Sweetie and I went down to the opening of OSF. Here's a review of where we ate -- some old favorites and new.
First of all: Ashland Bistro Cafe (aka Ashland Bakery cafe) is closed. It's been replaced by Martolli's Hand Tossed Pizza. We had a couple of 'personal size' pizzas for takeout and were very underwhelmed. The crust was thin, and my pizza was barely cooked (I had a white pizza, the cheese was melted, just but the underside was yellowish -- not tan or darker). My partner's pepperoni pizza was 'fine'. (Which is not a rave review.)
If we have pizza again in Ashland, it'll will likely be at Creekside Pizza, which we've heard nothing but good things about.
The pastries at Mix (above Munchies) were TERRIBLE.My cheese danish was mealy, the pastry ok but (of all things) over-buttery (as in: greasy). The mini lemon poundcake was overly sweet in a weird kind of way and also greasy. My partner had a chocolate croissant, but put it down after a single bite. His comment? “Thoroughly disappointing.”
Breakfast at The Breadboard (north end of town) was nice. Their pancakes are great, as are their eggs dishes. Lots of food, very cheap. It's an ideal way to fill up before a long road trip.
We had lunch at Sesame, which has received mixed reviews elsewhere, and from locals. We enjoyed it. Lunch was take out from Sesame. I had tempura-battered cod with sweet potato fries and coleslaw; J. had cashew chicken and rice. We shared an order of coconut calamari. Very good, quite tasty. Recommended and we will eat here again. (I have pictures of the food we ate (as well as the trip in general) on my blog at: http://cybercoven.org/wordpress/?p=1098.)
Dinner was at Liquid Assets Wine Bar, a cozy, classy place with Spanish-influenced food and an excellent wine selection (you hoped I’d say that, didn’t you?) I started with the duck liver pate and a St. Innocent pinot noir, while J. had the ‘taste of spain’: Spanish chorizo, Iberico curado, Romano cheese, Marcona almonds, glazed onions, olives, and grilled bread. The pate was delightful — and very rich. I could only eat 1/2 of it. J. enjoyed his plate, except the olives. There were a lot of olives.
For our main meal, I had smoked chicken with truffle-oil mashed potatoes and broccolini. J. had braised pork should with new potatoes and broccolini. My chicken was very smoked, the texture was very firm, just on the edge of dryness but not going over, and the result was as if I was having smoked *pork*. It tasted great, but I’m not sure how much I liked it. The potatoes, however, were amazing and the broccolini was quite tasty. J’s pork shoulder was pretty fatty and while he didn’t dislike it, he tells me it was just ok. I drank a delightful VistAlba – ’06 Malbec/Merlot from Mendoza, Argentina. It was so good, that I bought a bottle to take home.
For dessert, because we were hoping for something that would really knock us out of the park, I had a white chocolate cheesecake w/ berry compote and J. settled on a Dagoba Lavender creme brulee. These were delicious. I like a thick, dense cheesecake, and that is what I got — very flavorful and the compote was minimal and didn’t hide or overwhelm the white chocolate flavor. J enjoyed his creme brulee — the first he’s ever had made of chocolate. Overall: this is a wine bar, not a dinner place. they were very expensive for above-average but not excellent food. (Pics and more at: http://cybercoven.org/wordpress/?p=1150.)
The next saw us at Pasta Piatti for lunch. We began with their calamari — always a favorite. They have a new salad, Caldo Balsamico — spinach with warm sauteed pears, toasted walnuts, carmelized baby onion, bacon, ricotta salata, and a balsamic vinaigrette. Both were incredibly good, although the calamari (for once) was good, not great (it needed about 30 seconds more in the cooking, I think). The salad was perfect.
For our main, J. had the meatball sandwich and I tried the crab ravioli. The sandwich was very good, J. tells me, but the ravioli was only ok. Lots of things in the bowl, so the crab flavor really didn’t come through. Worse, when I just ate a ravioli, it still didn’t come through. The essence was there, but it was more like a cheese ravioli than I felt was acceptable. That’s surprising, because PP has been a favorite for years. Its still on our recommended list. (Pics and more at: http://cybercoven.org/wordpress/?p=1157.)
Dinner that evening was at Amuse. It was heavenly. We began with grilled asparagus and wood-smoked prawns. The grilled flavor was exquisite -- tasty and not overwhelming. The romesco was perfect as a spread with the delightful bread. J. had the pork chop, while I went for the pan-seared sturgeon. The pork chop was the winner -- succulent, delicious, tender. . . wow. My sturgeon was very good -- beautifully cooked and tasty, but no where near the perfection of the chop. We finished with beignets which were.simply angelic. had a lovely RoxyAnn (local vineyard) pinot gris throughout and it was just the right touch for the meal.