The thought that comes to mind when I think of this place is like a dinner at The Versailles in Paris. Like we were in a scene from the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons.
Just sheer over the top Russian oligarch’s living room dining.
Though the food was more classic and less creative, the ingredients did not disappoint, and I was a big fan of the variegated pairings of champagnes I have never even heard of before.
We got totally lost as we were rushing for dinner, and we ended up 30 minutes away from our destination and had to drive 30 minutes back, what a nightmare, luckily, they picked up when I called and saved our reservation. But you can’t help but not be stressed with scenery like this.
Quaint medieval hamlets atop these rolling hills. You look at the gradient from far away and it looks like a topographical seismograph, the rolling hills are almost 3-D, it’s no wonder this is ideal terroir for growing grapes.
Before we start, let me not forget this important statement. If there is one educational thing to take away from this blog, it is this. DO NOT DRINK CHAMPAGNE FROM A FLUTE. THIS IS THE TYPE OF GLASS YOU NEED TO DRINK CHAMPAGNE FROM. It makes all the difference in the world. It’s almost like a teardrop/eye-ball shaped glass. Just go home and get rid of your flutes, and buy a glass like this from Zalto or Riedel. Here is a link of what I am talking about.
Some very good amuse bouche that I do not recall the names of at all. One of them looks like a broccoli tartlet. I am sorry guys, seemed to have lost the menu from this night, I’m going to have to wing it the whole way through.
I think this was a sashimi of live langoustine carpaccio sliced razor thin. If I am not mistaken, those looked like slices of truffle that had been cut out with a hole punch or something.
What a perfect first dish to set the pace of this amazing evening.
Needless to say paired perfectly with the champagne. I think the little dots under the truffles were pearls of champagne that they made into a sauce.
John Dory with garden vegetables and caviar. I was liking this non-stop decadence. I know that most creative molecular chefs will say, how boring, caviar, lobster, langoustine, anyone can do this and charge a shit load of money. But I wait months for these vacations so I am happy to find a place that will just indulge my gluttonous cravings for over the top non-stop luxury ingredients. I could give a fuck if it’s in a lacto-fermented foam of baby goat’s milk.
A quick detour in the bathroom, I love this period-specific categorization of military uniform on the walls. Looks like these soldiers are going to be waltzing with their enemies, not killing them. Imagine getting blood on those white pants?
Now that’s some fucking pimp-ass Conquistador shit. Even has the Roman mohawk helmet. I need to recreate this outfit for Halloween. I can see myself wearing this to a fancy ball or something. Look at those boots! How impossibly stylish these soldiers were. I long for the days when things like crazy attention to detail and ritual meant something. Imagine how long it would take for these soldiers to put on these outfits, have them ironed the night before, etc. En guard!
Loving the ribbon across the chest. Look at that color palate. And to think this was considered macho and characteristic of men at the time rather than something from a gay fetish magazine. When did men stop caring about their ‘coat of arms’ so to speak? I stole this line from my good friend and bespoke tailor that made all the suits I am wearing in my blog posts, Waraire Boswell.
Transitioning into the Edwardian period. I loved this era of the early 1900’s and have distinct memories of googling images such as this to give to my tailor Waraire Boswell to help craft my bespoke wedding tux.
Perfect time to plug Bos. I am one of his biggest fans and one of his earliest financial supporters. He has made all my suits and makes clothes for most of the style-conscious NBA players from Lebron James to Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh Kevin Durant, etc. Not only NBA players, but Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Dre, Raphael Saddiq just to name a few. Here is a link to his site.
Ok, back to food, look at those red prawns, remind me of Santa Barbara spot prawns. These are the giant red prawns I waxed poetic about in my Sicily trip.
This is their signature dish. The giant red prawn with smoked haddock and saffron-infused potatoes. The prawn was so sweet and juicy.
Coming at you from numerous angles, could not get enough of the optics of this dish.
It was a good portion of this hard to find giant red prawn, not just a slice here and there. Really enjoyed this dish along with the champagne pairing.
I have never seen a champagne this dark. It was like an oxidized white wine almost. I was fascinated by the flavor profile of this, and that a rose champagne can taste like this. Almost tasted like an orange wine or some sort of sour beer. But it was 100% pinot noir.
I loved discovering a niche champagne like this. I found an interesting article that highlights how this was a small batch Burgundian style production in it’s early days that was fawned over by the son of the King of France. It’s from a region that basically borders Burgundy.
