For our 1st anniversary (yes, in December) B and I went to Providence Restaurant in LA. We had a gift certificate that we were dying to use and wanted to wait until after I had Peanut so that I didn't have any dietary restrictions.
It was sooo worth the wait.
It's been a while since then but I made sure to take notes and didn't need much help remembering how good it was.
It was quite a celebration. Not only were we celebrating our first anniversary but also having our first baby free night together!
I had some bubbly as usual.
I love that the server came by with a box of the hugest truffles ever. At $60 a plate, you could add on a white or black truffle dish to your dinner. I wish I could pipe that smell through the computer. You could smell it several tables away.
I had to include the bread and butter service. I call it deconstructed butter because they serve unsalted butter with a little separate container of salt.
Let's talk about the bread.
There were 3 choices, a plain roll which we didn't get, the seaweed focaccia which was really good and the star- bacon brioche. Every single bite had the flavor of bacon in it, even the bites that didn't actually have bits of bacon.
It wasn't greasy in the slightest. It was heaven.
Heaven, and B buttered it. He buttered bacon brioche. The man is bound to have a heart attack.
This was the first course and I'll admit that my heart sunk a little when it arrived.
All I could think was that I just couldn't eat a whole raw egg yolk. I looked over at B and he was grinning with anticipation- he loves egg yolk.
BUT it turns out that egg yolk impersonator was really a "screwdriver bubble".
Basically a screwdriver cocktail of orange juice and vodka in a gelatin casing. You just pop the whole thing in your mouth, the bubble breaks and you enjoy a little cocktail.
On the left you see the mojito gelee which was very refreshing.
The next two courses were grilled New Zealand baby abalone (sooo tiny, I wish I could see their shells) and skewers of squid and chorizo.
I love the squid and chorizo pairing was fantastic.
Did I mention that B and I decided on the chef's tasting menu? We didn't even really look at the menu because we already knew we wanted to rely on the chef to send out the food.
I didn't realize until half-way thru dinner that the chef's tasting menu was approximately 200 courses.
That's your warning that this may be the longest post I've ever done.
Here we have Kanpachi (amberjack) sashimi with finger lime cream and rice cracker.
I love the shape of their chopsticks. I know it's random but these are the things I notice. Go to Providence, they have neat chopsticks!
In this bowl we have raw geoduck and abalone with seaweed and seabeans.
If you've never seen geoduck in it's whole form... well, it's probably for the best. It's a very large salt water clam, it's rather frightening and very phallic.
Go ahead, I'll wait while you google it.
The liquid in the bowl was fresh and brine-y and tasted like the ocean (in a good way). This was the first time I had seabeans (aka salicornia or glasswort) and I loved them.
Next up we had Uni (sea urchin roe) Chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) with a white soy gelee (fancy name for a jello-like substance) and on the spoon is caviar with edible 24k gold leaf.
Although B gets uni all the time, I have never had it. I had only ever seen it served raw. Here it is cooked and the texture is really solid.
I think caviar is wasted on me, so I tried a bit and passed it to B. He loves it!
The gold leaf is so pretty on it :)
Succelent king crab with a parsnip puree and truffle brown butter sauce.
Oddly enough the vegetables on this dish were one of the things that stood out the most to me when I look back at the dinner. They were the tiniest dice I have ever seen (remember this picture is a close-up of a very small serving) and they were cooked perfectly.
They weren't mushy and whoever cooked them managed to leave them a bit al dente. I was really surprised to find all that texture in such teensy vegetables.
Scallops served with both raw and braised matsutake mushrooms in a broth with sake and mirin.
One of the things I loved about Providence is that although it is most definitely fancy-schmancy, the atmosphere was very comfortable. The servers were so personable and completely unpretentious.
My favorite of the servers was just super excited about the food, every time he explained a dish I was just as excited.
Nothing worse than snobby restaurants.
Unagi (freshwater eel) and fois gras on a bed of buckwheat with a bit of napa cabbage and a dashi broth.
They had me at fois gras. I know it's one of those things I'm not supposed to like but I just can't deny my feelings for it. Strong, emotional feelings.
Grilled octopus with cranberry beans, jalapeno and brown butter. The grilled flavor in this was fantastic and the octopus wasn't overly chewy.
Crisp pork belly with shallot confit. Oh my. Perfectly crisp on the outside and then it just melts away. The shallot confit was a perfect balance to the pork.
I love pork belly. It's not actually the pig's stomach but a fatty cut of meat from the belly area of the pig. It's where American bacon normally comes from.
Wagyu beef with black truffle, carrots, hearts of palm and Australian... I have no idea what on this plate was Australian because I didn't finish my notes.
I'm thinking the wagyu was Ausralian. Yep, I have a little arrow. So wagyu beef from Australia.
I mean, we're lucky I took notes at all. I was trying to write as the server was explaining and then take a picture before I inhaled the food.
Wagyu beef has a high fat content and a lot of marbling which means lots of flavor and a very tender meat.
OK we are nearing the end, I swear.
Doesn't this seem like one of the meals we would have had in New Zealand?
I saw the cheese cart making it's rounds and couldn't wait. You can never be too full for cheese. This was another one of the things you could smell a table away- and I'm not sure that's a good thing. :)
The server comes to your table with a cart full of cheeses from around the world and then puts together a personalized platter. He asks what you like and offers suggestions.
I had no idea how to spell any of the names of the cheese so here is a brief description. We had a truffle cheese (top), a stinky, very soft cheese (heaven on a spoon), a goat cheese (bottom rightand a Spanish sheep's milk cheese similar to manchego. They serve it with fresh bread, candied walnuts, fig, apple jam and apricot, black pepper jam.
Here come the dessert courses! Yes, multiple dessert courses.
Top to bottom is a lychee sorbet sitting on a mango gelee in a white chocolate and coconut soup.
The lychee flavor in the sorbet was so intense and refreshing and the soup was very light. The soup was more milk-y than chocolate-y and what you see in there are tapioca beads.
I have no idea what was in between the two layers but it added a very nice crunch. The little circles on the side were slices of baby coconut.
Loved this dessert.
The second dessert course was dulce de leche panna cotta with puffed rice and pineapple.
I'm still not completely sold on the pineapple in this. The acid does cut the richness of the panna cotta but I happen to like rich desserts...even after 313 courses.
Chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake powder, egg-less creme brulee and brandied cherries.
The entire dessert was awesome but what really impressed me was the cake powder. The ice cream was rolled in it and the plate decorated in it. The powder itself wasn't soft like you would imagine crumbled cake to be. It was really crunchy and I ate all of it.
The creme brulee were the perfect size to pop into your mouth and was more solid than your normal creamy brulee. Those brandied cherries were like having a shot, in a good way.
This was not actually a course. It came with our check, perhaps something to sweeten or revive you after seeing the bill? :P
The vanilla caramel was so soft and you could see the vanilla bean flecks in it. The green tea chocolates were gorgeous and had a difinite green tea flavor without being overwhelming. Last but definitely not least were the macarons. I love macarons and these were soft and chewy and perfect.
That concludes our eating extravaganza!
Did anyone actually make it to the end of this post?