Dinner at Aubergine at L’Auberge in Carmel

by foodhoe on February 8, 2016

Monte Verde at Seventh, Carmel-by-the-Sea | 831.624.8578 | website

lauberge

Mr. K and I decided we wanted to try something new during a recent visit to Monterey. I did a little research and Aubergine seemed to be on everyone’s A-list and has won many awards.  The restaurant is located in L’Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Châteaux hotel that was originally built in 1930 in the heart of scenic Carmel-by-the-Sea.  According to this article in the Chronicle, Executive chef Justin Cogley takes a hyperlocal approach to celebrating the tastes of Monterey Bay and can be found foraging both from the sea and the nearby trails that he runs on.  Earlier that day, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where we drooled over shrimp, crabs, lobster and abalone and all manner of squishes and swimmies of the sea, and frankly we were really looking forward to sampling some local delicacies.  The restaurant only offers a daily changing tasting menu ($150 per person) that is an of-the-moment celebration of seasonality and creativity.

aub_interior

The dining room feels cozy with just 12 tables, it is swanky and exudes hushed elegance with soft lighting that makes everyone look good.  It was a stormy night that we visited and it felt rather empty throughout our meal.  We were welcomed by a hostess who led us to our table, an attendant inquired whether we wanted still or sparkling water, our server arrived greeting us by name and checked whether we had any dietary restrictions, and lastly the sommelier came by to consult with us about drinks.  All very efficient and professional.

aub_dining room

Chef Cogley’s tasting menu has many found ingredients such as beach mustard, wild radishes, sea lettuce and edible flowers.  The first dish was an amuse, a simple earthy plate filled with sand (or salt?) that included tiny little shells, with two oysters whose top halves were tied with a rustic bow that you could use as a handle.  When lifted, it revealed a kumamoto oyster, topped with siberian caviar and seaweed gelee infused with a wonderful smokey flavor.

aub_oyster

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112 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos |408.354.7474 | website

weolive

Mr. K and I were down in Monterey again last weekend and stopped by this charming new wine bar/olive oil tasting room in Los Gatos on our way back.  They are planning to have a grand opening celebration this weekend, so you should make plans to visit because Manresa Bread is a couple of blocks away, which pretty much makes Los Gatos a destination for their buttery almond croissant and kouign-amann alone…  We Olive is a brilliant concept that combines wine tasting in a retail environment dedicated to showcasing premier California grown olive oils and hand crafted gourmet food products.  We were warmly welcomed by an enthusiastic and happy team as soon as we walked in the door.

wo_interior2

The store is packed with a stimulating array of delectables that is quite fun to sample your way through.  While the focus is on California extra virgin olive oil, they have a wide selection of balsamic vinegars, gourmet tapenade, olives, dressings, unique spreads, jams, chocolate and caramel sauces, infused honeys, flavored salts, and marinades along with small production wine all of which are available for you to taste.  Here is a variety of pestos and tapenade with clearly marked containers for self-serve sampling.

wo_pesto

This area had a lot of very intriguing specialty items like salsa, ketchups, jams and jellies.  We liked the intensely flavorful Bacon Jam, Mr. K picked up a Formosa habanero sauce along with some olive oils and an aged balsamic vinegar.

wo_sauces

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Noodles and lunch at Vientian Cafe in Oakland

January 20, 2016
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3801 Allendale Ave. Oakland, CA  94619 | 510.535.2218 | website |menu open daily: 11am – 4 pm; 5 – 9 pm I dragged Mr. K along to a Meetup lunch with the infamous Bay Area Noodle Whores, a group of fanatical and devoted pastitutes who are on a perpetual quest to find the perfect bowl of ramen, pho, soup noodles, laksa, dongchimi […]

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Dinner at the Terrace Room in Oakland

January 11, 2016
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1800 Madison Street Oakland, CA 94612-4630 | 510.903.3771 | website Mr. K and I used to live in the Lake Merritt area and always admired this grand historic building which houses the beautiful Terrace Room restaurant with splendid views of the lake.  It was built in 1927 offering apartment-style hotel living along the shores of Lake Merritt in a Mediterranean Art Deco style that highlights the […]

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Jeninni Kitchen + Wine Bar in Pacific Grove

December 28, 2015
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542 lighthouse ave, pacific grove ca 93950 | 831.920.2662 | website Last week Mr. K and I went on a weekend trip to Pacific Grove, one of our favorite getaways because it is just a couple of hours drive away, has many excellent restaurants and stunning views in just about any direction you look.  We stayed at a bed and […]

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A feast of oysters at Hog Island in Tomales Bay

December 23, 2015
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Greetings from our rainy corner of the world!  A couple of weeks ago we had a beautiful picnic at the Hog Island oyster farm in the town of Marshall which is up the coast near Tomales Bay.  They charge a $5 per person picnic fee, and getting a table is so competitive that I had to book the table […]

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Chilaquiles to soothe the soul

December 3, 2015
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Calavera Restaurant | 2337 Broadway, Oakland | 510.338.3273 | website Open Sun-Thurs 5:30 to 10 pm | Fri-Sat 5:30 to 11 pm Mr. K and I went to a special brunch served family style last week at Calavera restaurant  in Oakland.  It was organized by the folks at Tasting Table and was described as a recovery brunch to start the weekend, a feast of 5 courses served […]

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