Saturday, November 23, 2019

Birthday Bash in the Bay Area

McFarland Springs Trout at Petit Crenn
The Palace Hotel 
Both of us were born in October and we try to celebrate our big Birthday nights at a great restaurant and if we have the time out of town in a great city.  This year we picked San Francisco a city known for its beauty, food and wine.  Being a big Marriott fan I picked a hotel that we had not stayed in, one that was spectacular and charming.  The Palace Hotel was completed in 1875 and at the time was the largest and grandest hotel in the world.  Although it was destroyed by fire during the great earthquake in 1906, it reopened in 1909.  The highlight of this grand hotel is the glass dome that is covering what once was the entry garden for the hotel and it is made of 72,000 pieces of cut glass.  On arrival we were upgraded upon our arrival due to 1000 nights we have stayed in Marriott properties to the Vice Presidential Suite.  The room was over 1000 square feet and had a separate living room, it was quite spectacular.

One of the real fun things to do is to go to San Francisco's fantastic art museums but his trip we just became tourist and enjoyed places like Haight Ashbury and The Ferry Building and Food Market.  We also wanted to go bid goodbye to one of JoAnn's favorite stores Barneys that had just announced it was closing.  Honestly we were working up an appetite to go to one of favorite Chefs, Dominique Crenn's Petit Crenn in the Hayes Valley.  We have eaten with Dominique two times before at special events both hosted by Marriott Bonvoy Moments.  She is a great global Chef with 3 Michelin Stars and many James Beard awards.  She is currently fighting cancer and we wish her our best and a speedy recovery.

Petit Crenn is one of 3 restaurants that Dominique has opened over the last 8 years, her flagship Atelier Crenn has 3 Michelin Stars which she is the only female chef who has accomplished this and among a handful of chefs globally.  Pettit Crenn is in the Hayes Valley in San Francisco which is a gentrified area with young families and seniors sharing a open urban area that is a unique fantastic neighborhood.  The restaurant is small and comfortable with both a chef counter and table seating it is very white and light which makes the art of the food stand out even more.
We got there and our reservation was for the price fixed meal at the chefs counter.  We like sitting there because at a great restaurant like Petit Crenn you get to see the finesse and care that it takes to make your meal.  Our server was Mallory and she guided us through the meal and suggested that we would like the wine pairing option which we were all in on since it was the Birthday bash. 
We started with a Smoked Melon soup with Gougere which is a small cheese puff pastry which you could either put in the soup or dip.  This was refreshing with both sweet and savory components, a good way to cleanse the palate and get ready for the evening.
Next up was and Acorn Squash Custard topped Uni, Brown Butter and Fennel Flowers.  I am not a huge Uni fan but somehow when combined together with the all the ingredients it super sizes your taste buds.  This dish had some serious flavor components the most interesting was the Fennel Flower, this is like a anise/licorice bomb explosion in your mouth it was very pleasing.

As usual what was just fantastic is then overshadowed by another dish equally as satisfying.  Leeks in Vinaigrette composed of Poached Leeks with Oyster Emulsion, Horseradish and Sea Grapes... yes Sea Grapes.  This was a fun dish to eat because of all the different characteristics,  The Sea Grapes are very tiny, the size of a rain drop tiny with a snap and a briny taste.  I ate these one by one and honestly wanted to play with some more.  This dish was paired with a fantastic 2017  El Molino Rutherford Chardonnay.
Squid Ink Boudin with Shelling Beans, Grilled Zucchini and Borage FlowersBoudin is a blood sausage with out the blood and the casing most familiar with french/cajun cooking. In this case it is black because of the squid ink.  This was a pretty dish and if served in a bigger quantity would be a great hearty stew meal.
Now for the main dish McFarland Springs Trout, The meat was pink like Salmon but not as much oil, this was a beautiful dish.  The trout had a lovely Sauce Vierge which brought out some exotic flavors Quintodecimo Winery.

It was accompanied with Trout Roe, Spring Onions and Potato.  Trout has never been one of my favorites, I am more of a seafood eater than fresh water.  I took a long time to savor every bit of the combined tastes of this meal.  Look at the picture it is a beautiful dish.  It was paired with an Italian white from the
To top the evening off, dinner was finished with 3 desserts 2 planned and one a Birthday surprise.  The first was a Cacao Sorbet isn't that the same as Chocolate ice cream, apparently not.  It sat on a bed of Cacao fruits and nibs.
Desert 2 was the surprise a Chocolate covered Chocolate Mousse with a Gold Coffee Bean on top.
Desert 3 was an delicious Apple Torte with Juniper Ice Cream yum.
Again the whole experience at Petit Crenn was awesome if you want great food, service and and exceptional evening Dominique Crenn will never disappoint you.
There were a lot of plates and you have to assume it was very filling but keep in mind none of the plates are large they are perfectly sized so you can enjoy an exceptional treat.
To top the night off we went to celebrate our birthday late evening at Buena Vista for an Irish coffee or two.