A CAMBRIA ANNIVERSARY GET-AWAY
With the black & white sunset over and dressed for dinner, we went into town for our anniversary dinner at Madeline's.
It was a cool, cloudy night, but the moon was out. A good omen. Anthony Newley's Littlechap words kept repeating in my head... "35 years, Evie... 35 years!"
As many of you know, I'm rather schizophrenic when it comes to food. I love diner food: burgers, grilled cheese, tuna melts, corned beef on rye w/ Russian dressing, and I'm still searching for the perfect cheeseburger... BUT, I also love fine dining. Tonight was definitely a fine dining night.
As we studied the menu...
... we decided to go with the Chef's Tasting Menu w/ wine pairing.
Our first course was a Cayucos Red Abalone, panko crusted arugula salad, topped with lemon... I couldn't even wait to take the picture - I had to have a bite. Totally delicious.
Oscar, our very knowledgeable waiter, poured a 2016 Andrew Adam pinot gris which had a long, buttery taste for a pinot gris. I'm not normally a pinot gris fan, but I really loved this wine.
Next was another salad course of local greens, golden beets, radish, red onion, crispy sunchokes w/ a sherry vinaigrette. Perfect way to transition from the abalone to the fish course.
New course - new glass - new wine. A 2015 Baker and Brain Gruner Veltliner from Austrian grapes. Crisp, clean - a palate cleanser.
Ever attentive Oscar cleared the table as we sipped our wine, then he headed to the kitchen to find our fish course.
The fish of the day was a pan seared white fish with capers topped with compound butter over creamy risotto with wilted greens (kale and Swiss shard). Sadly, (well, not sadly because it was so good) we finished the dish, forgetting to take a picture.
A 2016 Alban Viognier was the wine pairing. It was by far my favorite wine of the evening. Oscar gave us a second pouring, then left the bottle on the table... just in case.
To finish off the entrees was a slow cooked short rib croquet, roasted garlic and tarragon bread pudding served with seasonal vegetables, drizzled with chili oil.
The wine, a local from a Cambria boy, Aaron Estates petite syrah. Sorry, no picture...
By the time dessert arrived - creme brulee for me with raspberries - and chocolate truffle cake for Richard...
... the restaurant's owner and executive chef had shown up, too, David Stoothoff, who was off that night but dropped into the restaurant to meet us (Oscar gave him a call when Richard told him I wanted to write about the restaurant). Not on the tasting menu, David brought out two after dinner ports for us to sample. Quinta Da Vallado, a 20 year port and Olde Shandon, a Paso Robles syrah port.
A perfect ending to a perfect anniversary, fine dining experience. If you're ever in Cambria, Madeline's is a must.
788 Main Street
Cambria, Calif. 93428
805-927-0990 (wine shop & tasting room)