Sunday, February 14, 2010

Boy Am I Behind!

Ok, I admit it. I am behind on my posts. So much has gone on over the past couple and weeks, but do I write anything about it? No! Bad!!!!!!!

Ok, enough of that. I forgive me. ;-)

What has gone on? Several things, actually. The first week of February I went out to Santa Clara, CA (that's right - Silicon Valley) for a convention for work. It was pretty cool, but I won't bore everyone else by going on and on about copper surface imperfections and their impact on signal integrity.

No, I will talk about the food and drink - what else, right?

I ended up eating at a couple of places. The first was Amarin Thai Restaurant. It was in a strip mall kitty-corner from my hotel. It is a small, hole-in-the-wall sort of place. Not fancy at all. But, since it was so close, I figured I'd give it a try. I took my order to go and ate it in my hotel room.

First off was the Thai Samosa. It was peas, carrots and potatoes with some nice spices wrapped in rice paper then deep fried. It came with a peanut dipping sauce infused with a pepper oil and also had a salad of cucumber and red onion on the side. It was quite tasty. I had a pork dish with basil, garlic, chilis and coconut milk that was also quite nice over a bed of sticky rice. Nothing that blew my socks off, but quite tasty and for the price, quite a bargain.

The best meal during my trip was actually at the hotel restaurant. Now, I know what you must be thinking - Hotel restaurant? Really? I thought those were bad by nature?

But Parcel 104 specializes in seasonal, local cuisine. I was really excited to have dinner there. I started with a coconut and dungeoness crab soup with kaffir, a citrus puree and seared scallop. The bowl came with the seared scallop in the middle over the puree and the kaffir. Then, the server poured the lightly sweet brown coconut soup over the top. It the soup clearly used the brown meat of the crab for both flavor and color. It was quite delicious - slight sweet with zings of citrus. The scallop was perfectly done with a nice char.

My main course was a seared Tombo tuna steak done appropriately rare. The slices were laid out over 3 different purees - all based on cauliflower. One was infused with basil with a bright green hue. The second was infused with truffle oil (I LOVE truffle oil!), and the third was blended with curry spices. The whole plate was mixed with pickled shitake mushrooms. Each puree gave you a completely different flavor experience - all of which were good. I was, of course, partial to the truffle oil.

My dessert was chosen at the recommendation of the server - a very nice man who did a superb job. The dessert consisted of 3 parts - a pot du creme with Valhrona chocolate (very smooth with a taste that only comes from premium chocolate), two mini-chocolate lava cakes (they kicked the butt of any of the numerous chocolate lava cakes out there - and there are a lot of them!), and a scoop of banana ice cream one top of a banana slice covered in caramel. To go with it - a chocolate port that was truly like drinking heaven. I will be on the lookout now for chocolate port.

No pictures - I know! I am a bad monkey who forgot the camera at home. I really need to do a better job of that.

More posts to come to include the Minnesota Craft Brewer's Winterfest.

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