Birthday Meal at Manresa, Los Gatos

Thanks to our friends Brent and Lena, my husband Joe and I finally had the chance to dine (and to celebrate his birthday) at the two Michelin starred restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos, California. I’ve been a big fan of Chef David Kinch for quite some times now, for his inspirational vision along with his sustainable culinary practice. Those of you who have never heard of him, maybe you’ll know this instead – Chef Kinch was on Iron Chef America in 2009, against chef Bobby Flay over battle cabbage and won. Manresa is also on the lists of best restaurants in the USA as well as the best farm-to-table restaurants. And our dining experience at his Los Gatos restaurant certainly did not disappoint. Lots of new flavors, fresh ingredients, whimsical presentation, impeccable service…hmmm what else? I’ll just show and tell with some pictures. I only had my point-and-shoot with me so pardon the pixelated and blurry pictures.

We both ordered the 5-course meal. The menu changes constantly depending on what ingredients are in season and available.

chef’s appetizer – kale chip with a fritter (corn or sweet potato?) stuffed with a mushroom pesto mixture.

amuse bouche – foie gras flan with cumin seed caramel, espresso salt. I was pretty thrilled with this.

bread and butter. A server walks around with a tray of 5 different kind of bread and we can select as many as we want. Here I have the olive bread and the heavenly and buttery warm brioche. I can eat this brioche all day long..I wanted some fruit preserve with them.

Joe’s 1st course: A garden green soup, stone ground mustard cream, herbs and shoots “multi-color”. The mustard cream and the herbs and shoots came beautifully presented inside the bowl like art, then the server poured the green soup tableside. A lot of “oohs” and “aahs” from me.

My 1st course: Assorted potatoes, soft and crispy, with curds and whey, seaweed persillade. The potatoes were so awesome. Really interesting flavor combination with the curds and seaweed.

Both of our second course, titled “Into the vegetable garden”. This is Chef Kinch’s signature dish at Manresa. Everything is from Love Apple Farm in Santa Cruz. This dish includes around 30 vegetable and herbs (leaves, shoots, flowers, and roots) and the mixture in the front resembles the “dirt”, which is made from roasted chicory root, potato and parsnip.

Another shot of “Into the Vegetable Garden”. Every bite screams freshness.

Joe’s 3rd course: Monterey Bay abalone, in its own juices, pine mushrooms with delicata squash, bulghur.

My 3rd course: Black bass, green tomato water and dill, black radish with sunchokes, lobster. (ps..that lobster foam!!!!)

Joe’s 4th course: Saddle of Sikaroe deer, escabeche of dried pears, blonde lentils with mushroom fondant.

My 4th course: Pork belly with huckleberry soubise, walnut emulsion with chick peas. Mmmmmm crispy pork belly. Really perfect with the hubkleberry’s sweet and tartness. Not sure what the brown thing with the black swirl was, but that was soooo tasty. We guessed eggplant or maybe some kind of mushroom, but the texture is definitely more eggplant.

The intermezzo to cleanse our palate. Can’t remember the full detail, but it tasted like a liquid pumpkin pie with huckleberry granita on top. Not heavy at all, truly Fall in a bite. Slightly savory but overall a great palate cleanser.

Joe’s 5th course: Pears with brown butter, chicory root caramel with maple and sherry. YUMMMMM!

My 5th course: Chocolate fondant with lemon curd ice cream, lemon balm with burnt almond milk (poured tableside). That chocolate fondant was so sinfully delicious. Almost ganache like and semi-sweet..so silky and velvety.

After the extraordinary meal we had, The server brought us two French macarons, one black licorice and one black sesame. Joe and I are not fan of black licorice in dessert, but this was so subtle and very nice. And needless to say, the black sesame macaron was pretty amazing.

Every party was given a bag of pistachio sable cookies with their receipt. And as we were walking out the door, a server presented us with a bowl of salted caramel and asked us to take “as many as we like.” These were such great little treats. Wish we had taken more!

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