16 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} Dinner at Bernardus


Last night’s dinner deserves it’s own post.  When Eric was goggling things to do in Carmel, he noticed that a nearby winery was hosting their annual Anniversary Dinner, so he signed us up.
Upon arrival, we quickly discovered we were by far the youngest people there, and definitely the least experienced wine drinkers.  At least we have beer tasting experience, so we could “fake it” enough :)

The evening began with two wines paired with cheese and a prosciutto focaccia appetizer. After thirty or so minutes we were seated, by name card, in the ballroom.  The flower arrangements were stunning, complete with fresh grapes and grape vines.

The menus were at our seats, along with several sets of silverware and more wine glasses than I could count.  I’ve never sat at such a formal table (Katie, I thought about your table setting test - this would have been the crème de la crème).  We introduced ourselves to our neighbors and learned that we were among some “famous” people. One man did signal processing for the department of defense.  One man helped invent wine storage software for anyone from a individual collector up to places like the Bellagio. Another man was the head concierge at the Sheridan hotel in Maui (where the Buergler’s stayed for Christmases) and was presently studying for his level 2 sommelier exam.  Never mind that he also was a brew master for Sierra Nevada for a few years.  I have never met someone with such a rich food and wine vocabulary and working knowledge of flavors and pairings.  Impressive.

Needless to say, Eric and I felt like peons, but we warmly welcomed and found our company to be delightful.  We admitted our shortcomings and everyone at the table helped describe the food and wine to us. They even convinced me to eat fish! The man who had been the brew master and is now the sommelier was able to draw helpful parallels between the two worlds.

And now for the good stuff!  Dinner included:
Crab Salad
cucumber gazpacho, navel oranges, breakfast radish
Petrale Sole
kind david apple, chervil, creamy fennel sauce
Roasted Capon Leg <>
chanterelle mushrooms, currents, kadota fig, foie gras, black truffle
palate cleanser
Veal Rib-eye
chestnuts, brussel sprouts, house made bacon, cipollini onions
Pink Apple Panna Cotta
cinnamon stick creme anglaise, garden mint, spiced <>
Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies (to go)
Every bite was better than the last. The wines paired perfectly, even the sommelier agreed!  Our table was the last to leave, we all hugged and exchanged information - what good company! 
As we were leaving, the valet pulled around a brand new black Bentley.  Too bad we were going home in the Dodge Charger rental :)
Be sure to check out http://www.bernardus.com/lodge/ for a small sample of the views and service!

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