I got back earlier today from a weekend in Mendocino and saw Gordon Wing's report on his weekend. Here's the noteworthy mentions from my trip.
We tried North Coast Brewing Co's pub for dinner on Saturday. Very lively atmosphere with friendly service. My bf and I shared a bowl of clam chowder, good but nothing special. Our entrees came with a small salad of romaine, spinach, and unidentified greens topped with cherry tomatoes and red onion. Both the dressings were delicious-a light tomato vinaigrette and a lemon mustard creamy dressing. I ordered the smoked salmon and sun-dried tomato fettucine, which was amazing. I loved the strong tastes of the salmon and sun-dried tomatoes balanced with the smooth cream sauce. The bf had 3 mushroom stuffed chicken (chantarelle, shitake and ?), which came with rice pilaf and some broccoli. I thought the chicken was a bit dry but he loved it.
Sunday night was our special night out at Stevenswood Lodge. I'd have to agree with Gordon and give this place a thumbs up. In fact, I think I loved it even more than he did. The 2 of us swapped plates halfway through each course so I got a helping of everything. To start, there was tomato consomme with sliced morels, citrus essence, and snipped chives. This was a special for the Wine and Mushroom Fest and was paired with a taste of Pacific Star, California, Viognier 99. Also, crisp potato gateaux with forest mushrooms, cognac truffle glace, and cured foie gras. Both appetizers were delicious and we each thought the one we'd ordered was better. My entree was the duck two ways, a melt-in-your-mouth tender duck breast and crispy duck confit ravioli on a bed of spinach. I loved every bite of it and was reluctant to give it up at the halfway point. I next tried the seared scallops with sweet peas, broken rice, confetti peppers, saffron broth, and crispy leeks. This was also very good but my taste buds were still missing the taste of the duck so this dish paled in comparison. For dessert, the boy tried the fresh mint creme fraiche, which was recommended by the manager over the green tea ginger sorbet. I only had one spoonful of this but it really was like eating fresh mint. Almost like eating mouthfuls of aroma. I loved my dessert of espresso flavored creme brulee with a dark chocolate biscotti. Yummmm. It was so deliciously rich with just a hint of espresso that gave the cream flavor without killing the taste. The portions here were so generous that I was too stuffed to finish my dessert. Everything at Stevenswood was just magical. The service was attentive yet unobtrusive, professional yet friendly. I think Burke and Wells posted a while back about those meals that are just magical, with an intangible touch that makes it special. That's the way I felt here at Stevenswood. In fact, when the chef Marc Dym came out after the meal, I told him that I thought the food was fantastic. I'm not sure if this was a faux pas but I told him that the dinner we had at his restaurant was above and beyond the experience we had at Chez Panisse downstairs on a Friday. He seemed flattered but then I immediately got embarassed about saying something that I probably shouldn't have. Well, I hope he didn't mind because I would love to go back. Now, I only have to convince my bf that the 4 hour drive is worth it for dinner. Btw, dinner for two without wine but a generous tip came out to $125. Well worth it, I think.
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