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Lovely anniversary dinner at Chez Panisse (downstairs)

Joan Kureczka | Dec 21, 200212:29 PM

It has been a few years since we last ate downstairs at Chez Panisse, but we had a really wonderful evening last night celebrating our anniversary.

Dinner started with an aperitif of Lillet with a lemon twist, something I had never had before. Quite lovely and a pleasant accompaniement to some roasted almonds.

We then had little sausages made of fish and shellfish that we one of the best things I've ever eaten -- just tasting so fresh and sweet in a light sauce. Don't know what was in the sauce -- light but complex and most likely a shellfish base with some paprika (which we were told was in it) and only a little butter. We had a lovely champagne with this -- don't remember the producer, which I had not had before, but it's their house champagne.

This was followed by a rich concentrated clear squab broth with porcini and fresh pasta, seasoned with a bit of fresh parsely. With this we had a very fine Oregon pinot noir.

The maincourse was an herbed and grilled rack and loin of lamb, which was served with fried artichokes and a very silky parsnip puree.

We also had a cheese course with three lovely hard cheeses. Unfortunately I don't recall precisely what they were -- all were new to me. The standout was a very nice blue from the Auvergne, which reminded me of a blue Wensleydale. Yum. With this we drank a bandol.

Dessert was crepes suzette with a refreshing tangerine sherbet. A fabulous finish to a lovely relaxed evening. Just wish we could afford to do it more often!

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