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Old 10-02-2009, 09:01 AM   #1
ehagerty
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Victoria & Alberts - Join me in my Dining Scheherazade (Night #3 Sep 17, 2009)

Tonight's story begin with a gracious welcome by Israel Perez, Maitre d'Hotel.......






.....and his charming and elegant staff






I had many mini-missions for this meal (in no particular order)
  • re-introduce DH to the wonders of V&A (his last visit = 1997)
  • experiment with my Canon D10, to see if I could migrate from the SLR
  • simply enjoy, as DH put it, "the best meal of my life" - and that was two days after Palo's (Wonder - DVC member cruise)
  • listen to the harp music
  • relax in the hushed tones of V&A
  • enjoy the many nuances of the fine wine pairing



The reporting pace will probably be as leisurely as the meal - partially due to time constraints, partially to make the reliving last longer....


For those who may not already be aware, there are previous nights to this story..
Night #1 - Victoria & Alberts - Picture Trip Report (January, 2009)
Night #2 - Victoria & Albert - A Once-in-a-Decade Dinner, for the second time in 2009 (May, 2009)
Night #3 - Victoria & Albert - My Dining Scheherazade(September, 2009) - THIS REPORT
Night #4 - Victoria & Albert - Dining Scheherazade Night #4 - "Table for One" - 17 OCT 09
Night #5 - Victoria & Albert - Dining Scheherazade Night #5 - "Table for One - Again" 23 FEB 10 (February, 2010)
Night #6 - Victoria & Albert - Dining Scheherazade Night #6&7 - "I could die happy, and I am only 20" (May, 2010) (February, 2010)
Clickable Table of Contents 17 SEP 09 for this report
A Sense of Place
Amuse Bouche
Fresh Baguette & Vermont Butter
Poached Scallop
Herb Bread & Butter
Poulet Rouge
Monterey Abalone
Grain Bread and Butter
Veal and Beef
Cheese Plate
Dessert
After Dinner Treats
Kitchen Visit
.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:15 AM   #2
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oooh.... I can't wait!!!!!
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:03 PM   #3
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I like how you incorporated the Arabian Nights references.

Since I know your food porn is epic, I can't wait.
Oh, and see you in a couple weeks... from today!
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:07 PM   #4
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I'll try to get this report done......

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Originally Posted by kbmaggs View Post
oooh.... I can't wait!!!!!
... in response to your enthusiasm

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Originally Posted by BriarRosie View Post
I like how you incorporated the Arabian Nights references.

Since I know your food porn is epic, I can't wait.
Oh, and see you in a couple weeks... from today!
..... so I am ready for the next!! - look forward to meeting you, two weeks from NOW
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:41 PM   #5
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:06 PM   #6
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Amuse Bouche

The big picture

Wine Pairing: Vueve Cliquot Ponsardin NY








Deviled Quail Egg with American Caviar







Tomato Fennel Custard Baked in the Shell








Heirloom Tomato Sorbet with Olive Oil Powder










Italian Buffalo Mozzarella with Pine Nuts









Tomato Carpaccio, Octopus






The combination and permutations of tomato were phenomenal (oh dear, if I use that superlative on the first post, what will I have left for all the others?!?!). Each quadrant had its own story line and character, and the collection coalesced into wonderful, well, amuse bouche! I liked how the tomato-fennel soup from last dinner was transformed into a custard this time. I really liked how I could take a small sample of one, sip of wine, sample of another, etc. until they were all gone. One played off the other, then built on the next. Hard to describe - perhaps a sidebar story....

A few years ago, we took my parents to a local restaurant for dinner before a Christmas concert at the Philharmonic. The place was convenient, very cute - definitely had the flair of one of those small Parisian restaurants that only have 6 tables. The chef was CIA-educated. The food was - dish for dish, quite good. I had a sorbet-sampler for dessert - rosemary-this, sage-that, and tomato-something (could even have been this one). However, I remember thinking as I was leaving that the meal was incoherent. I liked the sorbets - but would have preferred them as an appetizer, or transition dish. Too many vegetables in my dessert doesn't satisfy the way cheese or fruit sorbet might have. Sadly, the restaurant closed shortly after that.

My point - sometimes we are inarticulate when we sense something is wrong, we don't have the concepts and words to explain WHAT is wrong. However, when you see something done well, you know in an instant that THIS is an example of how it is done correctly. This amuse bouche provided that Eureka moment - seeing the tomato sorbet in its right context and juxtaposition to all the other elements reminded me immediately of that one dish from 5-6 years ago - and helped me appreciate, if not fully grasp, the level of creativity, art and coherence that is a V&A dining experience.

