Manresa- Culinary Masterpiece

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Manresa

320 Village Ln, Los Gatos, CA

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Petit fours “red pepper-black olive” Granola crisp

Exceptional, exquisite, artful, and posh only begin to describe my experience at Manresa.

Manresa is a fine dining extravaganza designed to delight all your senses.  Plan to arrive and spend your entire evening here.

Complete with attentive servers, sommelier, amazing chefs, and a planned 14 course meal, yes 14 courses of culinary amazement!

 

I can’t begin to describe every course yet I was able to take lovely photos that just may make your mouth water by looking.   Complete with exotic tastes from truffles, to abalone garnished with finishing touches of finely caramelized red onion, and crispy fennel.  The painstaking attention to detail is not lost, with each bite a culinary treasure.

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Chestnut truffle, brilliant savarin

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Savory blood orange beignet

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Winter tidal pool

The Sommelier knew the wines well and any wine connoisseur will delight with a robust selection of French wines paired with a handful of local Santa Cruz favorites.

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Into the garden, green and bitter…

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Charcoal grilled squid, kiwi, exotic citrus

 

Manresa is known for their bread so even the seemingly ordinary is truly extraordinary here and not to be missed, one variety delicate and flakey reminiscent of an ordinary croissant the other more crusty yet boasting flavor.

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Scallops, chestnut and black truffle milk

As your courses move on you may find yourself losing track of time and wondering how a full hour has passed in what seems likes only a 15 minutes

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Abalone, tapioca with radish and parmesan

I realized as we dined that a majority of the conversation centered on describing the sensations from the food we experienced complete with delicate and complementary tastes.    I wanted to make sure I reveled in the experience and enjoyed every bite especially the truffle and abalone which are laboriously found on land and in sea

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Mushrooms, toasted leaven mousseline

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Roast duck, spiced orange confit, yam and chevre pave…and consomme

 

The service is top notch, walk away to use the restroom and be greeted with a fresh folded napkin.   Each guest is adorned with at least 3 people helping to serve, prepare and amaze them.

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Beef with five vegetables

 

The finale of the main courses was one of my favorite as possibly planned by the chef.  The beef was succulent just melting in your mouth.  I savored each bite after I realized how decadent the beef was.   Finally it was time for dessert.  Oh my this hazelnut praline puff was just simply amazing!

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Paris brest, hazelnut praline and kuno fase satsuma

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Milk chocolate bavarois, black sesame financier, winged lime…
…grapefruit and fennel pavlova with graham cracker

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petit fours “strawberry-chocolate”

As you leave your are gifted with a copy of the menu, homemade granola  and  caramels.  They say take as many as you like, my opinion is.. don’t be bashful take some to remember your experience the next day.  As you surely will be thinking about this experience for years to come!

 

I have been lucky enough to experience fine dining for royalty on a few other occasions and Manresa is right on par with my other top three. Each experience I can still vividly recall the smells, tastes and even feelings I experienced. Tetsuyas in Australia boasts a similar dining experience with 13 courses and unmatched service and delicacies (well maybe they found their match).    The second was a handcrafted chefs dinner in Hawaii fit for a prince, no really, we dined with the Prince of Monaco.  Then my last culinary sensation includes Spago in Los Angeles where I even purchased a dress from Spain just for the occasion.

 

Ratings for Manresa are fit for royalty with a 10 in each category.

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Fresh Split Pea Soup

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split pea soup

Split pea soup is absolutely a classic.  I first fell in love with split pea soup when I went away to college.  There is this restaurant in Buellton California that serves probably some of the best split pea soup I’ve ever had.  If you’ve ever had a road trip on the 1 going south from northern to southern Califoria you’ve probably at least seen the sign for Anderson’s split pea soup.  They serve by the bowl and all that you can eat.  My dad one time ate 8 bowls!  This recipe is my own and has more garden fresh vegetable bites in it, thats the way I like my split pea soup.

In order to make this recipe a little more simple I’ve adapted a few shortcuts that you can use, you can buy pre-cut onions and shredded carrots.  Then the only chopping and peeling tasks involve 3 cloves of garlic and 2 stalks of celery.  Another option is our local supermarket also sells precut celery, carrots and onions, even better way to save time.

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Garden Fresh Split Pea Soup
 
Author: 
This split pea soup is so easy to make takes less than an hour from start to finish and will leave you feeling warm and cozy the rest of the day!
Ingredients
  • one bag split peas
  • one tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 new potatoes small to medium sizes peeled and diced
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions
  1. Sort and rinse peas in fine mesh strainer, set aside
  2. Dice the onions, celery, carrots, and potatoes
  3. In a large saucepan heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add in garlic and cook 1 minute longer
  5. Add broth, split peas, potatoes, and bay leaf and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover; simmer until peas are soft, 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. serve warm with crumbled crackers and parsley

 

 

Thanksgiving Holiday Appetizers

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This year we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house.  Luckily my mom is going to make the turkey and stuffing.  I’m in charge of all the appetizers and desserts.  We have 11 adults and 4 children coming.  I am very excited as always.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite e holidays.  For the last 7 years I’ve started the day out running in the Silicon Valley turkey trot, a great 10K.  It’s the perfect way to start off the day.  People dress up like turkeys and everyone has a good time.  After the race you feel you deserve a great home cooked meal and a chance to relax and indulge in all the holiday treats.  As I mentioned, I’m in charge of appetizers and desserts.  Here’s a list of the appetizers I’ll be serving, we have one vegan coming so I though I’d throw in something for him to eat as well :)

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Check back for the recipes and pictures for these yummy treats. I’ll be adding recipes and links this week and should have everything done by the day before Thanksgiving!

Appetizers

Krispy Kale Chips

Garden Fresh Blanched Green Beans and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Holiday Spice Roasted Chickpeas

Prosciutto  and Spinach tarts

Desserts

Dark Chocolate Bing Cherry Almond Bark

Classic Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Whipped Cream

 

Garden Fresh Blanched Green Beans and Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Garden Fresh Blanched Green Beans and Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers

I went to a summer party this year and my friend brought this lovely appetizer. So clean and fresh and totally guilt free. Blanching the green beans keeps their crisp natural flavor and preserves the bright green color.
Ingredients

Instructions
  1. Begin by bringing a gallon of water to a boil in a large pot
  2. While you are waiting for the water to boil, clean and trim the green beans. I typically use kitchen scissors to snip the ends off.
  3. When the water comes to a rolling boil add in the green beans and cover the pot, allow to cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Using thongs remove green beans and submerge them in a prepared ice water bath.
    This stops the cooking and preserves that beautiful green color.
  5. Leave the green beans in the ice water for 6 minutes before removing.

 


Disclaimer

Stephanie Lasher is a registered dietitian. Information contained on this site should not be used to diagnose medical conditions. Persons with serious health issues should consult a physician before undertaking any new diet or exercise plan.