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.

 

 

 

 

 

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

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banana muffins

Fall is one of my favorite times of year.  The weather is crisp and cool, the leaves start to fall, and best of all it’s pumpkin season!

Pumpkin is a hearty squash that boasts many vital nutrients to keep your eyes, heart and immune system healthy, loaded with beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium to name just a few.  Get your pumpkin on early with this seasonal favorite of mine, and kids tested and approved!

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

These tasty and kid approved recipe is great for that holiday brunch party
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup whole wheat or white flour
  • ¾ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 /2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans (Optional)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two- 12 mini muffin pans or one 12 muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. Whisk flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir pumpkin puree, milk, oil, eggs, into the dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them to the top. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cook for 5-10 minutes and serve

 

 

Happy Valentines Day

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I love holidays.  I love all the preparation and enjoyment that goes into planning for them.  This year will be especially fun because I have 2 daughters and I am so excited to show them how fun celebrating the simple things in life can be; love, affection, friendship, flowers,  sweet smelling candles, pretty decorations and your favorite foods i.e.  lobster.. and dark chocolate.  I decided  to decorate the house with balloons, freshly cut flowers, ribbons and red and pink hearts. I even make some fresh flower leis for the girls to wear (not really they were fake but good idea for next year :) )

I also wanted to teach them the joy of giving and being kind.  Giving out Valentines Day cards is a great way to express to someone that you care and are glad they are a part of your life.

Here are some simple tips to make this holiday healthy and focused on love, giving and beauty:

  • Give out Valentines cards to your friends and family.  E-cards are great too!
  • Choose lots of red fruit to eat during the day.  My family loves strawberries, raspberries and watermelon.
  • Make food in the shape of a heart.  Use the cookie cutter to shape more than cookies like heart shaped sandwiches or pancakes.
  • Make things look and smell pretty in your home today.  Decorate in red hearts, throw flower petals around the house, light sweet smelling candles.
  • Indulge a little in your favorite sweet treat.  Today’s the time to eat a little of our favorite dark chocolate or lava cake.

This Valentines Day I plan to smile more, take some time to smell the roses, and savor the day!

Happy Valentines Day.

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THE 12 DAYS OF HOLIDAY NUTRITION TIPS-DAY 12

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Enjoy your time off with family and friends this holiday

Get back to the real reasons why you want to stay healthy: a quality, energy-giving and long-lasting life.  Remember how fortunate you are to have way beyond the basics in life: good food, water, a home and love.   This holiday season eat real food, cook, take walks, drink lots of water, rest and most of all have a fabulous holiday!

The 12 Days of Holiday Nutrition Tips-Day 11

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Share the gift of healthy nutrition with others

Need a few last minute gift ideas, head to the farmers market instead of the mall.  Why not create a gift basket of fresh fruits, maybe an assortment of crisp crunchy apples, sweet and zesty oranges and juicy pears.  Include some dried fruit and nuts to round out the look.  Or… think olive oil infused with fresh herbs.  These gifts will be sure to inspire a healthful attitude for the New Year.

The 12 Days of Holiday Nutrition Tips-Day 10

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Sleep

 

THE 12 DAYS OF HOLIDAY NUTRITION TIPS-DAY 9

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Indulge in desserts with dark chocolate or fresh seasonal fruit.   

Enjoy desserts that give your body a boost of nutrients.  Avoiding desserts over the holiday season would be tough to do.  A more realistic approach is to choose desserts that provide heart healthy dark chocolate or are brimming with seasonal fruits.  The holidays are a time to enjoy family, friends, traditions, and food.  Keep in mind the old 80/20 rule, keeping your overall food choices in perspective.  Limiting sweet treats to healthier versions and to only a portion of your overall calories can lead to a happy, healthy, AND satisfied holiday season.

 

The 12 Days of Holiday Nutrition Tips-Day 8

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Relax

With only 9 days left until Christmas you may be feeling it’s crunch time to get last minute work projects done, Christmas shopping completed, decorations up, holiday meals ready, Christmas cookies baked…  Take a moment and put things in perspective, write out your to do list and stop worrying.   Take some time, even just 10 minutes, to relax and think about ALL the joy the holiday season brings.  

My favorite activities to decompress in 10 minutes or less are:

  • Watching a YouTube yoga video on stretching
  • Focusing on deep breathing 
  • Listening to Christmas music 
  • Putting the fireplace on (even if it’s the Yule log on TV)
  • Lighting candles
  • Having a hot cup of tea or apple cider.   

Again take time out for yourself this season reduced stress levels can only make your holiday brighter for everyone.  

The 12 Days of Holiday Nutrition Tips-Day 7

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IMG_0335Holiday Party Secrets

  • Eat something about an hour prior to the party, include some fruits and veggies which are brimming with water and fiber.
  • Be picky at the party, chances are they will have too much food.  If you try something and it isn’t your absolute favorite wait till something is.
  • Practice your dance moves to burn up those calories.
  • Stick to one cocktail and then switch to wine or beer, which will have fewer calories.
  • Have fun, this is the one time of year (maybe) you really get to show off your stuff to your co-workers, plus you won’t see them much over the next few weeks.  They’ll have plenty of time to forget.  

The 12 Days of Holiday Nutrition Tips-Day 6

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Turn the Heat up!

Dance at the party this weekend.  Instead of hanging out by the dessert table spend more time near the dance floor.  Whether you are that person that jumps into the middle of the dance circle or hangs out on the sidelines, let loose a little. Make sure those holiday shoes will let you dance, you don’t want to be sidelined because of achy feet.  2 hours of dancing does count as your cardio for 2 days, just like that Zumba class.


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.