As for Scheherazade, I can only hope for 1,001 dishes at V&A;
  • a thousand and one NIGHTS is beyond imagination - that would have to be some kind of lottery!!
  • a thousand and one INGREDIENTS seems achievable - given the complexity of the dishes
Ultimately, it is more a "gradual unfolding of an entertaining and satisfying sensual experience."

Next visit, I will ask the harpist to play passage from Rimsky-Korsakov - and make it my special V&A theme.....

.
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Last edited by ehagerty; 10-03-2009 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:13 PM   #7
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Amazing food pictures. Thank you for sharing
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:41 PM   #8
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We go in a couple weeks and I have to say I really hope the whole tomato amuse is still being served! It just is amazing but your photos are as beautiful as the food! Thank you for posting this!
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:06 PM   #9
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A sense of place...

The table






The harpist







The roses








A toast to wine pairings









.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:33 AM   #10
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Wait. You went AGAIN? Not really fair, but I'm in.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:49 AM   #11
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I really want to try and eat there next year, your pictures are great!
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:13 PM   #12
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Next course...

Prosciutto Wrapped Gulf Schrimp with Florida Melons and Jamon Iberico

Wine Pairing: Heller Estates Chenin Blanc, Carmel 2007










I never would have thought to puree melon (sweet, smooth), dot with soy (I think - salt offset) and build a small sculpture of shrimp, greens, edible flowers and what looks like (but I don't honestly remember - I don't take notes - if they include it on the menu you take home, you get it here...) a Parmesan crisp.

It is all good.

If I have time when I return from my walk, I'll try to post the next course and bread. I am not nearly as verbose on a work night!!!!

.
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Old 10-09-2009, 07:58 PM   #13
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Various

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyfav4ever View Post
I really want to try and eat there next year, your pictures are great!
I hope you can add it to your list next year - I can see that you have MANY food reports planned. Welcome back!
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizneykid View Post
I just want to say that you take the most beautiful photos. I have seen many of your reviews. Thank you. Everything looks so wonderful. I would love to go back!
Thank you - I appreciate the feedback!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrsjvb View Post
(a) you know I regret immensely NOT taking picss of our trip to V&A on the 30th..
(b) All I can say is Israel was terrific as a sommelier ESPECIALLY since he chose the Heller Chenin Blanc (one of our FAVORITE Monterey Cty wineries of all time..and they are certified organic and have been seen on White House menus that's how good they are) for your appetizer. the Bottle he chose for us went perfectly with both our main courses( we opted to not do the pairing this time).
(c) and I wholeheartedly agree with your interpretations of the amuse buche.. I dislike tomatoes for the most part and every one of these was amazing.. especially the Octopus( which I adore).
(d) as for the Pastry Chef.. yeah he was this close to being kidnapped... the orange date bread he gave us to take home almost didn't get shared with my husband....
(e)maybe this is incentive to do my own review.....Must hunt down the menus....
(a) you'll just have to go back....
(b) agreed - I have asked him if he can supply wine notes for those of you who would like have expressed an interest in knowing more. He may not have time, but it never hurts to ask (I think)
(c) agree - totally
(d) he sent "home" a loaf of bread for my son's birthday in May. This visit, I forgot to ask for my menus - they were delivered to my OKW door the next morning, along with a loaf of orange date bread
(e) hopefully!!
Quote:
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(a) I tease because I love. Mostly everything I've learned about food I got from the Food Network. I didn't know what aioli was, once upon a time.
(b) Funny that you quoted this. I didn't schedule PFTS this year partly because I thought last year's was oversold and overcrowded, and didn't look forward to doing that this year. I booked V&A directly as a result of that decision, too! But now that I'm hearing that the parties are not crowded, similar to years past, I had a momentary regret. But then I quickly changed my mind because I know my V&A dinner will be fabulous.
(c) Loved the bell jar presentation of the chicken!
(a) gotta start watching food networks....
(b) seems like you have company (below)
(c) there's always something I haven't seen before
Quote:
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It was bar none the best meal we've ever had, and we plan to return next year. Sorry for hijacking your thread, but you asked.
Not hijacking - sharing!!
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Originally Posted by Unca_Scrooge View Post
My wife and I both thought that was the best thing we ever tasted in our lives. Assuming this is the same as what we had back in September.
It was probably the same, as the picture was also taken in Sep - what day were you there?
Quote:
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Beautiful pictures and reviews
Thank you - and thanks for stopping by - again
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I read this on Deb's site on Wednesday afternoon, I think. I thought it was an interesting comment for her to make because in the past she's always been pretty enthusiastic about PFTS. It's the same conclusion the hubby and I reached after we attended a PFTS last year - that's why we're going to V&A this year with friends instead of PFTS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy321 View Post
another one chiming in to say - we've given up on PFTS for all reasons stated - and switching to V&A!
Just FYI, Chef Scott's wife has a lot to do with the F&W Festival (exactly what, I don't recall - for some reason, I have it in my head that she is in charge of it - but at the executive chef level, I don't know exactly what they means). In any case, you can let him know what you would like to see changed about the PFTS that would entice you back - although, dollar for dollar, I think I'd rather sit down and listen to a harp....

