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Farm-to-Table Lunch, Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2009

clubxix

Mike and I arrived at The Lodge at Pebble Beach ready for an extraordinary 4 course lunch prepared by celebrity Chefs: Ressul Rassallat (Club XIX), Traci Des Jardins (Jardiniere), Richard Reddington (REDD) and Nicole Plue (REDD). The meal would be served in the historic Club XIX restaurant which overlooks the 18th green at Pebble Beach Golf course. Our 2.5 hour culinary adventure began with a champagne reception outside on the grass with stunning views of Carmel bay. After some small bites and many refills of bubbly we were finally seated inside.

Our MC for the afternoon was Food & Wine Magazine Deputy Wine Editor Ray Isle (he was actually seated next to us and Mike had a field day talking about all kinds of wine stuff with him. For a wine writer he was very down to earth and super nice). As an added bonus to the meal before each course Ray (we are on a first name basis now…) would introduce the winemaker and/or rep from the winery that produced the wine that was paired with each dish. They would give a little info about the winery and the wine. The food was served immediately after the wine was poured. Enough talk! Here is a photo tour..

Hors d’oeuvre reception (Chef Rassallat)
Duck Nuggets w/ Honey Mustard &
Thai Lobster Shooters w/Avocado,Broccoli & Mango
MV, Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Premier

reception
Comments: The Lobster shooter was a perfect bite, one of the best of the day. The Champagne was light, fruity and refreshing.

THE MENU

each course was prepared by a different chef

farmtotable

Amuse Bouche (Chef Rassallat)
Foie Gras Parfait w/ Port Wine & Parmesan “Air”

foie-gras

This alone has made me want to come back to Club XIX

Comments: What a surprising and fantastic way to start the lunch. Mike and I had not eaten Foie Gras before and others at the table that had said it never tasted like this. It was sweet, warm and creamy with a flavor close to caramel. Simply Amazing.

1st Course (Chef Des Jardins)
Devil’s Gulch Rabbit Escabeche w/ Chantenay Carrots, Fava beans, Cara Cara Oranges & Fingerling Potato Chips
wine: 2007 Davis Family Vineyards, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

salad

This also had fried rabbit skin which tasted like bacon!

Comments: The rabbit was poached and marinated in an acidic mixture. A very light and fresh salad. The paired Chardonnay was complex, full bodied with nice citrus and mineral flavors and a hint of oak. Davis gets his complexity in his wine by fermenting a third of the grapes in stainless and two-thirds in Oak (divided evenly between new, one year and two year old barrels). This attention to detail produces one of the best California Chardonnays we have had in a long time. The wine with the orange was a perfect match. This was Mike’s favorite wine.

2nd Course (Chef Reddington)
Alaskan Halibut Saltimbocca w/ Spring Onion Fondue & Confit-Giblet Jus
wine: 2006 MacPhail, Pinot Noir, Goodin Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA

halibut

Sorry... I took a bite before I took a picture...

Comments: The perfectly cooked halibut wrapped in salty prosciutto was superb with the non giblet tasting Jus. The talk of the table was how the giblet flavor was unrecognizable. I thought they were mushrooms. When it comes to Pinot the MacPhail family are pros. In 2007 they released nine different pinots and in 2006, seven. The wine had a cherry and plum nose with wonderful, spicy fruit up front and a smooth and slightly bold finish. The prosciutto brought out the complexity of the wine.

3rd Course (Chef Des Jardins)
Prather Ranch Lamb, Housemade Ravioli w/ Braised Morels, Spring Garlic Puree & Baby Fennel
wine: 2005 Highlands Estate, Cab Sauvignon, Trace Ridge, Knight’s Valley, CA

lamb

I'm not sure what those little crispy nuggets were on top but they made the dish.

Comments: The lamb was good but the handmade ravioli’s stole the show. The accompanying Cab was a big, bold wine that stood up but did not dwarf the meat. Tons of currants and blackberries up front, full bodied and a slight hint of vanilla on the finish. The tannins suggest that the wine will cellar well for at least a decade but it’s outstanding now. This was my favorite wine.

4th Course (Pastry Chef Nicole Plue)
Strawberry Pain Perdu
wine: 2007 M. Chapoutier, Banyuls, Rhone Valley, France

heaven

I have renamed this to "pure bliss"

Comments: What you see is a slice of buttery french toast with a bread pudding consistency topped with sliced strawberries, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Let’s just say I can’t wait to go to Redd. So, we learned there was something before Port! It seems Napolean loved Banyuls so much he banned it from being exported and then the World turned to Portugal for its after dinner wines. This was incredible as it was not too sweet but had a strong alcoholic nose (bit too strong for Mike’s liking) but the prune/chocolate finish balanced out the sweetness of the dessert.

The Chefs
Reddington, Des Jardins & Plue

thechefs

The chefs came out of the kitchen at the very end just to say a quick hello. Unfortunately the event had run late so they didn’t get the opportunity to go into any detail about how each dish was prepared. I guess you can’t have everything…

In Conclusion: Our meal started and ended with a bang. The setting, company, food and wine were magnificent. This was an experience Mike and I will forever remember and cherish. Thank you Foodbuzz!

Additional note from Mike – Go visit these wineries! Call ahead as they are small and require reservations.

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2 Responses

  1. It’s interesting to see my home town on your blog. I’m friends with one of the folks who puts on this whole shindig, and I’ve been blessed to have a special dinner by Rassul at Club XIX… truly a magical evening to remember. I’ll be at this event this year, too! Maybe we’ll cross paths.

  2. I hope we get to go again too. It’s always tons of fun!

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