorbet with candied peanut butter

***
I enjoyed my entire meal with a glass of my favorite Crozes-Hermitage, but
I passed on their interesting cocktail menu. "Strawberry Blonde" with strawberry infused vodka, "The Green Monster" with lemongrass syrup, "C-Scape" with Tanqueray rangpur gin, tangerine syrup, angostura bitters, "Niwa" with vodka, sake, lemon juice, cucumber...

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