Manresa- Culinary Masterpiece



320 Village Ln, Los Gatos, CA


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.


Chestnut truffle, brilliant savarin


Savory blood orange beignet


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.


Into the garden, green and bitter…


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


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


Mushrooms, toasted leaven mousseline


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.


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!


Paris brest, hazelnut praline and kuno fase satsuma


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


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.






Chia Seed Pudding with Fresh Berries



If the only thing you’ve done with chia seeds is grow a pet then you’re in for a treat.

Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse.   They not only contain omega-3 fatty acids but are an abundant source of fiber 10 grams per ounce, that is 1/3 of your daily value.  Although flax seeds have more research out chia seeds are sure to contain even more health benefits that we will discover in the years to come.  This pudding is a great end to your day, reminiscent of good old fashion tapioca.

Chia Seed Pudding with Fresh Berries
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 1
  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 10
  • Saturated fat: 3
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 18
  • Sugar: 7
  • Fiber: 9
  • Protein: 4

Chia seeds are small,little, black seeds, Once they are introduced to liquid they expand and have a texture very close to tapioca. This recipe is one of my favorites for a dessert when you want something sweet and healthy.
  • 1½ cup milk (soy, almond, coconut, regular)
  • ⅓ cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbs. sugar in the raw
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • berries to garnish (I love fresh strawberries and blueberries)

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the milk, chia seeds and sugar in the raw, vanilla and cinnamon. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The chia seeds will puff and expand.
  2. Pudding may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. Before serving, stir once and spoon into serving dishes. Garnish with fresh berries and serve immediately.


Warm Baked Apple and Cranberry Crisp



I do get a lot of inspiration from my CSA box.   If not only from the fact of me thinking hmmm…. what to do with this?  This past week I got a berry size container of fresh cranberries.   Honestly, the only time I’ve used fresh cranberries in cooking is at Thanksgiving for the cranberry sauce.  Since that holiday has come and gone, I thought they might go to waste.  Thankfully, that same day I got an idea.  I also had a large bowl brimming with honey crisp apples, what about making a warm baked apple and cranberry crisp.  Perfect! and it turned out awesome.  The cranberries add a tartness similar to a tart cherry cobbler.  I’m definitely going to make this one again.  Also I love the fact that this dessert is primarily fruit and spices, with a little bit of goodness from the brown sugar and butter to round out the flavor.  Not to mention oatmeal…. always good for heart health.

4.0 from 1 reviews

Warm Baked Apple and Cranberry Crisp
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 8
  • Calories: 230
  • Fat: 6.5
  • Saturated fat: 3.8
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 43
  • Sugar: 26
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 2

This is a perfect dessert for the late fall and winter when the apples are crisp and the cranberries are tart.
  • Filling
  • 5 medium to large apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • juice from one lemon or ½ an orange
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. your best cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • Topping
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. your best cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • pinch of salt

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine apples and cranberries in a large bowl with water, lemon or orange juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss to coat the fruit.
  3. Combine topping ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to form a crumbly mixture.
  4. Spray a 9″x9″ baking dish with non-stick spray and add the fruit mixture to the dish.
  5. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top
  6. Bake 35-40 minutes, apples should be tender.


Silky Pumpkin Pie


Pumpkin Pie is a classic.  I absolutely love the taste of a made from scratch pumpkin pie warm from the oven with fresh whipped cream.  Over the years my mom and I have perfected the recipe.  The spices are now in a perfect balance to offset the raw pumpkin flavor.  And now I share with you cooking techniques that will perfect the texture of the filling.  The pie will be creamy and smooth, bursting with holiday spices.  This holiday season enjoy my mom’s famous recipe.  For this recipe I do use fresh pumpkin, however if all you can do is canned then go for it.   I also take all the time on the filling so no homemade crust here.  Enjoy

Silky Pumpkin Pie
This pumpkin pie takes just a few more steps to make, reducing the pumpkin and spices to magnify the flavors and straining the pumpkin for a smooth creamy texture. But the result is the best pumpkin pie you will every have.
  • 2 cups pumpkin (16oz)
  • ¼ tsp each nutmeg, cloves, salt, and ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • one can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In medium bowl mix the condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla, set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan mix the pumpkin, nutmeg, cloves, salt, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon.
  4. Bring the pumpkin mixture to a simmer over medium high heat (about 5 minutes) then reduce heat to simmer for an additional10 minutes
    this will reduce the pumpkin mixture and concentrate the flavor of the spices.
  5. Allow the pumpkin mixture to cool for a few minutes and slowly whisk the milk mixture into the pumpkin.
  6. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl, use a spatula to press solids through strainer. Whisk mixture again and transfer to graham cracker crust.
  7. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes before lowering the temperature to 325 degrees
  8. continue to cook on 325 degrees for 25-35 minutes until center in set.
  9. Allow to cool several hours.


Dark Chocolate Bing Cherry and Almond Bark


I love to take cooking classes at Sur La Table in Los Gatos.  This past year I took a holiday candy class and learned how to make chocolate bark.  This year for Thanksgiving we have a big group coming over so I thought it would be the perfect time to try out my recipe.

Dark Chocolate Bing Cherry and Almond Bark
Recipe type: Dessert

This is a great crowd pleaser and best of all it contains dark chocolate, cherries and almonds which all contain healthful nutrients, just watch the portion size.
  • 30 oz. bag 60% dark Ghirardelli chocolate
  • 1 tsp. macadamia nut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dried bing cherries
  • 2 cups roasted unsalted almonds
  • 2 tsp finishing salt

  1. Mise en place (have everything ready before you get started)
    place dried fruit, nuts, and salt in separate bowls
  2. Line baking sheet with wax paper
  3. Simmer 2-3 inches of water in double boiler or large pot and steel mixing bowl
  4. Add 20 oz. of the dark chocolate and oil to bowl.
    stir frequently, almost continuously, until melted
  5. In 2 separate batches add 6 oz. of the chocolate until melted
    this is called tempering the chocolate and will result in smoother, silkier chocolate
  6. pour chocolaté onto lined baking sheet making a large rectangle ½-3/4 inch thick
  7. Add the dried fruit and almonds to the chocolate
  8. Finish with the salt
  9. Let set and break into bit size pieces


Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cookies


I had an extra can of pumpkin laying around the house. I’m saving the fresh pumpkin in the freezer to make my special homemade pumpkin pie. The family had an early Sunday night dinner so I thought it would be the perfect time to make some cookies, a healthier version with pumpkin, oatmeal and dried cranberries.  I adapted the recipe from the Whole Foods website and adding a few extra touches.

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

These soft pumpkin cookies will make your house smell so pleasant you won’t be able to wait to let them cool. recipe makes 3 dozen small or 2 dozen large cookies
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 can 15oz. canned pumpkin purée
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together oats, flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another medium mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in flour mixture until just combined, and then fold in cranberries.
  4. Drop cookies by heaping tablespoon onto baking sheets and gently press with fingers to flatten into discs
    (Very important step cookies will not flatten while baking.
  5. Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until lightly browned.
    If baking two sheets at a time, rotate sheets half way through baking. Transfer to wire rack to cool.



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.