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Morimoto Napa


There are a bunch of cool spots that have opened on the Napa river over the last couple years…Morimoto is one of them. Because this was a sushi restaurant run by an Iron Chef I admit I had some high expectations. Morimoto himself was not in town on our visit but that was okay as we’d seen him in-person before.

Our meal started out on a super high note. We decided to order the hot appetizer called kakuni – a ten hour pork belly w/ rice congee and soy-scallion jus. It was melt-in-your-mouth good. Next, we had the tempura calamari salad which had a fantastic white miso dressing. The calamari was a tad over battered for my taste but Mike enjoyed it. We followed this up with some sushi rolls (soft shell crab,eel avocado,spicy tuna) which were…sushi rolls. They were not at all imaginative. They looked and tasted just like the take out I get at the spot down the street from my house – just slightly higher priced. We probably should have gone with one of the menu entrees. Oh well, lesson learned.

We still had a little room in our stomachs so we split the kabocha squash sticky toffee cake w/ buttermilk ice cream and asian pear. This was a pleasantly sweet ending to our night.


Next visit, it’s all about the OMAKASE (the tasting menu). I’m sure it’s as mind blowing as the price.

Rating: 

Website: http://morimotonapa.com/

Morimoto Napa on Urbanspoon

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Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2010 Lexus Grand Tasting

Morimoto, Jamie Lauren, Richard Reddington, Michael Chiarello

Mike and I were lucky enough to attend the Sunday Grand Tasting event at the Third Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival courtesy of Foodbuzz our favorite foodie social network.  The weather was not as nice as 2009 but that didn’t put a damper on our day. After taking a quick stroll around the tents to get acquainted we noticed right off the bat that we had entered Porkapalooza. Tons of chefs chose to serve pork  — which is always alright with me! Our favorite was by Richard Reddington of REDD (Napa). It was not only the best pork dish but our top dish of the day. Richard’s glazed pork belly was smothered in a sauce I wanted to take a bath in.

Reddington (REDD) - Glazed pork belly, soy caramel,apples & burdock

Other standout eats:
I’ve never eaten an anchovy raw in all its glory. This was the perfect combination of salty, creamy, sweet and crunchy.

Jamie Lauren - Marinated anchovy bruschetta w/ beet puree, burrata & lemon evoo

There was a little issue with the execution of this next dish because the pastry was a tad hard but all was forgotten when I tasted that plump sweet lobster.

Mark Gaier/Clark Frasier (Arrows, Maine) - Grilled lobster w/ marscapone, tomatoes & basil

I’m a sucker for pizza. They called it a tarte but really it was a thin crust pizza and I loved every morsel of it. This was a close runner up for best bite.

Walter Manzke (Church & State) - Bacon, gruyere, onion tarte

One thing lacking this year was desserts but the berry cobbler by Dory Ford of Aqua Terra was pretty tasty.

Enough food bring on the wine…

Mike (my wine guy) will continue with our prize picks:

2007 Buty Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc: Supple and big body cab blend with super fine tannins. Lots of berry upfront and a nice hint of spice on the finish. This Washington wine is a great buy.
2006 Cade Howell Mtn. Cab Sauvignon:  Big, bold cab with tons of dark fruit up front and a nice vanilla and chocolate finish.  Very delicate tannins. Beautiful wine.
2007 Hanzell Chardonnay: a wonderfully refreshing California Chard with tons of melon up front and a nice mineral finish. Not your typical CA Chard – in a good way.
2007 Molly Dooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz: a fabulous velvety Shiraz from down under. Great smoky aroma with tons of currant upfront and a hint of pepper on the finish.

Another Grand Tasting bites the dust.  We can’t wait till next year. Thanks Foodbuzz!

Additional photos:

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Want more? Check out our adventures from Pebble Beach F&W 2009…
Lexus Grand Tasting @ Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2009
Farm-to-Table Lunch, Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2009
Thomas Keller Cooking Demo – Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2009
Vérité Wine Tasting – Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2009

Lexus Grand Tasting @ Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2009

Welcome to Foodie Paradise! If you can only go to one event during Pebble Beach Food & Wine this is it. You’ll find a little bit of everything here…famous chefs serving up their tasty bites, 100’s of wines from premiere wineries, cookbook signings, photo ops and panels. The slide show below will show all the highlights. Mike and I have decided Pebble Beach Wine & Food will be a yearly event for us.

Noteworthy dishes & wines:

michael-schulson-braised-pork-belly-w-kimchi

My favorite dish: Michael Schulson's braised pork belly and kimchi slider. This was sweet & spicy an awesome combo.

cindy-pawlcyn-duck-burger

Mike's favorite dish: Cindy Pawlcyn's duck burger. Sweet & Succulent.

mark-estee-blt-pork-bellyromaine-ice-creamtomato-jelly

Most clever dish: Mark Estee's BLT (pork belly,romaine ice cream, tomato gelee on a mini english muffin)

Best red wine: O’Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Best white wine: Morlet Vineyards “La Proportion Doree” Sonoma County
Best wine find: Terrazas de los Andes “Cheval” 2005
*tons more of Mike’s wine analysis can be found at the end of this post!


*to turn the groovy accompanying music on/off, click on the speaker in the top left corner

Tips for those going for the first time:

  • Many online food communities had discounts for this event including FoodBuzz and Zagat about 1 week before. I even saw some cheaper tickets on Craigslist.
  • Make sure you pick up a map from the guy working the entrance to 17 mile drive. One wrong turn and you’ll be lost.
  • If going to a cooking demo and you have a cookbook from the featured Chef bring it with you. Usually there is a signing after the demo. They also sell books on site.

Check out more of Mike’s wine notes here… Continue reading

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