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.

 

 

 

 

 

Four Daughters Kitchen

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Four Daughters Kitchen

3505 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

 

Work trips don’t have to include a hotel breakfast especially if it’s the $12 buffet option.

On my last trip to Los Angeles, I decided to venture out to Manhattan Beach for some beach side breakfast.  I was deciding between 3 spots and this one got the highest ratings on yelp at 4.8 so I decided to check it out.  On the way I passed by another spot that looked scrumptious, The North End Café but I decided to keep to the original plan.

 

Walking to breakfast, I passed by numerous fit women toting their yoga mats.  Several yoga, Pilates and 3 personal training spots were in full swing at 9:30 am, insuring that I was motivated for a nice walk along the beach after breakfast.

When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was the quests “vibe”.  Felt like a vacation spot although I gather most of the people here are locals.   Most were dressed casually like they might have spent the morning surfing.  Looking around the walls were adorned with your typical beach décor including a surfboard and a lovely photo picture of 4 precious girls, presumably the 4 daughters.  And… No respectable Manhattan beach restaurant would be complete without a bowl of dog treats.

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The coffee comes in oversized mugs, hot and strong and on the bitter side.  I find that these coffees are best enjoyed hot just under the temperature that might burn you.  Once the coffee cooled it was far too bitter to drink.

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After careful examination of the menu, I ordered the El Porto breakfast scramble.  I chose this as it had artichoke hearts ,which I adore!  Also three of the other dishes were vegetarian and didn’t include the pancetta in the potatoes which are made with caramelized onions alright here goes…

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Yummy, my dish came in a large bowl much like the design of the coffee mug.  I was surprised that the potatoes were mixed in!  I was expecting a scramble with the eggs on one side and the potatoes on the other.  The first taste I noticed was the chipotle flavor slight but smoky and the gruyere cheese melty and delicious.  Gruyere is a creamy cheese that blends all the spices together, with generous amounts of artichokes and flavorful sundries tomatoes complimented the dish marvelously.  After examination, I discovered that the potatoes were the base of the scramble, salty and crispy with sweet caramelized onions.   The pancetta was served in small bits with a highly salty flavor, just enough not too overpower the dish.

My Review

Unique breakfast place, ambiance good local flair,  no view of the ocean although I’m heading out that way next.  I would say that the best way to optimize nutrition would be to share one of these scrambles and add a fruit bowl or the Greek yogurt and granola and share. Thanks 4 daughters!!

 

Food-8

Service-6

Ambiance-7

Health-7

 

On the way to the beach I noticed this very friendly cat or is it a small lion??

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Barney’s Beanery

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Classic Westwood Eatery been around since 1920 this is the original location but now there are 6 around the Los Angeles area.

So I’ve always heard of Barney’s Beanery and my recent trip to  UCLA had me looking for an original place for lunch.  I ventured in and sat down at the open seating patio.  Judging from the name Beanery I assumed the chili on the menu might be a local favorite.  Upon asking the server she did say that the chili was the highlight.  Interesting though the classic chili  is actually made without beans…

 

So I opted to order the sampler portion that contained the 5 different types including: classic, turkey, vegetable, Texas style or Fireman’s.  Now one thing that stood out after I sampled them was that the Texas Chili was actually spicy, I had just assumed that the Fireman’s would be a bit more spicy.  Here’s my opinion of the samplers

 

The Chili Sampler

The Chili Sampler

Classic ground beef a little bit mushy possibly good on top of nachos or a burger the way it’s made but no chucks of goodness in this one.   I would say maybe a classic but a little too ground for me, flavor was nice yet mild.

Turkey chili was with ground turkey combined with beans, corns and peppers

Didn’t love the flavor

Vegetable lots of beans, larger chunks of tomatoes, corn, and peppers cooked down mild flavor

Fireman’s-braised beef was yummy definitely my favorite hand down, larger chunks of beef in a rich sauce.

Texas-style was spicy with few bean and larger chucks of beef instead of the ground beef

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I would come here again and this time opt for a cup of the Fireman’s chili and maybe a salad on the side.

Scales out of 10, 10 best!

Food-7

Service-6

Ambiance-7

Health-6

 


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.