I was laughing when the Somm showed the bottle to me because Seve in Armenian means Black. I need to find some of this and at my next dinner with other Armenians, and bring my ‘Kardashian champagne’. It was so damn good and had a deep, ruddy character, totally beats any NV rose champagne on the market I have access to in the states. Very, very funky NV rose bubbly, only in the $50 range. If you want to geek out and surprise the shit out of people with a very unique champagne, find a bottle of this. Just read the tasting notes and do a backflip.
The seafood kept coming all night. Not just one course and on to vegetables or meat. I think it is because we ordered a la carte if I remembered correctly.
I think these were steamed langoustines, but in a consomme with green beans or okra, with some ripe sweet plums so refreshing after the heavy smoked haddock sauce. I was waiting for a single course to disappoint, but it just kept escalating in impressiveness.
Then came the dish of the night. All I can say is FUCK.
Food porn at it’s best. This is like the centerfold.
Caviar atop caviar. To top it off some phallic Freudian undertones in the choice of prawn presentation and plating.
Boom, primo pairing, 2008 Moet Grand Vintage Rose. Not your typical NV Moet. Don’t get it twisted, this is not the Moet you find at 7-11 for $10. Here is a bunch of stellar reviews of this wine.
But wait, there’s the money shot. Oh ya baby, look up at me! Look at the caviar pearls gleaming like bling.
Wow, the prawn has arrived or ‘came’ should I say.
Could not get enough, it was too beautiful to eat, like eating a painting. Needless to say, the flavor profiles were on point. The al dente pasta with spoonfuls of caviar. Holy fuck, if this does not turn you on, what the fuck is wrong with you? Call me predictable, but I just love caviar, prawns, langoustine. It does not get boring, just pile them on top of each other in a plate, I’ll eagerly eat it with no complaints, every time.
As the sun sets on this long summer day, the cheese cart arrives. For the first time this trip, we have enough space in our stomach to enjoy the cheese without pangs of nausea.
Look at that white glove service.
Not as expansive of a selection, but very fine nevertheless. I cannot miss a single cheese plate with any multi-course meal we have in France, that would be sacrilege.
Though they had a lot of goat cheese options, we always prefer the cow and sheep cheeses, along with the stinkier and runny cheeses you need spoons for.
Monster cheese serving, we went to town on the cheese.
Watching the paint dry, this is the point in our meal where the tables with the anorexic women leave after two courses dragging their husband behind them who jealously stare at our table while we are eating cheese in a marathon fashion.
Time for pre-dessert, granny apple ice cream with pie crust on top. Like the inverse concept of an apple pie with ice cream on top.
We’re like the only people left in the restaurant at this point, as usual.
Good think Erika was wearing her baggy Marni dress tonight as there was room for expansion.
We just loved the setting, decor in some of the adjoining rooms was even fancier. I wish we would have stayed here instead of L’Assiete Champaignoise, and used this as our home base, but the problem was that this was kind of secluded and out of the center of town.
Time for dessert #1 of the champagne raspberry cheesecake sorbet.
Not only pretty to look at but the look on my face says it all with regards to the flavor.
Look at my beautiful butterfly wings.
Since we like eating bugs, it would have been great if they were actual tempura’ed butterfly wings.
Now for their dessert that knocked our socks off.
Their famous souffle.
I love the double layered Bodum glass where you can see it from the bottom up.
I think it was a Pina Colada flavored souffle.
Probably the second best souffle of the trip beat the one from Flocons de Sel. But the best souffle of all was in Paris at Le Truffiere, which is coming up in a couple of blog posts.
Wow, look how soft and fluffy that is! The souffle, not Erika. Although she is soft and fluffy if I say so myself. I love my fluffer!
Once again, it’s your birthday, it’s your birthday!!
To celebrate the year of my birth, a nice Armagnac.
Complete the night and nightcap with a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial #1, that I actually bought in the hotel bar.
Here is the back of the hotel. I even outlasted Erika this night and took a stroll around the grounds. Definitely stay here if you have the chance. It is where to come if you like getting fancied up, sleeping and eating in a castle-like setting. The prices and variety of wine and champagne are very well worth it as well. I always feel like the best bang for your buck is going to a good 2-star place, because some of them are like 3-star places that lost a star because they got too comfortable, or they could be a 2-star place that is headed for 3 stars. The variability is interesting, and if you find the right one, they might be a 2-star this year and a 3-star the next. Highly recommended, they just killed it with the seafood-rich menu.