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Christmas Eve dinner at Mezze [long]

Paulie | Dec 25, 200409:44 PM

I've eaten at Mezze [on Lakeshore in Oakland] about 3 or 4 times over the years...every meal has been enjoyable, but for some reason, I've never kept the place on my frequent dinner list...but when My Beloved Karen and I were looking for a place to take her mother on Christmas Eve, we found that many of our preferred places were going to be closed...I thought of Mezze, called, and found that they would be serving as usual...[I reserved for 7:00 pm., but on arrival, the place was pretty quiet, and didn't really need the rez].

What followed was by far the best meal I've had there, and one of the best meals I've had anywhere in the recent past.

Starters were a "caesar" salad [me]; salad with Maytag blue cheese, pecans, and a pear poached in port along the side [Karen]; and the house green salad [The Mother] caesar salad gets quotation marks because crisp fried capers substituted for the usual smashed capers, baked pieces of pita substituted for croutons, and there were sun-dried tomatoes added to the salad...about the only traditional elements were the romaine and dressing...once I let go of the idea of a traditional caesar, I realized it was delicious...Karen enjoyed her port-poached-pear salad enough so that she didn't offer me any to taste...The Mother ate all of her green salad, which is a good sign.

Entrees were Duck cooked two ways--roasted breast, confit leg joint--served with french lentils, and a candied kumquat concoction along the side; My Beloved Karen raved about it, noting that the citrus notes of the kumquat enhanced the whole dish...I got a taste, and it was very good...The Mother had the roasted free range chicken; can't remember the accompaniments, but she pronounced it delicious...I had a special of stuffed roasted quail served with three house-made [I think] ravioli stuffed with porcini; the quail were moist and tender, the ravioli helped make this a savory and satisfying dish...[BTW, at our request, the owner recommended a Chateuneuf-du-Pape (Domaine du Vieux Lazaret) which we enjoyed...very lush, not quite as earthy as I usually like with Ch-du-P].

By dessert, The Mother was calling it quits, but we managed to have a warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream [Karen] and a warm and chocolate-y croissant bread pudding that made my eyes roll back in my head...

Two opening cocktails [a nicely-made Boodles martini for me, and Scotch and soda neat for The Mother--you go, Mom!], dinner and wine came to something over $200.00 with tip.

As mentioned, it was an outstanding meal.

[In addition to their usual menu of Cal-Med food, Mezze was offering a four course, prix fixe dinner consisting of a first course of potato-garlic soup [also on the regular menu], a crab salad [also on regular menu], a choice of a scallop dish or filet mignon entree, and dessert of creme $45.00, I think it would have been a good value].

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