It's What's For Dinner, More Love, Mer Love, Hard Stuff
Thursday, February 7, 2002
IT''S WHAT''S FOR DINNER It''s only a week away from Valentine''s Day, the day that is dedicated solely to love. What better way to express your love for someone than to take them to dinner. I fondly remember when I was working in restaurants how cute Valentine''s Day was, with virtually all the clientele in couples.
This year, while you''re out dining with your loved one (or your tolerated one), remember to order champagne. Don''t just drink it for its celebratory splendor, use it to accompany the earlier courses of your meal. Then, after Valentine''s Day and before next New Year''s Eve, order it a few more times to accompany your food. You will be thrilled at the joys to be discovered in that most magical bubbly.
The Sardine Factory, one of the obvious best spots for Valentine''s Day sent me the planned menu. A four-course meal is being offered for $39.95 per person and it looks like a winner. Hearts of Artichoke filled with seasoned bread crumbs, Hollandaise sauce and Caviar; followed by either Wild Chanterelle Mushroom Soup or Warm Pear and Arugula Salad; then choice of Grilled USDA Prime Top Sirloin with Truffled-Crab ragout, Cippollini and Potato Gratin; or, Maine Lobster Tail and Prawn filled with Shrimp Mousse, Chive Mashed Potatoes and Champagne Vanilla sauce; for dessert, Hot Chocolate Pot au Crème and Hazlenut Cake. Have Mark choose the perfect accompanying wines and you are guaranteed a treat. Call ahead to have a chilled bottle of champagne waiting.
If the Sardine Factory is too opulent for you or you''re dining alone, stop into Casa Linda Restaurant just up the street at 638 Wave Street. Frank Pacheco''s got the authentic Mexican thing happening with good food, good prices and seven different homemade salsas. Hey, buy a bottle of champagne and drink it with the Mexican food. Look for something a little off-dry to stand up to the flavors.
MORE LOVE...While you are deciding on your Valentine''s plan, stop in tomorrow night, Feb. 8th, at the Spa On The Plaza, across from the Doubletree Hotel. Camille Malcolm is throwing a little shindig with live music, wine and hors d''oeuvres. There will also be door prizes and a silent auction along with a children''s art show. The purpose of the event is to raise money for the Waldorf School, especially the music and art programs, so that it may continue to offer an inspired curriculum. It starts at 6pm and costs $10. Get down there and check it out. Call 647-9000 to RSVP.
Check out Carmel Creamery in Monterey (huh?). Through Feb. 16, they''re running a >"Sweets for the Sweet" promotion for employers to show how much they like their employees. Carmel Creamery will host a Valentine Ice Cream Social in your company''s break room, luncheon or rest area. Just call 372-4720 and ask Jessie for the details.
MER LOVE...I RSVPd to Hahn Winery after tasting the 1999 Hahn Meritage. The blend of 53 percent Merlot, 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 7 percent Cabernet Franc, 5 percent Malbec and 5 percent Petite Verdot is the first bottling of a Meritage by new winemaker Adam LaZarre for Hahn Estates. Keep an eye on all the wines from this Santa Lucia mountain winery. Between the Hahn label and its sister (brothers?) Smith and Hook, these wines will prove to be some of the best buys available in California.
HARD STUFF...One of my spies managed to filch a copy of the cool new martini menu at the bar at The Covey at Quail Lodge. Apparently Ernie, The Maestro of Mixology, has resuscitated the lounge by creating a more casual atmosphere with an emphasis on martinis (the broad category of interesting cocktail concoctions as it is understood in today''s drinking world). The man''s got 17 different unique martinis on the menu, not to mention every conceivable top shelf regular martini. I haven''t gotten there yet, but first chance I get to sit down for a spell I will, and report back to you.
--Raymond Napolitano (email@example.com)