Now, onto more pictures!!


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Old 10-09-2009, 08:17 PM   #14
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Monterey Abalone

Monterey Abalone with Toasted Capers and Meyer Lemon

Wine Pairing: Bisson Bianchetta, Golfo del Tigullio (DOC) Genova 2007







The Meyer Lemon provided fruit and zing - I never thought to toast capers (have always just used them out of the jar - packed in salt). Just looking at this dish made me salivate.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Sidebar - today was the anti-V&A dining day. I had some vintage Gouda and triscuits for breakfast at my desk. That Gouda was the most flavorful thing I ate all day - by far.

Had a work event bowling this afternoon (which I do once every 15 years). With a little coaching, I managed a 91. Lunch was pizza and wings, consisting of precisely two identifiable flavors, yeast and grease. Attempted to anesthetize my palette with a bottle of Guinness - which had all of the satisfaction of a bowl of watery oatmeal. Didn't help. I've only ever had tap Guinness - which is more like some Silver Palette oats, with dates and real maple syrup.

"Dinner" was some free bar snacks at a former employer reunion - pizza (more yeast and grease, despite that fact that I could actually see ham and pineapple on it, it had no flavor - how do they do it?), fried ravioli (who knew there could be something less healthy than fried mozzarella? - also, it was overcooked, and had no sauce), and some form of puffy french fry - the second best food item I had today. Attempted to anesthetize my palette with a glass of house white. I was genuinely concerned that they had left soap in the bar wine glass. Took several sips to accept it was just that bad. I didn't think anyone made wine that bad anymore. I think it is the first glass of wine I just didn't finish, in my life.

So you can see why just the IMAGE of this dish made my mouth tingle today.

Fortunately, DS19 gave me a box of Godiva Dark Assortment for my birthday, and I was able to at least finish with a Dark chocolate mint - yes, just one. I look forward to making my own breakfast tomorrow!! I am happy with a one-egg omelette with some asiago, chervil...

Now that I think of it, DH asked me where we could go for my birthday that would be better than something I could make for myself. I told him I would be happy to wait for as long as it takes to return to V&A!!!
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Last edited by ehagerty; 10-09-2009 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:53 PM   #15
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Veal & Beef

Marcho Farms Veal Tenderloin with Marble Potatoes and Sauce Soubise
Tasking of Australian Kobe Beef Tenderloin and Japanese Wagyu Strip Loin with Oxtail Jus
Wine Pairing: Benziger "Tribute," Sonoma Mountain 2005


The Big Picture









Veal



Nice pyramid of flavor - veal was exceptional, I think there was a bacon-like thingy - and obviously, an onion ring on top - notice the melon continuity in front. I was actually starting to get skilled at cutting my pyramid in sections so that each bite would have the full complement of ingredients.




Beef



So phenomenal that I just assumed chef made it perfectly. Well, he did, but Mike showed us a sample of uncooked Kobe next to a comparable cut on non-Kobe (wish I have taken a picture). It was amazing to see the difference in marbling between the two. I appreciated that the beef was served unattended by any other elements. Distractions would have been a shame.




Veggies



Once again, perfectly cut, color, placement, and flavor. My recollection is that the artichoke on top and a slice of truffle (or is it mushroom? I knew three weeks ago - I promise I WILL starting taking notes). In any case, I enjoyed all the vegetables, but cut up the artichoke/truffle into very small pieces to make it last as long as possible.






Taters, Precious....



Last picture report, I mistakenly thought the topping might be braised shallots - turns out it is braised short ribs - acts as a condiment of sorts. Reminded me of the homemade chili sauce my grandmother used to can every year - a condiment staple on the table for everything from eggs to beans. Hmmm - haven't made it myself in a few years. Sounds like a November project....



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