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Memorable Meals-pt.2

August 6, 2010

Part 2 of  Memorable Meals, Exceptional Dishes this year.


First visit earlier this year to RN74 was good, but not amazing, with the exception of a dish of Cockles in chorizo broth. We went again about a month ago and I couldn’t get over several things I tried that night. I am still thinking of these dishes.

Whole Roasted Gulf Shrimp with green tomato puree, corn and semolina dumpling

Every bit of this was spectacular. The tangy tomato puree combined with the juicy roasted prawns made this dish memorable. And sucking the heads of those whole shrimp in a fine dining restaurant is both a pleasurable and priceless experience. I certainly use my hands when I’m eating and I don’t care which restaurant I’m in either.

Roasted Marrow Bones with BACON MARMALADE and grilled bread

Need I say more? Bone marrow, check. Bacon marmalade, double-check. This dish is quietly on the menu under the section “Anytime”. I can only pray it stays there. Pure decadence has to be, and simply is, split roasted bones, with the fatty, succulent marrow oozing out. A spoon of the marrow smeared on thick grilled toast and topped with a generous (of course) amount of bacon marmalade is my idea of perfection. And ecstasy. Paired with a glass of bubbly– or in my case a glass of wicked Grenache– is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful way to end the day.

Sol Bar at Solage Resort-Calistoga

If you happen to find yourself in Calistoga in a wine-enduced splendor, please satiate yourself at Sol Bar. We enjoyed an unexpected  and memorable meal here.  The menu is divided in two sections. One being on the lighter side (Spa food) and the other being on the heartier side (substantial).

Asparagus 3 ways- Pan seared, raw, and tempura with soy-caramel

I’m a fan of Simple. Simple can be so good. Simple can also be all wrong. Asparagus 3 ways was a very enticing way to start the meal.

Crawfish Salad

How silly of me that I’ve forgotten the ingredients to the next dish. Is there a point to mention it? Well yes, there is. The dish was a Crawfish salad backed by  a supporting cast of snap peas, puffed rice, mortadella,remoulade and Meyer lemon foam. In retrospect the ingredients seem to be many. The combination sounds a little mixed. But in actuality the salad was quite good. Quite filling. And quite memorable for a salad.

Meyer Lemon foam

I like a good foam.


It did indeed take a little over 2 months to get a table at the newly-opened Frances. And when we ate there earlier this year, the food was every bit as good as I anticipated and certainly worth the wait. Would love to eat there 2 months perhaps.

Applewood smoked Bacon Beignets

Ricotta gnocchi with morels and peas

This is one of those dishes that makes you ooh and ahhh. The layers of flavors are tremendous and you just want it to last forever. So incredible. I’m pretty sure I sopped up the remaining juices with bits of bread.

I’m not one to usually gravitate towards an entrée (unless provoked) as I find them average and seemingly not as exciting as starters can be. I am so glad I ordered an entrée at Frances. It was every bit as decadent as it looks. Just incredible.

The juiciest chicken breast I can ever recall eating

Funny I can’t recall all the ingredients. Are those croutons or bread pudding? It might include sugar snaps and a breathtaking broth (Chef Perello’s broths and sauces are distinguished). What I know for certain is that main courses are not always very good or very exciting. At Frances they are. This was outstanding. Completely.

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