Amuse bouches kicked off the Iconic Chefs Dinner in good taste. Photo by Christina Waters.
Michelin Stars, Solar Eclipse It started with tiny spoon-sized amuse bouches flavored in every shade of delicious, such as beautiful shreds of aged and fermented veggies, tossed with orange, olive oil and raw mild curd. My favorite appetizer spoon contained a bite of poached Monterey abalone encased in chrysanthemum aspic on a dot of sorrel cream. Three layers of luxurious flavors in every mouthful! And that was just the opening salvo of last week’s Iconic Chefs Dinner up at Love Apple Farms.
Our chef for an evening of gorgeous food was Santa Monica’s Josiah Citrin (of two-star Michelin Melisse fame). And he pulled out all the stops to compete with the amazing annular eclipse, from myriad courses of spring vegetables, herbs and edible flowers to main dishes of King salmon. Roast leg of lamb, rare and juicy, was adorned with baby yellow and purple potatoes and fresh-harvested fava beans. The splendid meal made 85 diners beyond happy, and was liberally partnered by round wood-fired loaves of fragrant dark bread from Companion Bakers and an all-star bevy of varietals made by, and poured by, John Schumacher of Hallcrest Vineyards. Dessert of berry-studded cake topped with lavender cream mousse and pistachios did us in. With the final course came chilled shot glasses of Hallcrest’s sweetly piquant Riesling ice wine. This generous yet utterly casual and relaxed experience ran $165 per person—which included everything, including a tour of the showpiece gardens by Cynthia Sandberg and her partner Daniel Maxfield.
The next in this Iconic Chef Dinner series comes up on June 24, and you do not want to miss one of the country’s top chefs, Dominique Crenn, as she takes the helm and creates a one-of-a-kind alfresco dinner. Crenn opened her San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn in 2011 and earned a Michelin star in less than a year. Hurry and make your reservations at www.growbetterveggies.com.
Yet More Alfresco On June 11, the traveling Outstanding in the Field series comes to Tomatero Farm in Watsonville. Cooking that evening will be chef Mark Liberman, whose AQ Restaurant in SF was just named “Best New Restaurant of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation. There are still tickets left for this Monday evening event. Start time is 4pm, $220 includes farm tour, five-course dinner, wines and gratuities. Check outstandinginthefield.com for details.
Hot Plate The Salon continues at Gabriella Cafe, where on the evening of June 5, author and UCSC professor of Russian history Peter Kenez will hold forth over some of the finest food in town. Dinner at 8pm, reading and sparkling conversation at 9pm. Reservations at 831.457.1677.