Another year, and another set of MICHELIN stars has been descended upon New York City. In the three-star realm, all six of last year’s restaurants remained in top standing including one of my favorite NYC meals from last year at Jean-Georges. In the two-star category, the Modern is the newest addition to rise from its one star in the 2015 Guide. There were nine additional New York restaurants added to the one-star grouping. Read more at: MICHELIN.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Eleven Madison Park
Delaware and Hudson
Gotham Bar and Grill
The Musket Room
M. Wells Steakhouse
Pok Pok Ny
The River Café
Sushi of Gari
ZZ’s Clam Bar
Lately, there seem to be a lot of new restaurants popping up in San Francisco, but only a few where the food entices me to return. The recently launched Lord Stanley in the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood is one of those few. The husband-and-wife owners and co-chefs, Rupert and Carrie Blease met twelve years ago in Oxfordshire, England, while working at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, the two-Michelin-starred, Relais & Châteaux restaurant by world renowned Chef Raymond Blanc. Since then, they have worked in notable restaurants across the globe including Per Se and Blue Hill in New York City and most recently Central Kitchen and Commonwealth in San Francisco. Their refined cuisine is modern, yet simple utilizing the best local, seasonal and sustainably-sourced ingredients. Everything is made in-house daily, including bread, butter, juices and infusions. In addition to the a la carte menu, there is a frequently changing tasting menu and a beverage pairing option. The wine list is curated by Wine Director Louisa Smith with a selection of hand-picked, unique wines from all over the world including a focus on small family farms that use organic and biodynamic practices. Beer and sake are also served.
Begin with a Champagne Cocktail including one with rhubarb bitters
I loved these delicate, but full of flavor Onion Petals with Sherry Vinegar
Blistered Sweet Peppers with Salt Cod
Olives with lemon verbena
Starting off with snacks – order them all and share with friends and don’t forget the Pickled Shellfish with fennel and dill (center right)
Marinated Tomatoes on pain d’espices with black garlic tapenade and panteleo
English peas with fresh curds, carrots and dill – look at those natural colors
Beef tartare with seaweed, cucumber and nori cracker – loved the delightful presentation and enjoyed the use of both European and Asian influences
Fresh greens with colorful nasturtium
Housemade bread and butter
Slow Cooked and grilled lamb shoulder with alliums and lemon
Black Cod with wax beans, avocado and curry
Poached Hen with sweet corn, hazelnuts and mouserron mushrooms
Cheese with granola and poached stone fruit
Red Fruit with elderflower ‘Eton Mess’ – this was my favorite dessert. Absolutely loved it.
Grilled Peach with castelvetrano olives and chilled lillet
Chocolate Pouch with creme chiboust and cherries
After this meal, I’d have to say…Praise the Lord Stanley!
Lord Stanley is open six nights a week for dinner; Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 11 p.m. Also note, that they’ve adopted the European style of service in which gratuity is already included with the menu items.
Ca’ Momi’s enoteca in Napa just introduced its spring menu highlighting the seasons’ organic bounty, picked directly from the Ca’ Momi garden in Napa. The seasonally-focused menu features vibrant asparagus, fava beans, strawberries and lettuces, incorporated into classic authentic Italian regional springtime dishes. Among the highlights of the new spring menu include:
Fiori di zucca – Crispy squash blossoms
Insalata di fragole e spinaci – Spinach & strawberry salad w shaved red onion & balsamic vinaigrette
Insalata di asparagi – Poached asparagus with organic egg and lemon vinaigrette
“Springtime is when we celebrate new beginnings and the bounty of our gardens,” - Ca’ Momi Chief Evolutionary Officer, Valentina Guolo-Migotto
Stracci alle pesto fave – Fava beans with mint, lemon and parmigiano reggiano
In addition to these seasonal menu offerings, Ca’ Momi enoteca has an extensive menu of signature year-round dishes which celebrate “la cucina povera” (poor kitchen) cooking, with flavors and ingredients rooted in necessity and crafted with quality organic ingredients from nearby farms and gardens, and with DOP ingredients imported from Italy. Ca’ Momi is also home to Napa’s only VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana) certified pizza. Ca’ Momi also has the Ospitalitá Italiana Seal of quality and authenticity granted by Italian Government to restaurants promoting Italian gastronomic culture and standards. Ca’ Momi enoteca is a Michelin recommended restaurant.
Ca’ Momi enoteca is currently located at the Oxbow Marketplace in Napa, California but will soon be expanding to a new Osteria in a nearby location 1141 First Street in late spring.
