Even though getting back into the swing of things is a little rough, the vacation was incredible and ran the gamut between activities like kayaking the ocean caves off the coast at the Channel Islands, to more refined excursions such as dinner at Cyrus and touring small hidden gems of vineyards. It was not a vacation you come back from feeling reenergized, because I'll admit I'm exhausted.
But what better way to enter back into blogging than having a boatload of fun activities to share? I've decided to break up our California vacation into two segments: California eats and California treats. So let's start with the "eats" for obvious reasons. :-)
Driving the Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to wine country, we dined at many various restaurants along the way. Some are better labeled "hole in the walls" than restaurants (thank you to my husband's colleague who sent us to Pismo Beach for a quick stop in for the best pulled pork sandwich, a completely random surprise) while others, make the Michelin Guide.
Let's start with the crème de la crème ~ Cyrus in the little town of Healdsburg, CA. First of all, you just can't get a much cuter town. After picking up some gourmet sandwiches at Oakville Grocery, we meandered our way down Westside Road and easily discovered a vineyard close by which was perfectly situated to picnic. After taking in the beautiful scenery (and some more vino from nearby wineries which will be talked about later I'm sure), we moseyed back to our B&B to freshen up for dinner. Then we were off for our culinary adventure.
Cyrus, being the well-acclaimed restaurant that it is, doesn't have to provide remarkable service, they choose to. Upon entering we were offered a cocktail gratis due to our table not being quite ready. We gladly accepted, and were praising the restaurant before we even took our first bite.
And then came the first bite. And the second. And so we went, gliding happily from our aperitif to the amuse bouche, savoring and conversing and soaking it all in. As wine caves add a romance to vineyards, Cyrus adds a romance to dining. The coffered ceilings illuminated by the dancing candlelight transport you to another world where food is the focus and magic is the fun.
The magic. Let me introduce you to Chef Douglas Keane, a true master at his craft. I quickly realized that what I enjoyed so much in each dish was Keane's ability to elevate familiar flavors in a way that makes you say "WOW". Some restaurants like to print a menu of unfamiliar ingredients hard to decipher, and often hard to digest. Keane has confidence in his skill and gives you food you know you'll enjoy in a way you never thought possible.
|Glazed Gulf Shrimp with Coconut Milk Froth ~ little did I know this was just the beginning|
|Foie Gras Torchon with cherry, pistachio and ginger burst with flavor|
Foie Gras Torchon with cherry, pistachio and ginger heightens the richness of the liver and gives just the right amount of crunch to an ingredient whose smooth creamy texture begs for just that but is often ignored. The Sweet Corn and Black Truffle Risotto with Taleggio, (and fresh shaved black truffles if you so choose), was exquisite and my absolute favorite dish of the day, month, year... and it wasn't even mine. Even though the husband wouldn't share more than a bite, I will remember that dish forever.
|Is this not the prettiest risotto you've ever seen?|
And that's just indicative of the kind of meal one can expect at Cyrus. It is unpretentious, yet in the top echelon of refinement; it is magical and simple at the same time. Keane and team have hit the ball out of the park, and I just hope they will have the risotto on the menu when I come back in town.