A team of San Francisco Bay Area’s one-starred Michelin chefs came together to form the perfect constellation at “The Michelin 101: Stars of the Valley” dinner at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. The “101″, in case you’re wondering is the Bay Area highway where all of the collaborating chefs and restaurants are located including Peter Armellino (The Plumed Horse), Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub), Jared Gallagher (Chez TJ) and Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/Rosewood Sand Hill). Desserts were created by highly skilled Pastry Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and the exceptional wines for the multi-course menu were chosen by the festival’s hand-picked team of guest sommeliers.
From the moment you stepped in to the tranquil Mediterranean setting of the Casa Palmero, you knew an enchanted evening was in store. Mere seconds after passing through the blooming spring garden, arriving guests were greeted with a glass of vintage Champagne Henriot Brut Millesime 2005. The smoky and highly fragrant sparking wine was refreshing, crisp and consisted of a proportionate combination of Chardonnay and Pinot. The Champagne from Reims, France was paired with the select Michelin chef’s hors d’oeuvres of the evening…
Warm Taylor Bay Scallops with Sauce Choron - Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse)
Foie Gras au Torchon with Seville Orange, Sesame Seed Crisp - Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub)
Tsar Nicoulai Caviar with Flavors of Vichyssoise - Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ)
Cracked Farro Porridge with Bone Marrow - Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill)
Following the relaxed Champagne reception, diners were led to a quaint, dimly-lit, room filled with a group of adorned tables that would soon be the canvas setting for the chef’s creations and wine offerings for the evening. Throughout the dinner, the celebrated chefs and winemakers presented and explained their inspiration for the dishes and wines following each of their courses.
The wines for the evening…
The Sommelier’s select wine pairings for the Michelin 101 Dinner
Jimmy Hayes (Mayacamas Vineyards)
Stéphane Ogier of Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France)
Bernard Hervet of Domaine Faiveley
Karen MacNeil (The Wine Bible)
And although the dining room was refined and tranquil, the kitchen we learned was a whole different story. When Chef Peter Rudolph came out to describe the components and influence of his dish, he exclaimed…”It’s so quiet in here! We were playing Dio and then… Slayer came on in the kitchen.” Everyone cheerfully chuckled. It was indeed obvious the chefs were doing what they do best, but also enjoying the camaraderie in the back of the house. Their cooking technique and styles vary, but all of their courses harmoniously complemented one after the other. The chefs may have been rocking out in the kitchen to head-banging, heavy metal tunes, but the dishes served were nothing short of a smooth, melodic symphony.
The Bay Area Michelin chefs courses for this very special dinner included:
First Course: Monterey Bay Abalone with Potato, Espelette and Lime by Chef Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ) paired with Marqués de Murrieta Albariño, “La Comtesse de Pazo Barrantes” (Rías Baixas, Spain – 2011)
Second Course: Roasted Line-Caught Halibut with Vegetables Jardinière and Oxtail Consommé by Chef Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub) paired with Domaine Faiveley, Chambertin Grand Cru, “Clos de Beze” (Burgundy, France – 2007)
Third Course: Roast Partridge with Morels, Huckleberries and Smoked Turnips by Chef Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant/ Rosewood Sand Hill) paired with Domaine M&S Ogier, Côte-Rôtie (Rhône Valley, France – 2007)
Fourth Course: Roast Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with Stinging Nettles, Semolina Gnocchi and Pickled & Roasted Spring Garlic by Chef Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse) paired with Mayacamas Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, CA- 1998)
Dessert Course: Blonde Chocolate Ricotta Tart with Cocoa and Lime by William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves)
The delightfully rare and memorable evening concluded with dessert and petit fours for the table via Chef William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) paired with Ramos Pinto, 20 Year Tawny, “Quinta do Bom Retiro.”
“We Cook together, have fun together, and came up in the ranks together… ” – Chef Peter Rudolph.
The stars of the evening – Chefs Peter Rudolph (Madera Restaurant), Peter Armellino (Plumed Horse), Jarad Gallagher (Chez TJ), William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and Dmitry Elperin (The Village Pub). Armellino said that participating in this Pebble Beach Food and Wine dinner with his fellow Michelin-starred chefs and friends was the “pinnacle” of his career. Kudos to Pebble Beach Food and Wine for putting together an incredible evening featuring some of the finest culinary and wine talent in the Bay Area and beyond. It was a PBFW gourmet memory I won’t soon forget, but thankfully, these Michelin-starred restaurants along the 101 freeway are just an on ramp, some miles, and an off ramp away.
See all the celebrated San Francisco Bay Area chefs and restaurants in the 2015 Michelin Guide.
For this issue of Culinary Trends Magazine, I showcased cured ham. It was both an interesting and educational topic to write about since I found it to be a subject that many chefs and diners were both so passionate about. Also, having been a judge at a previous L.A. Cochon 555 event, and having attended the recent hog wild San Francisco event, cured ham was on the brain, and most likely still in my intestines. Enjoy!